On May 6th The Old Men of the Mountain were at the Chuck Wagon Diner in Princetown. Most of the OFs have to come down off the mountain…although some have to go up and over the mountain…to get to Princetown. On May 6th it was interesting to note the different stages of vegetation as the OFs go up and down, or just come down. On top of the mountain the forsythia isn’t doing a thing, on the bottom the forsythia is in full bloom with their yellow blossoms. On the bottom the people are mowing their lawns; on top some of the OFs haven’t even prepared their mowers or tractors for the coming summer season. Elevation does make a difference. Altamont is about 450 feet in elevation, and Guilderland is about 330 feet in elevation, and the mountain OFs are about 1400+ feet in elevation so that 1000 feet or so does make a difference.
The scribe in checking this out found that Albany is only two feet above sea level, no wonder the Hudson River has a tide, and is such a slug. Albany is 136 miles from New York City as the crow flies, so the mighty Hudson from Albany drops only two feet in 136 miles. There! That is more than you wanted to know ─ the OFs only talked about vegetation.
The OFs talk about the following a lot. Most of the OGs are grandparents, and some are great-grandparents, sooo discussions on grandkids are inevitable. This morning the OFs discussed grandkids by the numbers. Some OFs have had only one kid but have four grandchildren, while others have three or four kids and only four or five grandkids. Then there are the prolific OFs that have had enough kids for a good baseball team, and now have so many grandkids they are losing count. One OF said that even if he loses count he is reminded at Christmas time. This OF thinks he has eighteen as of now. “Holy cow,” one OF said, “I hope you draw names for Christmas.” “Nope” was the reply, and “No wonder you are broke all the time,” was the reply to the reply.
Some of the OFs are collectors, and with the ages of some of the OFs that do collect they are becoming more selective on what they collect because as they age they find they know a lot more about certain items because they used when they were young. The reputation of the OFs who collect stuff generates an aura about them that is akin to magnetism. People just drop old items at their doorsteps. One OF woke up this morning and found an old typewriter sitting at the edge of his porch. Just like Topsy it popped up from nowhere. “Now what am I going to do with that old Underwood?” the OF rhetorically asked to no one in particular ─ just a question to the air.
A few of the other OFs have the same problem. One OF said, “I just put these ‘gifts’ on the pile with the rest of what I have to haul to the transfer station. It is not that the people leaving the supposedly collectible item are malicious at all.” The OF added, “People are actually trying to be good-hearted by sorting the items out from their own trash on the way to the dump; then they take the time and effort to swing by to leave it off.”
“I don’t ever say anything about this,” one OG said, “Because someday they may leave something I need, or a particular piece may become valuable, who knows.” To which one wise-guy OF retorted, “Ah, but the Shadow knows.”
The topic of downsizing comes up quite often in our nefarious group. This morning the OFs were discussing that topic and how hard this is to actually do. The OF’s mind’s think they can still do all the work, and play with all their big boy toys that they used to, only their bodies say, “Not so fast you OG.” Many of the OG’s bodies are in their eighties, and taking care of a large two-story home, with a three-acre lawn is a lot of work. The OFs are not forty years old any more, when this used to be fun. Then again the OFs say, “If I relocate to a smaller place where there is nothing to do, what am I going to do with the time, count flowers on the wall?”
One OF said, “That is what you have kids for…when we get old the kids can help take care of the old homestead so we can live there where we have always been, with our neighbors and friends, and now doctors we know.” “Not me,” one OF said, “I do not want to be a burden to my kids, they have their own lives to lead. I can take care of myself.” “Hogwash,” another OF said, “There comes a time when taking care of yourself is impossible.”
“A lot of it comes down to bucks,” chimed in another OF, “These senior places are not cheap, nor are the assisted living places. Most of them are geared to a class of people that made a darn sight more money than some dirt farmer, so maybe it is time for the kids to take over.”
Wow this conversation could ─ and just might ─ go on for weeks. This little report covered a lot of what the OFs were discussing. This scribe’s notes that he jotted down were mowing (for many OFs now a chore) household cleaning (for many OFs now a chore) maintaining property (for many OFs now a chore) and moving (for many OFs now a depressing thought). But as this scribe has said before our wave has crested, and our generation is being washed upon the shore. Not all OFs fit this category it just happened to be the chatter from the OFs at the tables where this scribe was seated.
Those OFs (the ones who washed upon the Chuck Wagon Diner in Princetown, and with firm determination said the h— with it, it is a long sandy beach, and there is a long way to go) were: Robie Osterman, Dick Ogsbury, Roger Shafer, Roger Chapman, Henry Witt, Glenn Patterson, Karl Remmers, Steve Kelly, Minor Stevens, Bill Krause, Andy Tinning, John Rossmann, Frank Pauli, Mark Traver, Harold Guest, Bob Benac, Duncan Bellinger, Art Frament, Lou Schenck, Ken Hughes, Jack Norray, Garry Porter, Mace Porter, Harold Grippen, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Bob Rissacher, Henry Whipple, Gerry Chartier, Mike Willsey, Elwood Vanderbilt, and me.