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The Old Men of the Mountain by John R. Williams

April 23rd 2013 ─ where is spring? The OFs reported frost on the peepers for the last three mornings. This is discouraging. Whether spring has sprung or not the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Chuck Wagon Diner in Princetown. The Chuck Wagon is on Route 20 not too far from the top of hill that goes by Victoria Acres; do the vehicles go flying by on that stretch of road! People must be late for work or something.

For those that go off the hill to purchase their groceries (and really what else can be done but go off the hill) they have a choice when going to Slingerlands to shop. The OFs were talking about the new ShopRite that is just about in back of Price Chopper. One OF mentioned that each store has their own traffic circle and he thinks there may be a tunnel underneath running from one store to the other. If ShopRite is out of peanut butter then they send someone through the tunnel to Price Chopper, load up the cart and bring it back, and vice/versa.

One OG mentioned that he tried the new ShopRite and felt like he was cheating on his wife by being there. He said, “I kept looking over my shoulder thinking someone from Price Chopper would catch me in the ShopRite store.”

The OFs reminisced about being young and growing hops. Many of the farms had hop houses and at one time it was a pretty good cash crop. There were a few pretty good size breweries in the farming area at that time ─ Schaffer (the one beer to have when you are having more than one) Hedricks, and Utica Club. (Ah! Utica Club with Shultz and Dooley…the talking beer steins).

It has been pointed out that even some farmers who were died in the wool teetotalers grew and sold hops…say what???

The OFs then brought up a discussion on old family cemeteries. Is it because many of the OFs are getting close to becoming residents of these OF gathering places? The OFs mentioned how many of these cemeteries are in such bad shape. The OFs thought that it might be because the family has died out or all have moved away, or the property has changed hands so many times that the new owners have no connection to who is buried there.

This conversation was very interesting, and the OFs were talking about how many of these cemeteries are in just this little piece of geography the OFs live in. This scribe went to the internet and looked under the New York State private cemetery section and it was very informative. Apparently people can still be planted on the ole homestead. Check it out and see the ins and outs by going to the state’s site – maybe it is just right for you to have a family plot. Then you won’t have to go so far to haunt the miserable ones in the family, or you can still give them grief because they will have to mow around your headstone.

One of the early spring flowers, in the OF’s area at least, is the daffodil. This early flower grows wild is some areas, and left unattended can take over lots of ground. One OF said they are just like day lilies, or wild iris. A second OF said we are going to lose some of these beautiful flowers to that hideous weed, purple loosestrife.

The OFs next started talking about this push a certain group of legislators have on horses being transported into Canada to be used as meat for consumption. There are some areas of the world where horses are raised just for that purpose, and these people live long happy lives. One OF said what difference does it make if it is horse, cow, sheep, goat, cat, dog, woodchuck, squirrel, worm, snake, fish, fowl, or bug. Unless it is sick or diseased it isn’t going to hurt you. Another OF said it is just the thought of it; it is the way we are brought up. If we were brought up in a country where eating whatever was normal we wouldn’t think anything about it.

Einstein was right when he said “things are what they are only in relation to where they are.” That is, if you cut a tree in the forest you could take the wood from that tree and make a pencil, but if you take that same wood from the same tree and make a chair it is what it is in relation to where it is. Similarly, if you place you hand on a hot burner for ten seconds it seems like at least an hour, but if you made love for an hour it seems like only ten seconds. (Don’t try this at home). I am what I am because I am standing where I am, if I was standing where you are I would not be me I would be you. It is all relative.

Those OFs that made it to the Chuck Wagon Diner in Princetown, and wondering if it was really them who turned up there (see relatively above) were: Harold Guest, Harold Grippen, Roger Shafer, Roger Chapman, Bill Krause, Miner Stevens, Steve Kelly, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Henry Witt, Jim Heiser, Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, Otis Lawyer, John Rossmann, Frank Pauli, Jack Norray, Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Ted Willsey, Elwood Vanderbilt, Mike Willsey, Jim Rissacher, and me