Tuesday morning was one of the great mornings to wake up. The carloads of Old Men of the Mountain headed towards Duanesburgh to attend the breakfast at the Duanesburgh Diner were accompanied by a bright full moon, and a beautiful sunrise just starting in the east. Thus, there was moon to the west, sun to the east, and a collection of OFs in the middle. The Utrillo sky lasted only a few short seconds and was gone.

The OFs talked about getting their flu shots and for many of them this year the shot was different than last year. Most had a reaction. These reactions varied from not much to getting mild cases of the flu. It was agreed that the mild case of the flu was not that bad; it was one heck of a lot better than getting the real thing. Some had a type of ache in the arm where the shot was given. Other said the whole arm was bothersome for awhile. Last year the OFs could not remember any reactions at all. The OFs, though not doctors, thought this must be a more potent shot. Maybe, one OF thought, it could be that we are older. “NOOO kidding,” one OF said, “Really”?

Some of the OFs are pretty good mechanics, and can fix just about anything. The discussion this morning was basically on vehicles, but could include large appliances, broken or worn out things around the house, tools, and even clocks. The OFs cringe at the difference between mechanics, and parts puter-oners.  (Invented word of the day, but meaning one who just throws on a part to a piece of equipment whether needed or not).  One OF said that the days of taking something off an old tractor in the field, and then adapting it to work on your car or truck are gone. Another OF said when he lifts the hood of his car he doesn’t have a clue to what he is looking at. Another OF said that under the hood is all plastic, and doesn’t do a thing. It is just stuck here and there to confuse the average person so you have to take it to the shop. Once all the plastic is taken away it is still only a Flathead 6.  “Yeah, right.” another OF said, “What old Flathead is going to take you down Rtes. 88 and 81 at seventy miles an hour up hill and down hill, get 30 mpg., not use a drop of oil and do it for two hundred thousand miles?  There is something different under that hood and I have not got the smarts to mess with it”.

Then, the OFs grumbled about the media again.  Many times  the grumbling is about the same thing over and over, but this time the OFs were discussing what distinction each paper has. Locally we do not have much to choose from. The two dailies are the Times Union (Albany) and The Gazette (Schenectady). One OF said that for him to really keep up on things he needs both papers. The Times Union for the funnies and sports, and the Gazette for local news and the obits. One OF said for the obits it takes both papers. One OF said the Enterprise is a weekly and its coverage is local, but it doesn’t take in Schoharie or Greene counties. The Time Journal (Cobleskill) is the same thing as it doesn’t cover Albany or Schenectady. One OF said he gets all the news he needs from the Penny Saver.

A few of the OFs jumped in with the news on the TV and radio and said most of that news is just what they read off police blotters.  Then they fill in with gossip. The OFs are old, and old quite often generates cynics. In this case that might not be a bad thing.  Here is some news they failed to report.  On April 18, 1930 a reporter on the BBC in England went on the air and announced, “There is no news today.”  They filled up the remainder of the air time with piano music.

A new topic for the OFs was aliens.  Some of the OFs say, yep, they are here, have been here, or are out there. Others raise their eyebrows and say no way. Those OFs think we are alone in the universe. One OF said, “The Bible tells us to take in the alien and treat them well.”  The next OF said, “The Bible is not talking aliens from some other galaxy; it is talking about someone from another country.”  The first OF retorted that, “If we go to Ireland then we are the alien and should be taken in and treated well, so when we go to Mars we are the alien, and if we can go to Mars why can’t someone from a galaxy far, far away come here? They will then be the alien and we should welcome them and treat them well.  What difference does it make if it is a country or a planet?” The second OF said,” This is getting too deep for me.  I don’t want to think about it.”

The OFs were at one time (and maybe some still are) square dancers, and some of the OFs are members of senior citizens groups. Both of these endeavors at one time or another will have a few members plan mystery trips. On these trips the OFs would either go by bus, or a caravan of cars not knowing where they would wind up.  On one of these occasions the OFs were on a mystery trip with the seniors. The bus finally arrived in Saratoga, in front of an art museum. The OFs immediately started to grumble, we’re not going there are we? Sure thing…that was the mystery trip’s destination. That is all the organizers needed was a group loaded with grumpy OFs that wanted no more to be at an art museum than at the local sewage plant. This scribe’s wife when reading this part of the report said that all the organizer wanted to do was introduce the OFs to a little culture. Then the discussion turned to what is art? Best that can said about this is beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

The OFs that had their flu shots said they would do it again and they met at the Duanesburgh Diner in Duanesburgh, were: Joe Ketezer, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Miner Stevens, Roger Chapman, John Rossmann, Frank Pauli, Harold Guest, Lou Schenck, Mace Porter, Gerry Irwin, Wayne Gaul, Bill Krause, Henry Whipple, Duncan Bellinger, Mike Willsey, Ted Willsey,  Gerry Chartier, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen and me.

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