The Old Men of the Mountain by John R. Williams.
As the Old Men of the Mountain age, like good wine, Tuesdays seem to come much faster. It was mentioned that some of the OMOTM’s wives say that laundry days seem to follow one another so closely that there does not appear to be any days in between. The OF husbands agreed…days just run into each other. Monday feels like Sunday and this prompts the frequently asked question ─ what day is it? To some OFs it was a quick check of the watch, or cell phone, and for some diehards it is the calendar on the wall. Well it was Tuesday, the 7th day of May, and the OFs were gathering at the Hilltown Café.
For those not familiar with the Hilltown Café it is located on the outskirts of Rensselaerville, looking across a small section of a valley in the Helderbergs…a neat little spot.
This morning, as many of the OFs were leaving, some of the conversations were continued outside of the restaurant; this is a normal procedure for the OFs to talk right up until they get in their vehicles, and the weather has to be really nasty for this not to happen. This Tuesday morning the weather was beautiful, and the sky was a cobalt/cerulean blue, nary a cloud, UNTIL, a couple OFs looked up and there spewing across the sky were two contrails, lousing the whole thing up. These were shortly followed by a third and it wasn’t long before there were high, thin clouds in the sky.
One OF said he doesn’t care what the weather people say those contrails have a daily effect on our weather. By 9 or 10 in the morning they begin to screw up a beautiful blue sky and by evening the sky is full of contrails and high thin clouds. A couple of OFs say they hunt in Montana, and this phenomenon has never happened there while they were hunting. If the sky is blue in the morning it is blue at night. There are clouds, but that is what they are, clouds; not these lofty, thin evening hazes high in the sky.
The OFs discussed the political crooks that are running our legislatures. This scribe won’t delve into the vernaculars but along with many people the OFs are quite disgusted with politics and the political process. It is, as one OF put it, just as bad as the thugery that goes on in unions. Where are decent people and why are they afraid to put their feet down on these shenanigans? the OFs asked. Enough of that.
The OFs mentioned that with spring comes the trekking out of summer clothes. Many of the OFs complained that the poltergeist roaming around in their closets have been shrinking their summer clothes. One OF said he doesn’t understand it because weight-wise he is the same if not a tad lighter. Another OF said, “It is not the clothes that are shrinking, you are, you OF.” The OF explained that if you stay the same weight but have shrunk 2 inches that weight has to go someplace ─ so you have puffed out, it is as simple as that, or possibly it is all that gassy food you eat. Take a pin and poke your gut and let all that gas out and your clothes will fit. The OF may have something there.
How can a bunch of guys, particularly old guys, have a conversation on socks? The OFs are wondering if anyone has had a problem with their socks which now seem to be made with rights and lefts, like their shoes. The OFs said that if you place the right sock on the left foot the sock bunches up over the big toe, and if that crease is not taken care of, it is not long before the toe becomes sore. The OFs notice that if the socks bunch up when putting them on you should reverse them and then they will fit perfectly. In colonial times shoes had neither right nor left ─ what a simple way to take care of this problem.
To go along with this the OFs maintain that the hardest part of getting dressed is putting on your socks. This column has mentioned before that many of the OFs consider their exercise for the day is getting dressed, so if you couple that with a shower, for the OFs that is a complete workout. Now they come along with right and left socks to complicate the problem because when putting one on the wrong foot it means taking it off and putting it on the other foot. “Then’” as one OF said “if I don’t pay attention and just throw the socks in the draw not matched up I might just as well go barefoot.”
Ever wonder also if your feet don’t feel good and they hurt, there is a tendency to feel bad all over, and as the feet go so does the day and when they hurt, quite often that is a good indicator it is going to be a miserable day ahead.
Some OF read (and not on the internet so it must be true) that a baby born today has a chance to make it to 120 years old. That makes 60 to 80 middle age. “Yeah,” one OF mentioned, “If we don’t blow the planet up beforehand.” The scribe adds that is an interesting thought. If we do blow the place to bits what happens to void? What rushes in to fill that void? Will our galaxy spin out of control because it is unbalanced and might smash into the closest galaxy to us? Then maybe a huge intergalactic domino effect will take place affecting the universe by 100 billion to the 500th power. What a mess planets, and stars bouncing all over the heavens like one huge pin ball machine.
The Old Men of the Mountain attending the breakfast at the Hilltown Café in Rensselaerville in its little corner of Whoville, waiting for Horton to save us, were: Robie Osterman, John Rossmann, Frank Pauli, Harold Guest, Roger Chapman, Bill Krause, Bob Benac, Art Frament, Mark Traver, Glenn Patterson, Don Moser, Roger Shafer, Steve Kelly, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, Gerry Chartier, Jim Rissacher, Ted Willsey, Jerry Willsey, Mike Willsey, and me.