On September 22nd, 2015 the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Hilltown Café in Rensselaerville.

The OFs can’t complain about the weather this late in the year. Getting the home ready for winter for most of the OFs is moving right along. Many of the woodsheds are full and ready for whatever winter has in store. Judging by the goldenrod, the wild apples, the pine cones and other natural winter indicators, we may be in for a winner of a winter, this winter. The OFs hope it is not like last winter.

The OFs have talked about this a little while ago but now it is more emphatic. “DO NOT” sign up for or get Windows Ten. The thing is a disaster. One OF says they can advertise all they want but this OF thinks Microsoft should be challenged for false advertising. This OF continued that even computer engineers have problems figuring this version out, and at times are left completely stumped.

Switching topics quickly, the OFs talked about the rebuilding of the Blenheim covered bridge that was destroyed and washed downstream in the flood caused by Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. The OFs were throwing out numbers of five million dollars to REBUILD this bridge. The OFs might not mind if they had enough parts of the old bridge on hand so the antiquity of the bridge would still be part of any rebuild, but the way the OFs understand it, this bridge will be completely new. The OFs can’t understand the logic in this. The OFs think that five million dollars would go a long way to help those that have not yet recovered from the storm, or help some of the businesses that lost everything and are still struggling to get back on their feet.

It is amazing to this scribe how some OFs can remember their first and second grade teachers. Some of the conversations this morning were on who had what teacher in what grade and how they remembered them. The OFs wonder if teachers realize what an impact they have on their students, good and bad. Some must, an OF thought, because a few as adults of a teacher’s former students will mention to him/her how that particular teacher formed their lives, and that teacher may have been in the lower grades when the OFs brains were still like soup.

Then the opposite is true there are some teachers that made life a living hell for some of the OFs and they remember this teacher for other reasons. There was one OF that said when he graduated he couldn’t wait to run for School Board and get a chance to fire her a–. Never happened. Then some OFs couldn’t remember their teacher in the lower grades at all. They couldn’t even recall much of what happened in elementary school. These OFs did not have a good recollection of teachers until middle school, high school, or college. Some became good friends, and some even dated. Today they both would be put in jail. “Life isn’t fun any more,” one OF said, “There are too many rules, and too many do-gooders.”

A few more of the OFs who winter in warmer climates shook hands and said it was October and they were heading down to Florida. This seemed to some OFs that it’s too soon for this migration, because it seemed like these OFs just got here. The OFs leaving are from the area and should know they’re missing one of the best parts of the year. With fall and all its color, and the upcoming fall events, an OF doesn’t even have to leave his backyard to enjoy what fall has to offer. The OFs said these migrating OFs should hang around until the last leaf falls and then head out.

This latest exodus of OFs talked about where they were going to land in Florida, and it was in a town near The Villages in Florida. One OF from that area said that The Villages started as a trailer park, and that two brothers operate it now. The Villages, as a development, (according to these OFs) is now over one hundred thousand people and is the largest “City” in that area. The OFs wondered how in the world does one family accrue all the land necessary to construct a development of that size. One OF thought there had to be some political shenanigans involved in order to pull this off.

Some OFs reported that the rules and regulations at The Villages are pretty strict. One OF thought it depended on where you bought into, however, no one really knew for sure.

All this about building homes and how fast they were constructed in The Villages had the OFs talking about building homes here in the Hilltowns. More than one OF mentioned how little “dirt” was over the bedrock. They discussed building their own homes and having to blast the cellars or make sure the house was on solid rock, lay up the foundation and then back fill. One OF said, “You can tell how much dirt is around, or how many cracks are in the rocks by looking at the white pine trees. If they are spread out like shrubs, or have large round trunks but not too high, there is not much dirt. If some are tall and others are short and squatty in the same area it is safe to assume there are quite a few cracks in the rocks.” It is possible to learn a lot from an Old Man of the Mountain.

The knowledgeable Old Men of the Mountain that used their knowledge to make it to the Hilltown Café in Rensselaerville, and again using their knowledge to know that this was good place to eat on the mountain, were: Harold Guest, John Rossmann, Art Frament, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Bob Benac, Jack Benac, Joe Ketzer, Alvin Latham, Bob Snyder, Lou Schenck, Mace Porter, Jack Norray, Gerry Irwin, Bill Bartholomew, Dave Williams, Mark Traver, Glenn Patterson, Jim Rissacher, Duane Wagenbaugh, Rich Donnelly, Mike Willsey, Gerry Chartier, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, and me.