The Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh was visited by the Old Men of the Mountain on Tuesday the 24th of November. With Thanksgiving just a couple of days away (and in our area we have had no snow to speak of) the OFs and thousands of other people are lucking out this November.  We’re not even having cold weather! The ski people may be a little ticked though.

The OFs, one would think, are far enough away in age to not remember a lot of things of long ago but as these little reports show that is not the case. Most of what the OFs remember are good things but there have been some bad things that the OFs think they have shaken off but deep down have not. The topic drifted to who the OFs “hung” with when the OFs were young. A lot had to do with where you lived. The kids in town had their own little cliques, and the farm boys rattled around on the outside. In middle school, then junior high, many dies were cast, depending on age; the farm boys, along with some of the town kids were not in the in-crowd and the teachers unknowingly (at least it seemed) played into the circle of the in-town kids.

The OFs said they were quite often judged by what their siblings did.  The teachers would never admit it outright but one OF said that one teacher told him his brother was a lot of trouble “so I am going to keep my eye on you.”

The OFs that went on to college said that for them no one there knew what their brother or sisters were like, or even what their family was like because there was no family history tagging along.  One OF said, “We were all strangers on a level playing field.”  Then another OF said he had to shake off the feeling of being on the outside even though he had a lot of friends and did not consider himself a dork. In college he was able to select the people he wanted to hang with, and they accepted him because they were in the same boat.  Some OFs said that is why college reunions, and high school reunions are 180 degrees apart, and for some reason the high school reunion seems more important, because quite often the OF can go back to the jerks in high school and say, “Ha, I drive a Maserati, and you are still driving a Dodge Dart.”

The OFs started an interesting conversation on computers and one OF brought up some interesting points about saving your pictures for posterity. It seems the best thing to do is make prints of the ones anyone really wants to keep. One OF said he places them on the computer first, then puts then on a flash drive, and then an external hard drive. Then he makes folders of ones that pertain to particular subjects, or ones that the OF really wants to keep and puts those on a CD. The OF said that none of these will last. The major problem is that in a few short years there will be nothing that will read them. The best way to make sure they will be read a least in the foreseeable future is to purchase a cheap computer and never use it. Never hook it to the net, use it only to read what you have, like the pictures or documents you have now. One OF said that even prints fade. Then an OF suggested that if it is a person you really want people to know about in the future have their portrait painted, or drawn. Those have been known to last for centuries. The same thing applies to the old homestead, have it sketched.

The OFs had a short discussion on talking and driving and it was found out that some of the OFs cannot do both. Many of the OFs say they have been in the middle of a conversation and driven right past their own driveway. “Not only that,” one OF said, “It’s worse when you’re gabbing and miss a turn you know you should take and you have taken it many times.”   When the OF comes to and realizes he has missed the turn, he looks around and has no idea where he is, and then it becomes scary.

One OF said he doesn’t have to be driving, it takes a lot of concentration for him to carry on some conversations and in the middle of talking he could even walk into a wall.  Another OF said that could lead to a serious problem if you happen to be yakking and come to a set of stairs going down.

The OFs and this scribe must say again, redundancy is an OF trademark, but the OFs talked about outside furnaces. Some of the OFs have used this method of heating their homes and their hot water for years. “Now,” one OF said, “The price of oil has gone done some, but the price of wood has not.” This OF opined that 100 gallons of fuel oil and one full cord of wood heats about the same. Unless anyone that has one of these outside furnaces also has their own woodlot right now oil is the way to go. One OF said he still thinks the outside furnace is OK because they will burn anything, where a stove should only burn dry hard wood (which ought to be used) otherwise the risk of a chimney fire is great.  The OFs with the woodlots say that is true and the outside furnaces do burn anything. According to the OFs with the woodlots they say they take only trees that are down or standing dead; rarely do these OFs cut a live tree.

Those OFs attending the breakfast at the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh, and not having the cold weather blood circulating yet, were: Dave Williams, Frank Pauli, Jim Heiser, Robie Osterman, Chuck Aelesio, Mark Traver, Harold Guest, Bill Lichliter, George Washburn, Glenn Patterson, Henry Witt, Bill Krause, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Mace Porter, Don Wood, Wayne Gaul, Mike Willsey, Warren Willsey, Elwood Vanderbilt, Ted Willsey, Harold Grippen, and me.