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Our first breakfast together for the New Year, was Tuesday, January 3rd at the Middleburgh Diner. The Old Men of the Mountain are so overlooked, and considered just one of the flock, that the restaurant made no effort to acknowledge that the OFs were there for the first gathering of the New Year. No banners, no extra help, no greeters at the door. Nothing — it was just another group of hobbling old goats coming in for breakfast. At least they could have had a brass band, and if not the whole band, a lone tuba would have been nice.

Information flows at the breakfast from nowhere. Somehow the discussion turned to keeping bees over the winter, and the effort to keep the hives warm so the bee keeper does not lose too many bees due to winter kill. The other dialogue was that goats do not like cold water — who knew? If you plan on having goats as pets the pen or barn has to be warm enough to keep the water warm for them. How warm is warm was a question asked. One degree above freezing is pretty cold water but it is not ice. It has to be warmer than that. Then what is warm?  One OF said that warm is swimming temperature, but to a goat that may be hot.

Leaving animals out in the winter is not bad as long as they can get water. Many animals like the winter. Some dogs are even better off in cold weather. One OG said that Tractor Supply has electric water warmers for animals that are kept outside. Not a bad idea, one OF said, but what did we use to do in the winter with the animals? They all survived quite well and even liked the colder weather, and we didn’t have water warmers.

Most of the OFs are pseudo gentlemen, meaning they do drink their coffee out of the cup. One time an OF (who was a little shaky) poured coffee in his cup from the carafe of coffee that many restaurants leave on the table. This, for the OFs, is a good idea since it saves having to ask the waitress for refills all the time. Well, the shaky OF would pour coffee from the carafe into his cup and some would spill out on his saucer. One time the carafe was empty and the OF asked the waitress if he could have more coffee.

The waitress looked at the OF, then looked at his saucer.  She took the cup, then took the saucer, and poured the coffee in the saucer into his cup and said, “There ya go, old timer.” The waitress got a big hand.

A couple of the OF’s remembered relatives who would drink from the saucer, only at that time it was deliberate. One OF had an uncle that did that and as a youngster he asked the uncle why he poured the coffee into the saucer. The OF said his uncle told him the coffee in the cup was too hot and by pouring it into the saucer it cooled down enough for him to drink it right away. Makes sense to us. One OF said that is how they drink their tea in England… they pour it into the saucer. The OFs had to take this OFs word for it as none of us had seen the practice first hand.  However, as good tea is made from rolling, boiling water, it sounds like a good idea to cool it down before drinking it.

The OF’s still have to have their hair cut even if some are a little deficient in the hair department. The OF’s have a new lament…the disappearance of the barber shop. There are still some old-fashioned barber shops around where it is possible to get a decent hair cut. These hair places in the malls do not know how to cut hair. One OF said they run the clippers, and snip the scissors, but this OF thinks they do it out in space because when he leaves he still thinks he needs a hair cut, and has to go back in a week or so. The OF said you have to tell them to trim the eyebrows, and ears.

One OF said, “We should circulate a list where the real barber shops are.” Then another OG said, “For crying out loud.  If you haven’t found a barber shop by now I’ll cut if for you; I still have my cow clippers in the garage.” The other OF said “I will take you up on that, what do you charge?” “For you,” the OG said, “it is free…but you have to sign a wavier not to sue.”

The Bible says, “And your old men will dream, dreams.” That is so true. The OFs started talking about what screwy dreams they have, and a couple said the dreams are so real they wake up more tired than when they went to bed. The OFs know they have the dreams but trying to recall them is another thing. One OF said some of the dreams wake him up, and then he says, “I am going to remember that in the morning and tell my wife.” The OF says he rehearses it, but in the morning hasn’t got a clue where to start. One OG said, “Maybe that is a good thing — I don’t want to remember mine.” That may be where the phrase good night and pleasant dreams come from…older people wanting other older people to have a better dream life.

The Old Men of the Mountain who made it to the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh, and in real life, not a dream state (although many OF’s seem to be in a Brigadoon fog) were: Roger Shafer, Arnold Geraldsen, Jack Norray, Lou Schenck, Miner Stevens, Roger Shafer, Mark Traver, Glenn Patterson, Ted Pelkey, Steve Kelly, John Rossmann, Dave Williams, Carl Slater, Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Don Moser, Mike Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Harold Grippen, and me.

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