Tuesday, January 12, 2010

View From The Bridge 1/13/2010

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

Ho-hum! What else is there to write or talk about these days except the weather? It took the Chinook a while to get to Fort Benton but when it did, it came in like Gang Buster’s (only we seniors would know the term Gang Buster’s.) On Friday morning about 9:00 a.m., Kim Pimperton left her home in Carter at 17 degrees above zero. When she pulled up in front of the Mini-Mall, (my name for the Bumgarner’s building) the temperature was -17 below. On Saturday at 9:00 a.m., our thermometer registered 11 degrees. Two hours later, it was 44 degrees. There were many telephone conversations about that one. I am sure that you readers have temperature stories and I would like to hear about them.

I hear stories from my Sweetheart about the time in February of 1936 when the temperature never reached above -20 below zero for 10 days. The temperature during that particular day was above 50 degrees and the kids were running around without the benefit of coats, hats, or gloves. During the night the temperature fell so quickly that the Missouri River froze over as smooth as any ice skating rink could ever be. On the other side of the River, the ice was so clear that you could see fish swimming below 10 to 12 inches of ice.

That was the year that the Ice Houses in Fort Benton made out financially. They cut the blocks of clear ice from the River and stored it in sawdust for the following summer. It was a bonanza because that was the year of the Boat Race and those ice blocks were much in demand during the celebration.

Here are more stories about the fun that the kids had when the freeze was winding down, it warmed somewhat, and the wind began to blow. They not only had this beautiful ice skating pond but the sledding was great fun too. They usually sledded down to the bluffs by the Fairgrounds, would take their coats off, and use them as kites of a sort. They would sail down the river, under the Old Bridge and stop about where the Price Rite is now. With their endless energy and stamina, they would do this repeatedly. This freak of nature has never happened again as far as it is known. Can you picture it in your mind?

Another fun sport to do was skiing. Skis were purchased at the Palmer Hardware store or from the Sears or Wards catalogs. If you were lucky enough to have a pair of skis, you guarded them very carefully. If you broke your skis, it cost all of $5.00 to replace them. Skiing was done on Tank Hill or North Hill. There was, as there is today, a lot of competition amongst the boys. You were considered an expert if you could ski down North Hill. There were no fees, no ski lifts, and no experts to give lessons. Just another of those “Good Old Days” that the old folks talk about (often.) The old folks seem to remember a lot more snow in those days of the 30’s and 40’s.

Even though the Consortium is a three day event, the public can only attend on Saturday, the 30th. That is just 2 ½ weeks away that gives you plenty of time to put it on your calendar and make plans to be at the Elementary School at 9:00 when the first showcase begins. You do not have to be there at 9:00 a.m. as you can come in any time during the day. My opinion is that when you hear them all, you can form your own opinions on those you would prefer to see a whole evening’s performance. It truly is a day of great entertainment and you deserve a day off occasionally. Hope to see you there. Oh, remember…there is no charge. What a bargain.

Although this week (January 10th through the 16th) is filled with things to do and places to go, next weeks calendar has not yet been filled. There is not much going on and not much to report about. So, enjoy this warmer weather, keep busy, and keep smiling. In spite of the war, the economy, and the unpredictable weather, we have so many things of which to be thankful. Remember our Troops in your everyday thoughts and prayers. Let’s do everything in our power to keep God where He belongs.