The Old Men of the Mountain decided to gather at the Middleburgh Diner, in Middleburgh, on Tuesday the 4th of August and already there are a few trees changing color. The OFs think that this is noted every year, and there is nothing unusual about it. It is a little disheartening though to see it and realize with the shorter days and the beginning of the colors of autumn touching the leaves that summer is on the wane. Many OFs have not caught up with the wear of last winter’s repairs yet.

This breakfast was catching-up-time with people that the OFs remembered from school and work. One OF would say, “Have you heard how so and so is doing? I haven’t seen or heard anything about him for years”. Some other OF might know and fill in the blanks, or maybe all the OFs were in the same boat and the person in question, as far as this discussion goes, could be either dead or alive. If none of the OFs knew then the one in question just seemed to have evaporated. Still others were on the “where are they now list,” and an OF might say that they just saw them a little while ago, and would proceed to mention how they were doing.

The OF who inquired would say something like. “Have you got his number? I would like to get in touch with this OF”. This scribe noticed after checking his notes, and trying to recall the conversations (and that is a challenge) that all the inquiries were about men, no requests were made to find where or how the distaff side was doing.

As the OFs get older they find out they are more like a machine than first thought. The OFs started putting things together like a tractor. First the OFs need fuel…that is why the OFs come to a restaurant…it is the bodies’ gas station. Next thing we have to do is get started…ah, the battery. The OFs considered the brain and nervous system the battery and electronics. The stomach is the gas tank, and the heart is the fuel pump, and so it went. Now the OFs added age to this machine and then things start to wear out ─ like knees, hips, back, eyes, shoulders etc. etc.

The OFs soon equated doctors to mechanics, and hospitals to garages. The OFs don’t know how fair this is but it seems to them that the analogy was right on the money.

 

One OF’s brother was here on a visit from Seattle, Washington and a weather comparison between the northeast and the far west was a natural. According to the guest that area of the country has seen “about ¼ inch of rain, if even that much”, the guest said, “since April, and the air is dry”. No wonder that section of the country is such a tinder box the OFs commented.

One OF was told by someone who lived close by to where many of these fires are, that in situations like what is happening now, the pine trees which are loaded with “sap” and they become superheated. The weather is bone dry, the fire as it approaches these trees, heats the trees up more; the closer the fire edges toward a tree or trees all the heat brings the sap to its flash point then all it takes is one spark or ember and the tree explodes. The OF said that a firefighter can be in close proximity to one of these trees ready to go and just like a bomb the tree erupts in flames. An OF remarked, “I will take my 10° to 15° below zero any day rather than go through fire like that”.

The Seattle visitors prompted some discussion on the best way to get to Florida. The OFs will have to make their own maps. The consensus was that they should take the less-traveled road and avoid the stress of the well-used highways. It may take longer ─ but not much. The OFs also talked about how they used to make the trip down south by driving straight through. Not now. The OFs take their time and a few more days and stay over. Now the OFs don’t have a bunch of fussy kids in the car, and some have accrued more money and do not have to make the trip by sustaining themselves on orange juice and crackers.

As most people that read this little gossip piece are aware that some of the OFs collect and restore old tractors. Some of these tractors are really old and the OFs get them cranking and going, brought to life by some tender, loving, care…thrown in among a bevy of colorful cuss words when things don’t go right. One OF has quite a collection of toy tractors and this OF noticed that the logo for the Twin City tractor which was produced in the early 1900s had a TC logo. The NY Yankees and Minnesota Twins were recently playing baseball and the toy collector noticed that the Minnesota Twins logo and the Twin City tractor logo were identical. Now there is a bit of information that is totally useless to anybody but the OFs.

For more useless information the OFs that made it to the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh and again chased all the waitresses away so there was only one left, were: Bill Bartholomew, Dave Williams, Art Williams, George Washburn, John Rossmann, Frank Pauli, Harold Guest, Jim Guest, Glenn Patterson, Miner Stevens, Duncan Bellinger, Robie Osterman, Roger Shafer, Chuck Aelesio, Art Frament, Bob Benac, Joe Ketzeko, Don Wood, Bob Fink, Bob Benninger, Jack Norray, Lou Schenck, Gerry Irwin, Mace Porter, Herb Sawotka, Roger Fairchild, Elwood Vanderbilt, Ted Willsey, Rich Donnelly, Bob Lassome, Bill Krause, Duane Wagenbaugh, and me.

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