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Today’s report will be a bonus report ─ two weeks for one. The scribe was traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday and unfortunately missed Tuesday, November 25th, however, braving mighty obstacles was able to make Tuesday, December 2nd. (Boy oh boy, Christmas is right around the corner, so much to do, so little time.)

On November 25th, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Duanesburg Diner, in Duanesburg, and on December 2nd, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Chuck Wagon in Princetown.

A topic from the November 18th gathering is now quite topical. What do the OFs want, or need for Christmas? For many of the OFs and because the OFs are just that (Old F’s) the giving part was easy ─ money or gift cards. Most of the OF’s kids are approaching OFs themselves and have their own ideas of what they need so give them a few bucks to either get it, or help them out.

Some of the kids say “Gee Dad, we don’t need anything”; that is no fun and many time rings quite hollow. When the OF said he doesn’t need anything it is generally true. What in the world is the OF going to with more stuff. Ah! But with a few of the OFs stuff is their middle name. However, a gift card to a grocery store is a good thing. The problem here is that the OF will give the kids gift cards to grocery stores, and kids will give the OF a gift card to grocery stores. That is like one log truck going east on the road passing another log truck going west. Duh…

Now what do the OFs do for fun? The options are as varied as there are OFs. Some are boat enthusiasts, while others belong to civic organizations; some work at very fine crafts, and others collect stuff. The stuff collectors have a problem and this has been mentioned before, they are OFs, and the stuff they collect are not dolls, or marbles. This stuff is big toys like cars, trucks, and tractors (especially tractors) and along with that…old farm equipment. These antiques are intended by the OFs to be restored and run but now the OFs are running out of time to get them in shape. The OFs are now antiques themselves and they need some tender loving care, and new parts like the equipment they are trying to restore, to get the OF into some kind of workable, running shape.

The conversations of many of the OFs on old antiquities show a knowledge that many museums might wish they had, and with the OFs at the breakfast tables this knowledge is just normal talk. This goes along with their “collections”, much of which are museum pieces. What the OFs need are some young volunteers to work on this “stuff” with the OFs as mentors. Though, as one OF put it, this is hands on, get dirty, lift and lug type of endeavor, not staring at some three by four screen while the only muscles used are the ones that control the thumbs, and no real mental skills are involved, just reaction time to something someone else has already done.

One OF just mentioned that he was looking for an old corn sheller, and another OF responded, “What kind?” because he had one. The other OF said, “One with a cast iron frame,” and the other OF said his was a wood frame. It wasn’t long before a deal was made and the corn sheller might change hands. What kind of group would have that type of machine just laying around and another person looking for one? What type of group (other than the OFs) would even know the difference between a sheller and a husker?? There were no questions asked like…”why to you want a corn sheller?” inquiring about a corn sheller is just the OFs normal conversation.

There are some newer members of the OFs that have been rattling around the Hilltowns for quite some time. Now they are seeing new faces for the first time and trying to connect these faces with where they might know them from, and then they try to relate them to certain pieces of property. Here begins the lineage of “Ya know the old Perkins Place? “Ah yes, that used to be the Moore place”. “Nah, the old Moore place used to be by the Jacobs place at the corner of Blah and Jump road”. “Are you sure? I thought that was the Adams house”. “No, the Adams house was around the corner where the two big oaks are.” On and on until the real place of where they knew each other link up. Makes no difference who lives there now, the OFs go back to who built the place during or just after the Revolutionary War. Then comes the connecting of the friends or relatives of 40, 50, 60 years ago. It is surprising to many of the OFs how a little bit of geography is a bonding agent.

The Old Men of the Mountain offer their deepest sympathies to the family of Carl Slater, a long-standing and loyal member of the OMOTM for many years, who passed away at the age of 84. He will be greatly missed.

The Old Men of the Mountain also offer their sympathies to Miner Stevens whose brother-in-law passed away on Tuesday, the 2nd of December. The OMOTM condolences go to Miner and his family also.

Those OFs attending the breakfast at the Duanesburg Diner and probably spoke freely because the scribe wasn’t there to tattle on them, were: Duncan Bellinger, Harold Guest, Andy Tinning, Frank Pauli, Steve Kelly, Roger Schafer, Roger Chapman, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Glenn Patterson, Otis Lawyer, Mark Traver, Garry Porter, Mace Porter, Jack Norray, Lou Schenck, Elwood Vanderbilt, Gerry Chartier, Harold Grippen, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, and not me.

Those OFs that made it to the Chuck Wagon in Princetown and solved most of the nation’s problems by going back in time when the nation was number one in many things and now seems to be leading in not much, were: Karl Remmers, Roger Schafer, Roger Chapman, Steve Kelly, Dick Ogsbury, George Washburn, Robie Osterman, Frank Pauli, John Rossmann, Bill Krause, Lou Schenck, Ken Hughes, Jack Norray, Gary Porter, Mace Porter, Mike Willsey, Harold Grippen, Elwood Vanderbilt, Gerry Chartier, Henry Whipple, Jim Rissacher, Ted Willsey, and me.