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Tuesday, February 14th (Valentine’s Day) and the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Hilltown Café in Rensselaerville. At today’s breakfast we had two Old Men of the Mountain have birthdays. One OG was 84, and the other was 82 — we are the OMOTM. They were sung to, and one OF thought enough to order a piece of cake with a candle in it for each of them. These OF’s wouldn’t share though…both ate the whole thing.

The OF’s again started talking about the price of gas and fuel oil and saying no matter how much planning they did for retirement they didn’t count on this. The ones that had financial advisors said when they retired the advisors came with a graph that showed the anticipated growth of inflation with a safety net in case it went higher than they expected. Well these “experts” never expected this either; their little graphs of inflated possibilities have flown off the charts. When ten gallons of gas is almost forty dollars, and one hundred and fifty gallons of heating fuel is six hundred dollars, things are really out of whack. One OG complained that this one product compounds everything. This is a rehash of the same topic the OF’s rehashed before. Not just the oil — it is now corn. Corn is out of sight, seed corn is a fortune, and bird seed has gotten so expensive it is time to let the birds fend for themselves like they used to. Birds were around before bird seed, and they will be around whether the OF’s feed them or not.

A while back it was reported about an OF attending a funeral for an OF that he thought had passed away. It was understandable because the deceased happened to have the same name as one of our regular OFs. This OF went to the funeral, signed the guest book, got in a short line and went up to pay his respects and when he looked in the casket he said to himself “Who the h— is that?  It is not anybody I know”, and the OF thought it was odd because he wasn’t bumping into anyone he knew. After viewing the casket with this unknown person in it he quietly snuck out of the funeral home.

This led to a conversation on those the OF’s knew who died in the manner most of the OF’s would like to go and that is quickly so the OF is not a bother to anybody. One OF reported that he worked with a fellow who told his family he was going out and sit under the tree in the yard. He sat there and passed away. Another OF said that his father sat in a chair is his living room and was putting on his socks and said he hadn’t felt that good in a long time, made a grunt and fell to the floor. The doctor said he was dead before he even hit the floor. Another OF said his mother who was 92 was dancing and had a massive stroke, and passed away. Quite a few OF’s said they had relatives, and/or friends that went to sleep and never woke up. Not one OF mentioned that they wanted to be caught in bed and shot by a jealous boy friend — too old for that nonsense is the guess.

None wanted to be in the category of nursing homes, and burdens, but (as one OF put it) we have nothing to say about that, it is the roll of dice. One OG summed it up rather nicely when he said, “I ain’t dead yet; I feel good, so I am not going to worry about it. I took care my kids when they were diapers, now they can take care of me and mine if it comes to that.”

It was brought up that scrap iron is up to almost four hundred dollars a ton, and if anyone takes the time to sort it could be more than that. One OF said no wonder we hear so much about people stealing junk and copper. With prices for scrap that high it should clear up some of the yards with all these junk cars used as planters in them. One OF said, “Hey, now the car thieves will start stealing old cars just to drive them off to the scrap yard, so if you have a rusty old pickup truck that still runs well be sure to keep those keys with you because it is probably on the hit list of vehicles to steal.”

Then the OF’s started wondering about drug stores. One OF said that he has seen a Walgreen’s drug store torn down on a corner where there already were three drug stores. On the one corner (where there was no store) Walgreen’s built a brand new store and the odd part was that Rite Aid built where the old Walgreen’s stood.  Now there are four drug stores. The OF said he bets there is really only one store and that it goes by different names. The pot for drugs can’t be that big that it can support four stores all selling the same stuff. Band aids in one is the same price as band aids in another. One OF said he thinks there are no drug stores; they are all owned by the pharmaceutical companies then with all the board members sitting on one board they can dictate prices to be whatever they want.

In one OF’s opinion the drug companies are like the gas companies.  We have talked about before and often about fuel prices, and this OF thinks there is only one gas company going under different names and like the drug companies all their board members sit on one board and set their prices to whatever the traffic will bear. This OF thinks that as the supply of oil diminishes over the years the oil guys will get the prices up so they will make even more money selling less product. Remember the OF’s said it first…

The OF’s that made it to the Hilltown Café in Rensselaerville where they were well taken care of were: Ted Pelkey, Robie Osterman, John Rossmann, Frank Pauli, George Washburn, Harold Guest, Jim Heiser, Mark Traver, Glenn Paterson, Carl Slater, Gary Porter, Jack Norray, Miner Stevens, Roger Chapman, Arnold Geraldsen, Don Moser, Jim Rissacher, Gerry Chartier, Mike Willsey, (Ted Willsey, and Harold Grippen the birthday boys) and me. (Oh!  The OF’s commented on how Rensselaerville keeps the speed limit down.  It is by the number of pot holes in the road through town. One OF said even if they re-pave the road the townspeople will go out and dig pot holes in the new pavement to slow down traffic — it works.)