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The Old Men of the Mountain by John R. Williams

Tuesday, May 21st, The Old Men of the Mountain met at Mrs. K’s Restaurant in Middleburg, in the highest taxed state in the nation and not by a little bit. If you pick up The Enterprise at Stewarts in Altamont you are standing on approximately one square foot of the land that this state is. Not much of a riddle is it? As one OF put it, “We pay all these taxes to support the political crooks from New York City.” To which many of the OFs said “Amen.”

The OFs started on a conversation that could be endless when all the ups and downs, in and outs, pros and cons are considered. The conversation started out like this: Is it smarter to purchase an older home or a newer one, or have one built? One OF mentioned that the older home has (if properly maintained) done most of its settling and twisting by buffeting winds so therefore the new owners of the older homes know what they are getting into.

A new home has to go through all that. This new home may be square and true when starting out but in five years or so the cracks start to appear, some doors might not shut right, plus lots of other little things crop up.

“However,” as one OF said, “With the new home it is possible to have what you want, have all the new technology and all the new materials.” “New now,” another OF commented, “But these homes have yet to stand the real test of time ─ and who knows, these materials may not be as good as touted.” This OF continued, “With an older house the test of time (for the most part) has been passed.”

This is the type of conversation that can go on and on with not many convinced one way or the other. Its like “My F150, is better than your Silverado.” Yet some of the OFs purchase their cars, lawnmowers, bicycles, whatever, because they like the color. Who made it is of no interest to those OFs.

The OFs showed their sensitive side discussing how colorful and full the lilacs and the flowering trees are this year. In some areas the OFs said the air smelled like a greenhouse, because of all these flowering trees, shrubs and lilacs. It is much different than last year. One OF said he hoped all the blossoms would mean a resurgence of the honey bee because of the abundance of food these flowering plants and trees have in their blossoms.

The tornadoes that have been pounding the center part of the country were a topic that was quite sad. The OFs tried to compare this to the flood of the Schoharie Valley and other natural disasters. The OFs began stacking them up. The ones they could remember were ones like Katrina, Irene, Lee, and Sandy. The tsunami, and all the earthquakes, mudslides, and fires around the world have taken their toll. The amount of lives lost and property damaged is staggering when thinking about all that has happened, and as one OF mentioned, will continue to happen. There is no stopping any of these events.

Just like the OFs thought, this is going to be one of those years where first it is early spring, then it jumps to the middle of summer, then maybe back to spring, or even early fall, then the good ole summertime again. One OF said keep those sweat shirts handy.

The OGs talked about stock car racing and one OF told a story of a guy that owned a junk yard and decided to build a race car. Back in the 50s and 60s when the OFs were going to Fonda and other race tracks in the area, this junk dealer brought his homemade car to one of these local tracks and was told to “get that thing out of here, and don’t bring it back.” Even back in the day the roll cages in race cars had to be made of specified structural tubing; however, this guy had taken his kid’s swing set apart and used that tubing for the roll cage. A rugged guy could take that stuff and bend it into a U-shape just with his hands.

Keep the date of June 27th in the evening open, watch for further news.

Those OFs attending the breakfast at Mrs. K’s Restaurant in Middleburg and showing up in their family cars and leaving the race cars at home, were: Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Roger Shafer, Miner Stevens, Roger Chapman, Harold Guest, Frank Pauli, Steve Kelly, Dave Williams, Glenn Patterson, Jim Heiser, Don Woods, Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Lou Schenck, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Bob Lassone, Mike Willsey, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, and me.