Tuesdays in the summer of 2014 are rolling on by. This Tuesday the 29th of July the Old Men of the Mountain met at Mrs. K’s Restaurant in Middleburgh, and the group this morning was one of the largest collection of OFs to date.
The OF arrived in all their summer finery, this after managing to get dressed. The OFs quite often comment on how much effort it takes at times to perform this major task of the day. However, it beats running around naked all day and using all that sun block.
One OF mentioned that he was able to put on his socks this morning standing up and not having to sit down. Then a second OF added that he considers it a good start to the day if he can put on his shorts standing up and not falling over. Sometimes, the OF said, he stands there looking at this part of his underwear and considers the challenge of standing and getting those things on. The number one challenge is to be able to bend over far enough and lift his leg high enough to even get started. The number two challenge is if the OF can get that far and not hook his toes in the yard of material which has now fallen halfway down and he has to perform the one legged dance to keep from falling over. Not passing this challenge causes the OF to give in and sit down.
The conversation drifted into how many of the OFs say they have two different bodies. One OF demonstrated how he can reach his left arm quite far up his back, and the right arm not so much. The OF said it just won’t go. Others joined in with different appendages being able to, or not able to, do the same thing the other one does. One OF mentioned as far as sensations go he is divided in half. The OF said that if he puts his keys in his right back pocket and when he sits down it is like the princess and the pea. If he takes the keys out of right pocket and puts them in the left and sits down the OF said he doesn’t even know they are there. The OF continued that he can’t carry anything in his right back pocket.
Then the OFs started on eyes and ears; this narrative included many of the OFs. Some can see well out of one eye and the other one not so much. Some OFs have to turn their head to listen to conversations so their good ear can pick them up. One OF said he can open a bottle with his left hand but not his right. This OF said he just does not have the strength in his right hand to open the jars and bottles yet the OF said he is right handed. Hmm. The OFs concluded we must be made in halves not wholes.
Most steady readers of the OMOTM column know that some of the OFs maintain and blaze hiking trails. Part of this group maintains the trail that goes to the top of Vroman’s Nose in the town of Fulton just outside of Middleburgh, on Route 30 (can be googled ─ just type in Vroman’s Nose.) The OFs were talking about how much work they do to make the plateau at the top of the Nose a scenic and attractive area, and how much of this work winds up being ruined. They have built benches for seniors to rest on once they’ve made the climb and enjoyed the view. These benches have all been thrown over the cliff at one time or another. They have put up fireplaces so fires would not be started on the fragile shale on top; these too have found their way to the bottom of the cliff, and bon-fires have started on the shale which in the end shatters it.
One OF took the time and effort to build benches around a tree so people could sit in the shade after the climb. The tree was cut down, and the benches, you guessed it, found their way off the cliff. The OFs clean the base of the cliff at least once a year from all this debris and even find empty beer half-kegs. Everything they have tried to do to make the top decent is ultimately destroyed. The OFs ask, “What does this say about the people who come up and their respect for anything?”
The OFs tried to remember what they did when they were young bucks. Nothing of this magnitude came to mind. Then again turning over outhouses and hornings might apply, but none could remember behaving with the vandalism they were talking about at the Nose. Then one OF asked, “Do bar brawls count?” Another OF answered, “Not unless (in the process of the brawl) we happened to throw the bar itself out into the parking lot.”
Those Old Men of the Mountain making it to Mrs. K’s Restaurant in Middleburgh and not starting any brawls while there, were: Carl Walls, George Washburn, Robie Osterman, Miner Stevens, Karl Remmers, John Rossmann, Duncan Bellinger, Mark Traver, Glenn Patterson, Otis Lawyer, Jim Heiser, Frank Pauli, Dick Ogsbury, Dave Williams, Art Williams, Bill Bartholomew, Harold Guest, Roger Chapman, Jay Taylor, Bob Benac, Herb Swabota, Roger Fairchild, Bill Krause, Don Wood, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Mace Porter, Rich Donnelly, Bob Lassome, Duane Wagenbaugh, Joe Loubier, Bob Donnelly (and his distaff side to check out that there really is a group called the OMOTM), Harold Grippen, Elwood Vanderbilt, Gill Zabel, Ted Willsey (who brought another young lady to keep tabs on him), Mike Willsey, and Gerry Chartier. Gerry brought one exchange student from Germany ─ Olga Zerr, a BKW exchange student and Mario Schneider, however, their timing was a little late and most of the OFs had gone. This may have been a good thing for the young people from Germany…they only had to deal with a handful of OFs; who knows what they would have thought if they had encountered the whole group. And me.