On the 9th of August 2016, as the summer marches on, the Old Men of the Mountain met at Mrs. K’s Family Restaurant in the heart of the village of Middleburgh.
At one time the OFs discussed driving ─ not actually driving ─ but driving directions. This topic is great fodder for cartoonists and movies but in this case many of the situations people get into is like art imitating life. To illustrate, one OF directed another OF on how to get to a particular place and the OF who needed the direction did not completely understand these directions. The phenomenon of not clearly understanding with the OFs is common because many can’t hear, and those that have hearing aids don’t have them in or on. The OF will go to another OF and ask for directions to the same place, and the directions the second OF gives makes the original OF wonder if they are talking about the same location.
Then the two OFs that know how to get to the setting the OF wants to go to start arguing about which way is the best way. When this happens occasionally a third OF will enter the fray. Now this OF was never asked how to get to the particular spot in question but he comes up with a totally different way to get there. No wonder the OFs are lost most of the time. One OF made a statement that is very true. All three ways may get you there and each way may be the best to each OF because they are familiar with that particular way which is why it seems shorter and the best, when, in fact, it may be the farthest in distance and longest in time.
Taking a trip to Florida brings this discussion to some real interesting ways of getting to a familiar area like Daytona Beach. Going to Myrtle Beach in South Carolina the way the one OF is used to going is always the best even if it fits the above criteria of being the farthest and longest. It is what the OF is used to, so trying to change the OF’s mind to your way at best is a waste of good lung usage. The arguing OF can haul out all the Google trip maps, regular maps, AAA triptiks, and GPS directions he wants but the OF still thinks his way is best and that is the way he is going to go. To quote Hillary, “What difference does it make” the OF is going to get there anyway.
Then there is the more adventurous OF who tries a different way, or combination of ways each time he heads south, just to see and experience something a little more stimulating. Others are so set in their ways that they stop at the same points and stay in the same motels so the whole trip feels more like the OF is on his home turf. This way everything is familiar ─ the gas stations, the rest areas, etc., so the OF knows what to expect. There is something to say for both sides of the discussion; it depends on the OF’s temperament.
To continue on with previous reports of life in the Hilltowns in the forties, fifties, and early sixties, and discussions of ice ponds, the fact was brought out that Knox used to have an ice pond for ice in the winter and recreation in the summer. The OFs, when they were kids, in the summer would head to the swimming hole and hang out and have fun, whether it was the pond in Knox, or Fox Creek in Gallupville, or any clean farmer’s pond that would be handy. In that period the OFs would talk and socialize face to face, and could carry on a conversation with an adult. The OFs lament that today very few kids can tell a story, or associate with an adult, and they seem to have trouble looking the OF in the eye. Luckily, however, there are some that can still do this i.e., carry on a conversation that makes sense and is coherent. One OF said this is just an observation not a complaint, if the OFs were they would be just like the kids the OFs are commenting on.
The Old Men of the Mountain that made it to Mrs. K’s in Middleburgh this Tuesday were many. The scribe does not know why so many were there. The scribe could only assume that it was to establish an alibi of some sort, to escape from an upset ex, or a really, really upset suitor of someone the OF was getting to know too well, yet it may be just to get out of chores, better yet avoid a bill collector, or a summons processor. For whatever the reason there were many OFs at the restaurant and they were: (Are you ready for this?) Dave Williams, Roger Chapman, Miner Stevens, George Washburn, Robie Osterman, Don Wood, Sonny Mercer, Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, Jim Heiser, Chuck Aelesio, Marty Herzog, Bill Lichliter, Roger Shafer, Otis Lawyer, Harold Guest, John Rossmann, Mace Porter, Jack Norray, Wayne Gaul, Lou Schenck, Jim Rissacher, Mike Willsey, Warren Willsey, Elwood Vanderbilt, Richard Vanderbilt, Jess Vadney, Bob Benninger, Bob Fink, Duncan Bellinger, Joe Bender, Bill Bartholomew, Pete Whitbeck, Rich Donnelly, Bob Lassome, Duane Wagonbaugh, Ray Gaul, Art Frament, Bob Benac, Ted Willsey, Richard Frank, Roger Fairchild, Harold Grippen, but NOT me.