On the 8th of July many of the Old Men of the Mountain made it to the Home Front Café in Altamont. The Assistant Proprietor was there having his breakfast (does this indicate the Home Front is a good place to eat?) and he greeted the OFs as they came in. Many OFs suggested that he should join the group but the A.P. maintained he was too young and not eligible to join our nefarious group. He also said he did not live far enough up the mountain to be considered a mountain man anyway.
As usual the OFs talked and complained, and some did not complain but still joined in the conversation on the new and fast moving technologies ─ of computers, tablets, smart phones, and cars that talk to you. One OF said that he can’t keep up with all new electronic gadgets. “Heck,” he said, “I still jam my foot down on the clutch pedal in my car when putting on the brakes, and I haven’t had a manual shift car in twenty years or more. It took me quite awhile,” the OF continued, “to even accept automatic shift cars. I thought they were a fad, and for lazy people, or people who didn’t know how to drive.”
“We know that,” another OF said, “You still call recorded music ‘records’ and say you are off to the picture show.”
“So,” the OF replied, “You know what I mean don’t you?”
“Yeah, I do,” the OF answered, “But some 12-year old will think you are from another planet and the kid will not have a clue to what you are talking about. He will think records are in file cabinets, and a picture show is a collection of photos on a smart phone.”
With this normal (?) but unusual summer, the ponds (at least on the hill) are full ─ some to overflowing with all the storms. One OF said we have storms, and rain, but for some reason this summer the storms are OK, but the amount of rain they contain is different. One OG said when he hears a storm is headed his way he takes his car out of the garage and puts it in the driveway. This OF said, “Some of these rains are harder than a car wash.”
It was mentioned that the high water in the ponds puts added pressure on the top of the pond’s wall and the spillways, or spill pipes can’t handle this pressure and some of the OFs are beefing up their ponds at this point.
One OF mentioned that the farmer up the road from him woke up one morning and his pond was empty. In checking out what had happened to his pond the farmer said “muskrats.” These varmints tunneled into the wall of the pond from the water side, like normal, but the end of the tunnel was so close to the back side of the dam the water pressure finally burst through the rat’s tunnel, eventually draining the pond in one night.
The Home Front Café has the tables already set for the OFs when it is their turn for the OF assault. This morning they had plates with slices of watermelon, muskmelon, and oranges on them. This display prompted the OFs to ponder if the producers keep on growing seedless watermelons and seedless oranges (and according to one OF, there are even new seedless tomatoes) what is going to happen when there are no more seeds to produce these fruits? How long can you have seedless this and that before whatever is gone.
One OF said, “Are we getting too lazy to spit out watermelon seeds? That’s half the fun of eating watermelon.”
“Yeah,” one OG claimed, “What about watermelon seed spitting contests? We need the seeds.”
An OF interjected that our planet is not infinite, it is finite; we can’t make any more water, or oil, or a lot of other things. Once we use them, they are gone.
What happens to old lawn tractors? The OF brought up how many of these things that have died are still on people’s lawns. One OF said apparently when people have to go out and buy a new lawn tractor they just mow around the old one that has been left there. Other OFs mentioned they have seen this modern phenomenon quite often. One OF said that the other OFs were missing the point. This OF maintained this (leaving the old lawn tractor in the yard) is the new form of modern lawn sculpture. Why these lawn tractors can even be a new form of a worship symbol, i.e., the owner bows down to the lawn god, and the lawn tractor represents the deity of this new found religion. The OF made the comment, rhetorically, how now-a-days if there is one blade of grass not cut on the overly manicured lawn, the homeowner runs in and grabs a pair of scissors and a ruler, runs back out, measures the wayward piece of grass to the proper height and snips it with the scissors, and then breathes a heavy sigh of relief. Now all is right with the world.
This same OF said that just as sometimes it is possible to see old chairs, old toilets, old bathtubs as flower planters, this OF thinks we will soon see old lawn tractors in the middle of the yard as planters. The OF said, maybe some might even have little candle shrines to the lawn gods placed around them.
The OFs that met at the Home Front Café in Altamont, and not preparing to worship the lawn god any time soon, were: Roger Chapman, Miner Stevens, Henry Witt, George Washburn, Robie Osterman, Bill Krause, Jay Taylor, Herb Sawotka, Art Frament, Roger Fairchild, Harold Guest, John Rossmann, Frank Pauli, Roger Shafer, Steve Kelly, George Covey, Jim Heiser, Glenn Paterson, George Aleseio, Jack Norray, Lou Schenck, Mace Porter, Dave Williams, Bill Bartholomew, Otis Lawyer, Mark Traver, Rich Donnelly, Bob Donnelly, Joe Loubier, Andy Tinning, Duane Wagenbaugh, Ted Willsey, Harold Grippen, Elwood Vanderbilt, Mike Willsey, Gerry Chartier, and me. Phew…