Tuesday, September 22, 2009

View From The Bridge 9/23/09

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
by Muncie Morger

The Lady Longhorns did it again. They won their games against Highwood. How great it was…especially for the Homecoming game. Fort Benton is so proud of you and this may be the magic year for your team. It is all in that teamwork that you have exhibited and “Go Lady Longhorns.” We also enjoyed your cheering at the football game. We are sure that did a lot toward pepping up Longhorns on the field and actually, everyone in the stands too.

The Longhorns certainly have been giving the fans a lot to cheer about. I was asked, on my way to the stands Friday night, what I thought about the outcome of the game. My answer was “No doubt about it. We are going to win.” I never dreamed however that it would be big-time. Thanks Horns for an exciting evening.

Had the privilege of meeting Howard Terpning a week ago who is the best living painter of Plains Indians. I received a phone call from Mary Zanto telling me that Mr. Terpning was at the Grand Union Hotel. I phoned immediately, left a message, and when he called the next morning, we arranged to meet a.s.a.p. He was on his way out of town with his wife, Marlies, and his agent for thirty-five years, Stewart Johnson, and his wife.

Howard and Marlies live in Tucson, AZ, and they had never been to Fort Benton before. His interest in this area was the Old Fort and he was disappointed because it has not been completed. He was also interested in researching the Nez Perce Native Americans since he is a painter of the Nez Perce and all Plains Indians.

He was an illustrator for twenty-five years for motion pictures, magazines, and newspaper editorials. He began painting in 1974 and has painted over five hundred and fifty (550) paintings of all tribes of Native Americans. He has traveled all over the United States and Europe including Russia.

I directed him and his party to the B.L.M. Visitors Center to see Chief Joseph’s surrender rifle. He said there is another place that is claiming that they have Chief Joseph’s rifle. I checked with my source, Bob Doerk, and found that Chief Joseph had many rifles but the one in the B.L.B. Visitors Center is documented as the surrender rifle.

The painting of Howard’s that hangs next to the surrender rifle is “Chief Joseph’s Ride to Surrender.” Check it out the next time you visit the B.L.M. Center. If you have not been there yet, make it a priority this week although the B.L.M. Center is open during the winter months by appointment. Call them for their hours.

You only have a few days left before the Museums close and the Old Fort Tours will be over for this year. It is so interesting historically what has been done to those buildings as far as displays. It is everything you would want to know about the Fort’s early days and more.

Did you ever see the huge log within a frame in front of the Fort? Did you wonder what it is? It took very knowledgeable, skilled men to build and operate a buffalo hide press machine. They pressed the hides into small packages for shipping. Amazing! Did you ever wonder why the Blockhouse is still standing and is the oldest building in Montana? Did you ever wonder why there was a certain door that Native Americans used at the Fort? Did you ever wonder where the trade beads came from? Did you ever want to see some of the items that were found during the archeological digs a few years ago?

Enough “did you ever” and if you have ever wondered, make your way over to the Fort at 10:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. this week and check it out. It will be a real treat.

On Thursday of this week, your schoolchildren will be coming home with stories about the Fort and other related subjects. Adults are welcome to be at the Fort to share with your children what activities take place that day. The 4th, 5th, and 6th graders will have the morning session and the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders will be there in the afternoon. Make an effort to be there.

This Thursday will not be the last Farmers Market of the season depending on the weather. We certainly have enjoyed many treats since the market began. There have been two great months and really does not seem long enough.

This event does bring back a related story and I know that some if you will remember. Mickey Allen, (who is now 105 years old,) used to have the best corn we have ever eaten. His house was on Franklin Street and he had an extra lot next door on which he raised his garden. We would pester him each summer to find out when his corn would be ready. Sure wish we could have a few cobs of his right now. We cannot understand why he does not have a garden just because he lives at the Bluffs. He sure can dance the night away so what is so different from raising corn in a garden. (Just joshing you, Mickey.)

Front Street and Main Street look very good after the chip-sealing process. It was finished so quickly that it was not an inconvenience at all. When Skip came to my door with a handout reminder about the dates and times, I told him that I would have lemonade, iced tea and lemon bars for the guys on Friday when they did Main Street. I baked on Thursday and when I was ready to move around about 9:00 a.m. on Friday, they were finished by our house and out of sight. Well, I thought that after my 11:30 appointment I would chase them down. On my way to the appointment, they were at 21st Street but when I was finished about a half an hour later, they were gone. They were nowhere to be found and I had to eat all those lemon bars by myself.

Remember Wednesday the 23rd, Thursday the 24th, and Friday the 25th is the Chouteau County Health Fair and Blood Chemistry Screens. They are being held at the Fort Benton Elementary School from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. There is a charge for these tests but it is less expensive having them done during the Health Fair. You have to fast for at least 12 hours prior to the blood drawing except for water with your prescribed medications. Your results will be due on October 15th at the Ag Center from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Take advantage of this time saving opportunity.

By the time you read this article, it will be fall. It began at 3:18 p.m. on Tuesday and speculation runs high as to what will the weather be like this winter. It looks as though we have having summer weather this week but the cool temperature and rain on Sunday were mighty welcome. No matter what, we will just have to hang in there and takes what comes along. That is what we love about Montana.