Tuesday, the 12th of January 2016, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Home Front Café in Altamont. For the usual weekly weather report this Tuesday went from spring to winter in one day. The OFs arrived at the Home Front this morning bundled up for the trip outside.

As the readers must suspect by now the OFs sit together at the restaurants we favor. Though the times the OFs arrive at the restaurants may vary it is within ½ an hour for most of them to take their place at the table. This means the OFs leave in just about  the same order they come in, except for a few that hang in the restaurant until lunch time. When it comes time to leave, the grunting and groaning of the OFs as they get up from the table is almost like a concert. Similar to, but not as gross, as the campfire scene in Blazing Saddles where those sitting around the campfire select Alex Karas as Mongo to go and take care of the sheriff. “Let Mongo do it” is the collective decision of the cowboys in Blazing Saddles.

The OFs being no different than anyone else have a goodly number just coming down with, in the middle of, or just getting rid of colds. So added to the musical selection of grunts and groans getting up, is the hacking and sniffling of colds going around and now you have an idea of the sounds of the Old Men of the Mountain in concert.

The OFs began talking about all the old stuff they have lying around which doesn’t work. Once the conversation started it was discovered not only do the OFs do a lot of things in concert we can add this trait to the mix. The scribe thinks it has to do with the era the OFs were brought up in. Most of the OFs were brought up in their formative years when nobody had many material things, and what they had they hung on to. The other lessons learned were that the OFs made do with what they had and threw nothing away because if something broke it could be cobbled up to work with something else which would make it work. This is so embedded in the OF’s psyche that it has never left. Younger people may think ─ what is the old goat doing with all that junk? It is not junk to the OF.  What the younger people think is junk may be a part that will repair another piece of so-called junk and put that piece back in operating condition.

The OFs talk again about treating our finite planet as an infinite planet and it isn’t. This was brought about by a brief conversation on fracking and what happens when the entire product is removed from under the ground.  What happens to that space? The OFs think that eventually we will take so much from under us many parts of the earth’s crust will just cave in. A few of the OFs feel that some of what is being done to the planet in the name of progress is anything but. Then there is always the argument that as there are more people inhabiting the earth they have to be taken care of.  However, some of the OFs think we don’t really need 3 TVs, 2 and 3 cars, a pickup truck, a couple of ATVs, plus a couple of snowmobiles, and houses the size of hotels.  Some OFs say that making and selling all this “stuff” is what keeps people working and, in their opinion, that is the important thing. They too have a point. What to do? What to do? One OF said “We do not need Viagra; we should be using “saltpeter” in the water instead of fluoride. This OF thinks we are going about it the wrong way.  His thought is if we cut down on population growth all over the planet then there would be less people to consume food, water, and stuff. (Scribe aside … saltpeter has nothing to do with the male libido it is an ole wives tale.)

Standard winter time discussion is starting vehicles with the OFs. The OFs notice that most new cars start right up even in cold temperatures and with weak batteries. The battery has to be completely drained for the newer vehicles not to start. Some OFs do not have newer vehicles and have to put up with the ominous deep sounding whirrrrrr, whirrrrr of the starter motor sucking up all the juice and not leaving any for the spark plugs. That is a sickening sound on a cold day when it is necessary to be someplace. The OFs start pumping the gas peddle and either cussing at, or cajoling the d— car to start, when deep down it is the OFs own fault for the vehicle not to do so.  The OFs discussed all the remedies from covering the engine with blankets, to using lead lights, to getting out the ether, to bringing the battery in the house. The OFs don’t see much of this anymore, if at all.  This is one place where the OFs agree technology has paid off in making life easier.

The OFs who have traveled to the western part of the country talked about what the terrain and climate was in that section of the United States. One of the things they discussed was the 4 corners where one is able to (if they want to look like a spider, as one OF put it) be in four states at the same time. The four states are Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. It is interesting to visit these areas, but the OFs thought it was always good to get back home. Conversely, if one was originally from the wide open spaces of the southwest and came to New York, they probably would be just as glad to get back home.

Those OFs who are quasi-glad to be back home, and able to attend the breakfast and the Home Front Café in Altamont, were: Roger Chapman, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Bill Lichliter, Roger Shafer, John Rossmann, Harold Guest, Glenn Patterson, Chuck Aelesio, Otis Lawyer, Mark Traver, Jack Norray, Lou Schenck, Mack Porter, Wayne Gaul, Gerry Irwin, Bill Rice, Henry Whipple, Jim Rissacher, Ted Willsey, Marty Herzog, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen and me