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The Old Men of the Mountain by John R. Williams

Tuesday, another beautiful day, and a continuation to nice days, however, by the color of the lawns and noticing the hay is pretty tough, we do need rain. Anyway, it was July 3rd and the Old Men of the Mountain had their breakfast at the Chuck Wagon Diner in Princetown.

Over the many years since dinosaurs roamed the land, and pterodactyls controlled the skies, and leviathans patrolled the seas, there have been events that have affected the minds of people to relate time to. With the OFs one of these events is World War II. This morning this event was still a topic because WWII was one of the events that changed the world, not only the lives of the OFs.

This morning they talked about how it was hurry up and wait while in the military. Orders were to be at such and such a place by 0600, and if you weren’t there dire consequences were implied, so the OF was sure to be at such and such a place before that time. Once there all the OF did was hang around and wait along with everyone else.

It taught the OFs two things. One was patience and the other is 180 degrees away from patience. That was not to put up with anything that is going to take more than five minutes to happen. As one OF put it, “I had a lifetime of waiting in the Army so I am not waiting anymore. I have done my share of waiting.”

“Well,” another OF said, “I used the hurry up and wait military training when my wife was pregnant and the baby was due in early September, and it was hot like this. Talk about anxious waiting and wanting something over with, have you ever dealt with a pregnant lady almost due, and it’s 90 degrees out? I’d rather be in the army and waiting for orders to go out and get shot at.”

At the table where the scribe sat was at a fellow high school classmate sitting directly across from the scribe. The conversation was about our 60th year graduation from Schoharie Central School. The conversation was brief, but the upshot was celebrating the 60-year graduation when many didn’t even plan on making it to 60 years old, let alone their 60th graduation from high school. Yet when the OFs visited various cemeteries on Memorial Day comments were made as to how old some of the people lived in the nineteenth century but not many grave markers are around for the 18th century. As one OF put it he guessed it was eating what you wanted and working hard that accounted for them living so long, and not in nursing homes or assisted living places. “Now,” the OF said, “We’re living maybe the same length of time but it is because we are walking chemical plants and not a hard-working, eat what you want life style, and these chemicals eventually makes the minds go caflooy, so off to the home you go.”

Another OF said that wasn’t it. He said that it was the family unit that hung together then, and the young ones took care of the older ones; now the families are scattered hither and yon, or are too busy so they pack us off to one home or another so they don’t have to deal with us. To this scribe it sounded almost like a carry-over of a recent conversation. The scribe interjects the OFs are in a rut. Is the poorhouse looming?

Those attending the breakfast at the Chuck Wagon Diner in Princetown and not even considering the poorhouse because the OFs are already there, were : Steve Kelly, Roger Shafer, Miner Stevens, John Rossmann, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Bill Bartholomew, Dave Williams, Duane Wagenbaugh, Joe Loubier, Jim Watson, Jay Taylor, Bob Benac, Art Frament, Jim Heiser, Mark Traver, Glenn Paterson, Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Dan Moser, Arnold Geraldsen, Harold Guest, Wally Guest, Rich Donnelly, Gerry Chartier, Mike Willsey, Lou Schenck, Steve McDermott, Jack Daley, and me.