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On January 14th, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Blue Star Restaurant in Schoharie. The contingent of Old Men that attacked the Blue Star was large in number. The OFs thought it was the good weather that brought so many to the breakfast, or maybe it was just timing. One OF started counting backwards the last three or four Tuesdays, and recounted the temperature for those Tuesdays, and it was zero or below. Today is was 40 degrees when most of the OFs started out. This OF, too, may be right…it could be the weather.

The OFs started talking about how the concern for our country’s past is quickly being lost by many of our young people because of the desire for the dollar. So much of the country is being bought up and torn down to build this mall or that mall, or this housing development or that development, or this parking lot or that parking lot; soon all the young people will have to remind them of their heritage will be photographs.

The OFs said that many developers will destroy a historic building to build a mall when two miles down the road is a mall that has been abandoned. The OFs can’t understand this, and the thinking of the town fathers that let it happen. “It all comes down to greed, and greased palms,” one OF said, “And who owns what,” another added.

The OFs mentioned two barns that are in good shape coming down. The key word here is “good” shape. The OFs agreed that if something is ready to come down around its ears, tear it down before someone gets hurt and replace it with something useful. So often that does not seem to be the case.

Maybe it is because the OFs are antiques themselves that they are concerned with preserving antiquity. It is thought that thousands of people travel thousands of miles to countries abroad to see, touch, and feel buildings, streets, and communities of old, and here, in many cases, we bulldoze the same things down.

The OFs discussed the newer composite decking material which was supposed to be the best thing since sliced bread. Some of the OFs that have used the material say there is in a short period of time (depending on location) mold which appears quite quickly on this material. These OFs said that once the mold does occur the material becomes very slippery. One OF went so far as to purchase a pretty good sized pressure washer to wash the mold off. One OF also said the older the material is the quicker the mold reappears. None of the OFs knew why this happens or if it is something they missed in the instructions. For instance, should their deck be located where it receives a lot of sunshine? One OG said the stuff is expensive, and he is stuck with it now. “Oh well, live and learn,” one OF pined.

One OF mentioned that his kids gave him a new I-pod… (This scribe thinks this is right)…and if this scribe understood the OG right, this new piece of technology does not work with the other computer equipment he has, like printers and scanners. Kodak found that having a proprietary product does not work, and so did Beta way back when. Beta had the better product but it only worked with Beta. The OFs think that there should be ways that if some company comes up with a great product, that company should allow for connections to all the other products that pertain to that product instead of making it so the purchaser of that product has to go and buy another printer, scanner, or whatever to work with that product. This would make the connections and compatibility universal. “Nah, too simple,” one OF said. Eventually in many cases the better product will go the way of the Dodo bird just like Beta.

Most of the OFs have received their power bills and were ready to take what muscles they have left and attack the power company. Of course, this would not be a fair fight because the power company employees wear hard hats. Then the bills came from the fuel oil companies with their outrageous price for home heating oil. “No wonder,” one OF said, “Couple these charges with the taxes and anyone can see why so many are leaving the state.” One OF said, “When the last one leaves will they please close the door and turn out the light.”

One OF commented he hears one legislator wants two billon dollars for this, and another wants a billion for that, and yet another wants a billon so his yacht club can have another ramp. The OF chuckled and said, “I just made that last part up.” But by golly the scribe bets it is true and this money could be hidden somewhere in all these billons of dollars. The same OF said he remembers when a hundred bucks was a lot of money. The OF continued with the key issue, “Where in h— (fill in the blanks with letters of your choosing) do they think the money is coming from? I am already tapped out just from paying those ridiculous power, heating, and gas bills, let alone my meds., and I am getting tired of eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with a cup of soup day in and day out; there is nothing left in my pockets but lint!” (What is a billion? This number gets thrown around like chump change. A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive and the Roman Empire was in full swing. A billion hours ago, we were in the Stone Age.)

Those attending the Blue Star Restaurant in Schoharie and becoming really concerned about the health of some of the OFs and their wives were: Kenneth Parks, Jim Heiser, Mark Traver, Miner Stevens, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Steve Kelly, Roger Shafer, Otis Lawyer, Glenn Patterson, Andy Tinning, Harold Guest, Frank Pauli, John Rossmann, Dick Ogsbury, Roger Chapman, Chuck Aleseio, Jack Norray, Lou Schenck, Mace Porter, Bill Krause, Bill Rice, Don Moser, Don Wood, Henry Whipple, Elwood Vanderbilt, Ted Willsey, Harold Grippen, and me.