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The Old Men of the Mountain by John R. Williams

On Tuesday, the 18th day of June 2013, The Old Men of the Mountain met at the Chuck Wagon Diner on Route 20 in Princetown. It was good to see nice weather for a change, and as we generally do we speak about the weather ─ so speaking about the weather ─ some of the OFs live in Huntersland, and in that section of Schoharie and Albany counties they had a tad of a storm Friday afternoon (the 14th of June). One OF said that his neighbor has a weather station and his rain gauge indicated that 3-1/4 inches of rain fell in a very short period of time.

This storm made the news again for Middleburgh and Schoharie because of flooding, not from the big creek, but from smaller streams that feed the big one. The small streams could not handle this surge of water; naturally these streams flooded causing all kinds of headaches once again.

Because of all the recent rain of the past 3 weeks the ground is saturated and this last storm caused quite a mudslide that closed Huntersland road not far from where some the OFs live. Fortunately, the restaurant was on the other side of the mountain so the OFs could scoot over Canady Hill road to the Chuck Wagon, or duck around the mudslide by using East Hill road, so the OFs were inconvienced but not trapped. The whole entourage who live out that way did show up at the breakfast.

Another OF, who was leaving town for the weekend, encountered this same storm in the town of Knox and instead of turning around and going home this OF pressed on. There were moments of high winds and hail but this OF reported by the time he hit Route 7 at Quaker Street it was letting up and by the time he started down the hill into Central Bridge the road was dry and sunny. It was that way for the rest of this OFs trip to Newark Valley. The OFs are wondering why the Hilltowns of the Helderbergs are being picked on weather-wise. It is getting to be almost like Saratoga and Columbia counties up here.

The OFs again pondered what to do as they get older. Should they sell the old homestead and venture to a simpler place? Should they turn the farm over to the kids and winter where it is warmer? Are they ready for an assisted living residence, but to many these communities are out of their reach financially. Decisions, decisions, and as one OF said, “You are my friends and when I go to Florida I don’t know anyone.” A different OF said he remembered when this type of talk was done by his parents in their late sixties and early seventies, and here we are immersed in the same conversations in our late seventies and early eighties. One OG said we are living longer, and this OF said even with the aches and pains we have, we are living even better for the most part. Another OF said he didn’t know about that. It may be longer but the better part this OF wasn’t so sure.

The OF tried to remember his parents at his age now, and said, “Hey, they never made it this far.” The other OF said, “See what I mean?” Then one OF said he thought those of us that are coming to breakfast are nothing but a global experiment being done by the medical profession all over the world, just to see how long they can keeps us going. “That is fine with me,” an OG stated, “I will take the aches and pains, along with the canes, because things are progressing so fast today they may find something to alleviate my aches and pains (or whatever else is bothering me) tomorrow. Who knows?”

One OF, at one point observed (he is not a member of this group but fit into the conversation perfectly because some of the OF’s were relating what their parents taught them) said, “Did you ever notice when productive old people pass on how much information goes with them? Information we could use if when we were younger we would listen to them. Now we have to learn the same thing on our own. How much knowledge lies in the grave?”

Every now and then one particular OF will do something during the week that will have most of the OFs who know about it ragging on him at the breakfast. It is all good natured and a lot of fun, and it is not always the same OF. It seems that when this happens it is a different OF in the barrel. This morning it was one particular OF’s turn and it was well earned, however, most of the OFs never learn and impetuously do something stupid to earn the “kick me today” sign. The funny thing is most of these OGs don’t even know what they did that causes them to be ragged on. (Sorry ─ the story cannot be related in a family publication.)

We noted that the C-130 event is coming along. The Masons will supply a cake and coffee. So come join the OFs Thursday evening, on June 27, at the Mason Lodge in Berne, NY. The Lodge is right next to the Post Office in Berne. If you are coming from Knox or Albany and you reach the school you have gone too far…turn around. If coming from the Schoharie/Gallupville way and you go past the little country store by the bridge or start down a real crooked section of highway you have gone too far…find a spot to turn around. Hope to see you there. It’s free, and if it’s free it’s for me.

Those attending the breakfast at the Chuck Wagon Diner in Princetown and who may or may not bring cookies to the C-130 event were: Henry Witt, Bill Krause, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Bob Benac, Art Frament, Jay Taylor, Roger Chapman, Miner Stevens, Harold Guest, Frank Pauli, John Rossmann, Gary Porter, Mace Porter, Jack Norray, Steve Kelly, Roger Shafer, Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, Otis Lawyer, Bob Lassome, Ted Willsey, Jim Watson, Jim Rissacher, Make Willsey, Harold Grippen, and me.