Monday, June 1, 2009

View from the Bridge

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie Morger

The Volunteers schedule now reverts to the summer hours. The Center will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. seven days a week. As always, more volunteers are needed with that scheduling. It requires 30 volunteers a week plus those that fill-in. Now that all the organizational meetings are over for the summer, perhaps some of you readers could find two hours a week to cover at the Center. It is a vital part of our community as it is the first place that Visitors stop (or should be.) Appearance is everything and if there isn’t anyone there to greet them, we may lose them permanently. Just give it a try. “It is better to have tried it, then not to have tried it at all.”

A request from me, to the Volunteers, is that you call me if you have a story from one of the Visitors. I also would like to interview, any of those interesting stories, if you call me. I am always happy to go to the Center since I am a hop and a skip away.

Ruth Carlstrom (our Coordinator) is planning a Fort Benton Training Session. Many things have changed in the last few years and many have been added. She would like to pass on the information that we learned at the Super Host program that is reported below in this article. It would be in the evening after the Center closes. More on this next week.

Many days during the month of May, the center was alive with the sound of children’s voices. The Kindergarteners, 1st, and 2nd Graders from our Elementary School were learning about trees and birds migrating along the Missouri Breaks area. The 5th Graders and Junior High students also had their time at the Center. There were Kindergarteners from Ulm, 8th Graders from Conrad, 7th Graders from Foot Hills Christian in Great Falls, 1st and 2nd Graders from Geraldine, a group from Moore, Kindergarten through 8th from Deerfield Colony, and 1st and 2nd Graders from Big Sandy. That was quite a schedule for Ruth Carlstrom, Connie Jacobs, Dusty Kuehner, Anna Mae McKeever, Randy Morger, Patty Paulson, Robin (B.L.M. employee,) and Caroleen Willits. They are special volunteers.

On Friday the 29th, at the B.L.M. Center there was a Super Host Program which was attended by twelve volunteers. Our leader, Lisa Jones (a gal who loves her job,) led us in several exercises which were more like games. The group came up with twenty-nine “places to go in Fort Benton”. It was Lisa’s first visit to our town and she was definitely impressed. If you were not there, you missed a fantastic program.

Only in a small town in Montana! Most of those who attended the Super Host Program went right to the Front Street location of the Corder’s new business venture. What a way to get a business started in town. They set a great table of very good pork sandwiches with trimmings. The Corder’s’ were greeting people as they came in, there were games to play for young and old alike, and a whole table of prizes. If you were not able to make it there that day, just stop by to see what they have to offer.

Please let me know your interesting story of how you found Fort Benton. While at the Visitors Center, I asked one couple “how did you get to Fort Benton?” The husband answered, “In my car.” Oh well, I do not question like that any longer. One couple told me they saw the trees and knew there must be a golf course. Love that one! Another couple said they passed by hundreds of times and finally decided to drop down. (To those of you that do not know Fort Benton, it cannot be seen from the highway. From Highway 87, Fort Benton drops down 300 ft. to the Missouri River.) Now that couple stop every time they go by.

On Thursday of last week was the final assembly of the Elementary School for this school year. Afterward there was a ceremony of retiring flags by the Boy Scouts. If you have a flag that needs to be retired, please turn it in to the Vets Club House. These ceremonies occur twice a year in the proper manner.

A report from the Class of ’89 released from Mike Pimperton through his secretary, Kim, tells of a social hour on Friday evening at 6:00 p.m. (June 26th) at the Vets Club House. The Parade gathering will be on Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. on Front Street. At 5:30 p.m., that evening will be the Reunion Dinner at Brother Vans. Sounds like a great get-together so enjoy every minute of it. It may be ten years before you all get-together again.

Here is a story that many of the family and friends (?) insisted that I tell you. It began last summer when Marilyn and Les Stewart from Battle Ground, WA. visited Fort Benton and spent the night at the Grand Union. The next morning (Sunday) they attended the Community Bible Church and had a warm welcome from the congregation. They were treated with a “Fort Benton Welcome” and invited to the potluck after the service. Marilyn was collecting Penny Machine coins for her son but the Visitors Center was closed. Someone suggested that she check with me because I might have a key. They easily found us, we visited a while and when Marilyn saw my charm necklace, she was immediately interested. I volunteered to collect them for her, she gave me the money, and away she went.

I collected about half of the thirty or so charms on her list and then our Montana winter set in. Marilyn called a couple of weeks ago and said that she would be in Fort Benton on Sunday, May 31st. On Wednesday of last week, I made a list (in order of location) of the businesses that had the charms on the list. I began with Cenex to get the truck gassed up. I had difficulty with my card because the sun was shining into the pump window and three times, I put the wrong pin number. It kept beeping at me and when I realized what I did, I put in the correct number. It asked me to repeat and then the gas began to flow. (I will never trust those machines again and the entire blame is with that card.)

Driving out of the station, I made a left turn behind the high school in order to stop at the Expedition and Joyce Fuel and Feed. My next stop was the Hospital for their band-aid charm. The next stop was Price Rite, where I parked, and went around the corner for the next four stops on my list. I visited with Fort Benton Realty’s new receptionist, Raean Awbery, whose husband, Tracy, works for the B.L.M. I told her that I was going to the Visitors Center for an updated list of the charms and offered to get her a copy. I went into Movie Mania for another charm, RJ Toggery with some cleaning and then across the street to the Visitors Center.
As I started down the handicapped ramp, I met Police Chief John Turner. “Hi John. What’s new?” He was smiling while he asked if I had just purchased gas at Cenex. When I said yes, he said, “Well, you drove away without paying”. Oh no! It couldn’t be. I paid with my card. Woe is me! John, very tactfully said, “Well, just go back and pay.”

As I entered the Visitors Center, Bobbie Leinart said, “Have you seen John Turner yet?” When I returned to Fort Benton Realty to tell Raean that I could not find the new Charms list, Roger Axtman said, “Have you seen John Turner yet?” When I went into the Price Rite, Crystal and Julie said in unison, “Have you seen John Turner yet?” (I did not know that there was an All Points Bulletin out on me.)

When I returned to Cenex, the Cashier filled in this part of the story. As soon as I drove away, the young man working there said that “a little old lady” just drove away without paying. (I wanted to talk to that young man to tell him that I may be old but I am not little. Someone in the family thought it would be funnier if I said that I may be little but I’m not old”.) They called the Sheriff’s office because they saw me make that left turn and thought that I was headed toward the highway. Soon afterward, they saw me coming back onto St. Charles. They again called the Sheriff’s office and reported, “She’s headed south on St. Charles.” The Sheriff’s office said that it was now a Police matter. They called the Police Department and Chief Turner set out to find me (I think he had an idea when they gave him a description of the truck.) In the meanwhile, everyone in the Sheriff’s office, in the Police Department, in the Visitor’s Center, at Fort Benton Realty and the Price Rite personnel know that I am a fugitive. When I told my youngest son, Jerry who lives in Michigan, he said that I should put it in the “View” but change the name to “View from the Cell.” Valerie Morger said that I should change the name to “View from Behind the Bars” and she did not mean the six drinking establishments within a block of our house. Luckily, here I am safe and sound (without a police record) sitting at my computer having a great time telling you this story. I hope that you enjoy it and that you will be more careful when you use your credit card to fill your gas tank.

We got a letter from Larry Wilder (a C.C.P.A. performer who visited our home) this week with a special CD. He said that he made his son learn the song so they could record it. I invited Connie Jenkins over (she heads the C.C.P.A.) to listen and son Randy happened to drop in. The song was “There’s a Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere.” How many of the Veterans of WWII reading this, remember that song? Talk to us about it the next time we meet.
Do you have your flags flying? I heard on a news report the other evening that they should be flying from June 14th (Flag Day) to the 4th of July. God bless America and especially Montana and Fort Benton.