Tuesday, September 14, 2010

View From The Bridge 9/15/10

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

Many folks in Fort Benton need help. There are folks who are not able to do simple chores like going to the grocery store. There are seniors that lack the strength to lift or move things. There are young and old alike that may have had surgery and need some assistance.

I know that all of the Churches in town are very helpful to those in need. However, I have been asked to put out feelers about needing an H.E.L.P. program. It was suggested that a volunteer would be asked for an hour or two of assistance. It does not mean a major renovation of your home or other huge projects.

If anyone has suggestions about how this can be organized, please let me know (622-3217 after 2:00 p.m. or 899-1380 after 9:00 a.m. if it is a local call.) We need to be ready for the cold weather when more accidents happen and sickness occurs.

One of the most difficult things to do, for most people, is to ask for help. It is in our nature to think that we can do it ourselves. When you finally admit that you cannot do it, it would be wonderful to call someone who could arrange help for you. I believe this all comes under, “Love thy neighbor.”

This past week brought about a huge leap ahead for this project. On Tuesday when I went to the Research Center, I showed the Volunteers a picture that had been brought to me the day before. Hank Armstrong went to the bookshelves and gave me a book that was titled, “The War Years.” There is a picture of the Iwo Jima flag raising on the gray cover and on the bottom it says Chouteau County, Montana.

The publisher, Curtis Media Inc. in 1995, put an ad in the River Press asking for a person from Chouteau County to gather names of Veterans from WWII to publish in a Veterans book. Hank from Geraldine and Linda Knoche from Highwood compiled the list by going to the Chouteau County Courthouse for many hours to check on discharge papers. (They received no acknowledgments for their work and so I give it here. Good job for posterity.) The book lists a surprising number of Veterans and that is 1,080 names. That figure is about 1/5 of the counties population. Some of the old-timers will remember that the Draft Board doubled the number of men because of an error in the system.

Curtis Media Inc. went out of business resulting in the end of communications between the company and Hank and Linda. However, Curtis Media had somehow collected 326 pictures for the book for the publication.

The book belongs to the Schwinden Library and cannot be removed. I would like to have a copy of the book to place at the Sunrise Bluffs on display. There is no record of how many books were published, but I am assuming that they were offered to the Veterans whose names appear in the book. If you are a Veteran, baby-boomer of a Veteran, or grandchild of a Veteran, it would be very much appreciated if you would donate the book to this project. The book is historically important. Please take it to the Sunrise Bluffs and give it to Karla Ayers. It will always belong to you but would be considered on loan so Veterans and their families can look at it. It will be well taken care of.

To date I have ten (10) pictures. I realize that with the rate of Veterans dying at 1,200 a day, many of the 1,080 WWII Vets from Chouteau County will no longer be living. I depend on the children and grandchildren of these Veterans to supply their pictures. Look through the old pictures that they left behind to see what you could find. They will be on display at the Bluffs and will be scanned to go down in Fort Benton history as the “Greatest Generation.”

Next Friday night the Longhorns will be in Chinook. Jean’s Bakery Restaurant is where the idea for a Veterans display was copied. Chinook also boasts the “Wildlife Museum” that is one that should not be missed. I spoke to the Curator and he said that it is open by appointment only but he would have it open from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Friday. There is a fee but it is a museum that “is a must.” The Buffalo Jump and the Wetlands displays are so realistic. As you look at the Wetlands display, you can see above and below water activities. We wondered how a town as small as Chinook could put together a museum such as that. It took the promoters ten (10) years to put it all together as donations and grants pushed the project onward. Now almost completed, it is so worth your time and money to view it. Pass the word around town, as it would be very good if a large group of Longhorn fans would tour the museum. Teachers…please tell your students it would be part of their homework assignment. Perhaps you could assign it as “Wildlife Studies 101.” (Just joking.)

After you have completed your tour of the Museum, cross the street to Jean’s Bakery and see the display of Veterans pictures. There was a picture of one of the displays on the Fort Benton website last week but not in the River Press. Those of you who do not have a computer would not have been able to see it. Check it out in person. You will be on a time schedule that will have you arriving at the game on time. See you there.

Next Friday, the 17th, will be the first Pie Day since last spring. Come on down, have a great slice of pie and coffee, greet old and new friends, and donate to a good cause. It is a real social hour and you will find the best pie bakers in Fort Benton who donate their pies at the Golden Age Senior Center. I baked a couple of pumpkin pies for grandson Grayson a few weeks ago and it took me all day. I have no idea how these Senior Women have the time and patience to bake pies. All I know is that they are the best and they make my day. P.S. Would one of you please make Rhubarb pie? It’s my favorite.

Last Friday was a nice day and we planned to go to the football game at Simms. Randy, our oldest son, is our driver these days to long distance destinations. I put our down jackets in the trunk of the vehicle and hand warmers. Everyone laughed but he who laughs last, laughs best. When we emerged from the vehicle at Simms, the cold wind blew in our faces. However, we were well prepared and some hot coffee/candy bar at halftime helped a lot. What we cannot understand are those youngsters who were running around in shorts and t-shirts. They did not even have a sweater on. No one ever told us that old age made you feel cold all the time and once you got cold…it was impossible to get warm. Thank goodness, for down coats, hand warmers, and next time we will remember to take gloves. Go Horns, it was a great game

WATCH YOUR WASTE…items you are throwing away can contaminate the soil and water for thousands, maybe millions, of years. Your community probably has special disposable procedures for things like used oil and batteries. (THIS IS WHY WE NEED A RECYCLING PROGRAM.) Ink cartridges can probably be recycled where you bought them. (PLEASE TAKE THEM TO THE CHOUTEAU COUNTY LIBRARY OR THE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL.) Many of the new super-efficient light bulbs contain mercury, so proper disposal is crucial. Check with the store where you purchased them. (THE RECYCLE COMMITTEE CAN DO THIS FOR YOU.)

The trees across the Missouri are turning yellow. The countryside is no longer green but brown. Some furnaces go on early in the morning. Ten days from today (Monday the 13th) is the end of summer or the beginning of fall, (I know…you don’t want to be reminded.) Let’s tough up and prepare for what ever lies ahead. I would love to be a “Snowbird,” but cannot bear to be away from the football and basketball seasons. “When winter comes, can spring be far behind.” I am really trying hard here to make myself feel better. As fast as the days are flying by, it really will be spring again. Keep busy, do a lot of catching up, do good deeds, be kind, and ask God to Bless America.