“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
River Press, what an awesome project that was. There are 99 pictures of Veterans, Servicemen, and Servicewomen with bios of interesting reading material. As you may have noticed, some of the photos had no bios. If anyone has information about those men and women, please type it and mail to me at PO Box 866 or to the River Press. We would like to have all of the bios as permanent records in the Research computer files.
Even though the supplement program is over for this year, the framed 5 x 7-photo project is not. The photos are still being collected so do not procrastinate, gather the pictures and bring them to the Sunrise Bluffs or my home, (I am in the book.)
The setups for the gold labels are being worked on by the High School and Pam, (at the Research Center,) will begin entering the rank, name, and service for the front of the pictures. The bios will go on the back and as a plus we will have a special book made up with the bios in it. Some of the bios are too long to fit on the back of the photos. I would like complete bios of your, and or your loved ones service experiences. If you did send a short one, perhaps you can now take the time to do complete coverage. They make great reading now and for future generations. In addition, the special nails to hang the pictures arrived in the mail last week. My volunteers and I are ready to roll on hanging the pictures at the Sunrise Bluffs a.s.a.p.
I received an e-mail for Veterans Day that said 2,000 WWII Veterans are passing away every day. Get their stories now before it is too late. I know that many of them do not want to talk about their experiences but if they could know how important it is to tell their stories, they may relent. Good luck with that project.
I remember my first ride to Fort Benton like it was yesterday. It actually was 18 years ago and I was visiting my daughter’s family in Great Falls at the time. She told me that she wanted to take me on a ride to Fort Benton. There was a Summer Celebration going on and it was the 4th of July. Summer Celebration was held on that weekend way back then. She also said that I would love Fort Benton because it was full of history.
Living in Michigan previously, where towns are one after the other with no space between them, the 40 or so mile ride to Fort Benton seemed forever. I kept asking when we were going to get there. We then spotted a Golden Eagle on an electric pole and that made me very excited. I had never seen an eagle before.
I love the ride to Great Falls and never tire of it. One can see 5 mountain ranges…The Highwood’s, The Little Belts, The Big Belts, The Bear Paw and on a good day, The Rockies. I have seen wildlife from tiny gophers, rattlesnakes, antelope, and deer, (did not get to see the grizzlies,) almost every trip. I know that many of you have seen more and made the trip hundreds of more times than I. Many of you remember paying a small fee for a train ride to the big city. The bus transit company had a stop in Fort Benton from Havre to Great Falls the first few years I was here.
However, none of the above is the focal point of my story. Have you ever noticed the electric lines starting at about the 20-mile marker? They meet Highway 87 coming from the east and run along the right side of the road traveling northeast, to a crossover near Carter at about the 24 or 25-mile marker. They are then on the left hand side of the highway. I always noticed them because when I reached the 20-mile marker, I knew I was half way to Great Falls or half way home.
Just this summer I learned a story about those poles. In all these years Wally had not related that, these poles originated in Great Falls and provided electricity to Fort Peck when the dam was built. Can you imagine running those lines all the way from Great Falls to Fort Peck?
To verify this story, I found documentation at the Research Center a week or so after hearing about the poles. It was an article that appeared in the River Press in 1937. The article was titled, “Missouri River Sent Through Diversion Tunnels at Fort Peck.” A paragraph in the article said, “To carry electricity for construction machines, a 288-mile power line was built from the Rainbow Falls, near Great Falls, to the dam site. It carries 154,000 volts.”
I have great admiration for those poles, the men who installed them and the history that must have taken place within those 288 miles. There are times when the little things take precedent over the big things. I think this is one of those times when those little poles are compared to that big dam. Do you remember that project from 1937? This is another example of the historical events that the River Press documents. We miss you Joel Overholser.
This Friday, the 19th, is Pie Day at the Golden Age Senior Center. I wish I could impress on you how great this morning event is. The pies are all homemade by the women who belong to the Center and they are delicious. If you do not have time to eat your pie there, you can take a piece or a whole pie home with you or back to the office. Our Gang, (our group of friends that number from 8 to 10 people,) ask that you come and not only enjoy the pie/coffee but also enjoy the social hour. I know that you are all very busy, that we are mostly retired, but the Center needs the support of the community. It is a fundraiser for them and trust me…they put a lot of work into baking those pies. See you there.
As I told the Longhorns earlier, we love you too, no matter what. You also gave us many thrilling moments and you gave it your all. You certainly tried harder and as the saying goes,…there is always next year. I know, (with sympathy,) that doesn’t go for the graduating seniors but perhaps you will play in college and your experience at Fort Benton High School will pay off. Good luck in all your endeavors and we will miss you. In the meantime, enjoy your last year of high school. It will be over before you know it.
I will wish you a Happy Thanksgiving this week because you may not read your River Press in time for next week. I love Thanksgiving because it is the one holiday that has not become so commercial. It is devoted to family and giving thanks. We, who live in the United States, have more to be thankful for than any other place in the world.
If you have any special thanks for something that has happened since last Thanksgiving, please let me know. I would like to write about those special blessings because they are such an inspiration to our everyday lives.
Take care in your travels and try to get in touch with someone this week that you have not heard from in a long time. Take care of yourselves, your health, and your families. Take some time out for yourself doing something that you enjoy doing and do not let that ugly “stress,” get the best of you.
I have a hand-embroidered sign in our house that says, “I WONDER WHAT IT WAS I WORRIED ABOUT A YEAR AGO?” What was it that you worried about a year ago?
GOD BLESS AMERICA.