The Old Men of the Mountain by John R. Williams
On Tuesday, the 24th of September 2013, the Old Men of the Mountain met at the Blue Star Cafe in Schoharie. This building used to house the Alley Cat (that name we could understand) but Blue Star Café? The OFs have trouble understanding that one and what, if anything, it is connected to. The name was changed when uninvited Irene blew through town and ruined the aforementioned Alley Cat. The OFs know some of the stars in the heavens are called blue stars and maybe one of them fell and landed on the old Alley Cat. (Ever accidently step on a cat’s tail, and not know the cat is there? That is one good reason all homes should have a defibrillator handy.)
The OFs wish to bring up another fall weed (or flower) depends on how you look at it. To some they are weeds; to some they are flowers. That is how the pearly everlasting have just bloomed everywhere. The OFs were discussing how all the wild flowers are blooming this year, all the wild fruit trees are loaded, and many of the pine trees have so many pinecones on them that they look brown, and the OFs predict that this winter is going to be a doozy. BUT some other OFs say not so fast ─ they attribute the bursting of all this vegetation is due to the very wet spring and early summer and all these plants got a good start, and there is still moister in the ground.
One OF mentioned he was glad to see all the goldenrod because at least around his place the old familiar sound of bees working was back and they were giving the goldenrod a good going over. “That is a good sign too,” the OF said.
We have about six months to go to see which faction of the OFs will be correct. Whether it is the water of spring, and winter is normal, or if this abundance of fruits and vegetation is nature’s way of supplying sustanance for the wild animals over a hard winter. “We shall see,” one OF commented, “Mark your calendar with the days below zero, and the number of inches of snow storms” to which another OF mentioned, “Let’s hope it is inches and not feet.”
The OFs started talking about some of the things they have seen in their travels and one thing brought up was the same type of early construction 1800 miles apart. In St. Augustine, Florida, they show in the Old Town a “school house” the OF thought was held down with anchor chains to keep it from blowing away in hurricanes. Another OF said they do the same thing on the road that goes up Mt. Washington. They have the buildings held down with chains so the wind does not blow them away. (Same difference.) Then one OF said that they do the same thing with trailers in Florida to keep them from blowing away in gales and hurricanes.
Weather must be a boon to the building and construction industries, just look at all the home and business that have been destroyed recently all over the country with floods, wind, and fire. One OG commented that he does not know how the insurance companies can keep up. One OF said he thinks much of this went on before but we just didn’t know about it, however, today it is instant news and communication in real time, so the whole world seems like it is right in our own backyard.
This is true some of the OFs said; one OG said he has relatives and friends in Alaska (he used to live there) and he reads the paper online from Anchorage all the time. Others commented on reading Florida papers the same way, and some from Tucson, Arizona do the same. “It is amazing,” one OG declared, “How some of the papers and news stations run web cams, so it is not only possible to read what is going on, but watch it also in real time.”
On the napkin holders on the tables in the Blue Star Restaurant there are interesting little sayings of the Will Rogers type. One saying referenced leftovers. One OF’s mom had leftovers ─ leftovers all the time. For 30 years they had nothing but leftovers. “This,” the OF said, “Was not funny because at his house it was true.” The OF said, “Like the saying they are still looking for the original meal, no one knows what it was.” One OF said he likes leftovers “Because sometimes the food tastes better the second time around, especially spaghetti.” “I don’t like leftovers at all,” was a reply, “The meat seems tough, bread is awful, vegetables are soggy; to me I am acting like a garbage can because that is where leftovers belong.” “Oh no,” an OF replied, “You can’t beat a meatloaf sandwich after the meatloaf has been in the fridge a week. No wonder there are so many cookbooks; there are so many different tastes it would be impossible to satisfy everybody.”
Those OFs that made it to the Blue Star Restaurant in Schoharie and everyone ordering the same breakfast…NOT…were: Robie Osterman, Roger Chapman, Jim Heiser, Harold Grippen, Miner Stevens, Steve Kelly, Roger Shafer, John Rossmann, Frank Pauli, Mark Traver, Karl Remmers, George Washburn, Art Frament, Bob Benac, (visitor from Texas, David Chase), Gary Porter, Mace Porter, Lou Schenck, Don Moser, Don Wood, Joe Loebier, Duane Wagenbaugh, Bob Lassome, Rich Donnelly, Mike Willsey, Harold Grippen, Gerry Chartier, Elwood Vanderbilt, Ted Willsey, Jim Rissacher, and me.