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The Old Men of the Mountain by John R. Williams

Gather up the wagons partners. It is off to Middleburg we go to see what Mrs. K has cooked up. So the Old Men of the Mountain did just that on Tuesday the 31st of July, and now we are into August. Mrs. K had whatever you wanted for breakfast; it wasn’t beans and franks ladled out of a metal garbage can over a wood fire with a big wooden paddle on a metal plate and a large plop of applesauce on one corner of the plate because that metal plate gets darn hot from hot food. No siree Bob! Not at any of the restaurants the OF’s trek to. We use real plates and cups, not plastic or Styrofoam, and real food not franks and beans. (Although many of the OFs say they like franks and beans with hot mustard.)

At the ages of most of the OFs our most common ailment is arthritis. The conclusion of many discussions that the OFs have had is that there are many remedies out there and most do not work at all, and only a few may give (and the operative word here is may) some relief. At this morning’s breakfast we had one OF report on the benefits of yellow raisins, fermented in vodka, or gin. The OF said he heard that vodka would work, but he used gin. This OF said that his fingers on both hands would click with the arthritis and he would have to get cortisone shots in his hands. (That did not sound like fun.) The shots would only last for a little while and then his fingers would start to click again.

Then the OF said, what the heck, he would try this raisin recipe. So the OF went to the store and purchased some golden raisins and mixed them with the gin and took nine a day and bingo the click was gone, and his hands now feel fine.

The scribe went home and checked it out on the internet and by golly there were tons of information from different sources on just what the OF was talking about. So here is the recipe for the Golden Raisin/Gin miracle cure for arthritis.

1 pint of Gin

1 box (15 oz) Golden Raisins (not the dark ones)

Place raisins in a quart jar and pour the entire pint of gin over the raisins. Cover and give a good swirl to insure all the raisins are covered.

Cover the jar and let set for 7 days. (DO NOT REFRIGERATE)!

Give jar another good swirl at the end of 7days.

Eat 9 raisins a day and watch the arthritis melt away.

Do not cheat and sip the gin — there is no benefit in that.

This is a report from one OF, and the rest of the OFs offer no guarantee that this will work but when you have arthritis there is one thing you want and that is relief.

This brought up the subject of bee stings for accomplishing the same thing…the relief or cure of arthritis. One OF said that there are doctors that do use the useful and beneficial insects in performing this treatment. It is one treatment only and the OFs said they know someone who has had this treatment and it worked for him. Apparently the bee venom stimulates the body’s own cortisol which is the natural version of synthetic cortisone. All the OFs have had a cortisone shot at one time or another. One OF said the gin thing sounds a lot better to him than going and get stung by a bunch of bees. The OF said he has been stung before and didn’t like it, and he wasn’t stung on purpose.

The OFs were in Middleburg, and the village is celebrating its 300th anniversary on August 3rd-4th– and 5th, and on the 4th they will have a large parade. Unfortunately, this will be in the Enterprise after it happens, but many of the small towns in the Schoharie Valley are still in tough straits after the August they went through one year ago. The OFs hope all their plans work out, because many of these small towns are trying their best to come back after the one-two punch of Tropical Storms Irene and Lee. The OFs feel the towns have done a lot in one year, however, one year is not going to solve all the problems that they were left with.

Next topic discussed was how early is early? To some early is 4 a.m. and that is some of the OF’s rising time. To others it is “I am sleeping in until noon” and that makes 1 p.m. early to them. To still others it is whenever they decide to get dressed. Early rising may be one time, but their early ‘to do’ time is another. Many of the OFs who are retired say “What do you think I retired for — so I can rush around and do things? Heck no. I am retired and things will get done when they get done.” Other OFs are busy all the time. Retiring to these OFs is like leaving one job where they had to work as someone told them and then going to another job where no one tells them what to do (well there is a little exception to that, and it has a name, and it is wife) but themselves. Big difference! It seems these OFs work harder for the second boss than they did the first. (The wife bit was an alternate boss at both jobs.) So early is subject to many clarifications as to what it is and to whom it is. To some it is when the grass is still wet with dew, and to others the sun has already dried the grass out.

Those attending the breakfast at Mrs. K’s Restaurant in Middleburg and having to get there pretty early to get the cream chipped beef on toast before it runs out were: Dave Williams (with guests Bill Williams, son and Hugh A. Williams, otherwise known as Art, nephew), Bill Bartholomew, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, John Rossmann, Jim Watson, Joe Loubier, Duane Wagenbaugh, Steve Kelly, Roger Shafer, Henry Witt, Frank Pauli, Jim Hauser, Glenn Patterson, Carl Walls, Don Moser, Arnold Geraldsen, Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Don Wood, Jack Norray, Lou Schenck, Jay Taylor, Bob Benac, Al Dorey, Roger Fairchild, Carl Slater, Jim Rissacher, Harold Grippen, Harold Guest, Mike Willsey, Ted Willsey, Gerry Chartier, and me.