The Old Men of the Mountain by John R. Williams
Before anything starts this scribe has some old business to attend to. The scribe had an important date last Tuesday and left the breakfast a tad early, so now he must report that there were two attendees that arrived after he left. So these men do not get into any trouble at home, or by some legal or illegal circumstance, please take note that they were at the breakfast on the 16th. These OFs were Mike Willsey and Harold Grippen whose names did not appear on the roster of those in attendance last week.
The Old Men of the Mountain met this Tuesday, the 23rd of July, at the Country Cafe in Schoharie. The breakfast this morning had one of the largest number of OFs packed in any of the restaurants we frequent, and the names this time should total 35 plus one guest. (The poor waitress) (She was not the guest). With this number in attendance one OF found a place in Cobleskill that would make the baseball-style caps with an OMOTM logo that the OMOTM wear on occasion. The OFs have had caps like this for awhile but many have been lost, or have gotten so cruddy they are not fit to wear in public, so this OF took orders for those that want to replace them, and for those who had never had one in the first place. This OF could not have had a larger contingent of Ofs to make his pitch to as he took this order…he sure wasn’t missing many OGs.
At one time an OF took the time to glue pins to the back of the New Hampshire quarter which depicted the “Old Man of the Mountain” as their centerpiece. This OF brought in enough of these “Old Man of the Mountain pins to hand to all the OFs. Many of the OFs took the pin and pinned it to the cap. Some of the OFs still wear this combination on their heads, especially if they go somewhere important. Maybe it’s a good thing that enough of these quarters were minted because the “Old Man of the Mountain” will be remembered for a long time especially in coin collector’s collections. Now, sadly, the face on the mountain is gone and it’s just a pile of rocks at the base of the cliff.
One of the conversations we held was on good neighbors versus pain-in-the-butt neighbors. It was talked that this is a two-way street, and basically came down to this point ─ if you mind your own business, and respect those around you, then the OFs think things should turn out all right. One problem that sets neighbors off is animals…especially dogs. That is one problem that the OFs can understand. Many people have dogs (including the OFs) but some people have curs, and therein lies the problem.
A brief topic of conversation was about the Yankees; some OFs thought the Yankees are going to wind up in the cellar unless they somehow learn to hit the ball. The OFs realize that the team is made up now of some triple-A players and when they run out on the field with a name that is completely unfamiliar, and they don’t look old enough to shave, the OF’s slap their foreheads and say, “Oh no, where did he come from ─ has he graduated high school yet?” Then some other OFs say to have faith because there is a lot of baseball left to be played, and the next Nick Swisher might be in triple-A and running out on the field.
Remember the wet weather we had just a little while back? The OFs said this rainy weather was tough on their gardens; it is still the case, except for the corn. As one OF said, “Boy has that corn shot up. The local sweet corn may already be ready.” The OF noticed much of the field corn tasseled out overnight. One OF mentioned that when the farm stands open and the local fresh vegetables and fruits are ready ─ that is good eating. The “store bought” tomatoes are bright red, uniform in size, and taste like cardboard. A fresh local tomato, lumpy and off color, is a tomato and has a tomato taste. One OF said a simple grilled cheese sandwich and a fresh local tomato on it is better than a fifty buck diner is some fancy restaurant.
Another OG said that a couple ears of local sweet corn, and a hamburger or a hotdog, some watermelon, and a cold beer ─ now that’s a meal to write home about.
Many of the OFs have an on-going conversation on how the government is sticking its nose in our business. The original intent of government at its most basic level was to protect the people from threats, both within and without…”Well, that has sure gone by the boards,” one OF opined. Another OG added that “Now it seems you can’t go to the bathroom because the government wants to pull down your pants, and allow you only two pieces of toilet paper.” “It’s all power,” one more OF said, “and power is all a bully wants. Power over a group, or an individual.” You get the idea where this is headed but that is enough of that.
Those OFs that made it to the Country Cafe and just about filled up both rooms were: Glenn Patterson, Jim Heiser, Robie Osterman, John Rossmann, Harold Guest, Roger Shafer, Steve Kelly, Mark Traver, George Washburn, Dave Williams, Bill Bartholomew, Miner Stevens, Roger Chapman, Bill Krause, Harold Grippen, Mike Willsey, Duane Wagenbaugh, Art Frament, Bob Benac, Roger Fairchild, Herb Swaboda, Jay Taylor, Gary Porter, Mace Porter, Maynard Porter, Tom Filkins, Jack Norray, Lou Schenck, Duncan Bellinger, Ted Willsey (and guest Denise), Elwood Vanderbilt, Bob Lassome, Rich Donnelly, Jim Rissacher, and me