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The Old Men of the Mountain by John R. Williams

Tuesday, August 7th The Old Men of the Mountain met at the Country Café in Schoharie. When some of the OF’s left the restaurant and headed for home they took a little side trip through the village of Schoharie to see how things are coming along. There are some pluses but to the OF’s there were more visible minuses. Some went via Shannon to Grand St. and turned right to Main St., and some turned left, to Fair St. to Orchard St. to Bridge St. and to Main St., both directions are very short in distance. Many of the homes in this small area are still not lived in, and there are some homes just gone with driveways that go from the road to nothing but a grass lot. One OF commented on what is this going to do with the tax base. Not a house to add to the tax rolls, and a house that might still be left is uninhabitable. How in good conscience can anyone tax citizens with many of these people carrying normal home owner burdens and then the flood? What a whammy!

All is not negative according to some of the OFs. There are those that have restructured and those in the process of doing so. One OF said that he doesn’t know what he would have done, or how to think now. Will there be another event like this? Is this just Mother Nature, or is it really global warming? If this OF could be convinced it was Mother Nature and he had the finances he would rebuild. If it is global warming he would take his losses and get the heck out. Either way the question is mute this OF said; he could not afford it either way.

The OF’s have had this discussion before on geese — the Canada goose to be exact and how much of a nuisance these birds are getting to be. The geese certainly are not endangered. The OFs know how to solve the hunger situation, at least in our area. Let them eat goose — they are as prolific as chickens and as big as turkeys. The mess they make is another problem. Just a few of these birds together, one OF said, can produce a ton of droppings in a year.

The OFs say maybe the geese started in Canada but some don’t leave the good ole US of A and they hang around all year. These birds carry dual citizenship. One OF said he thinks it is because the winters are not as cold as they used to be. It was hard to convince some of the other OGs of this information when they are paying six hundred to seven hundred dollars for a fuel oil delivery, and they use about three or four loads of fuel a year and maybe more. To these OFs the winters are cold enough and could be a darn sight warmer.

Some other OFs reported that the Doppler radar tower somehow confuses hundreds if not thousands of these birds. These OFs say that the geese used to maintain their V formation and fly right over the hill where this tower now sits in the Helderbergs. However, after the tower was built the birds flying in formation would become confused and go in circles and would not continue on. Many of them would land. The word must have gotten around in bird land and they do not fly anywhere near this thing now so it may be that is why so many are here. The geese became addled and don’t know north from south so they just hang around and have their young, and generation after generation the young geese now call the Helderbergs their home.

Another OF said that the Hilltowns are not alone in this problem. These birds are all over, and leaving their purple calling card wherever they go. This OF said he remembers the problem they had in Scotia a year ago or so with these birds in some park. That made the news. The OFs furrowed their brows and eventually a few could remember something about it but none could remember how it was resolved.

The Olympics came out and the question was asked who was watching the games on TV, or even following them. The response was pretty weak. One OF said he didn’t want to sound unpatriotic but he just couldn’t get into ping-pong, or beach volley ball, or water polo, or whatever that is they play in the water.

One OF said that when it was purely amateur it was a lot more interesting and the OF would really get into it. Now with the pros playing in the basketball games, and tennis matches and a few of the others venues this OF could care less. Some of the OF’s do watch several of the events like swimming and gymnastics, but still only to some extent, not the whole thing.

The following is not news from the breakfast, however, one of our loyal members, Gerd Remmers, passed away on (of all days) Tuesday, the 7th of August. This is what can be called being loyal…saying his final goodbye on a Tuesday. The Old Men of the Mountain offer their sincere condolences to the family of Gerd Remmers.

Those attending the breakfast at the Country Café on Main Street in Schoharie and not knowing that a bell would be ringing for one of our members were: Carl Slater, Miner Stevens, Don Moser, Arnold Geraldsen, Joe Loubier, Duane Wagenbaugh, Jim Watson, Jin Heiser, Bob Lassone, Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, Roger Shafer, Steve Kelly, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Harold Guest, John Rossmann, Roger Chapman, Frank Pauli, Art Frament, Bob Benac, Roger Fairchild, Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Jim Rissacher, Mike Willsey, Harold Grippen, Gerry Chartier, and me. (Oh, and double in attendance is Roger Chapman, he was at the breakfast on July 31st and this scribe did not list him. His wife called and wanted to know where he was because he said he was going to the breakfast, and yes, he did. His name is in the little black book as being there, only this scribe missed him with all the other Rogers on board. When typing at the computer, for some reason the eyes get blurry at times looking at this dumb white screen, while they don’t when using paper, like a typewriter. Most of the people that read this report will know what a typewriter is, but if some younger person should happen to read it they probably will think it is something from the Stone Age maybe even some kind of stone.)