The Old Men of the Mountain Column most generally is one week behind. This week the Old Men of the Mountain met on Tuesday the 28th of July at the Hilltown Café in Rensselaerville and the group filled the place up. Not completely filled up with OFs…but close. The OFs do appreciate the restaurants that put up with us. It must be like waiting on a collection of people from The Home.

A topic that is approached on occasion is traffic in the city. This topic is not the cities of Albany, Schenectady, or Troy but real cities ─ not sample cities. One OF compared it to the common remark when seeing someone walking a miniature Schnauzer or a Cairn Terrier or Chihuahua, the coarse person may blurt out, “Why don’t you get a real dog instead of a sample dog” or something uncouth like that. When approaching cities of a million people or more…now that is getting to be a real city and traffic is to be expected.

The OFs know now there is going to be traffic, and it is a good idea to have a full tank of gas because the OFs said traffic jams are common and do not untangle right away. One OF’s grandson has a girlfriend that lives just outside the City. To those of the uninitiated the OFs are supposed to know what city is being spoken of. To these people there is only one city and its abbreviation is NYC. The grandson of the OF had to explain to the girlfriend the difference in traffic. “In the City traffic is traffic by the numbers,” the grandson told the girlfriend, “And the traffic where I live is a tractor on the road”.

One OF, who traveled a lot when he was still working, said that the city of Albany and other cities around us are neat. The OF said he could be in downtown Albany and in a 15 to 20 minute drive he realizes that he is counting cows. The OF said, “Even going through the cities of Troy and Albany combined, from one end to the other, it is only about a 40-minute ride,” plus the OF noted, “That is a lot of geography covered in 40 minutes”.

Another OF added, “Most of us who live in the country do not encounter much traffic, but those that live in Clifton Park and work in Schenectady or Albany might disagree with us that there is not traffic.” “Try going to Saratoga in August,” was another reply and there is always the “yeah but”, like one OF said, “Yeah, but that is just a few days out of the year ─ how about twice a day every day.” “Touché,” the first OF answered.

That is one thing we didn’t have to worry about on the farm; it was a short walk from the house to the barn and you were at work, and the machinery shed was just as close. One OF said he even had a place to sleep in the manger because it was warmer in the winter than his bedroom in the house. The OF said all he did was splash some water on his face in the milkhouse, grab a class of milk from a can in the cooler, and he was at work. “What is traffic?” he asked.

The OFs continued their garden talk, and they are still speaking about how well their gardens are doing. One OG said his tomato plants were like trees; another raved about his celery. Those OFs that ‘can’ better purchase some more jars. This scribe thought they call it canning, when actually it is jarring. This scribe does not know any OF that cans anything.

The OFs talked about the solar panels that are being placed on the roofs of homes, and wonder what those panels do to the roof. What about the added weight, and then add the snow that collects on the collector? The OFs have seen people sweeping the snow off the panels so it does adhere to them. How about the expansion and contraction of the fasteners that hold the panels in place? Are they going to create holes for water to get in under the shingles, or even leak and rot the roof from underneath? What about the space between the panel and the roof? Won’t that be damp most of the time and generate mold? “Yeah,” one OF said, “Wouldn’t that space be an ideal area for birds to build nests, or for other insects like wasps or ants find it a great place to hang out? What happens to the warranty on the shingles if a leak happens ─ who is responsible?” An OF surmised many of these questions must be covered on the contract when anyone has one of these collectors installed. “I’m sure,” the OF continued, “We are not the only ones to think of these problems that may occur.”

Those OFs that gathered at the Hilltown Café (and it is called that because it is a neat little restaurant nestled in the village of Rensselaerville which is located among the hills of the   Helderbergs) were: Frank Pauli, John Rossmann, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Harold GUEST, Alvin Latham, Bob Snyder, Karl Remmers, Art Frament, Jay Taylor, Joe Loubier, Bob Benac, Herb Sawotka, Roger Chapman, Dave Williams (with his son Bill), Miner Stevens, Jim Heiser, Glenn Patterson, Chuck Aelesio, Otis Lawyer, Mark Traver, Lou Schenck, Mace Porter, Jack Norray, Bill Krause, Ted Willsey, Bob Lassome, Joe Ketzeko, Roger Fairchild, Bob Donnelly, Bill Rice, Henry Whipple, Rich Donnelly, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, and me.

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