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The Old Men of the Mountain by John R. Williams

Tuesday, the 16th of April 2013, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Duanesburg Diner, in Duanesburg. Some of the OFs arrived really early because they had appointments later on in the morning. This is in direct opposition to the by-laws. Appointments are not supposed to be scheduled on a Tuesday morning unless they are of an extreme emergency. Seeing a guy about a dog is not an emergency. When an OF dies the funeral is not to be on a Tuesday. The wake can be on a Tuesday afternoon ─ that is permissible. The OFs may need a reprint of the by-laws…they are only about 160 pages.

The OFs began a conversation of old tools; table saws in particular. The newer saws contain a lot of aluminum and plastic, and do a lot of fancy work as well as just cutting a board at 90 degrees. But the OFs claim the newer saw is not as accurate. The older saw was constructed out of cast iron and wasn’t going anywhere when feeding the board into the saw.

One OF said that is all those old saws had going for them. They were unsafe, and it was necessary to haul the wood to the saw. The saws were so heavy, the OF said, that once it was where it was that is where it stayed. The OF continued on saying that they were also very unsafe, so give me a new one any day and I will hang a bucket of rocks from the frame to keep it steady. One OG said that this particular OF didn’t need to do this. The new saws are plenty rugged, and stay put, and some even have wheels and are easily set up to take around the farm, plus some even have laser guides for cutting. “Get with the times you OG.”

An OF offered that the best tool going, whether it is a drill, or a saw, or a sander, is a device that can be attached to any tool and that is patience. This OF said any tool will work well if it is well maintained, sharp, and handled by someone that knows what they are doing.

One OF said that years ago he was approached by his boss who told him he wasn’t working fast enough. The OF said he asked his boss, “What do you want ─ good work or sloppy work? If you want sloppy work done quickly I can do that.” His boss told him he wanted good work done faster. The OG said he told his boss “Impossible. Anything done well takes time and should not be hurried. Go ask your wife,” the OF said.

With the locusts (cicadas) starting to make their apperance this year the OFs began talking about bugs, and getting ready to plant their gardens, that is, if the ground ever warms up. The OF mentioned tomato plants, and the cutworm, and the regular old tomato bug. When you see that big green bug on the tomato plant it is possible to hear it crunching away.

One OF thought it had to be the soil because he has never had either a cutworm or the tomato bug. The other OFs thought this was a little unusual because they have all had problems with them. One OG said, “Well, this will be just great. With all the normal bugs and ticks, now we will have those locusts to contend with.” Another OG added that locusts can be eaten, so why not set traps and catch the crop stripping critters, can-em and eat-em, heck get enough of them and sell them like chocolate covered ants. John The Baptist lived on locust and honey.

An unusual type of conversation the OFs have is about old people. This may sound weird because what are the OFs, but old people, yet the OFs discuss old people like the OFs are young people. An example would be an OF saying, “I hate getting to the grocery store when the bus shows up with all those old people on it. They are in the way, and I have places to go and things to do other than spend all my time in the grocery store.” These OFs forget that they are older than many of the people they are talking about.

One OG came to their defense saying that there is old, and there is old, and they are not the same. To some of these people shopping in the store is their time out and they are in no hurry, so give them a break ─ it is no fun getting old, and we all have been lied to.

Those OFs that made it to the Duanesburg Diner in Duanesburg, and made it with the help of other OFs and each other, (While living the lie), were: Miner Stevens, Roger Shafer, Roger Chapman, Steve Kelly, Bill Krause, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Frank Pauli, John Rossmann, Dave Williams, Harold Grippen, Otis Lawyer, Glenn Patterson, Jim Heiser, Mark Traver, Gary Porter, Mace Porter, Jack Norray, Lou Schenck, Ted Willsey, Don Moser, Jim Rissacher, Mike Willsey, Gerry Chartier, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, and me.

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