On a beautiful October day, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the newly refurbished Hilltown Café in Rensselaerville.
It was Tuesday, the 28th of the month, and some of the OFs had a little extra ride early in the morning on the way to the Hilltown Cafe. The road normally traveled was closed for apparent culvert repair and this carload of OFs was not completely familiar with the hills in this area of the County, and in them thar hills there are roads that lead the unsuspecting driver to no-man’s land. This carload back-tracked to where they knew and took the roundabout way, which seemed to take forever, but according to the OFs time-wise it was not that long.
Some OFs said to these OFs, “Why didn’t you come up Ravine Road? That is the way we get here anyway.” The carload that went for the ride said they saw the sign for Ravine Road but not being familiar with the road was hesitant to take it. Some OFs might still be wandering around the hills up there trying to find the restaurant and this carload of OFs remembered that incident. This carload said they would follow the directions from the OFs that use Ravine Road to get to the Hilltown Café and take that way back down the mountain.
Many of the OFs are glad they are not back in school, and some of the OFs at one time were involved with the school system and one still teaches. The OFs don’t have a clue as to what is going on, both politically, and academically. The political correctness is driving many of the OFs nuts but the one that opens the shell for the nut is how far behind the times the OFs are and they have no idea what their grandkids are talking about when it comes to schoolwork. One OF said that the kids have to learn everything that has gone on in the past 80 years, and that is a lot…we didn’t because the OFs have lived it. Except for math and science which has really changed, the rest is the same old stuff, just repeated over and over all though American history seems to be short changed.
The OFs comment is there are not really any new stories or poetry since Homer, or Heraclitus? How about the Divine Comedy or the Bible? To this OF it is all the same intrigue only using different words. To this OF “so what’s new”? There have always been wars, only different people going at it with the same results. First it was fists, then clubs, then spears and the like, then the Chinese came up with gun powder, and now we are throwing atoms at each other. Nothing has changed, and neither will the results. “Boy,” this OF said, “I am glad I’m not back in school.” Similar to the Barbarians taking Rome, and the Huns running rough shod over everyone this OF feels the Barbarians are back and their weapons are drugs going after our young people. Who knows where we would be if the Romans, the Greeks, and the Egyptians were able to continue without being thwarted by might, and not brains? We would probably be traveling to other planets, and pain would be eliminated. These cultures were on their way to achieve that. “Boy, I am glad I am not back in school,” the OF said again, “not for the learning part but all the crap that goes on between those walls. The teachers must not only teach, but by golly they have to be cops; along with their degrees they should automatically be part of law enforcement and get badges.”
“You cynical old coot, you are being swayed by only a small portion of the school population,” an OF said. “How do you think it has gotten so far advanced that we OFs don’t understand it? Most of the students are paying attention to their teachers and then those kids are going on to become responsible citizens like us. We should give them a hand for running the gauntlet and coming out the other end as the next doctor to cure cancer. Like everyone says and this column has reported, if you can read this column thank a teacher.”
The fall season of raking came up and some OFs say they don’t bother to rake anymore. They take their tractor, set it low and grind the leaves up into mulch and leave them there. Other OFs have to deal with pine needles; they are a horse of a different color. Those nasty little orange needles have to be raked. When they get twisted into the grass they have to be double raked, once north and south, then east and west. One OF mentioned that in the south they bale the pine needles and call them pine straw and some landscapers go around and do all the work for them just to get the pine straw..
One of the OFs has a winter chore this year that he doesn’t generally have to do. This OF is a bee-keeper and this year he is moving his hives to North Carolina for protection. Apparently it is not from the cold but from disease. This OF says he has lost half his bee population this year. The bee is one of the main links in the pollination of almost everything. Birds, butterflies, and the wind are some of the other links but the bee is number one. We are in trouble if the problem of why the bees are dying is not found out and controlled.
Those OFs that made it to the Hilltown Café in Rensselaerville, and quite pleased that Rte. 85 and the road to the bridge have been paved were: Jack Norray, Mace Porter, Miner Stevens, Jim Heiser, Glenn Patterson, Chuck Aleseio, Roger Chapman, Dick Ogsbury, Karl Remmers, Otis Lawyer, Bill Krause, Jessie Vadney, Frank Pauli, Harold Grippen, Harold Guest, Robie Osterman, John Rossmann, George Washburn, Mark Traver, Henry Whipple, Bill Rice, Elwood