Tuesday, July 27, 2010

View From The Bridge 7/28/10

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
by Muncie

A woman’s jacket was lost and was found during Summer Celebration. I do not know who found it or where it was found (rumor says on the street.) If you or someone you know lost their jacket please call the Chamber of Commerce (622-3864,) and identify it. It presently rests at the Visitor’s Information Center. I am sure the owner would be happy to get it back. It could have been a woman who does not subscribe to the River Press so ask your family and friends from out of town.

It reminds me of the time that a very good-looking western hat was left at the Center. It was there for about a year and then, all of a sudden, it was gone. No one has any idea who took it. Speculation says that it was the owner but we will never know. I like to think that it was a Visitor from a far away place and returned to find their hat where they left it. They knew the whole time where it was but were not able to return to Fort Benton until a year later. Could a movie be made out of that scenario?

On Friday the 23rd of July, the Janice Brown and Bridget (Janice’s daughter) Ekstrom families returned to Fort Benton for a memorial service at the United Methodist Church for Dorothy Laulo. Dorothy passed away in December 2009.

Janice was a neighbor of the Laulos and she and the Ekstroms purchased a memorial table for George and Dorothy as a tribute to their friendship. All of their arrangements went off as planned and they were very pleased with the memorial they purchased. (See picture.) They were also very pleased with the turnout of friends and neighbors at the Methodist Church, and the reception at the Grand Union Hotel.

Dorothy’s daughter, Dena, her husband and two daughters came from Australia. Dena’s husband spoke about his mother-in-law in a very loving talk as well as her daughters. One of the daughter’s (one of the most beautiful voices I have ever heard,) sang “Over the Rainbow,” and the pianist played it while everyone left the Church. It was a true celebration of her kind and loving life.

I wanted to mention about this table because the Memorial Bench and Table project is ending. After I wind up the financial end of it, have it audited, the account will be closed. There is no more space for any benches and there are tables at the end of the each block (on the Levee side) from The Old Bridge to the Lewis and Clark Statue. It is very gratifying to see these benches and tables being used.

There will be an extension of the Levee Trail whenever the applied for grants are received and the City will be notified sometime early next year. The Trail is a popular venue at the Information Center with its historic signs, the Old Fort and Museum of the Upper Missouri at one end and the B.L.M. Interpretive Center at the other end. My recollection is that the extended trail will go down to river level at the end of the trail beyond the Sunrise Bluffs to near Signal Point. It will circle back to point of origin and that whole area may be a park. I do not think that cement tables and benches will work there. Wooden tables could be picked up and stored during the winter season.

On Sunday, the 25th of July, the Steven B. Higgins family and friends arrived in Fort Benton. They also came to view their bench with its 8 x 10 plaque commemorating his life as a forester and a guide on the river. The plaque reads, “In memory of Steven B. Higgins. A lifelong forester who loved God, his family, Montana, the Missouri River and all things Lewis and Clark. His greatest joy was his son, Colter, named after John Colter, a mountain man who traveled with the Lewis and Clark Expedition.”

Robin Allen, (Steve’s sister,) took pictures at the bench, and she will send them to the River Press when she returns to Iowa. After the picture taking, the whole group of about 20 people proceeded to Virgelle to spend the night. The whole group will be off down the river early on Monday and expect to be off the river on Thursday.

I will have more of the story next week and am so happy to have been a part of this celebration of Steve’s life. My wish is that each time you pass the benches and tables; you will remember the loved ones whose name is on them.

I have to ask again that if you are riding your bike on the Levee Trail and you are approaching a person walking, please call out that you are passing on the right or the left. I was again very close to being run into by a bike rider that was going much too fast. I suppose one solution is to keep looking around but step off the trail, as they may be right behind you. Riders, please try to be considerate and use bicycle manners.

I have observed bike riders not observing stop signs. Bike riders are supposed to obey all traffic laws and that includes stopping at stop signs. It would be best to walk your bike across a stop street, especially when approaching 13th Street. I am looking out for your safety and everyone needs reminders occasionally.

A reminder for drivers talking on their cell phones and heaven forbid texting. If you find you have to answer your phone or text, please pull over and do it safely. If you do talk on your cell or text while driving, you are not a safe driver. You may think that you can do both, but research shows that your mind is not at full attention to driving if you are talking on the cell phone. We will not even talk about texting. This action has been reported to me as if I can do something about it. Trust me folks, I can only remind you. I do not have any authority.

OLD FORT TOUR                    
I wonder if you realize what a treasure the Old Fort is. I went on the tour this morning (Monday) with my 8-year-old grandson, Grayson, who is visiting from Helena. I have gone on this tour a dozen times and each time I learn something new. The displays are expertly complete and you have to see it to believe it. If you have never toured the Old Fort, please do so as soon as you can. If you have family or friends coming to visit, plan on a day to treat them to a day at the Museums. Just do it. My opinion is that they are the best in Montana. I am sure that you will agree.

I received several phone calls about the history of the Carter Bar. It seems that several people have written papers and a man wrote a book about it. I am going to do this story later when I can check with those people who have already researched it.

If you do have information about the Carter Bar that you think is not locally known, please call me at 622-3217 (after 2:00 p.m.) and on my cell phone (after 9:00 p.m.) if it is a local call or if you have Verizon we can talk anytime.
You readers are wonderful. I am still receiving phone calls about the schools that you attended and please keep that information coming. I am still compiling a list for Charlotte Caldwell that she will use when she returns to Fort Benton in October.

I need to repeat once more that Charlotte will only be taking pictures of schoolhouses that are still standing or that have been moved to another location. She is not going to do archival research. This book is a huge undertaking just doing the standing schoolhouses because she is including the whole state of Montana. I wish her the best and envy her determination.

Can you believe the turnout for the Divisional Swim Meet here in town last weekend? We do not remember as many motor homes, 5th wheels and tents as there were for this meet. Repeatedly was heard the remark, “We love to come to Fort Benton for swim meets.” Why not! We have the best pool and the best park for them to tent in. Downtown is within a short walking distance and there is no town anywhere in Montana that is as friendly as the Fort Bentonites. Go Gators.

I felt very patriotic last night (Saturday,) as I put together two new flagpoles, one for the American Flag (bought a new one,) and one for the Marine Corps Flag. These poles are made to rotate so the flags will not be twisted around the poles by the wind. So far, so good. The only thing that I felt bad about was that the Marine Recruiter from Great Falls stopped to visit us Saturday afternoon and I did not have the Flags up. Oh well, Murphy’s Law once again.

Have a wonderful day (every day,) and try to do one good deed. GOD BLESS AMERICA.