Tuesday, ah Tuesday, particularly the Tuesday of September 29th the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh. That makes sense, if the Middleburgh Diner was in Duanesburgh that would not make too much sense, conversely if the Duanesburgh Diner was in Middleburgh, that wouldn’t make sense either. However, it could be that way. There are no rules when it comes to names.

The Middleburgh Diner is just one of the diners the OFs have on their roster and it is one with a very high decibel rating. Some of the OFs suggested that the OFs should all learn sign language, or at least how to read lips. Some of the OFs are pretty good at the reading of lips because the use of hearing aids in noisy situations like restaurants, parties, and public places where everyone is chatting at the same time, a hearing aid is basically of no help. The OFs have developed certain lip reading skills (particularly when a person is facing them) to augment their diminished hearing capabilities. The OFs aren’t deaf ─ just a tad hard of hearing.

Then there is the pitch of voices. One OF said he could clearly understand the OF sitting to the left of the OF directly across from him but the OF directly across from him sounded like Charlie Brown “speak” except at times a few words were understandable. One OF said for some reason his hearing is pretty good except when his wife speaks, then there seems to be a blockage most of the time. However, for some reason it generally ends the same way, i.e., “shopping” is an audible word, and “give me some money” is another sentence that rings clear in the OF’s ear.

Watching most of the OFs sit down is a study in contortions. Most of the OFs have their own way to twist and turn to get their butts into the chairs. Getting up is the reverse, but most of the time the contortions are different. In this case there is a lot of arm movement to assist in raising the body to an upright position, and any position is good enough as long as the OF is prone. What is surprising is how strong furniture really is. Some OFs get their bodies just about six to eight inches from the chair and drop straight down the rest of the way, and the chair holds. In getting up the OFs apply an undo amount of pressure on the edge of the tables to take some of the weight off of the OFs legs, and the tables don’t tip or buckle under the weight. Truly amazing.

The Saturday of September 26th was beautiful and there was a lot going on in the Hilltowns. Thacher Park had its Fall Festival, Westerlo had its day with a parade and fireworks, and Vroman’s Nose in Middleburg had its hiking festival. One of the OFs who volunteers his help working on the Long Path (a trail that goes from Fort Lee, NJ to the Adirondack State Park) donned a replica of the clothes Timothy Murphy would wear and guided and talked to the people at the Nose and told them about ole Tim.

Timothy Murphy was a Revolutionary War “hero” in Schoharie County. Murphy was the subject of a novel written by John Bricks titled “The Rifleman.” At Bemis Heights, during the second battle of Saratoga, Timothy Murphy climbed a tree and from 300 yards, in four shots, dispatched British Brigadier General Simon Fraser and Sir Francis Clarke the “aide-de-camp” to General Burgoyne. Timothy Murphy rose through the ranks after joining the revolutionary army and was eventually assigned to Daniel Morgan’s riflemen because of his marksmanship. There is a monument to him in the cemetery in Middleburgh.

We have some OFs that fish for salmon; some go up to Pulaski, and others who go to Mexico Point. The OFs were covering fishing in that area of New York State and discussing when is a good time to go. When the fish are spawning is not the time. They are just going up the rivers to lay their eggs and die. The OFs said this was not good eating fish. Maybe for us, but the animals might not mind. Some of the OFs take fishing excursions out on the lake and fish for salmon on the big water. A chuckle for the OFs was the signs in the motel rooms about no waders in the rooms, and no cleaning fish in the tub or sinks. Many of the motels have a garage, or shed, or some kind of building out back where that can be done, or some motels will even do it for the OFs.

Just listening to the OFs talk about their hobbies, or extracurricular activities is like sitting in a classroom with each small group of OFs having their conversation going on with the five or six other OFs that are within earshot and discussing current events, old times, their interests, and hobbies.

Rarely do the OFs discuss diets, but a brief comment was made on dieting. The gist of the comments was there is no such thing as a diet. There are many, many diets and there is not one diet that fits all people. So if Joe Blow tells the OF to eat this or that so they will lose weight, it may not happen. The OF may eat this or that and put on weight. The OFs say we are all different, and that is what makes us who we are.

Now if some were to tell the OFs a sure fire way to get along with the wife, kids and grandkids the OFs would be all ears and take it to heart.

Those OFs attending the breakfast at the Middleburgh Diner located where it belongs in Middleburgh, NY were: Bill Bartholomew, John Rossmann, Harold Guest, Miner Stevens, George Washburn, George Gebe, Karl Remmers, Bob Snyder, Frank Pauli, Dave Williams, Don Wood, Robie Osterman, Roger Chapman, Roger Shafer, Jim Heiser, Mark Traver, Glenn Patterson, Chuck Aelesio, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Gerry Irwin, Duncan Bellinger, Joe Bender, Bob Fink, Bob Benninger, Jim Rissacher, Rich Donnelly, Duane Wagenbaugh, Ted Willsey, Mike Willsey, Gerry Cartier, Harold Grippen, and me.

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