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Tuesday, the 17th of February, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Hilltown Café in Rensselaerville.

Rensselaerville is perched approximately 1600’ in the air so for the OFs it is all up hill to get there even though some OFs start out at 1400’ but those OFs have to go down and then up again. The OFs expected more snow but nope, the snowfall looked just like the snow that fell at 1400’ or 680’. However, though the winter has been a tad nasty, the roads in the Hilltowns have been pretty darn good, and so it was this morning. The weather doomsayers on TV and radio would have us all hibernate. The OFs have seen winters like this and have had to go out in it. If an OF has a medical problem where the cold air will affect him it is best to stay indoors, otherwise bundle up and get out, but don’t be stupid about it.

The OFs commend the road crews, the firefighters and EMTs, the power company repair crews, the DPW repair crews and the farmers. The OFs also think those that have to go to work in hospitals, and those that work with or volunteer for the Homeless Shelters in this cold should also be commended. There are many others who just get out and about in the cold. Snow… that is another story. The OFs say if it is unessential stay off the roads so the road crews can clean things up. A big joke to the OFs are all the TV stations being ‘do as I say, but not as I do’ class of people. Here they are telling the OFs to stay off the roads and where are they? They are on the roads and in the way.

The OFs talked about drones and the new knee jerk rules that are being applied and other rules or regulations being bandied about concerning these drones. The OFs think that TV and radio stations should have licensed pilots and drones on hand for accidents, weather, fires, and other instances where publicizing emergencies would be of benefit to the general public. The use of drones, the OFs think, would be a valuable tool and people wouldn’t have to go thousands of feet up to do it. The operators of the drones would not be in harms way.

The OFs noted that the newer cameras, along with the cameras on phones and tablets, are exceptionally good. Couple this with the drones and to the OFs it seems natural for them to be used by the police, news agencies, hospital and medical staff to name a few. This scribe added how about emergency responders with a drone flying ahead with a mounted remote TV camera and a receiver in the emergency vehicle. The EMTs would be able to see pending trouble spots and maneuver around them. How slick would that be?

A few of the OFs have been Radio Controlled airplane (RC) flyers, and think the development of drones in many cases is a plus, however, the OFs also realize there are those that are going to use this new technology for nefarious purposes and spoil the sport for everyone else including some with legitimate use.

Look how all the hackers have spoiled the internet. Hardly anyone trusts the internet anymore. Some of the OFs never got into using the internet or computers and they may be the smart ones. The hacking that has come to light that bothers one OF who takes many medications is where the hackers can now do their thing and hack into your medical records and change your prescription. This OF said he read that the government wants all doctors to use electronic transfer of prescriptions. These guys are just generating another boondoggle that is going to cause more problems than it solves. This OF can’t understand the logic behind it. This OF wants to use cash, a checkbook, a savings passbook, and have his prescriptions in his hand. “What in the world is the matter with that,” the OF asked? “How can the government force me to go electronic? Right on our money it says ‘legal tender’, and by golly they had better take it or I will call a cop.” Rest of this conversation will be at a later date.

The OFs are OFs and one of the discussions this morning was what age is a good retirement age. We have OFs that retired from the military after twenty or so years. That placed these OFs first retirement in their forties, and one is now close to ninety and going strong. Retirement age to some OFs is not a specified number; some OFs are still working. One OF thought that if you really like what you are doing, why retire?

Some OFs thought that health had a lot to do with it. If you feel good, and can retire, you should retire and enjoy it. Why should I retire if I feel rotten and know I am not going to get any better? This OF said retiring and not feeling like getting up in the morning is for the birds, stay working and croak on the job. This OF felt that way he would be less of a burden to the family.

Being a burden to the family and then being put in a home is a big concern of many of the OFs. Some of the OFs though say when they become a burden put me in the home. Others say that this is easy to say now but when the time comes these OFs bet the other OFs will change their tune or a least think twice about being shuffled off to the home. Again with the ages of the OFs this can become a sensitive subject. Some are dealing with it right now. It is not easy.

This scribe says that life’s orchard is not just a crate of apples, but apples, oranges, grapefruit, plums, grapes, pomegranates, star fruit, mangos, all thrown into the same crate. How it sorts out at the end is different for everyone. On a more up beat note the OFs talked about the two accidents in the area that were amazing. One accident was where the SUV went off a bridge, fell approximately 30 feet, landed on its roof, and the occupants crawled out and were basically OK. The other one was where the driver had a flat (?) on a bridge, stepped over the guide rail to avoid traffic, slipped and fell 50 (?) feet to the ground, got up, crawled up the bank back to where his vehicle was, and was hit by a tractor trailer. The OFs said these people had to be young because the OF’s bones can’t handle a fall off a step stool. One OF said age has nothing to do with it; it was just not their time.

The Old Men of the Mountain that made it to the Hilltown Café, and were entertained by the proprietor’s son because there was no school, were: Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Harold Guest, Roger Chapman, Frank Pauli, John Rossmann, Jack Norray, Lou Schenck, Mace Porter, Bill Krause, Mark Traver, Glenn Patterson, Chuck Aleseio, Mike Willsey, Warren Willsey, Ted Willsey, Henry Whipple, Otis Lawyer, Bill Rice, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, Jim Rissacher, Guest Gary Taylor, and me.