On Tuesday December 27 the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Your Way Café in Schoharie. This was a sad meeting because the OMOTM were advised of the death of Loretta Kennedy. Loretta was the proprietor of Mrs. K’s Country Kitchen in Middleburgh and a good friend of many of the OMOTM. Some of the OMOTM sat next to Loretta in many of her classes when she was at Schoharie Central. She was in the same class as this scribe and graduated with him in 1952.

As reported last week the OMOTM were at Mrs. K’s for their annual Christmas party and Loretta was taking orders and conversing with all the OMOTM and doing all this while supporting herself with a cane. The OMOTM’s thoughts and prayers go out to Patti and her family at this time of sorrow. The sorrow is for all of us but not for Loretta. God already has put her to work waiting on all the OMOTM that have gone on before (and that is a big group) on a cloud held especially for the OMOTM and their heavenly breakfast.

This scribe does not know how much of the news becomes information for the OFs because so many of the OFs claim they don’t watch the news (and some do not even get a newspaper) but again many OFs were upset about the low-lifes that steal Christmas presents particularly those intended for the needy. What kind of person would do this? The OFs wonder what kind of rock they crawled out from. One OF suggested it isn’t a rock, that is too good a home for them, it must be they oozed from some festering cesspool to pull stunts like that. Many of the OFs don’t understand why anyone takes something that belongs to someone else in the first place. What happens to them when they get, or if, they get caught was a rhetorical question. Nothing, was the basic reply. At least the OFs never hear of them getting caught.

In the “Your Way Café” was a neat snowman made out of pieces of logs. The bottom of the one in the window was about 12” in diameter, the middle was about 9”, and the head was about 4/5”. All the pieces were about 2” thick, and of course the hat was wood as was the nose and extremities. It had a scarf, etc. The OFs thought it would be possible to make a whole family of these for the front yard; they thought it looked like a fun, easy project that the whole family could get into. “But”, as one OF said, “If you have a chain saw.”

Maybe the OFs have mentioned this before but they think, they have a use for kudzu. Now all we need is a good use for wild grape vine other than making wreaths. The OFs talked about what a nuisance this stuff is. The more the OFs cut it back the more it grows. The OFs wonder if it does any damage to the trees that it weaves its wicked vine around. The plant crawls along the ground and starts new shoots that searches for trees to climb. It is difficult to control especially along hedgerows and fences where it gets a start. If only grape vines that grows grapes for harvests were as hardy and productive.

The OFs drifted into one of their generic topics “cars”. This time the talk was on how complicated they are becoming. There seems to be more dashboard lights, buttons, and switches than ever before. The touch screens that are like computers with no “oops” button in case the OF inadvertently touches the wrong part of the screen or the screen time is not long enough for the OF to interpret what it is and what to do with it, and by the time the OF decides that is what he wants, it changes to something else just as the OF is ready to push it. The still maintain all they need are a few simple toggles switches ─ one for lights with the dimmer on the floor, a two-position toggle for the wipers ─ one for slow, one for fast. A horn ring without the horn button hidden someplace in the center of the wheel because now when the OF pushes where the OF thinks the horn located, nothing happens. A simple key to start and lock the car. The wipers would have simple double-toggles ─ one for the heater and one for the air, with a simple knob to turn that indicates warmer and cooler. The radio would be on/off with a volume knob, and a tuner knob. The OFs think that should do it. And to boot whatever happened to the small triangle windows on the front windows that could be pushed out to scoop air in as you drove? Those little air scoop windows worked better than air conditioning. Now in some of these vehicles the OFs need a Master Degree in Computer Science just to turn the dumb thing on. Careful one OF suggested you have just admitted the car is smarter than you are.

The OFs that made it to the Your Way Café in Schoharie in their new fancy cars with all the gadgets and managed just fine, regardless of their grumbling, were: Ted Willsey, Warren Willsey, Mike Willsey, (with his daughter Amy who brought some information that might bear watching about an outbreak of flu in cats in New York City. So far there is only one SUSPECTED case of it being transmitted to humans. Something else for the OFs to worry about), Chuck Aleseio, Ray Frank, Miner Stevens, Bill Lichliter, Roger Shafer, George Washburn, Robie Osterman, Roger Chapman, Mark Traver, Glenn Patterson, Harold Guest, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Mace Porter, Gerry Irwin, Wayne Gaul, Ted Feruer, Don Wood, Bob Benninger, Bob Fink, Rev. Jay Francis, Gerry Chartier, Russ Pokorny, Elwood Vanderbilt, Richard Vanderbilt, Marty Herzog, Jim Rissacher, Harold Grippen and me.