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On the last day of September 2014, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Country Café in Schoharie. The Country Café is across the street from the Parrott House which is a three story hotel on the main street of the village. The Parrott House holds a lot of memories for many of the OFs but, when tropical storm Irene entered the picture in Schoharie County in 2011, the hotel has fallen on hard times. The OFs say this is a shame. The Parrott House itself can almost be considered one of the centerpieces of the County. Today looking across at the building in need of repair inside and out, and with a blue blanket stuffed in one of the windows apparently to keep out some flying critters and drafts, the paint peeling, and the sign drooping, the building looks sad. It almost appears to be saying “help me“.

One OF said that it would take someone with deep pockets to bring it back to life, and then there is all the Schoharie politics that would go with it. One OF said the power structure in Schoharie is anti- this, anti-that, and anti-this again. The anti-group has a whole series of hoops for anyone trying to do something to jump through, and once anyone is done with those there is a whole series more of hoops to go through and someone in the group is running around gathering up the first set of hoops so it is necessary to go through them again.

Then there is all the rigmarole required to hook up to the new sewer system in the village of Berne. That is another story, but the way it was told at the gathering this morning was so pathetic it was like a comedy show. This exchange came from OFs at the breakfast who knew something about the mechanics of what was being installed and they were left scratching their heads. The OFs on this topic were wondering whatever happens to common sense to people when they become elected or are appointed to this board or that board, yet when they are not together with these groups seem like such nice, normal people and great to be with.

A few quick yearly comments that pop up at election time are the political ads. Most all the OFs are sick of them (the word “most” is used here because the scribe can only report what is within ear shot of where this scribe’s bum is plopped). (Another aside: the wife of this scribe said that the scope of his ear shot is only about the end of his arm, because she maintains that this scribe can’t hear her when she is in the same room with him.) Back to the political ads ─ to the OFs the only one that benefits from these ads is the media. “They must love it,” one OF said.

Another sign that it is October is handing out money for this program and that program, when it could have been done long ago. All of a sudden the blacktop batch plants are working overtime because many roads are being paved. The OFs also noticed that where fancy people live (and the roads weren’t that bad) these roads are being paved, and the roads where the middle class hang out are still being neglected.

Fall is not only the season for leaf peekers, but it is also the season of church dinners. The OFs highly recommend these dinners. Not only do you get fed well but you help support the small town community churches, and these dinners are inexpensive plus being all you can eat. Many of these church dinners have craft tables set up that also contribute to the small churches, and a big plus is that most of the desserts at these dinners are homemade pies. Some even have take-outs. One OF said what he does is attend the supper and eat a meal, then he orders a takeout, takes it home and splits it up, places some in the freezer, and some in the fridge and he eats well for a week. These OFs aren’t dumb, but of course they have been around awhile…that is why they are OFs.

At this morning’s breakfast the OFs had a double show and tell. One OF purchased at an (estate/garage) sale a gadget that was used for gardening. It was old, so he brought it in to see if any of the OFs knew what it was. The OFs came close but no cigar. It was a potato planter that was built so the person planting the potatoes did not have to bend over to do so. Must have been invented a long time ago by someone with a bad back.

Another OF brought in a picture he had taken of a beehive in a tree. Without being inside the tree the combs of honey just hung from a “Y” of a branch while the bees just kept on building the hive. This OF is a bee keeper and supplies many of the OFs with their honey. Another reason the OFs are OFs, many eat cinnamon and honey regularly. The OFs maintain that adding that combination of food to their diet keeps many diseases and ailments away. The photograph drew much attention, because the OFs understand that there seems to have been a problem with the bee population the last few years, however, this photo showed there were a ton of bees around this hive exposed to the air. One OF commented that it is good thing a bear hasn’t found that hive yet.

Those OFs that attended the breakfast at the Country Café on Main Street in Schoharie and came on their own, not chased in by bees, were: Miner Stevens, Dave Williams, Jim Heiser, Roger Shafer, Steve Kelly, George Washburn, Robie Osterman, John Rossmann, Bill Bartholomew, Roger Chapman, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Mace Porter, Rich Donnelly, Bob Lassome, Joe Loubier, Duane Wagenbaugh, Don Wood, Duncan Bellinger, Bill Krause, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, Ted Willsey, Mike Willsey (ask Mike what not to do when using a table saw), Gerry Chartier, and me.

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