As the Old Men of the Mountain traveled over the hill to the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh some were wondering how the tour buses handle the lack of color that the tours have scheduled in our area. The OFs say they are still keeping up with mowing the grass, a few trees have changed, and the white pines are still hanging onto to their needles. It is Tuesday October 4th, and with all the leaves that remain on the trees the OFs remembered the October snow storm of October 4th, 1987 when a freak snowstorm fell with leaves still on the trees and the trees came crashing down.

One OF reported he was in the hospital having his gall bladder removed (this was when they cut you from stem to stern to remove the diseased bladder, and this OF has the scar to prove it) when the snows came. The OFs said that his doctor had a huge tree come down against his home and one across his driveway. The doctor could not get his car out and borrowed a neighbor’s chain saw to cut his way through the trees so he could get to the hospital. The doctor had a heart attack in the process and passed away. The follow-up and the rest of his care, the OF said, was by doctors he didn’t know or have anything to do with the operation. They must have done OK because the OF said he is still here.

That was some mess, but it doesn’t look like it is going to happen this year at least on the 4th, because by the time this hits the paper the 4th will have come and gone.

The case of “the one that got away” from the State Police in Schoharie was talked about. It was commented that the troopers and the police departments had better be careful in handling these farm girls ─ these girls seem to be able to escape on a regular basis. One OF mentioned it is no wonder the girl in Schoharie slipped her handcuffs off since the pictures of her on the news seemed to indicate she is no bigger than a mite, and the OFs think that the cuffs might not go small enough to really fit the young lady. Another OF opined she went from a rinky-dink type crime to a real whopper. And finally one OF said she must be real stupid, or real frightened, to pull a stunt like that.

The OFs mentioned that the area really needs rain ─ a good rain! Many of the creeks are just dribbles of water. It’s hard to imagine from what the Fox Creek, and the Schoharie Creek look like now, that we had the flood (TS Irene) of such magnitude five years ago. One OF said even though it is dry he sees farmers still out cutting hay, probably third cutting. A second OF mentioned some farmers were out cutting yesterday October 3rd; this is nice looking hay.

A few weeks ago this column had a section in it about history, and part of the history of Schoharie County is contained in the County Seal. The Seal is of a horse. The OFs talked about this at that time but no one could quite come up with all the facts. At this morning’s breakfast an OF brought in a book on the history of Schoharie and this accounting was in that book with names of who owned the horse and how it came about. The following is a paraphrase of the story.

This horse is very important to early settlers of the valley and the Hilltowns. At that time, after the grain was harvested, it had to be taken to Schenectady to be ground into flour and this was the job of the WOMEN, to haul these sacks of grain to the mill and return with the flour. It wasn’t only flour but other staples that were required by the community that was transported in this fashion and by the WOMEN. If only they had a horse to haul the loads it would be easier and they could do more. One day on the way to the mill they spotted a horse for sale and mentioned it when they returned home. The horse was more expensive than they thought they could afford but with what money they could round up, they went to inquire about purchasing it anyway. The owner of the horse pulled a switcheroo and brought out an old nag instead of the stallion they first saw. The owner was bargained down to what money they had brought with them and he told them it was still a good horse.

On the way home the women weren’t sure the horse would make it back, but it did. The next morning when they went to check on the horse they found it had given birth to a spry, perky foal. Now they had two horses, and in a year the foal would be big and strong. Some looked on it as a miracle and said they were being taken care of by a greater being. This event became the Seal of Schoharie County.

The Old Men of the Mountain would like to offer their condolences to the family of Paul Giebitz with the passing away of Paul in a tractor accident. Our thoughts and prayers go with them as Paul joins the other OMOTM at the table in the clouds.

Those OFs that will take this kind of weather right up until spring so they can make it to restaurants like the Middleburgh Diner in Middleburgh were: Miner Stevens, George Washburn, Bill Lichliter, Dave Williams, Roger Chapman, Robie Osterman, Harold Guest, Sonny Mercer, Ray Kennedy, Don Wood, Ray Gaul, Jack Norray, Mace Porter, Bob Benninger, Bob Fink, Marty Herzog, Jim Rissacher, Bob Giebitz, Ted Willsey, Duane Wagonbaugh, Roger Shafer, Gerry Chartier, Mike Willsey, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen, and me.

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