On the last day of January 2017 the Old Men of the Mountain met at Kim’s West Winds Diner in Preston Hollow.
Why is Kim’s Diner here, why is Preston Hollow here, why is Livingstonville where it is? It would be interesting to know why all these small towns dot the countryside. The OFs come out of the mountain like flies attracted to decaying meat to go to breakfast on Tuesday mornings. A better analogy would be like bees to goldenrod in the fall.
The OFs maintain that the restaurants should have fans a little way from the restaurants (and on either side) that would waft the aroma of eggs and bacon towards the highway. The OFs feel this would induce passersby to whip in and order up breakfast even if they were not that hungry. Kim’s is such a place right on Route 145 at the edge of a small town.
The OFs discussed how many small businesses have left the area over the years. This time we discussed specifically Johnstown and Gloversville. Both of these towns were full of small businesses. The knitting mills, glove and leather producing factories are now gone. This area in Fulton County in its heyday had 300 leather factories; today there are only about a dozen and some of those just do the leather. The OFs used to take trips to that area to shop. Johnstown Knitting mills was one where the OF said you could hear the mills running in the back. The OFs purchased gloves, wallets, leather jackets, etc., all right at the factory that made them. They are gone. Now when the OFs look to purchase a pair of gloves they all say made in China. One OF added there is a reason (he thinks) for this. He opined that if the gloves were made here a twenty-dollar pair of gloves would cost one hundred dollars.
One OF whipped out his wallet to leave a tip and pay for his breakfast. The wallet appeared to be one he received as a graduation present when he graduated high school. An OF queried, “About time for a new wallet isn’t it?” The OF replied, “Nothing is falling out of it yet so it is still functional, and if it functions why get another one?” Tough statement to argue with. A few of the OFs agreed with the OF with the old wallet. One OF said he received a new wallet from his wife who was embarrassed by his other old one, and this OF said he could not get all the stuff from his old wallet into his new one. Some of the OFs had to agree that change is not always good. These OFs were of the opinion that if is not worn out why change, and if it ain’t broke why fix it.
This conversation went back to Gloversville and Grandoe leather where the St. Thomas wallet and bags among other name- brand high-quality leather goods were made. (One of those leather places that is no longer there.) This OF and his wife like other OFs did some of their Christmas shopping in Gloversville as mentioned above. Grandoe Corp. would have a factory sale that was so popular they would have people on the outside guarding the doors and when some people came out they would let the same number in. The room under the factory would be packed.
“One of the factories,” another OF said, “That made gloves, 30-years ago made the gloves for the Air Force, and they also had a small section of the factory where at Christmas time they had factory sales. The OF said people showed up at this glove plant in tour busses. To get to this factory outlet it was necessary to walk through part of plant where people were sizing gloves over hundreds of metal hands protruding from a table. The employees would stretch a glove over a protruding hand, push a lever with his foot, and steam would come out of holes in the hand to shape the glove. This factory is also gone.
Some of the OFs with Time Warner received a notice in their bills that starting late winter/early spring it will now be necessary to dial 518 for every number in the 518 area code, and 838 if you are assigned a new number in the 518 area code. Now all counties in the 518 and 838 area codes will have ten digit phone numbers. One OF said to call his neighbor he will have to dial 518-123-4567, but if he gets a new neighbor who gets a phone this neighbor might also get a number as 838-123-4567. There’s a chance that business cards, letterheads, signs, truck lettering, and the like might have to be changed. Another OF complained that life is not easy anymore. Who keeps messing things up, why can’t I just get up have breakfast, pack a lunch, take my old boat out to the lake and go fishing, come home have supper, watch a little TV, or read a book then go to bed. NO! Now I have to think all the time, they keep changing all kinds of rules. I can’t keep up.
The Old Men of the Mountain who some had to push the covers off a little earlier to get to Kim’s West Winds Diner in Preston Hollow were: Bill Lichliter, John Rossmann, Harold Guest, Karl Remmers, Roger Chapman, Bob Snyder, Robie Osterman, George Washburn, Dave Williams, Mark Traver, Otis Lawyer, Glenn Patterson, Marty Herzog, Ted Feurer, Don Woods, Chuck Aelesio, Frank Ray, Lou Schenck, Jack Norray, Mace Porter, Gerry Irwin, Warren Willsey, Mike Willsey, Elwood Vanderbilt, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, Harold Grippen, and me.