August 23rd, 2016 The Old Men of the Mountain met at the Your Way Café in Schoharie. Many of the restaurants, diners, and café’s the Old Men of the Mountain have on their rotational clock are places (when you are traveling) you might have a tendency to drive right by. They are local hangouts, but the meals are good. Many travelers (the OFs included) are in this group of driving on by. But, and this is a big but, if these small out-of-the-way places have a good number of cars around them it is a good bet the restaurant  has excellent diner food at reasonable prices.

One OF remembered a trip to the Civil War battle field at Gettysburg, Pa. where the OF said he and his wife took advantage of arriving early and signing up for a Park Ranger to drive their car around the site. At that time the charge was not very expensive and the Ranger was with the OF for the whole morning. The OF asked the Ranger where  there was a good place to eat, and the Ranger told him of a little place in town.  This place was within walking distance of the parking lot but not the direction the tour buses and tourists went.  In fact, it was just about 180 degrees the other way out of town. The OF said when they got there it was full of locals, and not a tourist in sight. It was not fancy, the food was great, and it was inexpensive, just like the OMOTM’s round table of eating establishments.  The Your Way Café is just one of those along with all the others. (This is not a paid advertisement ─ just the facts ma’am).

Are the Canadian geese gathering early to go downstate? The OFs have noticed the geese cueing up. The OFs think these birds are getting so people friendly they are becoming about as much of a nuisance as the droppings these feathered manure spreaders leave behind on their visits. One OF thought they are about as dumb as mourning doves; at his place it becomes necessary to shoo them out of the way before he can open the car door. They also parade up the OF’s driveway at a goose’s pace and don’t move right or left.  These flying pests must think the honking of the OF’s horn is a mating call. One OF suggested shooting a couple of these birds and putting them in the freezer for Thanksgiving. This OF also suggested he could pass them off as turkey when the holiday rolls around because no one would know the difference, just like making all your coffee decaffeinated and giving it to people who drink regular ─ most don’t know the difference anyway. The question still remains are the geese cueing up early, and may this be an indicator to the coming winter? Only time will tell.

This Labor Day weekend the Scottish games will be held at the Altamont fair grounds. The OFs were talking about this because one of our members is really involved with this event. One OF mentioned one time taking a couple of friends to the games on Saturday, (the games are a weekend event) and the OF, his wife, and the couple had a great time.  On Sunday, this couple decided to go back to the games.  Lo and behold, one came back (the macho one) with a complete outfit (starting with the kilt) right down to the scabbard and knife in the sock. Some sutler (camp vendor) was glad to see this couple stop at their fly.

Discussions about experiences at the fair continued from last week’s discussions of experiences at the fair. What could be gleaned from all this talk about the fair has nothing to do with fair but the truth is that the OFs are getting old. The discussion was about how long it took the OFs to get around the fair, and the people they met sitting on the benches. One good reason for this is that many of the OFs went on senior day, so what did they expect to see other than more seniors wandering around the fair looking at stuff and commenting, “Oh, we had this (or that) when I was young”. Some even said that some of the items came after they were young; they were using older items than those on display when they were younger. Some OFs were heard to say, “Look Mildred, there we are,” and the retort “Look you old goat, that’s us” as they watched other older couples walk by with their canes, arm in arm, helping each other tour the grounds. The OFs are wondering if the older generation is getting more numerous, or is it that the OFs hang out with other OFs so everybody seems old.

As mentioned this was senior day and if the OFs were to go on a Friday night they might be out of place. The OFs would see all the young people showing off their skimpy clothes with their belly buttons hanging out and many of these buttons should never see the light of day.  “That could be why they are out at night,” one OF added. Maybe the OFs should start dressing like that ─ this would then scare the living daylights out of the younger generation and in defense they would start covering up. The OFs can hear it now “GRANDMA, you can’t dress like THAT and go out!” The OFs can hear the reply, “Hey kid it is not illegal, grandma can strut her stuff too, you know.” The guys are just as bad, ratty looking beards from guys who if they lived to be a hundred could never grow a beard.  They sport unwashed hair, and butt cracks are on display. So here comes grandpa at the fair, with at least a beard that is a beard, unwashed hair, teeth out, and hairy butt crack on display. The OFs bet that if there were parades of the kid’s parents, and grandparents in the attire some of the kids wear, there would soon be an end to the strange get-ups that can only appeal to those who are dressed like them. This scribe didn’t even mention the tats that will soon be nothing more than black blobs. The fair is a lot of fun sometimes, just for sitting on a bench and watching humanity pass by. Ah yes, and the OFs are part of it.

The OFs elevated their topic of discussion to proprietary products. Manufacturer’s that make a product many other manufacturer’s make will construct this merchandise so the expendable parts only fit their machine, or product. The OFs discussed lawn mowers in particular. Most all rotary mowers use blades; the way blades are attached to the machines are all different.  Some have a hole, some have a diamond, some have a helix, some have a large hole with two smaller holes, or even three smaller holes, some are raised in the center, it goes on and on. The OFs think there should be one type of blade that is universal to all mowers. There is so much more that this can apply to. The OFs were thinking of chain saws and proprietary chain saw blades. So much of what many products use are expendable and have no real function in how these creations work, the OFs are wondering why this can’t be done. Look what happened to Kodak, Polaroid, Beta, and many other companies because they were bull-headed and insisted that their expendable products would only work on their equipment.  They then constructed their own goods so other manufacturers of expendable equipment would not work on their equipment.

One OF who works on lawn mowers brought up not only blades, but drive wheels on self-propelled lawn mowers (for the most part) being different. “They all do the same thing,” this OF said, “One does not give better performance than the other ─ just like blades ‘.

A second OF said this can carry over into so many other products like vacuum cleaners, coffee makers, mixers, and many household products, and even tools.

The discussion changed to boats, one OF told of going to a regatta in the Thousand Islands. The OF reported taking a ride in a seven-passenger Hacker boat ─ exactly what model he did not say. (This scribe was sent to the Internet, and searched Google images for Hacker boats.  Wow! What boats!) The OF reported that on the trip they came upon a large tanker plying the river and the ship was generating a huge wake. Judging by how high the OF held his hands from the floor the other OFs estimated the wake was four to five feet, and the OF reporting the story said the waves from the wake were close together. He noticed that the pilot of the boat made no attempt to maneuver away from the wake, instead, he headed right into it close to the ship itself. The OF also said he did not gun the engine to raise the bow of the Hacker so he hit the first wave dead on. The OF said the second wave washed over the boat and soaked everybody, plus this wave placed a couple of inches of water into the boat. The OF said he asked why this pilot made no maneuvers to avoid the wake, or why he did not gun the engine to raise the bow. The pilot answered only one of these questions and said gunning the engine on a Hacker does not raise the bow. The OFs were wondering how old this skipper was and if that tactic was not maybe just a tad on the deliberate side. The OFs hoped this OF did not tip the pilot.

Now for the alibi report and this scribe’s wife suggested that it should be reported everyone was here…but…easier to look it up and report who was not here. This scribe thought that would not sit well with law enforcement. All the OFs that got up and made it to the Your Way Café on a beautiful day were: Miner Stevens (who opened the place up), Roger Chapman, Henry Witt, Bill Bartholomew, Dave Williams, Bill Lichliter, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Harold Guest, John Rossmann, Pete Whitbeck, Chuck Aelesio, Richard Frank, Glenn Patterson, Mark Traver, Tanner Spohn (Mark’s grandson), Roger Shafer, Gerry Irwin, Mace Porter, Wayne Gaul, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Jim Rissacher, Don Wood, Sonny Mercer, Duncan Bellinger, Bob Benninger, Bob Fink, Herb Sawotka, Art Frament, Gary Bates, Bob Benac, Rich Donnelly, Bob Lassome, Ted Willsey, Duane Wagonbaugh, Mike Willsey, Gerry Willsey, Gerry Chartier, Harold Grippen, and me.