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The Old Men of the Mountain by John R. Williams

Tuesday, ah, Tuesday a day to get out for the OFs; a couple of hours to go to where everyone knows your name. The theme song for Cheers was a great theme song if only for psychological reasons and nothing else. The words to the complete song by Gary Portnoy, and Judy Angelo are very funny, but the refrain is as follows:

(Sometimes you want to go

Where everybody knows your name,

And they’re always glad you came;

You want to be where you can see,

Our troubles are all the same;

You wanna be where everybody knows

Your name)

This refrain fits the Old Men of the Mountain, and the American Legion, the VFW, your local quilting bee, and the local Ladies Aid meeting. On this Tuesday, October 9th, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Duanesburg Diner in Duanesburg and filled the criteria of the Cheers theme song with rousing huzzahs.

The OF’s have in their bylaws a complete section on what not to talk about. One topic is religion, the other is politics, and another is other OF’s girl friends, or why an OF is in jail. However, this morning some of the discussion (which was on the news) was about the wedding parties in Philadelphia (the city of brotherly love) that got into a brawl, a serious knock-down drag ‘em out brawl, where guests of both parties wound up in the hospital. One of the brides was cold cocked, one person had a heart attack and died, and some were taken to jail all done up in gowns and tuxedos. One OF said. “They will remember this wedding;” another OF said, “Boy. I would like to see those wedding pictures.”

This led to how hard it is now to try and watch TV. Even the news is peppered with political ads ─ as far as the OFs are concerned these ads do absolutely no good at all except tick the OF’s off. This is apolitical…all parties are guilty. One OF said they are so nauseating that he would not want any of them as a friend, let alone be the one to run the county, town, or country. This OF claimed these politicians wouldn’t make good dog catchers because everyone would cheer for the dog. The OFs continued that there are some in these ads who they would like to put together and play whack-a-mole with them.

One OG said, “Why don’t all the politicos get together and run ads on what they are going to do, and run them four times a day, once in the morning, again at noon, and in the evening, with the last one around the eleven o’clock news time.” Also, to heck with slamming the other guy. Let him/her say what they will try to do and why, because we all know what the incumbent has done and whether we like it or not. Then the OF’s can make up their own minds and go with whoever they want to. With all the money that will be saved by the ones running the spiteful ads, they could give the money that would be spent to local food pantries, or the Salvation Army, or local boys and girl clubs…someplace where it will do some good. What a waste of time, talent, and finances. Enough of that.

The OFs finally got away from that subject and somehow got talking about bridge building (again) for hiking trails because the OFs are avid, expert hikers and are now involved in quite a bridge restoration project for another bridge completely destroyed by storms Irene and Lee in the Patria State Forest outside of Fultonham in Schoharie county. (When said like this Irene and Lee sound like a husband and wife, or boy friend/girl friend combinations who got into a hissy fit and took off smashing every thing with a sledge and an ax.) Back to the bridge. The OFs said this bridge is forty feet long and is being made with steel beams, on concrete abutments. These OF’s are now building BRIDGES, still in all foot bridges, but, this will be quite a bridge.

The OF’s are a topical bunch when it comes to current events, and they are also historians when it comes to things in the past. This time-jumping happens in an instant. The OFs were talking bridges, foot, and then those bridges that would carry ATVs, and snowmobiles, and this segued into cars, new versus old, and the weight of the cars; then the conversation turned to the older stock cars of the late fifties and sixties. As always things were much different then and hobbies were hobbies and didn’t cost an arm and a leg.

The OFs then began to talk about stock car drivers and it was amazing how OFs that come to breakfast found out that when they were younger they were at the same events and watching the same scenarios that other OFs started to converse about. They all knew the same drivers, the same cars, the same tracks, and they went to the races once or twice a week, maybe even more. The OFs mentioned Milt Brown, who most always came in last but finished the race, Davey Lape, Jeep Herbert, Pete Corey, Flicker Fuez, and race tracks at Fonda, Lebanon Valley, Victoria Acres. This was a conversation that never came up before and the OFs have been gathering for many, many years.

And speaking of the many, many years the OFs have been gathering this scribe must report on the passing of another of our faithful members who passed away. Walt Coulter was 90 years old and found his way to the Lord on October 8th. Walt attended every breakfast for years until he became quite ill. He will be remembered by many of the Old Men of the Mountain.

Those attending the breakfast at the Duanesburg Diner in Duanesburg and remembering Walt were: Jim Heiser, Mark Traver, Glenn Patterson, Roger Chapman, Miner Stevens, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Harold Guest, Frank Pauli, Gary Porter, Mace Porter, Jack Norray, Mike Willsey, Gerry Chartier, Harold Grippen, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Duane Wagenbaugh, and me.