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This Tuesday was a special Tuesday; the Old Men of the Mountain met at the refurbished (after the flood) Mrs. K’s restaurant in Middleburgh. It was great to be there and see the place re-opened. The town of Middleburgh, like most of the towns along the creek, has a long way to go but Mrs. K’s and a few others is a good place to start the rehab. The inside was bright and cheery and the help was basically the same. The food was just as good as before; except for how bright it was, it was like nothing had ever happened. Some of the OF’s brought plants and flowers which also helped to add more color to the restaurant.

Mrs. K’s is operated by a mother, Loretta, and her daughter Patty. Loretta is (and the scribe hopes tales are not being told out of school here) the same age as many of the OF’s so much so that she sat across the aisle from some of the OF’s in the same classes at Schoharie Central School. This allows Loretta the added knowledge of knowing what the OF’s were like when they were YF’s. The OF’s in her restaurant have to keep their tall tales under wraps since Loretta can always call them on these tales because she was there in school with some of the OF’s and know when the truth is being stretched a little.

At the breakfast this morning, along with the flowers, the OF’s had music from one of their own. Roger Shafer played a guitar and sang at the breakfast and he also plays with some local groups. The OFs are blessed with a couple of pretty good musicians; actually one OF does it for a living. Jim Rissacher strums and sings to put bread on the table, and he is booked solid. Even though the word OLD starts the ad hoc name of the group it does not mean the OFs are undertaker material. Not yet anyway.

Next week the OMOTM will be at another re-opened restaurant in Schoharie, the Blue Star, which was the former Alley Cat. The OFs will see how that one turns out.

The OFs are still discussing the flood, and to the OF’s it was, and is, a life-changing experience. One OF brought in a book that had pictures of the flood from Gilboa to Esperance. The information and photographs for this book was basically taken with the use of National Grid’s helicopter. There were also interspersed (at the proper locations) ground shots of the damage. It was about a twenty-page book, with three to four pictures on each page with descriptions of where and what damage was done. The OFs think that conversation on this event will crop up for a couple of years because as the OFs drive to the restaurants, or go just about anywhere along the creek, the damage is still visible and sad.

The OFs are not geologists or hydrologists but they were wondering if all these earthquakes are just cyclical or the result of our pumping all the oil out from under the earth, and this new way of taking product from the shale called hydrofracking. The OF’s ask what is filling the voids left by taking this entire product out from where it was. The OF’s are wondering if we are leaving great big caverns under the earth and now it will be making under the earth like a sponge with this new fracking technology. One OF said he bets these plates are shifting around to fill in these voids and that is what is causing all these earthquakes. The OF’s are really just talking out loud, like they do on many things, but as one OF put it, “It’s funny how often we are right.” Hmm.

With absence of snow in our part of the country the OF’s started talking about the fifteen to eighteen feet of snow in Alaska. That is one-hundred and eighty to two-hundred and sixteen inches of snow. Apparently this is not in some isolated spot in the mountains…this is in villages. The OF’s couldn’t remember what villages but they said they saw pictures of people on TV shoveling out. This same OF said that these villagers are beginning to run out of food and heating oil because the supply carriers can’t get to them. It is time for the Air Force to come to the rescue like they did here on the hill in 1957/58. One OF said that if we took the planet; flattened it out then took all the droughts, and all the flooding, and then averaged them out he does not think we would find much change from year to year, or century to century. Another Hmm.

Those OFs that were glad to be back at Mrs. K’s restaurant in Middleburgh (and that is all of the OFs) were: Roger Shafer, Carl Slater, Roger Chapman, Steve Kelly, Dave Williams, Gerd Remmers, George Washburn, John Rossmann, Robie Osterman, Henry Witt, Harold Guest, Wally Guest, Mark Traver, Glenn Patterson, Frank Pauli, Ted Pelkey, Jim Heiser, Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Jim Rissacher, Mike Willsey, Gerry Chartier, Harold Grippen, Willard Osterhout, and me.