For some reason Tuesdays are always busy. The OFs think it is because Mondays are such a drag it takes Tuesday to get in gear.
Tuesday the 28th of June was no different. The troop of Old Men of the Mountain converged on the Duanesburgh Diner in Duanesburgh and (except for the counter and one booth) filled the place up. That is the way most restaurants like it ─ keep the place filled; also keep the customers filled and happy, then the place will be in business the next day and the day after that.
Some of the OFs traveled to the birthday celebration of an OF who is now our oldest member. Mike Willsey made it to 90, and puts many of those younger to shame. Mike and a few others joined the three OFs that started this breakfast club many years ago. It was so long ago that Mike was a YOF, and he has proceeded through the ranks to now become the senior OF. What many of the OFs have seen and experienced through the aging process (i.e., since they were able to understand what was going on socially, politically, medically, and technologically) is mind boggling.
One of the “way back when” stories that was discussed this morning was – you guessed it – vehicles. Back when the OFs were YFs driving down the road and approaching a hill with a truck in front of them, they would try their best to get around the truck because it would slow down to a crawl going up the hill. Today, the OFs say, they can be on Route 20 going west out of Sloansville and traveling at 55 mph, and see a huge truck going up the hill which will eventually pass them. Things have changed, and the truck driver is not rowing his way up the hill by shifting, he is probably driving on cruise, along with an automatic transmission.
The same thing happens on the NYS Thruway heading west, going up hills, especially the hills by Little Falls. Now the Tesla cars have a warning sticker to tell the driver not to sleep while driving in their cars that drive themselves. We have even left some of our debris on the Moon and Mars, and a probe that has left our universe and is still working. It doesn’t seem that long ago that the OFs like Mike were pulling on the reins and hollering “WHOA”
The OFs mentioned flying. Back when the OFs were YFs it was an adventure, planned for weeks, and enough of an experience to be talked about for a year. Today, the OFs hop on a plane like they were on a bus, cuss about the TSA, and the trip is so routine that what happened at the TSA (when the OFs arrives at his destination) is the point of conversation. The means of travel is coincidental.
Also there was talk about how long some of the OFs have been retired. Many of the OFs have been retired quite some time. We did not compute an average but the numbers of years is surprising when the OFs started saying them out loud. Twenty years, 25 years, even 30 years and more ─ some of the OFs did not expect to reach the age they are now.
One OF said he expected to be shot by a jealous husband. “Not me,” another OF said, “The demise would be the same, but the assailant would be a ticked off wife”. One more OF questioned, “How did we escape all this and make it this far? It has to be the medications for me because it sure wasn’t my particularly clean living. My early life was not for Ivory soap, it was a Fels-Naptha kind of life”.
The OFs hang on to many items for long periods of time. However, to keep these old things working, the garages and parts stores no longer carry the parts required to do that. To many OFs the junkyard is the parts store of choice because they are the only places that will probably have an old part. These junkyards are also vanishing as a parts store because now they crush the cars or whatever useless items they take in, and then the old items are gone. What things the OFs are trying to repair are just old, but they are not yet antiques. One OF mentioned (and we have used this before but redundancy fits here) we are of a generation where items had to last; money had a different value because there was less of it. Today if something breaks, just take it to the dump
…oops…transfer station, and go buy another one. The OFs have trouble accepting this attitude.
Some junkyards look like junkyards and the junkyard dog lurks just around the next rusty hulk of an old vehicle or refrigerator. Then again some junkyards are like shopping at Macy’s. Items are stashed in order and parts that are generally sought after are removed, labeled, and stored. One OF said that going to a “junkyard/junkyard”, fending off the dog, locating the vehicle that he is looking for and spending half a day removing the part, is like finding gold…that is the fun of it. But then one more OF said, “After the OF has done all the work the junk dealer thinks it IS gold and charges an arm and a leg for a part that may only have short time of usage left in it before it too breaks”.
Son of gun it looks like planet earth has all ready established a portion of its worldly culture on the Moon and Mars…The Junkyard. Anybody need a part for a Lunar Rover?
Those OFs that made it to the Duanesburgh Diner, in Duanesburgh (including one birthday OF at 90 years old and nowhere near ready for the junkyard) were: Pete Whitbeck, Roger Chapman, Miner Stevens, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Jim Rissacher, Marty Herzog, Bill Bartholomew, Dave Williams, Chuck Aelesio, Glenn Patterson, Otis Lawyer, John Rossmann, Harold Guest, Art Frament, Herb Sawotka, Bill Lichliter, Lou Schenck, Wayne Gaul, Mace Porter, Jack Norray, Gerry Irwin, Bob Fink, Bob Benninger, Ted Willsey, Bob Lassome, Rich Donnelly, Joe Loubier, Richard Vanderbilt, Elwood Vanderbilt, Gerry Chartier, Mike Willsey, Harold Grippen, and me.