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Tuesday, April second, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Country Café in Schoharie. When sitting in the café one is able to look out the café windows and see across the street. It is still sad to see the county buildings, and the old Court House, and now the centerpiece of the village, the Parrott House, boarded up on the lower floors. This is quite a bit of real estate still showing the ravages of Hurricane Irene from 2011.

The villages that share the experience of this event are not bouncing back like a well-inflated basketball, but rather like a basketball that has been deflated to about half. It will bounce back but not as fast as one would hope.

The OFs that travel (and there are many OFs that do) were talking about how the technology of today has caught up with even this experience. One bit of technology is the interstate EZ-Pass. One OF said that he can use this Pass all over the country, except in Florida. This OF said that he was in Florida and went to get on the interstate and saw a lane for E-Pass, so he got in line and zoomed right on through. The next thing that happened were flashing lights behind him and the OF was pulled over. The trooper told him he ran the toll booth he just passed through. The OF said he had EZ-Pass and went through using the EZ-Pass lane. The trooper told the OF that Florida does not have EZ-Pass they have E-Pass and they are not the same. The trooper also told him to stop at the next toll booth and pay his toll. The OF did not understand this, because of all the states Florida is loaded with OFs and OFesses. You would think they would get with the rest of the country. “What, and lose all that money?” one OF said.

The OFs mentioned how it is the same with credit cards, debit cards, cell-phones and the whole ball of wax. One mentioned that if his wife purchases something in Walmart here, and it is not right when they get to where they are going, they can take it to a Walmart there and exchange it, or get their money back or whatever, and it doesn’t even have to be in this country. Technology is not just shrinking our country but the whole world as well.

The travel experience expanded to what it costs now to visit some places and how expensive they are. One OF mentioned that in New York City the Metropolitan Museum now charges $25.00 for adults, and $17.00 for seniors, and kids are $12.00 a person. A family of four would have to shell out around $75 bucks, if the kids were young enough just to go to this Museum.

Another OF said that to go through the tunnels in the City it will cost you $12.50, except if you have EZ-Pass. Then it is only $9.75 to go through. “ONLY $9.75 ─ give me a break,” the OF said.

The OFs remembered how they used to take the family to NY City to go to the museums, and then they were free, but did accept donations. They also went to the Bronx Zoo and Radio City Music Hall, and now they wouldn’t even consider it. “Who can afford it?” an OF mused.

The “well duh” applies once more. The OMOTM had another milestone birthday again on the second of April. Another cake was shared by all the OFs who came. Boy! We really are getting to be Old-OFs. The cool part of this group is that it is not noticeable. It’s like when we were young, the OFs were all poor, but no one noticed because we were ALL poor. “Now,” one OF said, “we are in a group of OFs and no one notices because we are ALL old.” Same difference.

Then the gossip started ─ who was married to who back when, who had two wives, with two families, who had arguments that could be heard roaring across the hilltops. Just gossip and of no real interest except to those that knew of the people.

Oh, and the OFs want spring. On April second the roads on the hill were a tad slippery with blowing snow. The plows and sanders were out and about when most of the OFs were on their way to the Country Café. By the time the OFs left the Country Café, (thank goodness) the roads were basically fine. As this scribe sits at the white screen there is now quite a little snow shower, with the snow coming down almost horizontally because of the high winds. This is not how April third should be, i.e., having to wear the mad bomber hat from LL Bean this time of year is ridiculous.

Those attending the breakfast at the Country Café in Schoharie (and getting their cake and eating it too) were: Frank Pauli, John Rossmann, Roger Chapman, (last week it was supposed to be Roger Chapman also, and not Roger Shafer ─ Roger Shafer wasn’t there) Miner Stevens, Jim Heiser, Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, Harold Guest, Otis Lawyer, Steve Kelly, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Don Woods, Mike Willsey, Ted Willsey, Gerry Chartier, Jim Rissacher, Harold Grippen, guests Dick Brumley, and Bob Griffith, then me.