On Tuesday the 24th of May the Old Men of the Mountain met at Kim’s West Winds Diner in Preston Hollow. Kim’s sits practically in the Catskill creek because this creek flows so close to the back of the diner. On a tree on the bank of the creek about thirty feet from the diner, at the edge of the of the diner’s parking lot, is a small sign the reads “Fishing Permitted.” When fish is ordered at the diner it should be fresh. Creeks are fun and quite romantic until they FLOOD, then they become angry torrents.

Some of the OFs lingered as they left the restaurant and enjoyed the early morning hours at the tables outside the diner. They discussed many topics while listening to the sounds of the creek as it is wending its way to the Hudson. Ah!  Some of the simple pleasures of being retired. At this age the OFs are not wasting time chasing women, running off to play ball, or just going to work. The OFs are out enjoying what God has put here for the OFs pleasure.

As usual, at the table this morning much of the discussion centered around what the OFs did when they were working, even prior to that, or in the military. Some of the OFs mentioned how life is different in larger cities and how most of them found this out while in the military. The Hilltown OFs did not realize how naïve they were, nor how poor they were, until they ran into these guys. One OF said that at home no one locked their doors, or locked their cars, but in the service this one OF said you had to put your shoes on fast or others would steal the socks right off your feet. These experiences are carried over till this day.

Another OF mentioned that his experiences in the military ran along the same lines and originally caused a camaraderie between the city folk banding together and the country folk doing the same.  The OF said it took awhile before the country folk and city folk could sort each other out, and friendships began to develop across the city/country cultures. However, this OF said that to him the tag of “country hick” stuck with many of the hay foot/straw foots even after many of the country boys turned out to be better soldiers, sailors, or marines, than the city slickers.

Stereotypes, they are traits that are earned!  For instance the Welsh can sing, the Irish can fight, the French can love and cook, the Spanish can paint, and the Italians can cook but unlike the French, love is not what they are noted for all the can do so the stereotype goes is pinch. However, we all know a Welshman that can’t sing a note, an Irishman that won’t fight, a Spaniard that can’t draw a straight line, an Italian that can’t boil water or won’t pinch even if the opportunity presented itself, and a Frenchman…well, maybe that one is hard to top. The OFs think all French are good at their designated stereotype.

The OFs talked about taking the experiences they accrued over their lifetime so far and applying it to how they live life today. One OF thought his mind hasn’t changed much, but there are certain things he did “back then” that he does do differently today, while another OF said he can’t remember how he did it “back then” he only knows how he does it today. This OF claimed he does not dwell on the past; he claims today is all that counts.

Then other OFs said, “Well, how did you know how to do what you do today if you didn’t do some version of it “back then” and alter it.

The OF retorted, “If you clutter your pea-pickin brain up with all the way back whens, it gets in the way of learning anything new. I am not going to be an OF that says ‘Well, that ain’t how we used to do it.’  Forget how we used to do it, do it the way it is done today, so there”!

Another OF said, “I agree with that OF who says it’s not the way we used to do it. If the key to start the car is always on the right hand side of the wheel don’t go sticking it on the left. I had enough trouble learning that to dim the headlights I didn’t have to push a little button on the floor between the clutch and the brake.”

Yet another OF said, “Hey, you still holler WHOA and pull on the steering wheel when you go to stop your truck.”

To which one more OF interjected, “We get too young stupid, and too old smart.”

Those OFs that made it to Kim’s West Winds Diner in Preston Hollow (and the next time that Kim’s restaurant’s time comes in the OFs rotation of fine eating establishments they are going to bring their fishing poles) were: Dave Williams, Harold Grippen, Roger Chapman, Miner Stevens, Robie Osterman, Don Wood, George Washburn, Bill Lichliter, Roger Shafer, Otis Lawyer, Mark Traver, Lou Schenck, Art Frament, Mace Porter, Wayne Gaul, Gerry Irwin, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Pete Whitbeck, Mike Willsey, Gerry Willsey, Elwood Vanderbilt, Jess Vadney, Harold Grippen, and me.