Quite a group of Old Men of the Mountain shook out of bed on Tuesday, June 6th. The thunder of this event almost matched the Richter scale measurement of the earthquake on June 6th in the Adirondacks. That quake measured 2.2; the OMOTM getting out of bed was only 1.8. Some of the quakes recorded in the Helderbergs are just the OFs tumbling out of bed to get to the breakfast.

This time of the year many trees and plants are producing pollen so there will be more trees and plants. The OFs had a brief discussion on this yearly event. With the OFs the Benadryl, Claritin, Visine, Flonase, saline solutions and all kinds of sprays are flying off the shelves just so the OFs can breathe. Some of the OFs complained that all their outdoor furniture, decks, and even their cars are yellow with the pollen of the pine trees. This stuff is so fine that even with the windows up, there are traces of that yellow powder inside their homes and cars.

One OF wondered if ants and bugs are bothered by this stuff. One would think that their wings would become coated with the pollen and those that breathe through their bodies would have a tough time. Another OF said, “Pollen doesn’t seem to really have any effect on bugs ─ they fly up my nose along with the pollen so I get a double dose of a bug up my nose carrying the pollen.”

More of the OFs that have wintered south have made it back to where they belong and were renewing old friendships. That brought more talk on travel, which is a common topic with the OFs. This time it was on how many cars were on the road the last few weeks, and the visible presence of troopers patrolling the roads in all states. One OF mentioned that Pennsylvania takes troop cars that are going out of service because of condition or a preplanned mileage limit and park them in or around congested areas, or trouble spots and this ploy works. It slows people down because drivers do not know which one will be manned, or un-manned.

One OF from Long Island mentioned that New York tried this trick in Amherst, Long Island.  The state even placed a mannequin dressed like a trooper in the car. This did not last long because New York is different; it did not take long before the car was broken into and the mannequin was stolen. The OFs assumed that it is probably in some frat house at a college on Long Island.

Quite often the OFs participate in the age-old verbal competition of ‘my dog is bigger/smaller than your dog’, or ‘my kid is smarter than your kid’.  This kind of verbal competition is worldwide. Today the OFs (who are older, but not much wiser) perused the same comments about their lawn mowers!  For instance, ‘my lawn mower cost a ton of money’, to another OF saying he got a great lawn mower ‘for next to nothing’; the can you top this just grows. However, without this form of rivalry the OFs would not have much to talk about. And like any chit-chat conversation one topic has another OF’s memory jogged and the OF thinks of something this reminds him of, and this reminds another OF of something and he jumps in the conversation and eventually the original topic is long gone.

So it was this morning until! bingo!  Here the OFs were starting to talk about cars again!  This time the chatter was about what they paid for a vehicle in the forties and what they cost now. With the OFs this discussion is not out of some book but first hand knowledge, down to the penny. The OFs claimed they could afford a new car easier “back then” than they can now. The OFs were wondering who has the money to purchase these new cars with their high price tags. No OFs really knew ─ all they knew was their own circumstances.  This discussion sent this scribe back to Google. From what was found out (and this is by no means a deep study) in the forties, between 48 to 50 percent of an OF’s average salary back then could buy a new car.  Today it takes 75 percent to 80 percent of an average salary to purchase a new car. It is even worse when purchasing a home. The OFs are right.  Who has this money?  The OFs don’t and neither do the OFs have any friends that do.

Many of the OFs that wander into the breakfast on Tuesday morning are bionic, so that doctors and hospitals are another regular morning topic.

This morning, one of the OFs that had a knee replacement a couple of weeks ago was at the breakfast. This OF has been through this before and said that the operation is being done so much differently today than before he wonders if things will turn out OK. Next to no pain, up and about in a short period of time, the OF was in the hospital barely long enough to see two shift changes of nurses and able to pick one to make a pass at. The OF said they sure kick you out in a hurry, but it seems to be working out fine right now.  Another OF said, “If you are sick you do not want to be in the hospital…get out of that building as fast as you can because that is where the real germs hang out.”

The OFs who were let out of their cages today and all descended on Mrs. K’s Restaurant in Middleburgh (those that their keepers were kind enough to let go) were: John Rossmann, Bill Bartholomew, George Washburn, Bill Lichliter, Robie Osterman, Roger Chapman, Harold Guest, Dave Williams, Henry Witt, Roger Shafer, Duncan Bellinger, Mark Traver, Otis Lawyer, Glenn Patterson, Chuck Aelesio, Mace Porter, Art Frament, Wayne Gaul, Ray Gaul, Jack Norray, Gerry Irwin, Lou Schenck, Don Woods, Pete Whitbeck,  Bob Benninger, Bob Fink, Jim Rissacher, Carl Walls, Elwood Vanderbilt, Richard Vanderbilt, Mike Willsey, Jess Vadney, Harold Grippen, and me.

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