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Oh my! It is Tuesday again and there might be 52 of them a year, so it should not come as a surprise but for some reason it quite often does. On October 15th, 2013, it was a Tuesday and the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Home Front Cafe in Altamont. The Old Ladies of the Mountain could get to together and start a weekly breakfast and give a report on what they talk about ─ the comparison would be interesting. The OFs wonder if they would be part of any discussions. Maybe, as one OF put it, we are flattering ourselves. Since we don’t talk about them, why should they talk about us? It may be unusual but ladies don’t come up very often with the OFs, nor does much foul language. Hmmm, could that be because there is a significant drop in Testosterone in this group.

Many of the OFs have had and do have eye problems, or situations. They are not going blind, it is just age. Cataracts, dry eyes, glaucoma, detached retinas, and wandering eyes, (different wandering eyes than when the OFs were between the ages of 13-14 to 40, although some still have that young age affliction.) Most of these aliments require putting eye drops in the eyes. One OF said he has his wife do it, another said he does it himself, one said he sits down, another standing up, another laying down. One OF said the manufacturers of the eye drop solutions make their money more on the amount that runs down the OF’s cheek than what goes in the eye.

The techniques are different also. One OF said he just tips his head back and squirts the drops right in, while another said he puts the drop on the side of his nose, then tips his head and the solution runs in. The one that has his wife put it in for him said he holds his eye open while his wife squirts it in. This OF says that he has to hold his eye open or it blinks shut and all the eye drop solution does is get on his eyelid.

On OG said that his opthamolic solution is wetter than water; his eye doctor told him that a duck can’t swim in this stuff because the duck would sink. One OF thought about the artist on TV who draws paint up his nose, and squirts it out his eye to make the painting. The question was how did this screwball ever figure out he could do this?

One OF said now that this is out how many people are going to try and duplicate this because these paintings (which look like so much scribble) are selling for big bucks. Another OG wondered not that he can do this, but who are the nutcases that buy this junk? To which one OG replied each to his own thing; so what if they have the money, at least they will have a neat conversation piece.

The OFs discuss the following topic quite often, and it generally follows an event that happens to one or more of the OFs on their way to the restaurant ─ and that is driving. Today, not only one group of OFs, but two groups, were cut off by inattentive drivers. Both drivers were not stopping for stop signs, and in one case not even slowing down. In that case not only did the OFs just avoid the errant vehicle, but so did a vehicle coming from the opposite direction. If that connection of three cars ever happened the jerk shooting out of the side road would have been double T-boned.

One OF commented, “Where did they get their license? At Woolworths?” Now to the OFs that meant something, but to many in today’s world that doesn’t mean diddle-dib. Who was Woolworth? For that matter who was Montgomery Ward, or W.T. Grant, or J.J. Newbury? What is a Packard, or Studebaker, or even a Kaiser? The name Woolworth just came out from the mouth of the OF.

To-day it would be Walmart, and that would be about it. To shop like the OFs were once able to do is gone. The OFs once could go to Montgomery Ward on Broadway in Menands, and purchase anything from a tractor, to socks and underwear, to toys and camping gear. Even more…from plumbing supplies, to top quality tools, from barbed wire to fence posts, from fishing poles to shotguns, from medical supplies to furniture and appliances, all in the same store. If it wasn’t there in the store, there was always the catalog department where the OF was able to pick out what he needed. After placing his order the OF had to hang around and wait for his number to be called from the cavernous warehouse and then the OF would go pick it up.

While waiting it was possible to run across to the White Tower and get a hamburger, or if the OF wanted to go fancy he could go to the restaurant in the store. Shopping then was a trip and an experience that the whole family looked forward to. “Now,” as one OF said, “Shopping is a chore.” “AND,” another OF added, “It was possible to get a hunting license at either Montgomery-Ward, or Sears and Roebuck.” Woolworth had its food counter and all those tropical fish and fish tanks. Again, one OF said, “Whatever really did happen to Randolph Scott?”

“Times change,” an OG said, “Now we are stuck with Walmart; about the only fun store left is Tractor Supply.”

The OMOTM has one of it members in the hospital at the time this is being written. The OFs wish him a speedy recovery and that he comes back to the fold soon. This OF (being in the hospital) brought up discussions on how hospitals are also changing to “keep up with the times”. The OFs can (kinda) understand this situation with how expensive it is becoming to stay in the hospital, and the expenses they incur. Sometimes banding together is a good thing. Farmers try it all the time but farmers are independent people and it never really quite works. “Doctors are banding together in groups,” one OG said. He thinks that one of the major contributors to this banding in the medical profession is because insurance companies are forcing the issue since everything is getting so complicated that someone who has an individual practice has to hire a Philadelphia lawyer just to keep up with the paper work, so much so that the poor individual doctor has no time left for doctoring. “Then,” an OF added, “It could be the malpractice law suits, and insurance for that which pushes the medical bills way up too.” “Boy,” one OG said, “Chase anything down and when you get to the bottom it is always the money ─ too much or not enough.”

Those OFs that lumbered into the Home Front Cafe in Altamont for this week’s breakfast and making plans to go shop at the fun place were: Roger Shafer, Steve Kelly, Henry Witt, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Miner Stevens, John Rossmann, Frank Pauli, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Gary Porter, Bill Krause, Otis Lawyer, Glenn Paterson, Jim Heiser, Andy Tinning, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Henry Whipple, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, Mike Willsey, Joe Loubier, Gerry Chartier, and me.

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