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On Tuesday the 22nd of October the OMOTM met at the Hilltown Cafe in Rensselaerville, with another ride through the autumn colors of the Hilltowns. As many OFs put it there is no need to ram all over the northeast to see spectacular displays of fall colors splayed out against the hillsides. All it takes is a short ride into the hills that form the Hudson and Mohawk valleys, and all the color of nature is spread like a quilt before the eyes of the traveler. Although one OF said that heading for Vermont or New Hampshire to capture the views is a good reason to travel someplace. It gives an excuse just to get away and visit some gift shop to pay fifty bucks for something that is available at Walmart for a couple of bucks, but it is fun to escape. That is one of the many reasons the OFs escape to the Hilltown Cafe, just to get away and have a great breakfast doing it.

To follow that same train of thought the OFs talked about relaxing. That is a frequent occurrence with the OFs; relaxing is not a problem with them. One thing they know is how to relax. Some are so relaxed that when found in their chair doing just that the finder is ready to call Digger Odell, but occasionally the chest of the OF heaves up and down and the finder realizes that the OF is just relaxed.

Then there are the few OFs that said they have trouble relaxing because they are so wound up with what to do next, and sometimes family problems are so pressing that relaxing seems to be out of the question. Some OFs maintain that the rocking chair will do them in. They have to be doing something, and not just anything, but something with value. Some still work, many volunteer, and some have hobbies that require lots of concentration and are not completed in a day or so.

Others are stress free. These OFs seem to be in a constant state of relaxation. The outcome of both of these conditions ─ wound tight or stress free ─ is that both (as far as the OFs go) have contributed to pretty darn good long lives. As one OF said, “Why am I supposed to believe some snot nosed kid telling me how to live long? For crying out loud,” the OF continued, “I am 87 and still going strong, and this specialist who is still in diapers is so worried about me living long that he will be standing in line when he is only fifty years old with all the other ‘tell them how to live’ fifty year old people, at the pearly gates waiting for them to open in the morning.” The OF raved on about how this same fifty something at the pearly gates will be looking down at us OFs below. While his grave is being dug by some retired OF who has had fried eggs, bacon, hash browns with gravy, toast and black coffee for breakfast, the fifty year old at the gates just had half a grapefruit, a glass of water, and dry toast for breakfast, and died on his morning run.

The OFs were wondering how much more we can take from under the earth before the earth starts collapsing on itself. As one OF mentioned, “The crust becomes so thin that the magma breaks through and creates volcanoes and mountains where cities once were.” Natures abhors a vacuum, so when all the oil is pumped out what fills the space? When all the coal is mined what fills the space? Does water rush in, and from where? One OF mentioned all these sink holes that are cropping up. What made the hole that they are sinking into? One other OF said he thought these sink holes have been evolving forever, only with real time communications and the ability to report happenings from just about anyplace on the globe we are now hearing about them more.

“Yeah, but,” one more OG alleged, “That is not what the problem is because years ago no one was taking the stuff from under the ground; the wheel hadn’t even been invented yet.” To which the other OF responded, “Maybe not when you were around, but the wheel was around when I was.” “That’s right,” a third OF joined in, “But the wheel when you were around didn’t have a hole in it yet.”

One OF mentioned all these off-shore oil rigs. He exclaimed, “I hope they are pumping water back in where the oil was because if that hole caves in and the ocean rushes in and meets the molten magna, man! That will be some display of nature gone berserk.”

Generally the OFs meet on Tuesday morning at the next restaurant in line, however, this week many of the OFs met twice. The OMOTM met again on Wednesday at Mrs. K’s in Middleburgh to help celebrate Loretta’s (the proprietor of Mrs. K’s restaurant) 80th birthday. Not only were the OMOTM there but half the county as well. (This scribe has maybe let the cat out of the bag, maybe Loretta does not want everyone know she is 80. Oh well, there were so many people there it definitely is not a secret.) Many OMOTM showed up to help Loretta celebrate. Loretta was a high school classmate of some of the guests and some of the OFs. When asked when she was going to retire, she replied she is not going to retire ─ she enjoys the work and the people. As long as she can do the work she will be at the restaurant. Congratulations.

Those OFs that we able to make it to the breakfast at the Hilltown Cafe in Rensselaerville and grateful that none of the restaurants have thrown us out, YET, were: Ken Hughes, Lou Schenck, Mace Porter, Gary Porter, Bill Keal, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Frank Pauli, John Rossmann, Harold Guest, Glenn Patterson, Jim Heiser, Bill Krause, Roger Chapman, Miner Stevens, Andy Tinney, Bill Rice, Henry Whipple, Elwood Vanderbilt, Gill Zadle, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Mike Willsey, Harold Grippen, Gerry Chartier, and me.

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