July 19, 2016, that is the date that the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Hilltown Café in Rensselaerville. It is safe to say none of the OMOTM were around in 1916, but it is getting close.

As we age the OFs develop a syndrome that is called “memory lapses.”  This phenomenon leads to a lot of “whats”, or “are you sure”, even the “I don’t remember that.” The OFs have had this checked out and find that it is quite normal. The OFs who were worried about developing dementia, or Alzheimer’s have found that right now they have nothing to worry about.

One OF mentioned that he was told that he has so much information in his brain it now takes more time to sort it out. To which another OF said, “I didn’t know you had a brain, you blow so much information that is nothing but wind I thought your skull was hollow”. The first OF retorted, “I can remember a lot of stunts you pulled when you were a kid and someday I will let your wife know”.

A further OF quipped, “There are many things I don’t want to remember that keep jumping into my head, and things I do want to remember I have trouble dragging out”.  “Well,” another OF said, “As long as I remember to wake up I am happy”. One OF said that he heard (or was told) that everything he has heard, seen, smelled, tasted or felt is registered somewhere in his brain. “Can’t be,” a different OF said, “If that was so, at his age his head would have exploded just from taking in all that information a long time ago”.

There seems to be a collection of birthdays with the OFs, and almost to a man they say there are more in favor of forgetting birthdays, all that does is remind them how old they are getting, plus they have everything they need.  A couple of the OFs mentioned that as a matter of fact they are trying to get rid of stuff. A good idea for birthdays for OFs would be to invite all the OF’s friends and relatives for cake and ice cream and the OF could have items he wants to get rid of wrapped and instead of people giving the OF presents, the OF will give all those who attend a present which would be something he wants to get rid of. One OF asked, “Could he wrap up the wife?”

One OF said that his washing machine went on the fritz and he and the bride went out to purchase a new one. Sticker Shock. The OF asked the question, “When did normal household appliances start costing as much as a car?”  This OF said he told the wife she had better get used to beating the clothes on the rocks out at their pond. Another question asked was how do young people just starting out afford these things ─ even the basic objects are expensive. These are not luxury items. People need a refrigerator; they need to wash their clothes. The OFs remember when jeans and a sweatshirt could be had for a ten-dollar bill, now a handkerchief costs that much, and appliances that were once within reach are now out of sight.

An OF said they make these things too fancy now. The refrigerators have ice cube makers that come out of the door, cold water that also comes out of the door and all gadgets like that add to the cost. How about something that just keeps things cold, or just freezes things and that’s all. Simple things with just on and off switches. “Nowadays,” the OF said, “It is necessary to take classes on how to operate your refrigerator, or dryer, or washing machine. I have given up trying to learn how to operate a computer.  Whatever happened to simple phones?  Hey, I once could do with a Princess phone for $9.99, now a phone is three or four hundred dollars, and it costs 50 bucks a month to use it.”

“It is a good thing I am at the short end of the ruler,” was the reply. “So many people assume everyone has a computer or everyone is on line.  Well, I am here to say they ain’t.”

The OFs talked about the situation with police being attacked and ambushed. Some blamed (if blame can be placed) the media keeping the cop’s behavior in the forefront ─ and the OF hoped unknowingly ─ siding with the shooters by showing over and over the incidents of the action of the police without fully knowing what precipitated these actions. People seemed to forget the lives saved by law enforcement whether black, white, yellow, brown, or red. One OF said there are bad cops, like bad priests or bad politicians; there are bad people in every walk of life.  Thank goodness there are not many. The rest are good guys.  One OF said that cops deal with the dregs of society day in and day out. As soon as they get dressed in the morning to go to work they are on edge not knowing what is going to happen or when they may have to lay down their life to protect someone else. This OF could definitely not be a cop.

Those Old Men of the Mountain that remembered to meet at the Hilltown Café in Rensselaerville were: Robie Osterman, John Rossmann, Harold Guest, Bill Lichliter, Pete Whitbeck, George Washburn, Art Frament, Herb Sawotka, Bob Benac, Roger Fairchild, Joe Ketzer, Karl Remmers, Bob Snyder, Roger Chapman, Minor Stevens, Dave Williams, Bill Bartholomew, Jim Rissacher, Marty Herzog, Lou Schenck, Mace Porter, Gerry Irwin, Jack Norray, Wayne Gaul, Bob Lassome, Rich Donnelly, Ted Willsey, Warren Willsey, Mike Willsey, Elwood Vanderbilt, Richard Vanderbilt, Gerry Chartier, and me.