This scribe wonders what life was like when there were no days of the week, months of the year, or even time. We would not know if it was Tuesday or not.
Well Tuesday the 26th of May the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Home Front Café, where the breakfast hors d’oeuvres were served up by Jack. Now that is an interesting touch but if there were no indications of days, weeks, months or years how would we even record that such a miraculous event ever occurred.
The early arrivers talked about the unusual rainbow that was in the southwest sky at about six a.m. on this Tuesday morning. There had to be a shower someplace but where most of the OFs were it was not raining. So many of the OFs observed this rainbow it let the OFs that saw it alone early in the morning know they were not crazy and seeing things.
Another OF mentioned seeing on Channel Six news a story about a girl wrestler from Gallupville who was wrestling in Madison Square Garden. This OF asked the OFs that lived anywhere near the Gallupville area if any of them knew of a girl wrestler (that had a reputation of being a rather good wrestler) living in the Gallupville area. None of the OFs knew of such a person. Well there is such a person and she is from Gallupville; her match was with a wrestler from Cuba, and she won. So that is another not crazy OF. Yet.
Then the OFs spent quite a bit of time talking about riding lawnmowers. From this discussion it was a good thing the OFs are country folk and keeping up with Joneses is not a priority, because most of the lawnmowers used by the OFs are so old and beat up they would be right at home in Bedrock. (Think Flintstones, Abba Dabba Do). One OF said he went to call on a fellow many of the OFs know who repairs small engines and fixes lawn mowers ─ riding or not. This OF purchased two basically identical riding lawnmowers for a hundred bucks each from him. He uses the best mower to mow the lawn and the other mower for parts as the mower the OF selected as best starts to fall apart. Keeping these old things running becomes a challenge, and it’s fun to see how long they can keep these old mowers going. The OF that has to go shopping for another mower because his mower is 17 years old, with so many cobbled up parts nobody could drive it except the OF, not unless they had a complete check out on the mower’s idiosyncrasies.
No matter how the mower looks if the blades go around it will cut the grass just as well as any new, fancy, green and yellow tractor. One OF reported that he had one of these green and yellow machines and was out mowing the lawn when his wife called. With the ear protectors on and the tractor running with the mowing deck spinning it is tough to hear anything. The OF turned to holler WHAT? and ran full tilt into a tree. That did a number on the plastic engine shroud of the tractor and a few other things like lights, and being able to close the hood…just little things. The OF said now the engine is really air cooled because the shroud is somewhere other than on the tractor. The OF did not say whether it was behind the shed or in the dump.
Somehow this drifted into a conversation about how much the riding mowers with the front engine have gone up in price, but the newer zero turn machines have gone down in price. Then one OF questioned why is he able to get a riding lawn mower with all the attachments for less money than a mattress. One OF said, “Now we know who is making all the money ─ the amount of profit in a mattress has to be ridiculous, just look at what goes into making a tractor and the amount of people required to do it. Now look at a mattress, one great big wooden pallet, with a bunch of springs attached to it and fabric, then on top of that is a fabric box stuffed with cotton and maybe some coil of wire or whatever inside that and it is done.” “Big whoop,” the OF said, “If I had a heavy duty sewing machine I could make a mattress in my shop in two or three hours.”
This led to a brief discussion on merchandise made in the USA, and products made elsewhere. These types of conversations can get to be a little political so the points made are short, and don’t go too deep. In this case though consider that many of the common items most of us use, the average person could not afford if they were made in the USA. This is a sad but true commentary.
This led to another brief discussion which is common knowledge (at least to the OFs). They feel that New York State is killing off small industries, and the OFs are beginning to think it is intentional. Both of these are debatable.
Those OFs that made it to the Home Front Café in Altamont and most being wide awake after a good night’s sleep on a mattress of their choice, but not the few that were kicked out of the house and had to sleep in the barn, were: Miner Stevens, George Washburn, Robie Osterman, John Rossmann, Frank Pauli, Henry Witt, Dave Williams, Harold Guest, Mark Traver, Glenn Patterson, Chuck Aleseio, Otis Lawyer, Jack Norray, Gerry Erwin, Lou Schenck, Mace Porter, Bill Krause, Jim Rissacher, Bob Fink, Bob Benninger, Andy Tinning, Gil Zabel, Harold Grippen, Allen Befazio, Elwood Vanderbilt, Henry Whipple, (Mike Willsey, Warren Willsey, Daniele Willsey, Ted Willsey, Emily Meduna, and Gerry Chartier, a small part of the Willsey clan. One of the distaff side was a chauffer for one of the Willseys who had recent shoulder surgery; the OFs are tough old goats), and me.