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The Old Men of the Mountain by John R. Williams

On the 21st of August the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Duanesburg Dinner in Duanesburg.

With such a nice morning on the ride to Duanesburg some of the OF’s wanted to just keep on going and maybe have breakfast in Vermont, only no one brought enough money to do that. One OF said he at one time had a Morris Minor vehicle and one day he and his wife took off to New York City for a cup of coffee. The OF said they only had a little over ten bucks with them, and they did just that…headed for the big city…and the OF said they came home with half of the money they started out with still in their pockets. That little two-door, upholstered roller skate, traveled to New York City and back to Gallupville on only 2 dollars and 50 cents worth of gas, and the coffee and doughnuts were only a buck and quarter. One OF said if you tried that little stunt today you would have to go to the bank first before even heading out.

One would think the OFs are a bunch of bird watchers because of all the discussion the OFs have on these air splitting creatures. This morning the OFs discussed how many different types of birds they are witnessing like eagles, and goshawks, along with the abundance of turkeys, and turkey vultures. A few columns ago it was the Canada goose. The OFs discussed how these geese are bringing in foxes and coyotes. What prompted this was a family of foxes living at Woodstock camp grounds. The OFs say the young pups are out playing like domesticated dogs — not shy of people at all. It is not only local reports of seeing foxes this summer but other areas around the Hilltowns as well.

At one table there were some OFs that were all in the U.S. Navy, and they started discussing sleeping arrangements while at sea. It became apparent that at the time these OFs were in the Navy the sleeping quarters were shall we say…a bit cramped. On the ships these OFs were on if anyone had claustrophobia they were in a ton of trouble as far as sleeping went. One OF said he selected a middle bunk that was amidships and he staked that one out for the duration he was on board that vessel. He recalled how many dreams, or nightmares, he had in this bunk right down to the number of years, months, weeks, and days as he slept in that cramped space. Another OF reported that he was on one of the newer ships and it was nothing like what they put up with when they were sailing, sailing over the bounding main (whatever that means). But again, they weren’t OFs then, they were young, virile men in fighting trim.

The OFs mentioned previously how fair time is so nostalgic and for many it means summer is on the wane. This time they mentioned how at fair time the stomach gets this strange urge. The stomach starts to make demands like feed me grease, or fried dough with cinnamon and powdered sugar, or greasy fries so greasy that there is enough of that lubricant in one bag of fries to lubricate your car. The OFs said many will spend money to get into the fair, just so they can spend more money on these fair delicacies.

One OF added that this isn’t so bad because at least he walks it off. This OF checks out the animals, spends some quality time with the old machinery, and another OF said, “Yeah, he does that too but he also checks out the side shows.” One more OF said, “You do what?” The other OF said, “Yeah I do. The best side show going is watching the people walking around the fair grounds.” “Nice,” another OG said, “You realize you are one of those walking around.” Then a different OF said, “Just follow this group from restaurant to restaurant and you will see the best side show going once a week and you don’t have to go to the fair either.”

Those OF’s attending the breakfast and the Duanesburg Diner in Duanesburg and marching in as a very respectable side show that others wish they could emulate were: Robie Osterman, Roger Shafer, Roger Chapman, Roger Fairchild, Steve Kelly, Miner Stevens, Jay Taylor, Art Frament, Bob Benac, Herb Sowocka, Duane Wagenbaugh, Joe Loubier, Bob Ssome, Glenn Patterson, Jim Hauser, John Rossmann, Frank Pauli, Harold Guest, Harold Grippen, Don Moser, Arnold Geraldsen, Lou Schenck, Gary Porter, Mace Porter, Jack Norray, Ted Willsey, Mike Willsey, Dave Williams, Gerry Chartier, Jim Rissacher, and me.