On Tuesday the 30th of August (and the summer of 2016 is almost gone) the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Duanesburgh Diner in Duanesburgh. It was a beautiful beginning of a rare day in the Northeast, slightly crisp, and clear.

The OFs discussed the five-year anniversary of the devastation to our area and others by tropical storm Irene. The OFs still cannot understand what is happening in Schoharie with the slow-poke construction going on around the county buildings. One OF said he hopes this isn’t a cost-plus job.

What to do with an old car, a really old car? One OF has in his barn a 1932 4-door Studebaker Dictator. This OF has no intention of restoring it and is looking to have this rare vehicle find a new home. This is a good decision because if he isn’t going to do anything with it, why should he have such a piece of history sit in his barn and rust away? The OF already has a 50-year old Allis-Chalmers which once was all seized up and is now freed up and running. The OFs are antiques themselves, maybe someone should take the OFs under their wing, free them up and get them running. Not that the OFs are not running, but many could be running a lot better.

The trend now is downsizing. Some of the OF are finally taking that to heart.  At one time the OFs hauled around abandoned objects that have been left in their fields and have even had trees growing through them.  They brought these relics home and had the hard-earned excitement of getting some of these beasts belching smoke again. This is better than just letting these pieces of equipment sit in the field and rot, or Mother Nature turn them to rust. However, now comes the problem of downsizing

After the OF’s head is resting on the pillow in the casket, or his ashes are blowing away in the wind, what happens to all these collections? When is the time to get the family together and ask, “What do you want, or this is yours?” There is a big IF that could pop up, and according to one OF has, and that is the statement, “I don’t want any of this old crap”.  Ho-boy now what? The old adage, “One man’s treasure is another man’s trash” is more than a statement, it is a truism.  Many of the OFs are at the age where this is a problem to be considered. One OF inquired, “Are museums just an upgrade of what many OFs have in their barns?” That is a good question.

The OFs discussed a social problem that is universal.  This problem is why some people can work with other people, and the other people cannot work with people. Then there is the one guy that can’t work with anybody. The OFs did not think it odd that one person can work with another person doing the same job, and can’t with another. They thought it was personality clashes and not that each one was doing a bad job, or that one thought the other was lazy and not pulling his weight. The OFs could not quite understand it, when one OF commented that he could not work with Joe Blow, while other OFs thought Joe Blow was a great guy to work with. One OF thought it had nothing to do about work, it was that mysterious phenomenon called Karma.  A quick Google tells us that one definition of  Karma means that we receive what we give. That all our actions reflect back upon us, either in this world or in the subsequent ones.   For one reason or another sometimes two people’s Karma doesn’t connect. An OF said, “Don’t give me that hocus-pocus Karma stuff, I just can’t work with him. We can go out and get drunk together, but work with him ─ no-way”.

The same OF said that he does everything opposite, for instance, “If I go to flip a piece of plywood to the left, he starts going to the right”. The other OF insisted it was the Karma not connecting.  He went on, “Then why is it that with most other people when (without saying anything) we both start flipping the same way, no stress, no fighting each other, a piece of cake ─ the plywood is flipped. However, if I ask Joe Blow to hand me a hammer, he hands me a nail, and vice-versa for some reason if he asks for a hammer I will hand him a nail. No one is yanking anybody’s chain ─ I just can’t work with Joe Blow”.

One other OF said, “That is what makes a team, everybody automatically working together and in sync with each other. A super player can come from someplace else and be better that anyone else on the team but if he doesn’t fit in, and his Karma doesn’t match, instead of making the team better it becomes worse because it is not working as a unit”. The other OF bristled, “It is not ‘Karma’.  It’s just that the other guys would prefer playing with the guy he replaced, so the new guy dances around the outside and is not included”. This discussion could go on forever but this scribe hopes you get the idea of what the OFs were talking about, and this debate finally (thank goodness) drifted to something else.

That something else was the following question, that is, can hens keep a rooster from becoming mean?  The answer seemed to be no. Some of the OFs said they were chased out of the hen house by a mean rooster. Most reported that they were kids at the time and were there to gather the eggs. These roosters were surrounded by hens, so having hens around didn’t help. The OFs reported that as adults if the rooster behaved like that they would catch that bird and ring his bloody neck.

The OFs that made it all the way to the Duanesburgh Diner, in Duanesburgh, and not on tractors that were 50 years old, but many in flashy new cars were: Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Bill Lichliter, Roger Chapman, Marty Herzog, Chuck Aelesio, Richard Frank, Dave Williams, Bill Bartholomew, Roger Shafer, Duncan Bellinger, Joe Bender, Otis Lawyer, Jim Heiser, Mark Traver, Glenn Patterson, Harold Guest, John Rossmann, Art Frament, Herb Sawotka, Pete Whitbeck, Mace Porter, Wayne Gaul, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Don Chase, Bob Fink, Bob Benninger, Ted Willsey, Bob Lassome, Duane Wagonbaugh, Rich Donnelly, Pastor Jay Francis, and me.