LEVEE WALKING TRAIL
Two weeks ago I gave you a list of the benches and tables on the Levee Trail between the Lewis and Clark Memorial and the Sunrise Bluffs. I said that I would do the next one when I walked that week but I did not have an opportunity because of rain and winter setting in.
Today, (Sunday morning the 14th,) I was able with help from daughter Lisa, to check out the trail between the Grand Union Hotel and the B.L.M. Interpretive Center. Please remember the Kotstad, Our Visitors, General Federation of Women’s Club of Fort Benton, Ritland/Kassmeier, Worrall/Stillwell, Morrow, (second bench for General Federation of Woman’s Club of Fort Benton), Kegel, Erickson, Beecher, Morger, and Willett families. Their generosity was a very important part of the Walking Trail. It is so history oriented and their loved ones to be remembered.
This is a story I could not tell you until some facts came to my attention. It concerns a movie, “Thunderbolt and Lightfoot,” made in 1973, and movie star Clint Eastwood. A few scenes were filmed here in Fort Benton on the Missouri River Levee.
When I moved to Fort Benton in 1993, I was told that Clint Eastwood sat on a bench along the levee across the street from the old Price Rite that was located right on the corner of 16th and Front St. The new Price Rite was built in 1990.
I will fast forward to the year that I volunteered to paint the three wooden benches between the Grand Union and the Old Fire Hall. The City of Fort Benton provided the paint and I gave those old benches two coats of paint.
So, what happened? I got bursitis in my shoulder and went for therapy for three months. That was the beginning of the Memorial Bench project by replacing the wooden benches with cement benches that demanded no maintenance.
As the project moved along the levee, all the wooden benches were replaced. I do not remember the exact date but a long while after; I realized the bench that Clint sat on was gone. What had I done? I could have used it as a fund raiser, auctioning or raffling it off. The bench was gone forever but not my guilty feelings. I dared not tell anyone. Some people could be very upset, (perhaps…who knew or paid attention.) After all, we do not have a movie made with a big star like Clint Eastwood in Fort Benton very often.
And, the rest of the story …one evening this summer I saw in my TV directory that “Thunderbolt and Lightfoot,” was scheduled. I watched it and much to my relief my guilty feelings disappeared as I realized that Clint did not sit on a bench. He sat on the ground by a cottonwood tree close to the Grand Union.
While I was making my confession to son Randy, he related his story. He and Mark Johnsrud were on the roof of a building across the street watching the whole filming. He knew exactly which tree it was. It was not one of the cottonwoods that were cut down this summer. It still stands, very tall and stately as it was years ago.
I have some more stories about the making of this movie that were told to me today after talking with several people. Everyone has a story and if you have one about this filming, please let me know at 622-3217.
I have a cross-stitch sign made by my daughter Jennifer that reads, “I Wonder What It Was I Worried About a Year Ago.” I should change it to “Years Ago,” because I did worry about those benches for many years. Thank goodness for old movies on TV. P.S. It was not a very good movie. Kind of corny.
I wrote last week that summer may turn directly into winter. I also said that I was looking forward to Indian summer. Am I a good weather predictor or what? I met Editor Tim on the trail and he checked his smart phone and said that it was supposed to be 88 degrees on Thursday. I will have to get out early on those hot days to walk. Enjoy while it lasts.
Last Friday was the most fun day ever at the Golden Age Senior Center. Gail Fischer, who is Executive Director of Travel Montana, was in Fort Benton on a PIE TRAIL. In the last few weeks she has had 15 pieces of pie in a trail across Central Montana. Our Golden Age Center was the only one of its kind. All the others the Pie Trail led to were restaurants. She ate different kinds of pies in each of her stops. So far the best pie was in a Denton restaurant. The pie cost in Fort Benton, although very delicious, was the least expensive. Other pie costs began at $3.50. (At our Center pie and coffee are $3.00.) Gail said the most expensive pie on the trail was $4.50 for huckleberry pie. (I paid $5.00 for a small slice of huckleberry in Seely Lake and the price of a whole pie was $35.00.)
Gail was a delightful story teller and we hope she returns soon to visit. The PIE TRAIL will be on a website soon. I will let you know as soon as I get the info.
I was able to go to the J.V. game on Monday the 8th. The stands were about half occupied with parents and grandparents. There were a few of senior citizens who usually attend every sporting event. I did not have to learn the Shorthorns fight song as we sang the “Fort Benton High Your Grand.” Bethany Monroe joined me in the stands, commented that I sang along, and that I knew all the words. I have learned a lot in 21 years and the fight song was one of the first. Loving football and basketball was also on the agenda.
Again I will say that I am sorry that I do not write enough about girls’ sports. I do enjoy reading about girls excelling in sports and was very happy to see the Sports supplement in the River Press.
I am sure I have written much about my grandson, Bryan Graupmann, who is a senior this year and is a Saints defensive end. (He is going to be a nurse and he is a big guy.)
He was injured a week ago Saturday in the first few minutes of the game at the Southern Oregon University. I am writing about this because so many of you ask me how Bryan is doing. The team doctor thinks he may have torn something in his leg and an MRI was not done this past week. He has a brace on it and was not able to play this past Saturday. I appreciate all your kind thoughts.
I have not seen many full moons lately because of cloud cover. I was giving you the names of each month’s moons but because I did not write since March, that info fell way behind.
October is a different story because without checking I believe it will be called the Harvest Moon. It should be a bright orange color. One of my fondest memories was a Long Horn football game when there was the full Harvest Moon. Wally and I started singing, “Shine on Harvest Moon,” and all the seniors around us joined in. What a fun time!
GOD BLESS AMERICA, OUR TROOPS and WEAR RED ON FRIDAYS.