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On May 15th, 2012, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Home Front Café in Altamont. Again the place was hopping; there were more old guys walking around than you can shake a stick at and most of them are eaters…breakfast at least.

That raises the question of what did the OF’s do when they were young that allowed them to be active OF’s in their late seventies to almost ninety? What did the OF’s eat that is different than today? Many drank raw milk, ate fresh eggs for breakfast, and for some it wasn’t just one or two eggs, it would be half a dozen. Homemade bread and biscuits, made with real butter and real ingredients. Fresh meat from animals raised just for that purpose and then butchered. Plenty of exercise, only as one OF said, “Our exercise was called hard work.”

So it was thought by the OF’s that this type of early beginning of diet and exercise laid the foundation for how the OF’s carried on in later years. Time will tell, as many OF’s still pack away some whomping breakfasts, and they still get out and about but if this is still called exercise the OF’s aren’t sure. At least the OG’s are moving.

Some OF’s thought it was the draft, and many OF’s went into the military whether they wanted to or not; at that time it was the OF’s duty. Some of the OF’s think that the military nowadays is just about the same as it was in the 1940s and some think it has gotten soft. One thing the military taught these OGs was to be patient…the OFs don’t think this has changed. One OF said the army said he should be at such and such a place, at such and such a time, and they meant it. Once there, as specified, it was hang around and wait, then go somewhere else and hang around and wait.

Another OF said, “I think we had enough of that. Now we want it (car, truck, house…whatever) now, we have waited enough, now is now, not tomorrow or the next day but now.” Then a different OG said, “Look, some of us get grumpy when we get older, and some mellow out. With me tomorrow is another day and if it doesn’t get done today, there is always tomorrow, and if I drop dead in the meantime I won’t have to worry about it at all, so why get all worked up if it doesn’t happen now?”

The OFs talked about fishing, and where to fish, which led to talking about some of the size of the fish in local reservoirs. As the OFs were talking about the fish, this scribe said maybe subtracting a foot to the length would be more appropriate. Then the discussion on the reservoirs started, and how many people were displaced by the construction of these bodies of water. The Sacandaga reservoir (which has been called a lake for a long time) buried many homes. These homes were burned but the foundations are still there. They mentioned a railroad also was buried along with an abandoned train still on the tracks which is supposed to be at the bottom of the lake. This was done around 1930.

The town of Gilboa is another one where the town was purchased around 1920, and the inhabitants evacuated through government condemnation and the town was then flooded, so the people of New York City could have water. One OF said in times of serious drought the foundations can still be seen, as well as the ones under the waters of the Sacandaga.

Another local reservoir is Alcove which was built around 1928 so the city of Albany could have water. It was built and completely buried the village of Indian Fields, and these people also had to get out. One OF said that the Indian Fields road still goes out of Coeymans and heads towards the reservoir.

Then the OF’s mentioned the Tomhannock reservoir over in Troy. This reservoir apparently did not bury any villages, but is a good one to fish in because public fishing is allowed there. How big the fish are, well that is up to interpretation of the word big. This reservoir is the oldest of the ones the OF’s talked about being built in 1900.

There! Are you thirsty yet? If so go get a beer, or a cup of coffee — you will live longer.

The Old Men of the Mountain that met at the Home Front Café in Altamont and all (except a couple) ordering coffee were: Carl Walls, Robie Osterman, Miner Stevens, Bob Benac, Art Frament, Roger Shafer, Steve Kelly, John Rossmann, Harold Guest, Frank Pauli, Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, Jim Heiser, Jack Norray, Don Moser, Arnold Geraldsen, Mike Willsey, Ted Willsey, Harold Grippen, and me.

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