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The Old Men of the Mountain by John R. Williams

This Tuesday morning was not rare, but unusual for May 14th. It was a tad chilly; in the parking lot of the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh there were cars with some rather heavy frost on them and the windshields had to be scraped. The OFs remember when it has snowed on the hill later than this in May, and not just a dusting but four to six inches.

One of the OF’s snowbirds was attending his first breakfast upon returning from his winter place in Florida. He showed up with a heavy coat and his mad bomber hat on his head with the ear lappers down. The OFs that were in the diner had on light jackets, or sweat shirts and hats. (They always have on hats.) Hats are a good thing because they protect the head from the harmful rays of the sun. One thing the OFs do not want is more melanomas. Many of them have had their share of these sun cancers.

With the return of the winter escapees Florida, in this case, was again a topic of discussion. This time it was the housing developments in certain regions of Florida that start up and then flop. The OFs mentioned some they were personally aware of. The developer builds roads and has surveyed lots, drills for water and touts big plans. Some people build homes in these developments and then the developer goes belly up. There they sit ─ eighteen or twenty houses in a development that was supposed to have a hundred homes.

One such development mentioned was Rotunda on the west coast of Florida. The developer even built canals so that in this circular development all homes were on a small canal that was to be connected to a larger canal that would lead to the Gulf of Mexico. The development was never finished, neither was the larger canal. The houses constructed in this way under-developed development now sit on ponds that breed alligators and mosquitoes.

One OF said, “I don’t like Florida. It’s too hot, and the bugs are big enough to be pets.”

The OMOTM group is just that, with the emphasis on (most that come through the door) old. However, we do have a very active contingent of those that are somewhat younger and they continue the community service that the older OFs started. The OFs that fall into the category of old have paid their dues regarding community service but this nefarious group continues on. The OMOTM have the OFs that build bridges for the Long Path, and hiking trails; there are OFs that are part of groups that cleans the side of the highway. One OF thought this is a job that should not be necessary, why should the OFs have to a pick up other people’s trash discarded along the road, but the OFs and many other civic minded groups do it just the same. One OF said he thinks the that many say Ah it is just a country road, chuck it out the window.

One OF thought it would be a good idea to have a side job for the retired football players, and those rather big guys on the professional basketball teams. They could be part of a roadside goon squad. When you are caught throwing stuff from a car a couple of the guys from this roadside goon squad would make a visit to your home. The perpetrator would be taken to where they threw out the trash and their nose would be rubbed in it, just like training a cat or dog, and then they would be hauled off to the landfill on Rapp Road where they would sort out the recyclables for five days and then sent home. If they were caught again it would be ten days at Rapp Road. One OF said he would bet the football players would have a lot fun playing that game.

Watch this space for an event taking place on June 27th!

Those OFs attending the breakfast at the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh, NY and commenting that this is going to be another year where we go directly from winter into summer were: George Washburn, Frank Pauli, Bill Krause, Robie Osterman, Don Wood, Mark Traver, Glenn Patterson, Roger Shafer, Steve Kelly, Miner Stevens, Roger Shaver, Jim Heiser, John Rossmann, Harold Guest, Otis Lawyer, Dave Williams, Carl Walls, Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Jack Norray, Don Moser, Art Frament, Bob Benac, Ted Willsey, Harold Grippen, Elwood Vanderbilt, and me.

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