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The Old Men of the Mountain by John R. Williams

On June 25th, 2013 the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Home Front Cafe in Altamont. It was noted that it did not take them long to resurface the main road over the railroad tracks in Altamont. The OMOTM thought it would be a long way around for some if the road was still closed, but these types of repair have to be done, and even if it is an inconvience at some point in time it SHOULD be better when completed.

This conversation comes up every now and then…it’s when something unusual is found in the woods. This time it was the bones of a young fawn and discussion was on foxes and coyotes. Most OFs said they have not heard the songs of the coyote lately in their areas. Some others agreed. In this area of Huntersland, some foxes and their young have been seen playing around the hedgerows and are just having a grand ole time. The OFs came to the conclusion that it must have been a fox which nabbed the fawn because coyotes still have not been heard or seen. Although one OF said it could be his neighbor’s cat, because this cat chases dogs and it doesn’t know it is a domestic cat. This cat thinks it is a lion and he acts like one. “I’m afraid of that sucker,” the OF said and this OF is a hunter.

It was brought up that foxes, skunks, coons, and bats are the primary carrier of rabies. One OF mentioned that even though foxes are cute it is a good idea to keep your distance. Some of the animals that are rabies carriers have definite times of day that they are out and about but the fox can be spotted any time. (This is the OFs advice for the day.)

Some of the OFs are golfers but apparently not of the diehard type because the OFs were saying that the weather is too darn sticky to play golf. It is necessary for these duffers to wear hats and sweatbands to keep the sweat from running in their eyes and ruining the shot. Golf is a funny game according to one OF who explained, “Why would anyone try to make a hole-in-one ─ because if you do you have to buy the drinks. Shouldn’t it be the loser that buys the drinks, and not the winner? Why win, it costs you money.”

Farming. Again, at this breakfast, the talk was on the type of people that do farm ─ they are tough and they have to be, not only physically but mentally as well. Farming is a lonely, bloody business. It’s necessary to really know a lot about a myriad of things, and to have a strong stomach regarding what happens to animals no matter how hard the farmer tries to take care of them and protect them. A farmer must be a horticulturalist, mechanic, electrician, carpenter, plumber, hydrologist, welder, truck driver, engineer, and veterinarian. He must know and understand animal husbandry, be a weathermen, and not be afraid of heights, or hard work. He puts up with the silliest government regulations and he doesn’t go nuts, but still stays in a business that right now, at best, breaks even basically because of the silliest government regulations, and he has to do this all alone. Farming is lonely work.

One OF said there are two types of people in this country that deserve our gratitude and respect. There are those in the military, who are there to protect us, and farmers who are there to feed us. The OF said no matter how important you think your job is or how important you are, none can compare with those two types of people ─ can’t even hold a candle to them. (Scribe’s note: whatever, “can’t hold a candle to them” means??)

Thursday evening (June 27th) the C-130 event was held at the Berne Masonic Lodge. The Old Men of the Mountain would like to thank the Berne Lodge 684 for hosting this event. The Masons did a great job with coffee and cake, and supplying the equipment for Gregory Peck of Altamont to have visual aids to go along with presentation of the C-130 plane, and the missions of the 109th Airlift Wing, New York National Guard, at the Stratton base in Scotia. This particular air base goes back almost 60 years. Greg’s job with the 109th is “load master” for the big plane ─ a very important job because an improperly loaded plane can easily be the cause of a total disaster. (Scribe’s note: Mr. Peck brought along some of the personal equipment used for extreme cold weather by the crew members of the C-130. He also brought along his kids to specifically run the electronic equipment for the DVD he brought. As the OFs know it takes a kid to run this stuff and this was a good case in point.) The question and answer period following his presentation was also informative. Mr. Peck also assured those OFs on the hill that the plane knows where it is and it isn’t going to fly into any of the OF’s barns. Mr. Peck also said that the crews can see the OFs out and about, so if any OF decides to swim in the pond naked beware; when that plane is overhead ─ stay in the water, we wouldn’t want to frighten the crew and have the plane crash in the Helderbergs. Or worse yet, the crew on these planes may cause national panic by reporting they had spotted an alien life form living among the hills of the Helderbergs. Seriously, the OMOTM again would like to thank all involved for their efforts.

Those attending the breakfast at the Home Front in Altamont and glad the crossing was repaired and the clanging of empty trucks as they drive over the crossing didn’t jar them while eating breakfast were: Harold Guest, John Rossmann, Frank Pauli, Jack, Miner Stevens, Roger Chapman, Henry Witt, Bill Krause, Jim Heiser, Lou Schenck, Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Dave Williams, Bill Bartholomew, Jack Norray, Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, Art Frament, Bob Benac, Jay Taylor, Jim Watson, Bob Lassome, Duane Wagenbaugh, Rich Donnelly, Mike Willsey, Harold Grippen, Gerry Chartier, Elwood Vanderbilt, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, and me.

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