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The Middleburgh Diner was given the opportunity to wait on the Old Men of the Mountain Tuesday, February 24th.

It was double digits below zero for most of the OMOTM when they rubbed the sleep from their eyes this particular Tuesday morning. The OFs keep commenting on the coldest day of the winter, then along comes another week, and IT has the coldest day of the winter. That is true though, but this scribe will have to be careful to add “up till this breakfast” it has been the coldest day of the winter, or the hottest day of the summer because even though we continually live in the past by about 80 milliseconds we are not living in the future. With that being the case all should be proceeded by so far such and such has happened, we know nothing about the next second.

The news is full of stories about people being without water, and the OFs talked about local areas being without water because of broken water mains like Cobleskill, Central Bridge ─ areas that are over the hill in Brigadoon-land and rarely make the news. The water main break in Central Bridge was in pipes that have been under the ground since 1876. The OFs were wondering if they were the old fashioned wooden pipes the likes of those that are in museums. Could be, the OFs thought. Then OFs began discussing on how the craftsmen of that day made those wooden pipes. One OF said he has a set of drill bits from that period and some have extensions that can be added together. Another OF suggested they might use the lumber from the sycamore trees which are hollow in the center.

This scribe went to Google, and those wooden water pipes are all over the place. It shows how many different styles there were, and also showed drilled ones using the extensions like the ones the OF has. Google noted how many different ways these wooden pipes were connected, the most common being the taper, and these pipes even had tees to carry water in different directions. The ingenuity of our forefathers to make do with what they had (in some cases) puts the current generation to shame. At one point one OF said that his daughter said that if she didn’t have her hair dryer she would kill herself, life wouldn’t be worth living without that dryer. The OFs knows this is kid’s rhetoric, because it isn’t only hair dryers they can’t live without. The OFs question is have we have progressed or have we slid downhill so far we can’t see the top?

In the Hilltowns, and from what this scribe understands, it is not only for Hilltown seniors but all seniors in Albany County; the OFs can now go to lunch at the Hilltown senior center on route 443 in Berne. Lunches will be available at noon on Monday, Tuesday and Friday. According to the OFs that have been there the lunches are free but there is a basket for a good will offering for those seniors that are in a position to do so. One of the days is Tuesday, now the OFs can eat out almost all day and on the cheap too. The OFs also gave a phone number if any seniors have a question that number is 872-9400. Some OFs took exception to being labeled seniors because some aren’t. “Well, then you are excluded and not invited,” the OF who was giving this information explained. “Why?” the other OF said, “Are there going to be senior police at the door checking ID?” Oh dear, another rankel brewing.

Living on the Hill, and as mentioned above in Brigadoon- land it was found that what OFs are connected by blood to other OFs in such roundabout ways gets scary. Mention just one ancestor going only back as far as an OFs grandfather and the connections start. Except for the few outsiders that migrate to the Hills and the

valley of Schoharie it begins to break down to one big happy family. Except that in some cases “happy” doesn’t really apply.

Last week we talked about a man’s barn, shed, or garage being his castle, and the house belonging to the wife. Almost a continuation of this is who does the dishes and the laundry. It is surprising how many OFs do the dishes, and some do their own laundry. One OF knew what he was doing in the laundry department, but the others, well that is another story. They throw everything together and eventually it all turns a bluish-gray color. This must be a carry-over from the military or college. Some OFs do a lot of the house work, but NOT the laundry. These OFs don’t know wool from silk, or cotton from polyester. Just like shopping most OFs said their wives feel and touch everything, and they’ll know if the zipper will stick and it takes them forever to find anything. Then a lot of the time when they get it home it won’t go with anything so they take it back. Lord help the OFs from going on shopping trips. One OF mentioned he has a couple pairs of shoes and he doesn’t need twenty pairs. Another OF said he has four pockets in his pants, and generally two on his shirt so he does not need fifteen or more pocketbooks. The OFs don’t quite understand how the shoes have to match the pocketbook, the pocketbook has to match the ensemble, and that includes the earrings, and other jewelry. One OF said that his wife wears contacts, and she has them in different colors. The OF continued that she wouldn’t be caught dead in a brown outfit with blue eyes.

The topic of the weather came up as it seems to be coming up in many conversations other than the OMOTM’s breakfast. It’s the weather at the mall, the weather at Wally-world, the weather at the grocery store, the weather at the hardware store; the OFs can’t escape the weather. As one OF put it, it is bad but not as bad as it could be.

The OFs that made it to the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh (and in their own various shades of gray) were: John Rossmann, George Washburn, Harold Guest, Roger Chapman, Glenn Patterson, Otis Lawyer, Frank Pauli, Robie Osterman, Mark Traver, Chuck Aleseio, Mace Porter, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Bill Krause, Steve Kelly, Roger Shafer, Mike Willsey, Warren Willsey, and me.

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