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The Old Men of the Mountain by John R. Williams.

Another week, another Tuesday. If it weren’t for numbers how in the world would we know what is going on? This Tuesday the 9th of July , the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh. The OFs say they are losing weight because of the sticky weather; they say they just don’t feel like eating, however, the size of the breakfasts some ordered doesn’t back that up.

Some say they feel logy, and yawn all the time. One OF said that is a sign the OFs need more oxygen. One OF said his wife hollers at him because he is generating too much laundry by going through two sets of underwear and two shirts a day. Another OF said now he understands why people move so slow down south. It is not because they are lazy, far from that, they are just smart. By moving slow they can get more done instead of working at the rate we work at, with the constant heat and humidity we would become exhausted by noon and then that is it for the day we would have to go home and take a nap. One OF said, “What’s so different about that? It’s my normal procedure.”

The OMOTM started out as that ─ Old Men Of The Mountain. Now the body of OFs has grown, plus which the OFs are also that ( meaning OLD) so now they have retired from being OMOTM and many have traveled to various places and have rounded out their education late in life by visiting other peoples and other cultures. Now these OMOTM, are OMOTW, (Old Men of the World). This morning the OFs were talking about Pikes Peak in Colorado (among other places) and what it was like to travel to the top of this mountain to the coffee and gift shop on top. Getting off the train at the summit of Pikes Peak with snow banks higher than your head (in the middle of June) is quite different.

At times, the chatter was about the cruises the OFs have been on. The southern hemisphere, Alaska, Europe, and Hawaii were some of the places mentioned. One OF said the first time he was in Europe the cost was on the government ─ educational but not fun. This time the cost was on him, however, this time he wasn’t being shot at; they were welcoming his money with open hands.

One OF thinks “time” is a great thing. When he was young he was in a certain country (courtesy of our government) waiting to kill or be killed. Now two of his doctors are of the nationality this OF was staring down the gun barrel at, and conversely he was in their sights. These former adversaries are now keeping him alive and well and his life is in their hands and doing a good job of it too. Ah…time. It heals all sorts of wounds.

In the Hilltowns there are spots in some of the roads that have significant temperature drops. The OFs were talking about a couple of them this morning. Three of the OFs that live basically in the same area were talking about a particular spot where the temperature drops 4 to 5 degrees in about l/4 mile. The OFs said as you enter from either direction the temperature can be 80 degrees and it quickly drops to 76 or 75 degrees, and as the spot in the road is exited it will go back up to 80.

Another OF said the same situation is not far from his house, only the coolness is only noted for about 200 to 300 feet. This OF said it is not a swampy area but is in an area where there is a small hill, and at the bottom of the hill is when the coolness begins to be noticed. Then the area starts getting warmer after the short distance mentioned until it is back up to temperature in either direction traveled.

The OFs surmised that if some noticed a few cool spots ─ enough to make the OFs talk about ─ there must be other cool spots around. Some thought there may be swampy areas in the location of the coolness, and another thought there may be a crevice in the rocks that opens to a larger cavern underneath and the cool underground air is escaping. A third opinion was offered and this OF said “where there are ghosts it’s usually cool”.

The OFs also mentioned another combined experience coming to the Middleburgh Diner this morning and that was deer in the road. These animals used to take off as a vehicle approached, now, as one OF noted, all they do is watch the vehicle go by. One OF said some don’t even raise their heads… they just keep on eating. Another OF said one large buck stood and watched as their car went by ─ just like the movie Bambi. Another OG said the deer are beginning to show more road sense than dogs.

One OG said he was getting the mail from his mailbox, and heard click, click, click, on the road, turned and there was a deer crossing the road about 50 feet away. The OF said he just looked at it for a few seconds, and the deer looked at him, then both walked off ─ the deer into the woods, and the OF down the driveway.

The scribe adds all this would be nice if it wasn’t for those darn deer ticks. That is an insect that is really dangerous.

Those Old Men of the Mountain that made it to the Middleburgh Diner by dodging all those critters in the road were: Roger Chapman, John Rossmann, Dave Williams, Miner Stevens, Bill Bartholomew, Frank Pauli, Harold Guest, George Washburn, Robie Osterman, Bill Krause, Don Wood, Art Frament, Jay Taylor, Roger Fairchild, Bob Benac, Herb Swabota, Jack Norray, Gary Porter, Ken Hughes, Roger Shafer, Steve Kelly, Ted Willsey, Rich Donnelly, Duane Wagenbaugh, Jim Rissacher, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, Mike Willsey, and me.

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