On Christmas Eve December 24th, 2013 the Old Men of the Mountain met at Mrs. K’s Restaurant in Middleburgh for their traditional Christmas Party. Again, the staff of the restaurant out- did themselves with the hors d’oeuvres on the tables. There was enough there to feed all the OFs without ordering breakfast. Of course the OFs did order their normal breakfast plus they cleaned up a lot that was placed on the table, especially the hot meatballs. The OFs would like to thank Loretta, Patty and their team for having such a scrumptious holiday spread for the Old Men of the Mountain.

Some of the OFs came all decked out for the occasion. Some in Santa hats, and others with Christmas sweaters, some wearing red and green, and there was one fellow there with a battery operated Christmas tree bulb necktie which was all lit up.

A couple of the OFs that are musically inclined brought their instruments and the restaurant had a small area set up for them to play Christmas music. The OFs joined in on the tunes they knew. Of course Gene Autry was doing a couple of flips in his grave, and maybe even holding his ears as the OFs attempted to sing Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.

This year on the “Eves” the Old Men of the Mountain will stay in Middleburgh, because on New Years Eve the OFs will be at the Middleburgh Diner. This makes two attacks (in Middleburgh) by the OFs to end the year 2013. Can that little town take it? The town fathers might think about reactivating the Schoharie County Militia, muskets at the ready with fixed bayonets, prepared to run the OFs out of town if they even attempt to sing Auld Lang Sine.

This scribe had to raise his eyebrows as some of the OGs next conversations/observations did not seem correct. However, there is always the chance the OGs might be right, so it was off to the internet to check them out. (The internet is always right, you know). The flat statement made by a couple of OFs was that “no” tractors were made in this country, that “all” tractors were made elsewhere. The words “no” and “all” are what drew attention to the conversation. In checking, this scribe found a real mixed bag, so using John Deere as one example it was found that they manufacture tractors in many countries throughout the world. Most of these factories make farming equipment, lawn and garden equipment, harvesting equipment, heavy constructing equipment, among a slew of other products including toys and clothing which are done on a leasing basis. Depending on the size of tractor the OFs want it can come from the UNITED STATES, India, or wherever.

McCormack International, though, is quite convoluted. Sales to companies and different conglomerate organizations are now in business from Italy. Another company is currently buying the rights as this scribe understands the dealings. This scribe can’t follow all this high-end business intrigue, so it is suggested if you are interested go check it out on the net.

Kubota Tractors were originally built starting in 1890 in Osaka, Japan; however, in 1988 they opened a huge plant in Gainesville, Georgia, where they produce the tractors for the U.S.

So, in two of the examples John Deere started here and built plants all over; Kubota started there, and built plants all over. The answer is “yes” many tractors are still built in the U.S. and are competitive. Smart moves by both companies.

The OFs jumped on the bandwagon asking why people are leaving New York State. It came down to two explanations with two side bets thrown in. One, taxes (politics), Two, weather. The two side bets were, cost of maintaining a building, and the cost of doing business. The OFs said even farming which was shielded from much of this is beginning to feel the pinch of being over-regulated by a select group of do-gooders in New York City making rules and regulations for farmers, and this group doesn’t know the difference between a rabbit and a cow. One OF threw in the ringer of New York being known as the welfare state. The reason this State’s population is where it is, is because other states ship the ne’er-do-wells to New York where the state will take care of them. “Then,” an OF added, “We have a juxtaposition here, this OF thinks the state of New York has one of the highest educated populations in the country and that is why we have as many people here as we do.” This OF said, “Companies are after the brains of New York.” And so it goes. Tain’t this fun? It is. The OFs get their points across either way; no one changes anyone else’s mind because that is what we are ─ OFs! Our minds were made up years ago, so the OFs laugh or grunt and go on to something different.

Those OFs that gathered at Mrs. K’s Restaurant in Middleburgh and absorbed what holiday spirit they could were: Elf one Harold Guest, Elf two Mark Traver, Elf three Glenn Patterson, Elf four Roger Shafer, Elf five George Washburn, Elf six Roger Chapman, Elf seven John Rossmann, Elf eight Jim Heiser, Elf nine Otis Lawyer, Elf ten Steve Kelly, Elf eleven Robie Osterman, Elf twelve Mace Porter, Elf thirteen Gary Porter, Elf fourteen Ken Hughes, Elf fifteen Jack Norray, Elf sixteen Lou Schenck, Elf seventeen Don Wood, Elf eighteen Ted Willsey, Elf nineteen Jim Rissacher, Elf twenty Bill Krause, Elf twenty-one Mike Willsey, Elf twenty-two Elwood Vanderbilt, Elf twenty-three Gilbert Zabel, Elf twenty-four Harold Grippen, Elf twenty-five Gerry Chartier, Elf twenty-six Todd Wright, and Elf twenty-seven, the littlest Elf, me.