Tuesday the 5th of April 2016 was a tad unusual. The Old Men of the Mountain headed off to Mrs. K’s Restaurant in Middleburgh and it was cold. Some car loads of OFs reported temperatures as low as 10 below in Gallupville, and 7 below in Schoharie. All the car loads of OFs spoke about the scenery along the flats of Fox and Schoharie creeks as being in a Disney movie. The trees glistened white covered in either frozen fog, or hoarfrost. There were stretches of thick fog as the OFs approached Middleburgh where the creek and the highway are close together. The fog rolled along the ground but most of the time the OFs were able to see over this blanket of white and out of the blanket the white trees and shrubs rose from the fog. Unusual to see and drive through, it was very short scene…sleeper-inners missed all this.

The OFs talked about how we are continuing to be a throw- away society, at least in this country, and maybe world-wide. The OFs talked about tools and appliances that they used to have fixed and then continued to use. Today many items if they fail, or won’t work, the stores do not try to fix them.  They just grab a new one from the shelf and take the old one and send the OF on his way. There used to be Mom and Pop repair shops all over. If the TV didn’t work the repairman would come to your home with his toolbox and truck full of parts and fix the broken item. Now there is no fix to it; whatever it is, is scrapped and the OF gets a new one, or a discount on a new one,

The OFs remember going to the store called Lake Electronics in Albany that had parts to fix just about any appliance.   If the OF knew how to use a screwdriver, a pair of pliers, and a soldering iron he could fix just about any appliance with parts from Lake Electronics. You could also go to Wards or Sears and get parts to fix most appliances, lawn mowers, weed whackers ─ you name it.

Even a little further back, when the OFs purchased a car or truck or tractor, a set of tools came with it, so the OFs or anyone else for the matter, could fix it. Some cars, trucks, tractors, equipment, and appliances gave the option to purchase spare parts that were just part of preventative maintenance. The manual that came with the appliance, machine it would also include a maintenance schedule that would advise when these parts should be installed. One OF said that even these days some of the small, cheap models of cars are throw-away vehicles.  It’s less expensive to buy a new one than have the old vehicle repaired.

The OFs were wondering if the No Call list is still active. The OFs were complaining about the frequency of robo-calls that seem to be interrupting their day. Many heads nodded in agreement as this subject came up. The OFs said that some are receiving as many as ten a day. This scribe thinks that 10 a day is a throw-out number because he did not know of any OF who puts a tick on the wall each time the phone rings and one of these calls come in. However, even the scribe has noticed an increase in these types of calls and the scribe is supposed to be on the “No Call List” as well.

Politicians were sneaky enough to eliminate their calls from the no call list. Almost the entire OFs claim one way for a politician to lose a vote is to call many of the OFs. An OF said he could have his head and half his body under the sink fixing a faucet when the phone rings. The OFs said he may be expecting a call from someone to help, so then he unwinds himself from under the sink and answers the phone. It is a political call from some young supporter working the phones. Many of the OFs were in the Navy and that young supporter may hear words they never knew existed.

As the OFs get older, their minds tend to become younger and they think they are forty-something. Some purchase new boats with 150 hp engines, others purchase a Mazda Miata, and one OF (who should know better) just purchased a new, or almost new, Trike (three-wheeler) motorcycle. The next thing you know some of the OFs will be chasing younger women. These OFs won’t catch them though, even if the young damsels are running away in spiked high heels, because the canes of the OFs will get in their way and trip the OGs up.

The conversations at this morning’s breakfast covered a number of hot-topic items. The gun law, the fifteen-dollar an hour wage, paid leave, the five-dollar charge on all insurance policies imposed by the state to pay police for issuing tickets. Last year the insurance companies on the OFs behalf paid into this fund 125 million dollars so the police can issue their tickets. The OFs opinion is we are paying for our own tickets. One OF said, “Well, if we weren’t breaking the law we would not get a ticket, we would just be out 5 or 10 bucks…or maybe a little more.”

We must mention the passing of two of the OMOTM and offer our condolences to both families. The older members of the OMOTM will remember Stephen Torok, and Howard “Skip” Skinner who both passed away the week of April 3rd.

Those OFs that made it to Mrs. K’s restaurant in Middleburgh and, as the old saying goes, if the OF catches what the OF is chasing they wouldn’t know what to do with her, were: George Washburn, Robie Osterman, Bill Lichliter, Roger Chapman, John Rossmann, Harold Guest, Glenn Patterson, Chuck Aelesio, Mark Traver, Mace Porter, Lou Schenck, Gerry Irwin, Ed Traeger, Bob Fink, Bob Benninger, Gerry Chartier, Elwood Vanderbilt, Mike Willsey, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Harold Grippen, and  me.

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