OK, the clock starts again!  The Old Men of the Mountain were at the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh on Tuesday, the 26th of January, 2016 and we start the restaurant round again. Right now it takes 8 weeks for the OFs to run through our round-robin clock of restaurants. This can, and has, been changed by adding or deleting eating establishments, but for now it is 8. The OFs like to call it spreading the wealth, and keeping the wealth at home.

The OFs began talking about themselves this morning and commenting on age itself. Age is a relative thing according to this group. The OFs says your attitude means a lot. It is possible to be a real OF, 90 years old cranky, and grumble about everything or be 90 years old, smile with your teeth, fake teeth, or no teeth, but take everything in stride and be like a 60-something 90-year old.

The OFs are first to admit getting old brings a lot of baggage as parts of the body decide they don’t want to work like they used to. Many doctor’s reply to some of the OF’s complaints is “well, you are getting older, there is nothing really wrong with you except you ARE getting older and there is no pill for that yet, so suck it up and live with it.” Believe it or not many of the OFs when they hear this and know their situation is not life threatening they do suck it up and go on about their business.

That doesn’t make it any easier but it is all attitude, and most of the OFs do not escape the maladies of getting older, they just mention these woes as part of their conversation and then go on to something else. Some of the OFs really hurt, are really sick, or have real serious problems but at the breakfast one would never know it. Age IS relative, not a number, which is evidenced by the OMOTM.

The OFs discussed the storm Jonas that came up the east coast last week, and walloped the major cities along the way. What do they do with all that snow? Miles and miles of streets have to be plowed and where do they put it? One OF who moved here from Long Island said they are not allowed by law to dump the snow in the river or the ocean. Hey, they are not playing ball why not use Yankee stadium, Citi Field, or Central Park?  Another thought would be to gather all the politicians and have them stand on the corners of the streets and make speeches on how they are going to help us. All that hot air will melt the snow in no time.

Last week the column mentioned some of the waitresses and this week the OFs read the column and expanded on how effective the waitresses are in all the restaurants on our clock. One OF mentioned that he bumped into one of the waitresses just the other day; she now isn’t on the shift of the OF’s attendance on Tuesdays.  She asked him how we were doing. The OF mentioned that sometimes waitresses do change and they really do not get to know the OFs, and sometimes the OFs see the same ones for years. One such waitress used to bring her baby to work; the OFs have seen that baby become a toddler, and now he is going to school. The OFs that hang in there long enough may see the same young man wait on them for pin money as he proceeds through high school, maybe even beyond.

The OFs discussed the on-going work being done at the Parrott House in Schoharie and now this effort is at a standstill because it has to be in compliance with allowable work as authorized by the Historic Preservation authority. The OFs mentioned places where work done had to be removed and redone to satisfy the Historic Preservation demands once the building is on the Historic Preservation registry. Some of the rules seemed pretty silly and harsh if the OFs understand the demands of the authority correctly. But the OFs guess the key word is Historic, and to change what a historic building looked like would not fit the word historic. The OFs assumed that as radical as it may be they do have a point.

Most of the OFs have a cat, or a dog, some have a cat and a dog, and some have cats and dogs. Taking care of these animals as the OFs become older is like taking care of kids. Most of them are pampered pets. The OFs remember when on the farm the cat or cats, dog or dogs were rarely taken to the vet, and they seemed to have gotten along very well. Today the OFs are running the same animals to the vet more than the OFs are running to the doctor. The OFs spend good money purchasing fancy food for their pets, and  back when they were on the farm the animals ate what the OFs ate ─ scraps from the table. The cats might have a mouse for desert, and the dog might have a rabbit. The OFs remember the fur of the animals being shiny, their teeth and claws being sharp and in good shape. Now the OFs say some even brush their dog’s teeth.  Say what?!  One OF commented, “If you tried brushing my dog’s teeth you would be missing a few fingers. Our barn cats never saw the inside of the house, they were out when it was twenty below and more healthy than those pampered pets are today.” An OF did say if they really became ill or hurt it was off to the vet then and they would patch them up. Sometimes, one OF said, if the vet was coming to the farm he would have the vet check out the dog or dogs while he was there, maybe the cats if he could round them up in one place and keep them there. The old saying it is impossible trying to herd cats is very true. The best way to handle a bunch of cats is grab one at a time and stow it in a box until all the cats that might need attention are caught, and the OFs say don’t try to catch a cat, coax that feline to where you can catch it with food.  An OF remarked that he should rename his fat cat Useless.  That says it all.

The OMOTM that were coaxed to the Middleburgh Diner by food were: Robie Osterman, John Rossmann, Harold Guest, Chuck Aelesio, David Williams, Roger Shafer, Glenn Patterson, George Washburn, Bill Lichliter, Miner Stevens, Roger Chapman, Gerry Irwin, Wayne Gaul, Mace Porter, Jack Norray, Lou Schenck, Don Wood, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Bill Herzog, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, and me.