On February 9th, The Old Men of the Mountain met at the Country Café in Schoharie. This was a Tuesday, and on Tuesday December 29th-15 the weather was a tad nasty, and this Tuesday the OFs had to content with about 2 inches of nuisance snow. Is this going be a year where the bad weather will happen on a Tuesday? Maybe. Well, the Country Café was warm, and cheery   a welcome place to be this early Tuesday morning.

The first topic was a OFs complaint, why did Time Warner jack up the bill by as much as thirty bucks. How do they get away with that? One OF said that is not so much, it is a buck a day. The other OFs said you may be made of money but we aren’t. One OF said if everyone though like that and jacked their prices up ONLY a buck a day, it only take ten suppliers of this, that or the other thing to do this by the end of the year we are talking big bucks, like 3650.00 for the year. How do you make that up on a fixed income?

This scribe does not know how or if the subject transitioned at this time to if things are better now or when we were young. The OFs thought not, but the scribe said yes in most cases things are better now than then. So this scribe did a little checking, the key word here is little.

Year   Population      Murders    Robberies    Rapes   (great topics)

1970   203 mil.          16 M            350 M         28 M

1980   225                  23                565              83

1990   250                  23                639              103

We skip to 2014 (15 not tallied yet)

2014  319                  14                 325              84

So you can see how crime in all major categories, with 116 million more people now than then there is considerably less crime than when there were fewer people. Tires last longer, cars run better and last much longer, though no where near as stylish, and homes are constructed better. Medicine is better by leaps and bounds. Conservation is beginning to take hold. Back in the day sewage was untreated and dumped in the rivers, lakes, streams, and winding up in the ocean. Factories dump what we now know is called hazardous waste anywhere because there were no controls stating the couldn’t. Even based on average income, cars and house are relatively propionate. Food is a tad higher, but the two items are way out of whack, tuition and healthcare is much higher than it was in the fifties and proportionately so.

This is one way to look at then and now, however stats can be bent anyway to prove anything but is some cases facts are facts.

The reason most of the OFs think times are worse now than in the past is the immediate assimilation of news from all over the world, and most of the reporting is of bad news. Naturally the OFs are going to think everything is bad because that is all they hear today, almost hourly when it happens. There is TV, skype, cell phones, and computers. No wonder the OFs think the world is coming to and end and if you believe the media it is. This scribe says sit back and relax this ole sphere has been around a long time and it still will be for a long time to come. There is only one person who knows when it will end and he isn’t telling or leaving any clues.

This conversation open up when one OF took out his wallet to leave a tip, and one OF ran to get a fly swatter to swat the moths as they flew out of that wrinkled, old piece of leather. That topic was where some people kept their money. One OF said that this guy ran a junk yard and did not trust banks so he did everything in cash, and used his money as insulation in the walls of his home. When he retired he sold the junk yard, and had what the OF called a fire sale, and sold all the junk he could. There must not have been a clause in the contract that said he couldn’t, and it did happen a while ago according to this OF. The new owner was really upset when he found that many of the walls in the house were all torn apart with a ax.

Another OF said this same of reasoning  happened that he heard of only this OF hid the money in a wall behind the stove and when he finally when to get it out of  the wall all he had was confetti because the mice got into it and made nests.

The OFs also discussed some of the places that they worked, and it was the Thruway and they brought up how dangerous a place that was to work. The OF that used this road quite a bit also mentioned the close calls they had on this stretch of highway. One said that it was people not being used to driving at 65 mph, and dealing with the wind that was a big problem, the other was in-attention of drivers not realizing how much ground is covered going this speed with a machine that weighs on the light side one ton. The OFs that worked on the thruway mentioned pulling the steering right or left to adjust for driving with a side wind is one of the problems. After driving at a good clip with this constant pressure on the steering wheel and then coming to a bridge that stops the wind the vehicle will then dart right or left and if not concentrating on your driving the vehicle will smack right into a bridge abutment.

The Old Men of the Mountain that found their way to the Country Café in Schoharie and did not need to drive the thruway to get there were: Roger Chapman, Bill Lichliter, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Chuck Aelesio, Mark Traver, Glenn Patterson, John Rossmann, Harold Guest, Roger Shafer, Mace Porter, Lou Schenck, Gerry Irwin, Wayne Gaul, Jack Norray, Ted Willsey, Mike Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, and me.