This week the Old Men of the Mountain managed to meet at the Country Café on Main Street in Schoharie on Tuesday, the 18th of April, 2017.
At this breakfast we were taken care of by a new waitress who apparently was not familiar with the OMOTM. When the first 8 or 10 of the OFs arrived at the Country Café and had seated themselves, the waitress came introduced herself and asked what we wanted to drink. She had a carafe of regular coffee in her hand then asked who wanted coffee; the answer from the OFs was a typical OF answer. Out of 8 or 10 OFs some wanted regular, some wanted decaf, one wanted ice water, and one wanted OJ. The waitress was about to find out there is nothing simple when dealing with old people.
After taking care of the early riser’s coffee requests, the waitress asked a normal chit chat question. “Just what do the Old Men of the Mountain do?” she asked pointing to the OMOTM caps on some of the OFs. In unison, like singing a song, the OFs replied nothing, we do absolutely nothing. This took the new waitress back a little ─ here is a group of OFs that get together and do nothing. The long and short answer is yep…you got it, nothing is our thing, we do nothing is our motto. However, we do have a 22 page set of by-laws to keep everything civil and on track so doing something does not get in the way of our nothingness.
Many of the OFs are actively getting ready for spring. This includes making sure all the small engines that are used during the spring, summer, and fall, are in good working order and will start when they should. When all these little engines are put together an individual OF will have quite a few. There are the lawnmowers, the weed whackers, the chain saws, the leaf blowers, the
roto-tillers, the tractors, the debris pumps, a generator, and who knows what else that has some little engine attached to it, plus in the winter time it is the snow blower.
As mentioned in previous columns we have a few OFs that repair small engines, one in particular performs small engine repair as a business. This OF is now putting people on a list that is two weeks out because he is so busy. This OF must be really good at his job because his hands look like a surgeon’s hands. They are clean and not all nicked up with cuts and bruises.
This led the OFs into talking about tools of the trade and how OFs that do a lot of woodworking, metal work, hobby/craft work, or work in the woods, have much better tools, and the right tool instead of the OF that does it only once or twice a year with a hammer and a crowbar. The crowbar will be three times larger than required, or the OF will need one three times larger than the one he is using. The same goes for the hammer, or maybe the saw with teeth that are as smooth as the back of saw.
The OF said that having the right tool for the job, and having that tool in good condition is key to making any job fun and easy. One OF said it cuts down on a lot of cussing and swearing, nicks and bruises, trips to the doctors and hospital, and finally wasted time and a good reason for divorce.
The OFs talked a little bit about what they did to make a living when they were younger. If some of the shenanigans that went on at work were true it is a wonder many of the OFs weren’t sacked.
Within this conversations were snippets of what may have precipitated the shenanigans. One was politics where one OF described an attempt to imitate a German accent on an employee (where he worked) opinion of politician’s work ethic even then as trick and swindle. This may or may not be true but seems to be a common trait today by some. The other which brought agreement, (and this scribe realizes this is in the paper) they didn’t trust the press then, and even less now.
One OF added, “I don’t know about you guys but I worked the farm; the hours were long, the work was hard; I was the boss and the hired hand. I didn’t pay any attention to either of them. If I had any free time the wife and I would go to a farm auction or a square dance. Life was simple and fun but at the time we did not know it.”
This scribe does not know how many topics of conversation at the table get started or when they end, so this causes much head scratching at the computer to figure out how to interpret some of the notes on this scribe’s little pocket pad. If the notes are truly in sequence the OFs went from the topics above to Easter diners and what to do with leftovers.
One OF described in much detail what was done with the leftovers at his place. This OF said after the meal they prepared the leftovers so they could be used for many meals later on. They took the ham and cut all the meat off the ham and left the bone for making soup. They took the slices from the ham and prepared them for sandwiches. They took the meat close to the bone and cut it plus the ham sauce to be part of the ingredients for making macaroni and cheese. If enough was left from that they placed chunks in plastic bags for ham salad. The mashed potatoes were pre-prepared for making potato pancakes. The OF said in the morning they would cook up the potato pancakes, fry up some eggs and bacon, plop them on top of the pancakes and that is good eating!
One OF said, “It sounds like you had a meal with a 10- pound ham for only 3 or 4 people. At our place after we pass out some paper plates for some to take home there is not much food left over for leftovers.”
Maybe the OFs should sit down with the wife and write down some of their recipes, and special meal preparations, and even include some of the OFs parent’s recipe collection and make their own OF’s cook book. That could be a collection of recipes going back to around 1885 plus with the ages of the OFs that would be a collection of recipes that would be doggone healthy, because we made it to be OFs!
Those OFs that made it to the Country Café in Schoharie because of the healthy eating of days gone by were: Miner Stevens, Harold Guest, John Rossmann, Robie Osterman, Bill Lichliter, George Washburn, Dave Williams, Chuck Aelesio, Ray Frank, Otis Lawyer, Jim Heiser, Ted Feurer, Wayne Gaul, Rev. Jay Francis, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Jack Norray, Mace Porter, Lou Schenck, Gerry Irwin, Mike Willsey, Gerry Chartier, Herb Bahrmann, Elwood Vanderbilt, Jess Vadney, Harold Grippen, and me.