On a beautiful Tuesday morning on September 15th, 2015 the Old Men of the Mountain had their breakfast at the Home Front Café in Altamont. It was almost too nice a day to be indoors, but here the OMOTM were having breakfast inside.
This was an unusual breakfast because of the opening remarks by some of the OFs as they came up the ramp to the dining area of the restaurant. Most were chuckling and some were even laughing. “Did you see the news last night?” was one opening remark, and then a few others would come in and say, “Did you see the paper this morning?” What was causing all this snickering? It was that someone couldn’t live on eighty thousand dollars a year so apparently it was OK for him to steal in order he could take care of his family. All the OFs said if someone gave them eighty thousand dollars a year they would be able to live very well. Some legislator said he could not live on that amount of money, and one OF said add the per-diems to the eighty grand, and committee assignments and it approaches one hundred thousand a year. What is wrong with this picture? The OFs would consider half of this pretty comfortable. “Are these people on another planet,” one OF wondered? And apparently it could be a defense that it was OK to steal if you made thirty thousand a year or if you don’t make enough money (in your mind) to support your family it would be OK to steal to make up the difference. The OFs use the WOW as exclamation points on this discussion.
The OFs left that topic and segued into hunting. An OF asked the hunters in the group why do deer eat burnt wood. The OF said in his back yard fireplace there are pieces of burnt wood and three deer come out nearly every day and gnaw on those pieces of burnt wood. The OF said the same deer come so often he has names for them like pets. Some OFs gave their opinions on why the deer are doing this. The ideas sounded plausible but for some reason did not seem right. Deer eat a lot of things but gnawing on burnt logs was not on the list.
The OFs talked a little bit on how the OFs used to behave when they were younger. The OFs were not talking about when they were kids at this time, but by younger they were talking about sixty years old. At this age when most of the OFs woke up they would immediately get out of bed and do whatever they did, put in their teeth, or go to the bathroom, or slip on the slippers ─ things like that. The OFs got up out of bed right away and started the day. Now in their eighties most of the OFs say they sit on the edge of the bed for awhile and contemplate the effort of getting up. Then one foot may hit the floor and the OFs say to themselves, “Well, I’ve gotten this far I might just as well do the whole darn thing” and then they put the other foot on the floor. Are they ready for the day? No, but the OFs make themselves ready and once they get going it doesn’t seem that bad. All the old friends are there ─ the aching back, the sore feet, the cramping legs, but the OFs are used to them by now and continue on regardless.
This scribe is amazed at how often the OFs have been to the same places around our great country. This time it was Greenfield Village, and the Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. The OMOTM has an OF who, with his wife, is there right now so when his name was brought up as to where he was about nine OFs said they have been there and it is some place. It was concluded that the had OFs there now had better have good walking shoes if they are going to do all three things, the Village, the Museum, and the factory tour. Some of the OFs said they couldn’t make this trip any more unless they stayed a week and took in a little bit each day.
On a more somber note the OFs talked about the wild fires out west, and how they feel for those people. The OFs think there is really no place to run away from natural disasters. The fires out west, the tornados in the center of the country, the hurricanes in the south, and along each coast, the blizzards in the north and northeast, and earthquakes anywhere makes it seem like an OF can only run from one mess into another. An OF says it really is a miracle that the homes is some areas are one and two hundred years old. One OF thought a young family starting out should build a geotactic home out of concrete. That, the OF thinks, should handle just about anything.
Jury duty is a discussion the OFs have on occasion but not many have been called to serve on a jury, and then a couple of the OGs have been called more than once. The OFs think that most of the OFs are too old to be on a jury. Number one is that any one of us could keel over at any time. Many have had heart by-passes, and many are walking around with stents in the heart. One OF mentioned that most of the OFs can’t remember where they put the car keys, or even their wife’s maiden name. One OF joked, “To heck with the wife, sometimes I have to stop and think who I am”.
What a bunch we would make if we were on a jury, we would probably send the judge up the river for life. “Yeah,” another OF added, “I would have trouble remembering who the defendant was, and might even think his lawyer was the plaintiff. Wouldn’t any one of us cause quite a bit of confusion in the deliberating room? You bet we would ─ we’d probably say ‘not guilty’ to a guy who stole because he didn’t think he made enough money to support the lifestyle he wanted.”
Hmmm…isn’t this where we came in?
The Old Men of the Mountain would like to thank Steve Dunham from Dunedin, Florida who took the time to send the OFs a lengthy letter of his time on a diary farm in the Raymertown, N.Y. area. He included a picture of himself as a young man working at a homemade cider press he built and he is in hip boots. Mr. Dunham states this was to keep the snakes from crawling up his pant legs as he stood pressing the cider
Those attending the breakfast at the Home Front in Altamont which, according to the Enterprise, was the home of the Enterprise at one time, were: George Washburn, Robie Osterman, Joe Ketzer, Art Frament, Miner Stevens, John Rossmann, Harold Guest, Frank Pauli, Dave Williams, Bill Bartholomew, Roger Shafer, Rich Donnelley, Bob Lassome, Duane Wagenbaugh, Lou Schenck, Mace Porter, Chuck Aelesio, Jim Heiser, Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Jerry Willsey, Bob Fink, Bob Benninger, Henry Whipple, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, Mike Willsey,. Gerry Chartier, and me.