Tuesday, the 9th of September, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Hilltown Café in Rensselaerville. Unfortunately this scribe was not in attendance, and this scribe had a bonafide excuse. To break it down to its finer points is “happy wife, happy life” and that is true. This gives the scribe a chance to return to some of his notes taken at previous breakfasts and use a couple of items that did not make it to the Enterprise.

One entry was how important it is that what we do now and what the OFs did when they were in the workforce. The conclusion the OFs came up with is that most of what everyone does is important and much of what we do directly affects many other people. One OF said that just closing the door on your vehicle and starting out to go somewhere (to the store or across the country) is a job…an important job. Many people rely on how someone conducts themselves behind the wheel, and it is not just the driver.

That thought is carried back to the people that design and build the car in the first place. If these designers don’t pay attention to what they are doing and install a wheel haphazardly, that wheel could come off and many could become hurt.

Take that further back to the company that made the wheel, and even further back to the company that made the steel, that made the wheel, and it is now apparent how important each one’s job is.

One OF mentioned how important the job of a mail carrier is, because at times ─ as his brother was delivering the mail ─ his brother would think of what each letter might mean. One could be a check that was so important to the recipient, another could be bringing news of an ill or elderly relative, one could be a simple wedding invitation, or birth announcement. Good news, bad news, encouraging news, even the “junk mail” is interesting to someone. Also important to both (the one who was sending and the one who was receiving this mail) and the mailman’s job was to get it done and done right.

As one OF put it, “No matter what your job is, the thing is do the best you can, and not put yourself down because what is being done seems inconsequential.” One OG said, “Boy that sounds corny, but ya know it is true.”

One OF mentioned closing the door on a car, and this brought up a discussion on cars and speed limits; some others were wondering what speed limits are and do they really mean anything. The OF said that the speed limit on Route 20 through Guilderland is 40 mph. “If I go 40,” the second OF said, “I’m in the way.” Another OF chimed in, “Route 85 from the circle at Blessing Road, to I-90 is 55 mph. Try that one at 55. I have to go 65 just to stay with the moderate traffic.” A third OF said, “If you ask anyone if they have knowingly broken the law I think most would say no, but they have ─ from cops, to priests, ministers, judges, politicians, doctors, lawyers, Indians, and such.” This OF is willing to bet that they all knowingly break the law on a daily basis, just getting to and from work, and heaven help us if anyone of them is in a hurry.

“Yeah,” one OF said, “But you and we all are in that category.” “Another thing,” an OF added, “Now that we are talking about all of this, one of us is bound to get a ticket; it will be just our luck.” “That may be right, another OF said, “But you will get citied for not maintaining 30 miles an hour, you old poke.”

Conversely, an OF said he has been on the NYS Thruway about four times recently running to Utica and back and finds that almost everyone, including trucks, are behaving themselves. Only the occasional wise-a.. goes tearing by. Then again the OF said that apparent wise-a.. may have a real emergency or a good promise and has a reason for pedal to the metal high-balling it down the highway.

Then more discussion ensued around certain routes where the OFs find they have a lot of tricky maneuvering. One road is I-90 from Exit 24 to the bridge at Route 787, which is another reason for prayer when getting on. That is a 55 mph stretch, and 70 mph seems to be the norm. Then there is a scary section that requires no arthritis in the neck and that is negotiating the ½ mile section from Route 20 to Wolf road via the Northway. One OF said, “That is why I shop local. To fight my way to Colonie Center or Crossgates is not worth the hassle.” Ah…age takes all the fun out of many challenges.

This scribe does not know how the OFs got to Rensselaerville and the Hilltown Café. The scribe suspects all the drivers were cautious because the OFs that made it were: Dick Ogsbury, Karl Remmers, Bob Benac, Jack Benac, Roger Fairchild, Otis Lawyer, Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, Jack Norray, Lou Schenck, Ted Willsey, Duane Wagonbaugh, Joe Loubier, Rich Donnelly, Bob Lassome, Henry Whipple, Bill Rice, Jim Rissacher, George Washburn, John Rossmann, Robie Osterman, Bill Bartholomew, Dave Williams, Gerry Chartier (w/guests Mario Schnelder & Olga Ferr), Mike Willsey (w/guest Amy Willsey), Harold Grippen, Elwood Vanderbilt, and not me.

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