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The Old Men of the Mountain met at Mrs. Ks Restaurant in Middleburgh on Tuesday the 13th of January 2015, and that is one 13th of the year out of the way with that is not on a Friday. Now we have February, March, and November to look forward to. Not that the OFs are superstitious or anything.

Many of the OFs are looking for January to be over. Some of the OFs think that once February is here winter is on the wane. Although some say it can be a nasty month, and March can be the month of snow and mud. Some March days feel like spring has sprung, and these days are then followed by a wintery blast, so that has many of the OFs shivering more so than in January. So much for the weekly weather report. It is what it is ─ deal with it.

 

Many of the OFs have relatives that are or have been NY State troopers. At one time the OMOTM had a retired trooper that joined in on the breakfast with the rest of us. With the advent of all the recent notoriety about police and the dangers they are in the OFs began talking about troopers then and now. As none of us at the table is or was a trooper the OFs could only relate what occurred with their friends and relatives, and there are some big changes.

Early on the troopers were treated like soldiers in the army; they actually had barracks. They stayed right there and were away from home. The uniforms, though basically the same color were quite different. The OFs told humorous stories about the situations their friends and relatives got into as troopers. Some of the OFs told of how they have had to use the troopers, or how the troopers have had to come and see them. The rural areas like the Hilltowns when the OFs were young rarely saw a trooper; they were not that many and those that were assigned to these areas had a lot of geography to cover. Also, the OFs don’t know when it changed or even if it has, in fact, changed but there seemed to be less tickets issued back then. It seemed the troopers were part of the community, and really were peace-keepers.

It seemed, as one OF neatly put it, the troopers knew who to cuff and who were just good old boys settling things the mountain way and not bad people or criminals. The gray uniform still carries the respect it did then and probably will continue to garner the respect that has built up since 1917. One OF added as long as they keep politics out of it, it will.

Almost a continuation of last week the OFs brought up the health issue again, only this time it was why some people who apparently maintain a healthy life style wind up with some horrendous diseases. The OFs picked out people that have brain cancer, and pancreatic cancer. People that are active and thin keel over with a heart attack. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason for much of it as far as the OFs can understand. Then there are those, one OF said, that break all the rules and are still chewing on their cigars at 100 years old. One OF thought there should be a percentage chart in doctor’s offices that show what the percentage of NOT getting a nasty disease is (when the people who play by the rules) as compared to those who do not play by the rules chances of GETTING some serious malady that is going to do them in. The OFs used examples of smoking, drinking, being sedentary, and constantly at the food trough.

The OFs harkened to when they were younger and there were very few rules on what to eat, wear, drink, and go. Then again one OF said, “We had little choice of what to eat, wear, and drink, and also a horse didn’t get you very far.” “We aren’t that old, you old goat,” was the reply but most of us did eat from the garden, and butchered our own meat, plucked our own chickens”.

Last week’s disease topic was basically polio. This Tuesday the issue was another nasty ailment ─ Parkinson’s disease. There are medications for this problem but what was brought out by the OFs was when someone in the spotlight contacts this or that disease and begins to champion it ─ what a difference that makes. The OFs brought up how much Michael J. Fox has done for Parkinson’s awareness, treatment and research. The OFs thought the people in the trenches and doing the grunt work seem to make little headway, then someone in the limelight gets involved and bingo! There is that positive spike.

A short comment that this scribe did not pick up at the time, (some people think on their feet ─ right or wrong ─ this scribe is a mull-it-over type and thinks about it, sometimes for days) and this is the comment, “If we die, do we have things in order so our kids don’t have one giant puzzle to solve?” That is a good thought but what’s with the “if”? Shouldn’t that be when? The way it was said may be normal, but it sounds like we have a choice. This scribe thinks there is no choice it is not if but when.

Those OFs attending the breakfast at Mrs. Ks in Middleburgh and all bringing their rabbit foots (feet?), which leaves a lot of 3-legged rabbits running around, were: Chuck Aleseio, Otis Lawyer, Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, Roger Shaver, Roger Chapman, Harold Guest, John Rossmann, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Mace Porter, Jack Norray, Lou Schenck, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, and me.

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