We are now into June, and the Old Men of the Mountain met at Mrs. K’s Restaurant in Middleburgh on June 2nd as a few more snowbirds returned. This scribe may be forced to join this migratory group. The operative word here is forced; joining that flock remains to be seen.
The OFs for the most part have been a very productive group. Here we have two categories. One is what many OFs have accomplished, and two is adding to the continuation of the species of homo-sapiens.
It is this second subject matter that came up showing how proud the OFs are of their kids, grandkids, and great grandkids. Every now and then the OF will bring in something reported in a newspaper that the offspring of the OF has accomplished. It is interesting to the OFs to hear these reports, which in turn means the OFs will listen to you when you bring up something that your brood has done that is noteworthy.
The OFs raise their eyes to the sky when the age of some of the OF’s kids is brought up in conjunction with these spontaneous reports ─ the age of these kids brings a form of wonderment to the OFs. “How old?” is the common question. When whatever OF is telling the story says a number like 50, or 60, and some reaching retirement age and beyond, it hard for the OFs to believe this. One OF said, “I never thought I would reach that age, let alone the age I am now.” A second OF replied, “It’s all the good food we get at Mrs. K’s and the other restaurants that got you here you ole goat, you should leave a bigger tip.” “Hey I get d— good food at home too don’t forget. I know, because you keep coming over right at supper time to mooch.”
Reaching back to ‘accomplishments’ (as previously mentioned) the number one accomplishment would be the hobbies the OFs have that this scribe has cited on other occasions. The OGs are quite proud of these too. At Mrs. K’s there is a clock on the wall completely handcrafted by one of the OFs; there is also a painting in the same restaurant handcrafted by another of the OFs. Some of the OFs have more to do than they have life left. One OF has a restored horse-drawn grader, while others have enough antique tractors around that if melted down would at least make a naval destroyer. Others are really active, and hike and maintain hiking trails…some of their activities have been referred to in the newspaper. Others collect, whatever, even if it is just belly-button fuzz, while some still think they can collect women. The other OFs call them dreamers. It is stated in the Bible that “your young men will prophesize, and your old men will dream dreams.” The second part of that statement is the OFs. See, the OFs are just doing as they are told.
The OFs sometimes wonder how much of what they do is predicated on genes, or how the OFs behaved when they were young, or their diet, or their work environment. The OFs think that any one or combination of any is the reason some are not able to do much, and some are able to do ten-mile bike rides and consider that too short. The OF’s advice to younger OFs (who will be OFs sooner than they think) is take care of yourself now or pay for it later, and paying for it later is no fun.
One OF was presented with a WWII ration book which happened to have been issued to the OF it was given to during the war. Many young people will have no idea what this is or how important they were. During WWII everything was rationed such as gasoline, tires, sugar, butter, meat, cars. Gas was strictly controlled, as was a host of other items. If anyone is interested it can be checked out on the net. One search engine on Google (World War Two rationing) is good. It has pictures of the books, the ration stamps…the whole ball of wax.
Because people were all affected by this conflict, together they worked hard to make sure their labor was not in vain. Victory gardens were quite common to supplement the supply of food and much of this food was shared with others. As with everything there were some bad apples and the OFs said once the rotten ones were found out sometimes the law was taken by the hands of citizens and the bad apples wished they had never started to rot.
Those OFs that made it to Mrs. K’s Restaurant in Middleburgh, and still making sure they take care of each other, were: John Rossmann, Bill Bartholomew, Miner Stevens, Glenn Patterson, George Washburn, Robie Osterman, Roger Chapman, David Williams, Harold Guest, Mark Traver, Otis Lawyer, Roger Shafer, Steve Kelly, Henry Witt, Don Wood, Art Frament, Jay Taylor, Herb Sawotka, Ted Willsey, Bob Lassome, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Ken Hughes, Gary Porter, Mace Porter, Bill Krause, Elwood Vanderbilt, Mike Willsey, Harold Grippen, and me.