Tuesday, October 8th, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Chuck Wagon Diner in Princetown. Maybe the OFs have mentioned this before but people going to work in the early spring and early fall and traveling east on Route 20, must have a difficult job with the sun in their eyes on an especially bright fall day. There are times in the morning when going that way, the sun catches your eye as you crest a rise in the road and the driver becomes blinded for a few seconds. One OF said this experience has occurred with him and he could not even see the windshield of his own car, and that was with the visor down and sunglasses on. Heaven forbid there is anything or anybody in the road at that time.
One OF asked if anyone is ready for Halloween, and the OF received the standard OF reply, “Yep, I have my mask on already.” Another OF chimed in, “I’m going trick or treating naked so I can get my year’s supply of candy, and no one knows I am naked they think it is a great costume and I get great stuff.” One OF asked, “Isn’t Halloween a little cold to be running around naked?” “That’s the point,” the OF said, “The colder the better and with all my wrinkles, scars, warts, and bumps, and a pair of clod-hoppers, tie and a hat everyone thinks it is a cool get-up.” “You are going to get arrested you old coot.” “Nah, won’t happen, I just hit up relatives,” the OF replied.
Most of the OFs are retired from whatever. One of the topics that came up this morning was former bosses. Some bosses were good; some a pain in the butt. The bosses we remembered the most were the ones that were not that popular. The OFs were relating stories on how they got, not actually even ─ but maybe in a way it was ─ with stunts the OFs pulled on the bosses that were pains. Some of these stunts were quite clever, but some of the OFs just smiled and come to find out they were bosses at one time or another, or business owners. Not the bosses in question because there was no correlation between the OFs even working together or for the same companies that these OFs did when they were bosses.
This led the conversation into talking about different kinds of people. With the conversation going down this path the phenomenon of aura appears to have some credence of being real. OF one can meet an OF two for the first time and instantly not like OF two, but OF three can meet OF two for the first time and instantly take a liking to OF two. Bring in OF four, and he can tolerate OFs one, two, and three, but really likes the new guy OF five. OFs one, two, three, and four, all like the new OF five. This is aura.
This is what happens with bosses. When the auras don’t mesh, these bosses become real pains in the neck to the one that doesn’t click. Then again some bosses are just bums regardless of the aura. The OFs were talking about one boss that some knew because they had worked for him and others knew him more or less (the emphasis is on less) socially and the consensus of opinion of the OFs was that the guy was a jerk.
The question became how someone like that gets to be a boss; now that the OFs are retired they can look back more objectively. The OFs agreed that most of the decisions this boss made were right, whether they liked it or not. Then there are those bosses who are in charge that don’t know a darn thing. The workers are continually covering up for their boss’ mistakes; one OF said he had to cover up the mistakes or lose his job. The OFs agreed this makes for a tough work environment.
The OFs had trouble knowing how this character (to them) got his job because nothing he did was right. The OFs attributed this to cronyism. This particular boss was in cahoots with his boss, and the workers are caught between a rock and a hard place. “Boy,” one OF said, “I am glad I am retired now and all I have to contend with is the wife, and with that boss I am always wrong ─ even when I am right, I am wrong.”
The OFs took up the subject of making plans with the family and how nerve-wracking this can be especially when the plans involve weddings. The logistics of getting everyone to a family event and not hurting anyone’s feelings is hard. It is harder than working for a miserable boss. One OF said, “Don’t get involved, that is women’s work.” Another OG said, “That is my motto too. I go where I am told, when I am told, and get what is on the list.” One OF said he chauffeured his wife to one of these planning events with the other ladies and instead of just dropping her off and going to the nearest bar he went in with the planning group. The OF said that they seemed to be in a real quandary and he offered what he thought was a simple solution and the OF said, “I might just as well have thrown a hornet’s nest in the middle of that group. Retreat was the better part of valor so I got out of there.”
Those OFs that retreated to the Chuck Wagon Diner in Princetown, just to escape whatever and be among those of like aura, were: John Rossmann, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Karl Remmers, Frank Pauli, Steve Kelley, Roger Shafer, Henry Witt, Miner Stevens, Roger Chapman, Bill Keal, Ken Hughes, Gary Porter, Mace Porter, Jack Norray, Harold Guest, Ted Willsey, Rich Donnelly, Jim Rissacher, Bob Lassome, Joe Loubier, Henry Whipple, Mike Willsey (with daughter Amy), Gerry Chartier, Harold Grippen, Elwood Vanderbilt, and me.