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The Old Men of the Mountain by John R. Williams

On August 28th the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Home Front Café in Altamont. The OFs received a report on how Cindy is doing after her fall, and the upstart was she is doing OK, but has a long way to go. The OFs bet as active as Cindy is, right about now she must be ready to chew nails and spit rust. The OFs continue to wish her well.

The OF’s entered into a brief conversation on farming and cattle, particularly in the state of Iowa, which is the second largest agricultural state outside of California in the country. New York used to be right up there but appears to be slipping back; one OF said that the sponges of New York State control the state. This OF called the sponges New York City, Buffalo, and Rochester. These large metropolitan areas care less about farms and more about electricity to run their hair dryers. “My goodness,” one OF said, “If there was a major calamity the first thing my granddaughter would save would be her hair dryer.”

What also was mentioned was that Oklahoma has beef cattle, not dairy cows, and that is about all you see when you drive through that state — one steer after another. So one OF said that Florida produces all the beef calves that are then shipped to Oklahoma for fattening. But another OF maintained Florida (along with some other states) must then have a lot of full grown beef cattle too because beef calves do not hatch from under rocks, they have to come from mommy beefers. With artificial insemination the OF guessed there was not a need for too many dads, one bull can service hundreds of cows. Yep, and that way it is possible to pick the best bull that will give bigger and better animals…keep those and eat the rest.

One OF mentioned that they have cut way back on their family’s consumption of beef because it is so expensive. This OF family is substituting high protein vegetables instead of meat, along with more fish, chicken, and turkey. One OF said that fish is getting out of sight price wise too, and he knows we are supposed to eat it, but who can afford it?

The OF’s discussed how much FEMA is like any insurance agency, they will wangle out of all they can. What brought this about is the Blenheim Bridge. FEMA rejected the claim by the Town of Blenheim for financial help in the rebuilding of the bridge by stating that the bridge was an artifact, and not a structure. The OFs said if a bridge is not a structure and is an artifact then we are in a ton of trouble. A table or a chair, or a painting, is an artifact but a bridge? Come now. The OFs said in that case then the Tappan Zee and the Golden Gate bridges are artifacts. It must be awfully dark where these FEMA people have their heads. Some place in that line of reasoning there has to be some cheesy insurance thinking to come up with misplaced logic like calling a bridge an artifact an OF said.

Some OFs came to the defense of FEMA in a way by saying that with all the hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, and occasional earthquakes wiping out complete towns all over the country the monetary drain on that agency must be horrendous. The OF said we see our area and how the people are hurting, imagine piling all that together with the thousands of homes now burned to the ground. Tornadoes wipe out complete towns leaving nothing standing. This OF said all we have to do is watch the news to see that our area is not alone.

Of course FEMA has nothing to do with other countries but right now look at the Philippines and other spots around the world. Mother Nature must really be ticked at something. Then one OF said Mother Nature has nothing to do with it, there is just more and more people so it seems worse but it is no different than it was a hundred years ago. Now there is just more of us OFs walking around that makes it seem worse.

Those OFs that are still walking around and who made it to the Home Front Café in Altamont were: Mike Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Gerry Chartier, Harold Grippen, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Miner Stevens, Jim Watson, Duane Wagenbaugh, Joe Loubier, Justin Stevens, Bob Ssome, Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, Jim Heiser, Bob Benac, Art Frament, Herb Sawocka, Roger Fairchild, Steve Kelly, Roger Shafer, John Rossmann, Frank Pauli, Harold Guest, Gary Porter, Mace Porter, Lou Schenck, Don Moser, Arnold Geraldsen, Carl Walls, and me.