"VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE”
by Muncie Morger
WOW! Wonders of Wonders. The “View from the Bridge” is going on the Fort Benton website starting this week. On with the story…it all came about because of the Governor’s Conference held a few weeks ago. Fort Benton’s own Connie Jenkins (Summer Celebration Chairperson and President of the Fort Benton Woman’s Club,) Randy Morger (who moved back to Fort Benton two years ago and is lovin’ it,) and Sharalee Smith (the behind the scenes volunteer and producer of the website,) attended the conference.
They met Arnie Fishbaugh (formerly of Fort Benton) who is the Executive Director of the Montana Arts Council. Arnie has great ties with Fort Benton and she and Randy were co-speakers at their graduation from Fort Benton High School in 1970.
They were discussing ways and means of spreading “The Joys of Fort Benton” to our friends and neighbors who have had to leave our beautiful town and the Visitors who check the website. Arnie came up with the idea of putting the “View” on the website as it could be expanded to cover more “hometown news” and happenings around town When the news was passed on to me it made me a very uptight person. Writing the column has become a tad more difficult since I do not spend as much time at the Visitor’s Center as I used to. This will give me an opportunity to ask of you…the readers…to call in your happenings such as family reunions, graduating class reunions before and after, events that are happening around town, and any other items you would like to see in print.
Yes, happenings around town usually are printed in the River Press but readers are telling me that sometimes they miss them completely. I missed an event a couple of weeks ago and so I started a new system last week. I have a red marker, my appointment calendar, and the River Press on the table. As I read the paper, I check off each ad and article. I put any events on the calendar immediately. Now the only problem is to look at the calendar every day. Would that be your problem too? It is just a suggestion and I hope it works for you. I have been called the “Town Crier” because I call family and friends to remind them of what is going on.
It has been a long and tedious winter for all of us but it certainly was a busy one. To those of you who do not know our small town…there is always something going on. The C.C.P.A. entertainment was fabulous and gets better each year. If you have not subscribed, please do so next fall. You can attend six terrific shows for the cost of one show in Great Falls. I have mentioned in the View before about the attendance at C.C.P.A. events being uncomfortable because there were perhaps one hundred people in attendance in an auditorium that holds three hundred ninety seven (three seats are broken.) I am glad to report though, that this year’s attendance is up but I would still like to see the auditorium jam-packed. I am sure the Committee would also like to see that happen. The football and basketball (girls and boys) were well attended at home. I do not know how the away games were attended because we were unable to travel to the far distant games. Gas prices were down but night driving is difficult for most of our Seniors Citizens. Tim does a great job on reporting on the other sports but does not get into the attendance figures. I need a report on the attendance of the other sports ( who will volunteer to get that info to me?) Next September will make a real difference in travel time and better attendance. In case you are not acquainted with our sports standing…Fort Benton will be in Class C next season and the games will be played closer to home.
The Grand Union Hotel and the Chouteau County Library also had some terrific programs this winter. Just this past week was Library week and on Monday they had a guest author, Carolyn Garriott, who wrote a children’s book about a cat, “Spitz A Cat with Attitude.” On Tuesday evening, the M.A.P.S. (Montana Association of Paranormal Studies) had a tremendously interesting discussion about their organization and how they go about their scientific work. On Thursday, the Library had their open house and served coffee, tea and cake from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. If you missed any of these events, you missed a great time. I would like to let you know about these events ahead of time instead of after the fact. Even though the Library had a huge ad in the River Press, it was missed by some people who should have been there.
Associated with the Library is the “Friends of the Library” which meets on the second Wednesday of each month. We read four books during the season in January, February, March, and April. We begin in September with what I call our “Friendship” meeting. We are eager to see our members again and share the good books we have read during the summer. In October and November, we usually try to have an author speaker and decide what books we would like to read. In December is our big Christmas party, which is a potluck and a silent auction White Elephant sale (which is very competitive.) In May we have our luncheon potluck and a guest speaker. At our April meeting we discussed the book “Open Spaces” by Russell Rowland. He was born and raised in Montana and now lives in Billings. He will be our guest speaker and you are invited to attend. If you would like to attend, please give the Library a call at 622-5222 and let Cindy know. If you like to read, you are also invited to join Friends, and it only costs you $5.00 a year. You cannot find a better bargain anywhere. There are about thirty members now but there is always room for more. Be a friend and bring a friend.
Another event in town that I would like to promote is “Pie Day.” “What is that” you ask? The Golden Age Senior Center has coffee and home baked pies every third Friday of the month at 10:00 a.m. for $2.50. Where else could you get home baked pies for that price? Trust me when I say they are the greatest pies you will ever taste. (I wish it was every Friday.) It is an important fund raiser for the Center and I would like to see better attendance. If you prefer, you can buy a whole pie or just a piece and take it back to your home or office.
It is that time of year again but I actually do not even have to mention to Plot owners to work on their plots. They just do it when the weather turns to spring. I do have to ask though, for more volunteers. I have several plots that need to be adopted and have not been for the past two years. When the program first began, the plots were adopted within a few weeks. Some plot owners moved or could no longer commit and the plots were never readopted. Perhaps this year someone out there may find that they could do a plot and I hope that you will give me a call soon. I’m in the book.
CEMENT BENCH AND TABLE PROJECT
I have been working on this project for a couple of weeks but Easter held it up a bit. I have to meet with Skip (perhaps Monday at the Council meeting) and will be ordered about six more benches and two tables. Bench spaces are almost all taken and we really need tables now. I will have to recheck the prices this spring but last year they cost about $525.00. I suggest large families consider this option or two families share the cost of a table. This project is my favorite because of the use that the benches have provided for the strollers and walkers.
CLEAN UP AND SPRUCE UP
Sherry Eddy had a great article in the Geraldine Review last week about a prominent citizen saying that everybody expected Geraldine to be junkie. I liked her thoughts about junkie and that it may reflect an individuals attitude but not the towns. I have had my time with dealing with junkie but I still hold with my attitude that Fort Benton is one of the prettiest towns in Montana and I would like to keep it that way. Our town came in second a few years ago in a contest for the prettiest town. I would say that is still the way I see it in my mind and know that most of our citizens do a bang up job of keeping their homes and surroundings neat and tidy. I know that I am from the “old school” and you can’t teach an old (or young) dog new or old tricks. The whole world would be different if that would happen. So just try to do your best and that is the best you can do.
God bless America, be kind, don’t blink, do one good deed a day, enjoy every minute of every day, have a wonderful weekend, and smile a lot. Oh, today is the 19th and do you remember that a year ago today is was 19 below zero and everything froze?