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Tuesday, oh, Tuesday, what did this scribe do Tuesday?  Oh yes, it was December 6th…it was the Old Men of the Mountain gathering, and we met at the Duanesburg Diner in Duanesburg. Sometimes it takes a good shake of the head to get the cobwebs out.

The OFs came out of the fog on the hill down to where they thought the fog would clear up — only it didn’t. Living in the northeast it is necessary to learn to drive in all kinds of weather conditions. If anyone doesn’t make that effort then they are doomed to stay in the house all winter, and a lot of the spring and fall. It is like flying.  If the OF is hesitant to fly in the wind than there are not many days he will go up. This brought up a brief discussion on what was the OF’s least favorable condition to drive in; it was at night, in the fog, and it’s snowing. All the OF’s admitted this was not fun for any kind of trip and they would only venture out if it was really, REALLY, necessary, or if the OF was already out and these conditions were something that cropped up on the way home from work. Fog is not fun, but the reflective lines painted or laid down on the road are a big help. Now if only someone would develop a hat that would send a signal to the OF’s brain (like a bat’s radar) it would be great.

A long time ago when the OMOTM, was just getting started one of the OF’s told a little tale of how his son-in-law was helping him build a deck.  The son-in-law sent this OF down a ladder off the deck to retrieve something and when the OF got down he didn’t remember what it was he was supposed to retrieve, so he went back up the ladder to ask what it was he was supposed to get. When he got to the top he started handing boards to the son-in-law forgetting what it was he went back up for. The son-in-law asked where the tool was and the OF said, “What tool?”  The son-in-law told him and the OF said, “Oh yeah, that is what I went down the ladder for.”  Once again the OF climbed down the ladder and this time he retrieved the tool and went back up the ladder.

At that time the OF’s thought that story was pretty funny, however, it is getting worse — the OF’s all do that same thing now.  It is the old saying of entering a room and then forgetting why you go into the room in the first place. The OF writes a note to remind him to do this or that, then forgets where he puts the note. The OF brews or pours a cup of coffee, then goes briefly to take care of something while it is brewing or cooling down a tad, then he forgets all about it and eventually sees the cup on the counter.  Now the coffee is stone cold, and the OF thinks he forgot to drink it from the night before. The OF’s find out this is not Alzheimer’s or dementia; it just the fact that the OFs are OFs and the OFs are getting to be older OFs.

One OF said he used to able to remember just about everything; he used to just scribble down a phone number on a piece of paper and remember whose number it was. Now the OF scribbles the number down, but in an hour does not have a clue whose number it is. One OF said, “Just call the number and see who answers,” and the OF said, “I think of that but quite often I don’t want to know why I have that number.  Maybe it is a phone call I don’t want to make.”

Many OF’s say they have cut back on their decorating for Christmas.  It is just so much work, but some of the OF’s have accrued many decorations over the years that make beautiful displays. One said, “My decorations are still in the boxes in the cellar. Trudging up the cellar stairs is just something my knees do not look forward to, and then there is taking them down and trudging back down. Bah-Humbug.”

Another OF said he feels the same way but then the spirit kicks in so he does trudge up to the attic and hauls the ornaments down, but just a few boxes at a time. He comments that, “What I used to do in a couple of days now takes me better than a week. Each year I say next year to heck with it, this is too much work, and each year the bug hits me and I haul all this stuff out again. My better half says it is good exercise, ‘what else have you got to do, you OF?  Sit there and watch the snow fall’.”

Some of the OF’s said they have purchased artificial trees and then they let their wives decorate it. Others say, “You guys need a kick in the butt, get with the spirit of the season you will feel better.” Then someone piped up and said he never did the decorations anyway — it is entirely his wife’s idea — he doesn’t do any of that sissy stuff. Hmmm.

Then there is shopping, but that is another story; this is not just a Christmas thing. Then Christmas cards. The OG’s say they used to send lots of cards…it was their way of keeping up with people, and letting some know that they are still on this side of the sod. Now the OF’s say with the price of postage and the cards it is just too darn expensive. The OF’s say their kids tell them to e-mail a card. Some in our group say, “What’s that?”  They don’t even have a computer. This sounds like a lot of the Bah-Humbug but it is not, it is just being real.

Those OF’s that made it to the Duanesburg Diner, and not missing the diner in the fog, were: Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Gary Porter, Mace Porter, Henry Witt, Robie Osterman, Roger Shafer, Miner Stevens, Dave Williams, Steve Kelly, Roger Chapman, Ted Pelkey, John Rossmann, Harold Guest, Frank Pauli, Willard Osterhout, Jim Rissacher, Mike Willsey, Harold Grippen, Gerry Chartier, and me.

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