The Old Men of the Mountain met at Mrs. K’s Restaurant in Middleburgh on Valentines Day; they did not bring their wives or girl friends. Some of the OMOTM’s were going to take their wives out to eat in celebration of the day. The OFs planning this get to eat out twice on the same day.  This ingenious plan saves on dishes and electricity, and cleaning up after the meal. No one mentioned flowers, however, some mentioned cards and candy, while others said “What’s Valentines Day”?

Some OFs say they clean up the kitchen in the evening after the last meal of the day and that is a lot of work. One OF said he thinks his wife takes advantage of his doing this and uses every pot and pan in the cupboard to prepare the meal. The OF continued his complaining by saying when he grills in the summer time, he does the whole ball of wax, the preparation, the cooking, and the cleaning up afterward. One OF said, “Your wife has trained you well. “It’s too late now,” the OF continued, “You are stuck.”

“Naw, he ain’t,” a second OF added and then the second OF told the first OF just to let everything pile up, and don’t do the cleanup, and then when she goes to get a pot to cook with and can’t find any clean ones she will get the idea.

“Not my wife,” the OF said “H*** she will just go out and buy some more pots, and get paper plates with plastic flatware and serve the beer in a red plastic cup”.

Topic One:  The OFs talked about how when the OFs were YFs on the farm we all had animals.  Other than cows, horses, pigs, and chickens, we had our pets like cats and dogs. None of the OFs could remember running them to the vet, or even getting the cat or dog special food. The cats had better earn their keep by catching rats, mice and voles. One OF said there was always an old milk can lid filled with fresh milk daily and the cats would gather around that lid in the morning to lap it up. The dogs ate leftovers from what we ate. These animals seemed to be healthy, live long, be great companions and we didn’t have mean dogs either. Some of the OFs remember going out to get the cows on an early summer morning and the dog or dogs running along with them. It was a great time. One OF mentioned that he remembers the vet coming to the farm. Another OF said their vet came at specific time which the OF now knows was arranged by his dad but at the time when he was a kid the vet just showed up like magic.

Topic Two:  The new Rivers casino in Schenectady was discussed with many of the OFs saying they are staying as far away from that as they can. A couple of the OFs mentioned they will visit it just to see what it is like because there has been so much hoopla about it. Another OF said he doesn’t think he can afford this particular casino, while others said now they don’t have to travel to Turning Stone in Verona (central New York). One mentioned he still likes the atmosphere of Saratoga. One or maybe more OFs suggested that their better halves like the slot machines. One OF said he can’t drive by a casino without his wife nudging him to turn in.

An OF pointed out that some of the casinos have nothing around them so there is nothing to do except be at the casino. The plus for the one in Schenectady is there is plenty to do outside of the casino. If you like boats the OFs said, there is supposed to be a marina at the site, or if you like sports Goldstock’s Sporting Goods is across the bridge and right up the road. There are lots of other shopping places, gyms, Mohawk Honda, and M&S Cycle (for motorcycles and scooters) just a little further from Goldstocks. Guy stuff…drop the wife off…and the OF might come back with some new skis, or maybe even a new car. That’ll teach her; then again the wife might just win enough to pay for some of these unexpected purchases. If the OF is interested in history there is the Stockade area of Schenectady with a little park where the OF can sit in “peace” and watch the river, while feeding the squirrels.

Topic Three:  The problems with the dam in Northern California were discussed, which brought up dialogue about our own Gilboa dam in Schoharie County, however, the dam in California seems to be much worse in scope. This brought up the discussion of what the OFs would take if they had to evacuate in a hurry. Many answers were alike, such as important papers, medicines, photos, and some cash. A few OFs had some interesting add-ons like water, and one said to be sure to take the wife. Another OF had a keen idea. This OFs suggestion was if you live in an area prone to flooding or natural disasters to have a small lightweight and tight trailer. Keep your records in there, your photos, water, blankets, and whatever else you deem necessary, sleeping bags, camp stove with fuel etc., so when the evacuation notice comes all that required is to hook it to the vehicle and take off. The medicines should be all that would be necessary to grab. That sounded like a cool idea.

The Old Men of the Mountain who hit the highway for Mrs. K’s Restaurant in Middleburgh expecting to have snow-covered highways, and who were pleasantly surprised by how well the highway crews had cleaned them, were: John Rossmann, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Ray Frank, Harold Guest, Bill Lichliter, Jim Heiser, Chuck Aelesio, Roger Chapman, Otis Lawyer, Mark Traver, Glenn Patterson, Marty Herzog, Sonny Mercer, Ray Kennedy, Mace Porter, Pastor Jay Francis, Don Wood, Ted Willsey, Warren Willsey, Russ Pokorny, Mike Willsey, Bob Fink, Bob Benninger, Elwood Vanderbilt, Harold Grippen and me.