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December 4th, 2012, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Duanesburg Diner in Duanesburg on a beautiful December day. As one OF said, “we are going to pay for this some way or other, either with two feet of snow, or ten days in a row with temperatures below zero…you watch.”

The OFs talked about another OF but as one said, “He may not be that old.” It was a discussion about the homeless man in New York City who the police officer bought boots and socks for, and the next day this fellow was shoeless again, or so the paper said. When the event occurred and it was shown all over the news the OFs said that at that time they wondered what it would be like when the homeless person returned to his cardboard box or street corner that night. Would all the other homeless men be after him to get the shoes, would he sell the shoes for food or something else, what would happen?

The OFs thought correctly. The homeless person did not wear them because they were too good. One OF said, “This is a good example of the press screwing everything up.” Another said, “Boy, I would think twice now about doing anything like giving those boots, even if I had the opportunity. The homeless guy is probably now afraid to walk the streets for fear of being mugged, and the cop’s life is now everybody’s business. Save me from all that hassle.”

The OFs as usual started talking about their aches and pains; especially the use of two pain killers. The two mentioned were hydrocodone and oxycoton. One OF really liked the stuff and thought it did wonders for him, while another OF said he took only one of those pills and wouldn’t take any more because he would rather put up with hurting. The medicine gave him such hallucinations he didn’t know what was real and what wasn’t. The other OF said, “Well did you still hurt?” The first OF said he couldn’t remember if he did or didn’t, but he knew they gave him Tylenol #3 after he wouldn’t take the other stuff.

What prompted all this was that an OF showed up with his right arm in a sling after having recent shoulder surgery. One OF who has had both shoulders done said, “Gee, I hope he is left- handed,” and from watching the OF for many years could not remember it he was right or left handed but thought he was right- handed.

The OF that had both shoulders done said the doctors (at least his doctors) assume we know too much about what goes on and they do not give you the full story. One thing that doctors fail to tell you is that you better have a recliner because lying down to sleep is not an option. The other is that before the surgery what ever hand you use to perform bathroom functions with it is a good idea to practice with the other hand. That, people, is a chore you have to do, that the doctors do not mention, so please believe these OFs that have been through it. This is a very necessary task that has to be learned.

“Yeah,” one OF said, who has had the same surgery,

“Shaving was not a problem.” The OF just didn’t do it. Getting dressed with one hand takes a lot of practice and having slip-on shoes is a big help but trying to tie a knot with one hand (for the OFs at least) was out of the question. All these normal routine functions that are going to be disrupted the doctors usually don’t tell you about. Like the people who read this report in the paper will know now.

The OFs that were farmers talked about how certain things have gotten way out of hand. When a cow was selected for butchering (or a pig, or even goats or chickens) most farmers called a local butcher and it was done right there on the farm. Head cheese was made in the bathtub. If a barn cat had distemper, in order that it wouldn’t contaminate the rest of the cats, it was shot. The same with any animal in misery…it was disposed of. Now you would be arrested for animal cruelty, and it is just the opposite of being cruel, it is being humane. Any farmer that saw another farmer or person abusing their animals would let them know about it in no uncertain terms, and as a rule that person would never abuse animals again.

One OF said that this was not the only thing that has gotten really out of whack. Something else is this item called ‘no child left behind.’ The sentence is true but the application is ridiculous. Some people are just slow learners, and some cannot learn at all. What a strain this must put on teachers trying to have slow learners compete with whiz kids.

One OF commented that maybe the slow learner will see what the others are doing and try to do better. Yet another OF said, “True, but you and I both know there are many that do not have the ability to learn, so put them in a group where what talents or skills they do have are reinforced. Give them self confidence that they can really do something, even if is not algebra.

“You got it, whatever happened to shop, and auto mechanics and courses like that? All kids are not cut out to be computer whizzes.

“To me, (one OF) too many kids are coming out of school as dolts. They can’t fix a faucet, or a toilet, or a furnace. Their lawn mowers quit and they think you run out a buy a new one. To me, all they know how to do is use their thumbs. I bet many teachers are going nuts.”

An OF then declared he couldn’t really comment. The world for him is going too fast and he wants to get off. This OF says it will all come out in the wash.

Then an OF alleged that there are the natural trouble makers that have to be coddled or now, like animal abuse, it becomes child abuse. The whole thing is out of whack. One more OF said our country used to be number one in education and our kids the brightest. Ever since all the do-gooders seem to be in charge our country has gone backwards.

Boy, it is good thing the OFs aren’t teachers, they would all be in jail. It seems the OFs have talked about this subject more than once.

Those attending the breakfast at the Duanesburg Diner in Duanesburg, and some forgetting they were (and some still are) teachers were: Miner Stevens. Roger Chapman, Roger Shafer, Steve Kelly, George Washburn, Robie Osterman, Don Moser, Harold Guest, Mark Traver, Glenn Patterson, Jim Heiser, John Rossmann, Frank Pauli, Lou Schenck, Gary Porter, Jack Norray, Mace Porter, Gerry Chartier, Harold Grippen, Elwood VanDerbelt, Mike Willsey, Jim Rissacher, and me.