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Tuesday January 6th, the first breakfast of the Old Men of the Mountain of the New Year, was at the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh. It is now year-wise 2015 (and temperature-wise five to seven degrees) and what does the year hold in store for the OMOTM other than be cold? By the tone of the chatter this morning not much ─ even the temperature is pretty normal for January.

The OFs have seen so many old years go, and new years come, so that when compared one to another nothing much happens, but when the years are strung together a lot does change…a whole lot. This scribe does not want to start listing a multitude of changes here in transportation, communication, medicine, morality, the reader can do that themselves just by comparing any topic from 1930 to 2015 and note the changes. From diapers with pins to Pampers, one of the best subjects for changing the scribe can think of.

One sign of progress during that period of time is the small matter of immunization in the medical field. Now the OFs get a shot to ward off this or that. The OFs were talking about having gotten their flu shot. The media is advising us that the shot we had is not going to handle the type of flu that is out there, but it will lessen the severity of it. Again, every little bit helps. Polio in our country and throughout much of the world is about obliterated because of a vaccine. The OFs are familiar with this disease because of knowing people who have contracted it. TB is another disease that can be conquered; pneumonia another. Get a shot and the chances the OFs will come down with these problems are slim. The OFs could go on and on in just this one segment of progress in the 80+ years they have crawled (then got up and walked) on this sphere.

As the OFs become older they find they do less and less decorating for the holidays. Holidays here meaning not only Christmas, but Halloween, Thanksgiving, Easter, or any other holiday the OFs celebrated in the past. This year most of the OFs have their decorations down, because not many were put up. When is the appropriate time to put the decorations away until next year? As far as the OFs go there isn’t any. Put them up whenever, and take them down whenever, or never take the outside decorations down. “Why?” the OFs ask. “It just has to be done next year anyway.”

Over the years the OFs have accumulated boxes and boxes of ornaments and these boxes are stashed in the attic, barn, or cellars of their homes. Many of the OFs add to their collections just because of good marketing, or because the decorations just look pretty. Now, instead of one box, many have quite a few boxes and some these boxes now are never opened and never used. One OF said Box Number One which hasn’t been opened in 20 to 25 years must have some super collectible ornaments in it by now.

Decorating to one OF is a lot of fun, and the whole family gets into it. This OF has a manger scene he built and painted himself and he still drags it out each Christmas.

The OFs were wondering why it is that the smaller the tractor the more the parts cost to fix it when it either breaks or wears out. Some OFs have a small tractor, not a lawn mower type tractor but a do-it-all small tractor. It is not only one OF that thinks his tractor is a Cat D7, but most of the OFs fall into this category and they try to pull a two-ton log with a 1/2 ton tractor. That is why things break and the manufacturer is smart enough to realize this is going to happen, so to make a good profit they put a hefty price tag on parts. Or the service shop tacks a good price on the parts that are prone to breakage to increase their margin to pay for parts they have to carry that are probably never going to move off the shelf. This is where the OFs shine. Over the years they have developed a little trait called ingenuity. This becomes obvious when an OF says such and such broke and another OF says he had the same problem and fixed it with duct tape and baling wire, and tells how he did it. If you think this is just a joke just watch the NASCAR races sometime and see how much duct tape is used after a car has had an altercation with the wall at 190 miles per hour. Sometimes cars finish with two to three rolls of duct tape holding them together. Duct tape is the OF’s friend. This scribe thinks some of the OFs are held together with duct tape.

Referring to last week, the OFs that took the wrong turn more than once leaving the Hilltown Café in Rensselaerville were followed (unbeknownst to them) by other OFs that left the restaurant but knew where they were going. This morning The OFs who knew questioned the other OFs and asked if they got home by noon. The OFs that knew where they were, saw the other OFs turn right when they should have turned left or gone straight said, “I wonder where those OFs are going, they are going to get lost.” Yup, they were right. The right-turning carload of OFs did take quite a circuitous route and wound up about 300 yards from the Hilltown Café after driving for nearly half an hour.

The OFs that that made it to the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh, and who did not even worry about the vehicle not starting (that seems to be a thing of the past) were: George Washburn, Glenn Patterson, Harold Guest, Roger Shafer, Otis Lawyer, Chuck Aleseio, Mark Traver, Robie Osterman, Roger Chapman, Lou Schenck, Mace Porter, Don Wood, Bill Rice, Henry Whipple, Bill Krause, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, and me.

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