On Tuesday the 10th of November The Old Men of the Mountain met at the Home Front Café in Altamont.

For the most part Altamont is a courteous little town. The OFs park in the town parking lot by the park and walk across the street to the Home Front. Many drivers stop and let the OFs cross. The OFs don’t know if this is because they stand there with their canes and/or one OF is holding up another OF that causes the drivers to stop, but they do stop. They might not do this for the younger crowd but they do it for us. The OFs say “thank you” for not trying to run us over.

The OFs talked this morning about ticks ─ the wood tick, and the deer tick. The deer tick is the one that causes all the problems. According to some of the OFs the ticks congregate in certain areas, particularly in low brushy sections of the woods. However, they are all over but are more plentiful in these woody areas, or even in the fields. One OF mentioned if anyone has animals and they are the outdoor type they can bring both types of ticks in the house.

One OF was working in an area where these ticks hang out and when he was finished working and came out of the woods his clothing was covered with ticks. The OF knew he was venturing into a tick infested area and he was fully clothed from head to foot, and well sprayed with Deet but this did not deter many of them. This OF said the tick likes to get where it is warm and he had some crawl up his pant leg, and crawl down around his shirt collar. This OF said that he and his wife removed the ones on his body or so they thought. They missed one. That night his arm began to itch and he could feel the tick. The tick bit him and he wound up seeing the doctor. Moral of the story:  be careful, and have someone check your body from head to toe if you have spent anytime outdoors where these things might be, and as mentioned they can be anywhere, and carefully check your body when you come in.

And speaking of going to the doctor the OFs spend so much time with their physicians that they begin to have conversations other than doctor talk. The OFs begin to talk kids, travels, and hobbies and eventually find out that doctors are regular people just like us. When first going to a doctor the OFs and maybe other people have them on a pedestal and are a little bit in awe of the doctor. As time goes on, and visits become almost routine, the OF starts to first classify the doctor as good, very good, or a quack. Some OFs continue to go to a doctor they have classified as a quack because they like him. And some will drop a doctor that is very, very good because the doctor is a pain (no pun intended).

The OFs were discussing some of their doctor’s activities out side of doctoring.  Some are hunters, a couple had large gardens, one was a farmer, a couple did wood-working, one was an artist, and another an exceptionally fine musician. One OF said his doctor said he would rather be out in the fields and on the farm ─ doctoring was his sideline. The more the OFs go to these doctors the more comfortable they become with the doctor, and put more credence in what the doctors says, and then the OFs are more inclined to do what this doctor says.

The OFs used to wear the standard bib coveralls as a badge of honor. Now the OFs (with the exception of a few) have gotten away from wearing them. One OF that wore them all the time whether he was with the OFs or not, has worn out his last pair. The OF said that when he went to put them on this morning his knee went right thorough the pant leg. That is the end of those bib overalls, and upon checking the price of new ones that will probably be his last pair. The OF said he still has a pair of the insulated ones which are great for the winter. A good pair of those will keep the OF dry and warm when outdoors in the winter no matter what the conditions are. When those wear out they will most probably be replaced, but a good pair of this type of coverall wears like the old Boy Scout uniforms.

It is beginning to seem like the new technology comes up at least once or twice at every breakfast. It did again this morning; the OFs were talking about the new phones. Not all OFs have one of these things, and those that do don’t know how to operate them. Some OFs have received this technology as gifts from their kids to bring grandpa up to speed.  Grandpa jumps out of his skin when his car talks to him; he goes looking around for some uninvited person in the vehicle with him. The unrecognized voice starts telling him to do things and he is the only one in the car. The OF says one of these day when that thing start blabbering he is going to drive smack into a pole. This smart phone, the OFs say, keeps track of where they are and the OFs don’t like that. Privacy is a thing of the past one OF said.  A second OF said this technology is getting so sophisticated that in order to have real privacy it will be necessary to have lead lined bathrooms.

Those OFs that made it to the Home Front Café in Altamont and who got across the street safely were:  Roger Chapman, Miner Stevens, Henry Whitt, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Bill Lichleter, John Rossmann, Harold Guest, Roger Shafer, Mace Porter, Jack Norray, Wayne Gaul, Gerry Irwin, Chuck Aelesio, Jim Heiser, Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, Bill Krause, Henry Whipple, Elwood Vanderbilt, Mike Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Bob Fink, Bob Benninger, Ted Willsey, Harold Grippen, and me