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It’s Tuesday the 23rd of December, and Christmas is almost here. The Old Men of the Mountain met at Mrs. Ks Restaurant in Middleburgh. This has become an annual event. Loretta (the proprietor of Mrs. Ks) was a classmate of some of the OFs so there is no telling this lady any trumped up stories. Loretta was there and she knows if any of the OFs are blowing smoke. Not that the OFs do this but on the rare occasion when they do Loretta will give them the ‘look’ like, “What kind of far-fetched story are you trying to peddle now!” That puts the brakes on the OFs from stretching a tale too far.

With the spread that Loretta had put out for the OFs it wasn’t necessary to order breakfast, but the OFs did, and then some had the nerve to ask for doggy bags.

There is another side to this that the OFs mention every now and then. How many of us OGs hobble into her establishment and there she is. She has been there since maybe 5 in the morning, ready to wait on us OFs. The OFs wish she would dish up some of her energy on top of the bacon and eggs, or pancakes.

The OFs talked about the spirit of certain towns, and how there seems to be a spirit in Middleburgh that is a step above the others. The decorations for Christmas, the candy cane covers for the parking meters so parking is free during the holidays, the artsy shops, and the plantings around town during the summers are inviting touches…this all makes Middleburgh just seem different. One OF pointed out that Middleburgh does have the creek running right at the west end of town, and all those beautiful large homes going north along the creek on Route 30 which accounts for a lot of this good feeling.

The OFs are sure the other towns try, but do not have the structure or the landscape to work with. Also, as one OF put it, it is what a town wants and if the town leaders have the finances to work with what the people would like to see. Some want it quiet and not all gussied up. One OF that used to have a business in a small local town said it is necessary to get people out of their vehicles and to walk the streets and then attract them into your shop. This OF said that if there is a just a group of destination stores, none of these businesses will make it ─ his opinion. Then there is the flood. This unfortunate disaster still raises its ugly head maintained one OF. It isn’t only the flooded towns said one OG, it is (some) towns in general. Just ask the OFs. There is a lot on knowledge in the group. About 1800 years of it.

There was a brief discussion on Kenneth White, and the OFs extend their sympathy for everyone involved. Some of the OFs wondered if the situation was the result of being on medication, or the lack of it. The warnings on some medicines heard in ads on TV and radio are enough to scare the living daylights out of anyone. “We can conjecture all we want but none of us were in that trailer at that time,” said one OF. A second OF said, “If God is so benevolent and loving why do things like this happen? Look at all the people’s lives that are screwed up, what is the purpose of it?” “God is in heaven,” one OG answered, “But the devil roams the earth.” The OFs were getting a little deep here.

The OFs discussed eating and plucking chickens, and the various ways to do both. Some OFs maintain that it is not necessary to dip the bird in hot water to get the feathers off. Some of the OFs said that using a pick and hitting the right spot of the brain the feathers just fall off. Others said running the chicken through a “defeathering” machine was another way. The machine is just a series of whirling rubber blades that takes the feathers off, explained the OF. The OFs surmised that there must be some way of removing the feathers other than ducking the bird in hot water because the OFs are pretty sure that Purdue, or Tyson, do not have guys or gals taking chickens and ducking them in hot water tubs then plucking them. “My goodness, what a smelly job that would be,” said one OF because he couldn’t stand the smell when plucking a chicken. “That smell is worse than cleaning the gutters.” One OF said “just think of all the chickens that must be raised on a daily basis just to feed the people that eat them all over this planet. What a number that would be.”

The OFs that came out of the hills to attended the holiday breakfast at Mrs. Ks Restaurant in Middleburgh and enjoy the hors d’oeuvres were: Miner Stevens, Otis Lawyer, George Washburn, Robie Osterman, John Rossmann, Harold Guest, Mark Traver, Glenn Patterson, Chuck Aleseio, Roger Chapman, Steve Kelly, Mace Porter, Jack Norray, Lou Schenck, Don Wood, Bill Krause, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Mike Willsey, Gerry Chartier, Elwood Vanderbilt, Gill Zabel, Harold Grippen, and me.

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