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On Tuesday, October 18th, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh.

       The OF’s noticed that driving through Schoharie and Middleburgh, the once beautiful towns (with cars parked along the streets and people going in the county buildings, and the post office in Schoharie, and the shops, and the street lined with cars in Middleburgh the same as Schoharie) are now dusty ghost towns. One OF commented that he thinks it will be some time before the confidence to locate anywhere along the creek from Prattsville, to Fort Hunter will happen. Another OF said he thinks many people love the area and will rebuild. New York and Vermont have some of the most beautiful country scenery in the United States and this OF thinks both states will rebound. The Schoharie creek, the Mohawk River, the Hudson, the Susquehanna, the Catskill creek, the Roundout creek and many more rivers and streams winding through the mountains and valleys of New York and Vermont all contribute to beautiful vistas and panoramas of the Northeast. This OF added time will tell, because money is going to be a big problem. Another OF stated, “Well, isn’t it always the problem, so what’s new about that?”

          The OF’s began conversing on one of their typical short conversations…or greeting…may be the proper term. The favorite phrase being, “Hey, good morning you OF, how ya doin?” The answers, without even a “Great”, or “OK” begins “Who the h— said these were the golden years”, and the reply to that generally is, “Yeah, the only thing golden about them is the color of the water in the toilet bowl after you go to the bathroom.” And so the conversation continues with the latest aches and pains. One OF said he hates to get up in the morning because while he is lying in bed nothing hurts.

          This conversation continued with how one day things seem to be going along fine, then you wake up one morning and everything seems to fall apart. First the OF said he noticed he was saying “what” and “huh” a lot, then things started looking a little blurry, then his knees started to creak so loud people could hear them. Now nothing tastes good, but he is still hungry. The OF said he feels just like an old car with two hundred thousand miles on it; first the fuel pump, then the brakes, then the wheel bearings, then the power steering, then the windows won’t go up or down. “This group,” he said, “is a bunch of OF’s falling apart; we don’t need any zombie make up to be hip.”

          This followed along with the OF’s talking about people phobias, and the OG’s started talking about specific people they knew and the phobias these people had. The more they talked the more it sounded like gossip, because the OFs doing the talking had phobias of their own. One OF brought this up and said he bets somewhere someone is talking about this group and what a weird bunch we are with our phobias…like the OF over there who walks around his chair twice before sitting down. One OF said we all have our phobias, however, some are just more visible and unusual than others. This OF said he preferred to call them traits instead of phobias. Good point.

          The dropping off of animals became a discussion because the OMOTM live in the country.  Many people figure they can just drive out in the country and drop off this or that animal when they have to move, or  don’t want the “pet” anymore. Many of the OFs are dealing with these drop- offs and are wondering why the original owners don’t take them to a shelter because that is what the OFs have to do. One OF said that if he kept every animal dropped off in front of his barn he would need to get a permit for a zoo. The OF’s started talking about what animals they have had to take care of — cats, dogs, rabbits, and even gerbils dropped off by what the OFs consider inconsiderate people that never should have a pet in the first place.

          Finally, the OF’s have said this before, and now will say it again, i.e., if you want jobs in this country, get rid of DEC, and the do-gooders and start over. The OFs don’t mean that there are times when both sides go overboard with what they want to do.  Some product manufacture is truly dangerous when done the least expensive way, but the DEC goes way overboard on limiting growth in the job sector by having restriction that have nothing to do with the product or how it is made. To reiterate, dump the DEC and start over, cut the bureaucratic red tape from the feds, to the state, to the county, to the cities, to the towns, and jobs will grow. Get the unions out of the face of corporations, and small businesses, and farms, and jobs will grow. The OFs interspersed in this discussion that some restrictions are necessary, and collective bargaining is a good thing, but everything has become so adversarial and so much ill will has been generated it almost comes to war between everyone thinking they are doing the right thing. The government wants to run the whole show from blowing your nose to tying your shoes, and unions want to run the companies large and small. The OF’s realized this won’t happen, and we do not have to go back to square one, but how about square three (seeing as we seem to be at square one hundred fifty-six and a half) to start over.

          Those OF’s attending the breakfast at the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh and groaning as they piled out of bed, creaking and cracking as they got dressed, while wheezing after the effort to do so, were: Steve Kelly, Mark Traver, Glenn Patterson, Gerd Remmers, John Rossmann, Frank Pauli, Roger Shafer, Ted Pelkey, Bill Bartholomew, Dave Williams, Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Lou Schenck, Harold Guest, Miner Stevens, Roger Chapman, Carl Slater, Don Moser, Duane Wagenbaugh, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Willard Osterhout, Mike Willsey, Harold Grippen, Gerry Chartier, and me.

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