Tuesday, December 27, 2011

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

Happy New Year, to all of you, readers of the River Press and View from the Bridge. If I had my way, you would all be healthy, wealthy, and wise. Let us all make resolutions that stick around all year long…not for just a few days. May we make resolutions to see and be with our families and friends more often? May all differences be resolved because time is easing away so very quickly? Make a resolution to keep your resolutions. Be happy.

I have heard stories like this before, however it has never happened to us. On Christmas Day, we went to the movie theatre to see “War Horse.” We arrived for the 2:00 p.m. showing early in anticipation of a large crowd although my daughter purchased our tickets the day before. We settled my Sweetheart, Wally, into a seat and returned to the lobby for some refreshments. Our son, Randy, purchased a tub of popcorn and two large sodas for quite a hefty sum of change Upon payment, the clerk said that it was taken care of by a man who said he wanted to thank a Veteran. I did have the opportunity to say thank you as he sat two rows behind us. I did not learn any more about him except that I know he showed his gratitude for Veterans through us. I have a feeling that he is in the Armed Forces and understands what the Veterans did for our country.

I am so looking forward to January and the two events that will be presented by the Chouteau County Performing Arts Committee. On Wednesday, January 11th at 7:00 p.m. at FORT BENTON AGRICULTURAL CENTER, the Vigilante Theatre’s “Adventure on the Western Stage” will thoroughly entertain you. I capitalized Fort Benton Agricultural Center because that is a change of location. There are light repairs on at the Fort Benton Elementary Auditorium that negates the Vigilantes from performing there.

This performance is part of your season’s ticket. If you have not yet used your “Buddy Ticket,” this is a great show to introduce a new Fort Bentonite or a friend to C.C.P.A. I hope that you realize what a great deal you have with your season’s ticket. You have had four shows already with four more scheduled. Your season’s ticket cost you $40.00 so with my math it figures to $5.00 a show. What a deal! See you there.

Geese, geese, and more geese. In fact, hundreds and thousands of geese are visiting Fort Benton. The proximity of the water and feeding fields bring them to our area. Randy came over one day last week to take us for a ride to see the corn field on the right, after you come through the underpass into town There were thousands of geese feeding. There were huge areas covered with black geese. Another source told me that thousands of geese flew over our town. I missed that. It never ceases to amaze me with this thought. God must have had a great time creating the creatures of this earth. There are countless species of these creatures and they are all so different. Colors and shapes on creatures must have been fun too.

Then we see a very small part of the universe the last few nights when we could see the stars. What a spectacular show it was driving to Loma on Friday evening and driving home from Great Falls on Sunday evening. It really makes one feel insignificant in size.

Years ago, I went to a Solarium. When the lights went out and the stars appeared on the ceiling, everyone gasped at the sight. I remember so clearly the speaker saying, “You can see this show every night of the year.” (Well, almost every night of the year.) How many times have you taken advantage of that show? Have you ever slept outside under the stars? I would love to hear your stories.

I follow these days carefully because one of my favorite days of the year is when they began getting longer. These past few weeks I have kept a log of the rising and setting of the sun. I found that the date of the day that the days began getting longer is December the 22nd, (the Solstice day.) On December the 21st , the sun rose at 8:10 a.m. and set at 4:35 p.m. On December the 22nd the sun rose at 8:10 a.m. but set at 4:36 p.m. Therefore from my research, I have concluded that, December the 22nd is the day I should celebrate. Next year I’ll keep a closer watch and have a party. You are invited, if you remind me.

“I used to be indecisive, now I’m not so sure.” Mine for this week is: “To meet your Waterloo, but not in a small town because word gets around faster than lightning.” I know you have been busy with the holidays and all, but I need some help here. Surely, you readers can come up with some clever ones. I want to hear from you.

One of our best Christmas presents was a call from grandson, Dash, in Afganistan. He was on a satellite phone and sounded like he was just next door. He knows that we are grateful that he is at our back. He said that it is a God forsaken land. It is not a beautiful desert like in Arizona, but is ugly in comparison. There is nothing there and it has not changed in 2,000 years. Again, let us count our blessing.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

View From The Bridge 12/21/2011

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

Without the benefit of checking data, I am going out on a limb with this statement. Montana must be the only state to have had three football teams in National Tournaments at the same time. Even though there were no National winners, Montana has to be proud. Whatever the stats, the fact remains that we all were disappointed. However, we did enjoyed exciting games. The Montana State University, the University of Montana, and Carroll College are our hero’s. Go Bobcats, Griz, and Saints. We look forward to next year and there is always a next year.

My favorite sport has begun again. We could just manage to make the trip to the Boy’s game last Saturday and arrived just before the game began. Lo and behold…not a parking spot within blocks of the school. Thank goodness, it was a beautiful evening for walking. There were many cheering on the Centerville side of the gym. I really enjoy close games and that certainly was the case that evening. Actually, at one point the Longhorns were 8 points behind and made up the difference. That is quite a difference to make up. Another interesting happening was the number of three pointers that were thrown. I do not remember ever seeing that many before. It was exciting and made for a pleasant evening of “small community entertainment.” We are looking forward to a great season once the Longhorns are warmed up and going strong. Go Horns!

The Lady Longhorns, we were told, also played a hard game. I did not have the opportunity to play any sports in high school simply because they did not have sports for girls in the dark ages. I cannot imagine the strenuous game of basketball as just watching makes me exhausted. I think I would have made a great scorekeeper. Go Lady Longhorns.

Nothing entertaining is going on around town that I have been informed about. The businesses are busy and shopping locally seems to have caught on. If you do not know what to buy someone…give him or her Levee Gold. Let them buy whatever they want. It is such a fun way to go.

I consulted with Police Chief John Turner this week about what is the procedure for running out of gas on the highway. I did not tell you that when I had that experience, I could not find my cell phone. When I got into the truck, it fell out of my jean pocket and went under the cushion I sit on. Chief Turner said never to leave your cell in your pocket. It should be in a spot, like a holder on your dash, so you can find it easily. You should remain in your vehicle, pull off the highway as far as you can, and put your emergency flashers on. (I did not want to tell him that I did not know where they were. I do now.) Never leave your vehicle unless you have someone trustworthy in it. Call 911 and know the approximate location of your vehicle. Be alert to the mile markers. If you have road service be sure you know their phone number and call them if you prefer. You may have a longer wait if you choose that route. Check your flashlight often, (perhaps every time you get gas,) so that your batteries are fresh. (I also forgot to tell you that the flashlight in my purse needed new batteries. I had used it two weeks before but when I needed it, it did not function. I also went to the back of the truck where I keep a flashlight that one has to shake. I could not find it in the dark.) The whole incident was a disaster but I surely learned a good lesson. You will never find me running out of gas ever again.

“Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.” How many times has that happened to you? I have not heard from anyone about writing his or her own Paraprosdokian. Here is another of mine. “To be in seventh heaven is ineffable bliss or delight but I just want to make it to the first one.” I’m on a roll folks.

Besides asking God to bless America, our Troops, Montana, and Chouteau County, I am asking for a Blessed Christmas and a very Happy New Year for all of you. I, frankly, will be happy to see 2012 arrive. I have no reason to think it will be better than 2011 but somehow it has to be. It seems like a new beginning and I do pray that it brings some sort of peace to the world. The year 2011 was not kind to many people. The devastation of floods, tornados, and earthquakes was unmatched. We watched “60 Minutes” this evening and it was so horrendous to hear about people who walk away from their homes because they were repossessed. These homes are then gutted of everything, (like copper and aluminum,) that can be sold. It was very depressing to see houses being torn down so neighborhoods would not be destroyed by decay of the abandoned homes. Some stayed because they simply did not want to leave their homes but were paying on mortgages twice the amount that the houses were worth. Let us all count our blessings whatever they may be.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

View From The Bridge 12/14/2011

“VIEW from the BRIDGE"
By Muncie

I have heard so many glowing reports about the celebration that was held on the weekend of December 3rd. My interviewees said that it was the best ever. Most of those that I spoke with spent the entire day shopping at the Ag Center and at our local businesses. The parade was extraordinary because of the lighting, (there was lots of it.) I am sure that you all agree that the lighting of the Christmas tree was indeed the highlight of the evening. Be sure to tell your appreciation of that event to members of the Chamber of Commerce and the Community Improvement Association who were responsible. How about that Santa…you couldn’t help not being happy or smiling when you were near him. May you get everything you asked for as long as it was reasonable. I realize now that my asking for a secretary was a bit too much. Oh well, if I know Santa…she would be about 20 years old, blond, beautiful and too smart for her own good. You know what Santa, forget I asked.

My sources tell me that the ceremony was beautiful. We were not able to attend however; we were involved in a small way. On Monday, we received a phone call from Nancy LaChappell asking if we could be at the Elementary School at 9:00 a.m. Tuesday morning. She was rounding up 20 Veterans for a fifth grade history project. Each student in the 5th grade was assigned a Veteran to interview about the war in which he/she was involved. Each student had a high school senior to aid him/her. After the interviews, the student was to write up the interview with the seniors help. At the Wreath Ceremony at the cemetery, each student read his or her interview. I have asked for copies of all the interviews and I will take them to the Joel Overholser Research Center for permanent files in the war section of the files. They go down in history.

After our dinner at the Senior Center this Sunday afternoon, we took a drive up to the cemetery. What a beautiful sight at the Veterans site. We drove around the whole cemetery and at the far end near the Missouri, there were many more wreaths. What a tremendous program the Wreath Ceremony is and a wonderful tribute to our much loved Veterans.

I would like to pass on what I checked out on the internet about WWII. I was curious as to how many Veterans were still living. Here is what I found. There were 16,112,566 members of the U.S. armed forces. There were 291,557 battle deaths, 113,842, other non-theater, and 670,846 non-mortal woundings. As of May 2011, the Department of Veterans Affairs estimated that approximately 2,079,000 American veterans are still living. They are approximately 850 veterans that die every day. The median age for a WWII vet in February 2009 was 86 years old.

Another interesting finding was that 464 U.S. military personnel received the Medal of Honor, 266 of them posthumously. As of August 12, 2011, there were 14 living recipients. We were interested in those figures because of our connection with Donald Ruhl. He was the only Montana Marine to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor and that was posthumously. The medal is no longer called the Congressional Medal of Honor. It is just the Medal of Honor. The article did not distinguish between Congressional Medal of Honor and the Medal of Honor. The Medal of Honor is the highest honor that any military personnel can receive. It is usually because they gave their lives for others.

It’s Pie Day again this coming Friday, the 16th at 2:00 p.m. This is a very busy time of year and a break in the middle of the afternoon would be so welcomed. A piece of homemade pie, a cup of coffee/tea, and pleasant visiting time with your friends and neighbors are waiting there at the Golden Age Senior Center. Drop by next Friday and bring some friends along. We guarantee you will have a wonderful time. Another suggestion is to buy a pie and take it back to your place of business to share with your fellow workers. The seniors need a great deal of work done in their building and all their fundraisers boost their coffers toward that goal. Suggestion #3 is a very appetizing lunch is served every day at noon. Everyone is invited to participate…you do not have to be a senior. Many of our surrounding communities Senior Centers do not serve meals every day. On Sundays, at 1:00 p.m., there is a dinner that will fill you up for the whole day. Check the River Press for the daily menu. See you there.

“When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water.”

(From Muncie,…I am almost at the end of the Paraprosdokian list. Some of them, I think, are not kind or appropriate for the View. There are many of you out there in Never, Never Chouteau County Land, who are very clever. Send me your made-up Paraprosdokians. I have one below. Tell me what you think.)

“The hurrier I go, the more trouble I get into.” (This came from my experience a few weeks ago when I ran out of gas on Interstate 15 near Ulm. I had driven to Helena by myself for grandson Grayson Bonilla’s birthday party. Honest, I went to the gas station to fill up before I left. I was in a hurry. It was 12:15 and the party was starting at 2:30. It was cold and the wind was blowing so I sat in the truck while it filled. I heard it click off but as it turned out, it was the pump on the other side. I didn’t get a receipt, check the gas pump, or check my gas gauge. When I got to Helena, I did notice that the gas gauge was in the same place as when I filled up. I told the story at the party and was advised to fill the tank. I didn’t take that advice because I thought the gas gauge was broken. Luckily, I followed Hilda and Greg Bonilla home. Near Ulm I ran out of gas, clicked my headlights so Greg would know I had a problem. The truck started again and I chugged about a quarter of a mile to where Greg was waiting. I asked him to please go to Ulm and send AAA back with gas. Well, much to my surprise there is no AAA at Ulm. The woman working at the Subway gave Greg a gas can that held one gallon and he had to return to my vehicle. I will never live this down because what everyone who hears this story says, “Why didn’t you fill up in Helena?” I now pay for my gas inside the station, get a receipt to prove to whoever teases me, that the truck is full of gas. Of course, the men at the station will never let me forget either. “Oh Muncie, I see that your tank is full. Are you planning a trip to Helena?” I’ve learned my lesson and perhaps in some small way, this story will help someone not be in a hurry.

Just about 10 days from now and the days will start getting longer. I really love that day. It is now 5:00 p.m. and is dark outside. I do not like it but unfortunately, there is nothing I can do about it. I just have to wait it out along with the rest of you. The holidays make it go faster because we all are busier. It is hard to believe that December is almost half over.

Take good care of your family and yourself. Try to do one small good deed every day even if it is just a smile at someone, a phone call, or a kind word. Look at the bright side and perhaps there will be peace in the world. Anything is possible and nothing is impossible although it may seem like that now.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

View From The Bridge 12/7/2011

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

What a wonderful Christmas gift the Chouteau County Performing Arts presented to Chouteau County last Sunday afternoon in arranging the concert. The musicians and the program were first class and brought musical pleasure to one hundred forty five (145) people. I was a little disappointed that there were not more children there, as it was advertised as a family program. They would have been exposed to classical music and classic harp (there were actually three different style harps,) a violin, and piano. There were other instruments made by our own Wayne Hampton that included a hammer dulcimer, a guitar, and a banjo. They were all included in the performance. An accordion made an appearance and I am guessing that young children have probably never heard of or seen an accordion. The cookies (made by the members of the General Federation of Woman’s Clubs of Fort Benton,) hot cocoa and cider were delicious and really hit the spot, as it was a perfect wintry day. It had snowed about ½ an inch and was quite chilly. The performance ended with a visit from, I am sure, the real Santa Claus. I now “BELIEVE...” He was a jolly old elf and kept us laughing with a poem that he wrote about himself. Hope you enjoy it as much as we all did.

There was a neat poem written about me nearly 190 years ago…it’s even older than this wonderful town. I thought I’d update it just a bit for this special occasion:

Tis three weeks until Christmas, and I just gotta say,
No group celebrates better than C.C.P.A.
With Rudy and Gail, Julie, Peter and Molly,
Your start to the holidays has been super jolly
Now that we’re steeped in the season’s tradition,
It’s time for ol’ Santa to give you a rendition.
Of my plan to come back here in just twenty one days,
With gifts for the kids piled high in my sleigh.
Boys and girls will be nestled all snug in their beds.
Dreams of Ipods and Kindles (and all kinds of other
High tech wizardry that I can’t figure out…but they can.)
All kinds of gizmos and toys twirlin’ round in their heads.
I’ll fly in from the north, that’s my usual route.
I vector in on the Fort Benton Golf course,
Because it’s about the most visible landmark,
For this great little town.
Denver air traffic control radios,
That I can start letting down.
My sleigh needs a tune up and might raise up a clatter,
So feel free to spring from your bed to see what’s the matter.
Go ahead! Raise up your window, tear it clean off the sash.
If you’ve got home-owner’s insurance, you’re covered for that.
Then what to your wondering eyes will appear
But…well…me and my nine trusty reindeer.
Of course, I’m the pilot since I’m lively and quick,
But I let Rudolph navigate, cuz you know it’s a trick.
To get to millions of houses in one single night,
To weight and balance those gifts and still have a safe flight.
For landins and take-offs, I’m at the top of my game
Here’s my pre-landing checklist: Whistle (check,) Shout (check,)
Call each reindeer by name (Check…Check.)
Way to go, Rudolph, keep us on track,
Hey, Dasher and Dancer, ease your throttles back!!
Sync up your air speed, Pracer and Vixen,
On Comet, on Cupid, on Donder…
(By the way, his name is Donder…it’s not Donner…
He gets quite petulant when somebody calls him Donner.)
On Donder and Blitzen.”
I’ll line up on your house tops, Circle down toward the rooves,
Then lower my landing gear…thirty six hooves.
Get those hooves pumpin’ we’re over the town,
O.K. trim’er back easy…let’s put this sleight down.
(Proudly…another perfect multi-hoof, dual runner landing.)
When you in amazement turn away from the sash,
Don’t be alarmed when I perform my usual routine,
Of coming down the chimney with a crash.
No, I’m not hurt, it’s what I do for a living,
And the padding I tote makes the falls more forgiving.
And don’t look so stunned when I slip thru the flue,
If I suck in my tummy, it’s easy to do.
Sure, I’m chubby and plump, it’s the cookies, you know.
That I eat with my mouth drawn up like a bow..
With my twinkly eyes and my dimply cheeks,
I’ll convince you and ma not to call the police.
Then, since I’m a professional, I’ll go straight to my tasks,
Fill up all the stockings, and eat all the snacks.
(Wanta really thank the kids for leaving those…always leave Santa a cookie or two with milk..low fat of course.).

It was all “football” last Saturday for the State of Montana. All three teams were winners. (Please note that I put everything in alphabetical order. It is a quirk of mine. I did notice however, that the Great Falls Tribune also did that very thing with the teams names.) I had to miss “Country Christmas” to go to Helena. I am a Saint you know. I have a grandson, Bryan Graupmann No. 96 (Defensive Back,) who is a red-shirt freshman and has been able to play on his special team. It was quite a game and now the Saints are on their way to Rome, Georgia. It was neat, the way they immediately began playing “Georgia, Georgia, You’re on my mind,” the minute the game ended. The announcer told us during the whole game what the scores were for the Bobcats and the Griz. There was a whole lot of screaming going on for those teams too. So, we move on with more football to be played. I wonder if the Bobcats and the Griz will play again. It is a possibility and wouldn’t that be a great game to watch. Go Bobcats. Go Griz. Go Saints.

A real success in every phase of the weekend. Everyone I talked with said it was a perfect celebration of the holidays. I’ll get more information for next week as to some of the happenings.

Hospitality is making your guests feel at home even when you wish they were.

There are so many concerts, activities, meetings, and events going on in the next couple of weeks. Watch your River Press for the announcements. I would be happy to put them in the View if you would call me. I am in the book. Take things slow and easy…rushing causes accidents. Do a good deed every day especially at this time of year. There are many, many hungry people in the world. GOD BLESS AMERICA, OUR TROOPS, MONTANA, CHOUTEAU COUNTY, OUR TOWNS AND EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING ELSE YOU CAN THINK OF. BUY AMERICAN AND SHOP LOCALLY.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

View From The Bridge 11/30/2011

VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

Fort Benton has not had a Christmas Concert for many years. Many of us have missed that wonderful program. The committee of the Chouteau County Performing Arts has put a concert together for the community. They have gathered Peter and Molly Wilson from Highwood, Rudy and Gail Cicon from Chester, and Julie Gagnon. Gail Cicon is Wayne Hampton’s daughter and plays the harp like an angel. The harp was build by Wayne who surprised everyone who has known him for a long time. Who knew that he built such beautiful musical instruments? If you saw the article about him in the Great Falls Tribune…you would also have read that he does not play any musical instruments. I think that most of you have heard the Wilson’s entertain. If you have not, you really have a treat in store. They will entertain us with Christmas music and instill the Christmas spirit. I have heard there will be a sing-along, a surprise visitor, Christmas cookies (made by the General Federation of Women’s Clubs,) hot cider, and cocoa. This is a Family Christmas Concert so bring your children…children under 12 years of age are free. If you are a C.C.P.A. member…you are admitted free. It you do not belong to C.C.P.A.…your donation is $5.00. Be at the Fort Benton Elementary auditorium next Sunday afternoon December 4th, at 2:00 p.m. for a great afternoon to start your holiday activities. The committee members of C.C.P.A. are enthusiastic about bringing this concert to you. Their committee is one of the hardest working committees in town. Let them know you appreciate their efforts by showing up next Sunday to enjoy what they have put together for you.

Doesn’t it seem like it was just last week when we had the Country Christmas? Pick up a schedule and study it carefully so you can go to all of the events that will be going on. The River Press will be full of information. I hope that you all have a wonderful time.

When I invited you last week to the free dinner on Sunday, I said that I could possibly find out at the dinner just what it was all about. I did just that as two men came from Big Sandy, were at the dinner, and explained about Thrivent Financial for Lutherans is all about. It is actually a Finance Company whose members want to make a difference in peoples lives. When I asked why they picked Fort Benton to provide a free dinner…the answer was to get the word out that their company was able to help people in need. Dan Leader and Rick Pokomy are both from Big Sandy and are in the phone book if you want to contact them. It was a very successful event as 55 people were fed at the Center and 27 Meals on Wheels were delivered. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans (it is not just for Lutherans any longer,) will be contacting the Seniors Centers in Geraldine and Highwood in the near future.

So sorryeeeeeeeeeeee. I made two boo-boos last week in the View, this dinner being the first one. I wrote that the dinner was being held at the Community Bible Church instead of the First Christian Church. I apologize to those folks who may have gone to the wrong location. I hope that if you did…you eventually found the right spot.

Second boo-boo and this was a big one. I gave all kinds of kudos to Fort Benton for the success of the Trindle Fundraiser. I did not realize until I read the River Press last week that Geraldine, Shonkin and many others were just as involved in the success of that fundraiser. The Trindles’ not only have many friends and neighbors, but every farmer and ranchers must have dealt with him as a veterinarian. So again, I apologize to all of you generous people for not giving you the due you deserved.

You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.

I was reminded again this week about “Enjoy every minute of every day.” It was a story in my e-mail that said if you were given a gift of $86,400.00 every day and you had to spend it every day…what would you do? You would spend it on your family, your friends, and perhaps some people in need. Well, you are given that many seconds each day and how do you spend them? Seconds and minutes are such a wonderful gift and do you waste them? Think about it this week and see if you want to make a change in your life.



Tuesday, November 22, 2011

View From The Bridge 11/23/2011

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

The Thrivent Financial for Lutheran’s Organization is the sponsoring a dinner at the Golden Age Senior Center on Sunday, November 27th at 1:00 p.m. This Organization does philanthropy work and has chosen Fort Benton Golden Age for this free dinner.

It is strictly “word of mouth,” get it out to the Community, kind of invitation. Because it is a non-profit organization and it is a free dinner, there will be no other advertising. I made 9 phone calls this morning to research Thrivent Financial for Lutheran’s. Four calls were made to Wisconsin where I left three messages on answering machines. The fourth number hung up on me before I could explain what I wanted. I have no further information why they choose Fort Benton. Perhaps I will know by Sunday.

This dinner has nothing to do with the dinner on Thanksgiving Day at the Community Bible Church dinner. The Thrivent Financial for Lutheran’s Organization dinner is on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. Come and join your friends and neighbors to enjoy dinner and conversation. It is a social event to visit with friends and neighbors you did not visit on Thanksgiving Day. Spread the word to family, friends, neighbors, and see you there.

Once again, the people of Fort Benton have shown love and generosity to a family in need. In that category fell the Trindles’. There were approximately 300 people at the Fund Raiser last Saturday afternoon and evening. Those who donated and those who bought at the silent auction and live auction were very generous. The “Boot,” the 50/50, the raffle for meat, and the Half-a-Card game were added means of fund raising. It was not only successful but a fun evening for everyone.

A serious illness can break a family financially. It is traumatic enough to go through such a procedure but to have to be concerned with “where does the money come from,” makes it seem as though you can never recover. We never know when something like that will invade our family. You just never know and that is where the generous thoughts enter our minds. Our family may be next… be it flood, fire, an accident, or an endless list or tragedies. Right now, we have a family that we can help and Fort Benton came through again.

We may never have had to ask for help, however somewhere down the road, we may have to. That is were a wonderful community like Fort Benton comes in with open hearts. Our merchants are the greatest people ever. They are called on countless times and never fail to donate generously. As the announcer said Saturday evening, “Be sure to thank them.” They deserve all the blessings that can be bestowed upon them.

Another fun evening was spent last Friday at the Grand Union Hotel. The Poker Tournament was a reminder of days gone by when the men of Fort Benton had little other to do evenings but play cards. Women were not allowed to watch much less play. Things certainly have changed. One thing I did notice was there were many young men. They are very aggressive and daring players. It was fun to watch them.

There were a few women playing and one actually came in the top “5.” There were also two women dealers. I visited with one of the women dealers who lives in Chester. I was curious about what her life involved besides dealing cards. She said that she was an accountant and enjoyed dealing occasionally. She fascinated me with what I knew about dealing. I have a friend who tried to learn to be a dealer but could not keep up. You have to be very quick, observant, and focused. You have to keep track of all the players’ cards and how much they bet. I would not last five minutes as far as remembering even my name.

It was a fun evening and everyone seemed to be having a good time. The weather did not keep anyone away as all forty players showed up. A favorite saying around these days is, “Well, there is always next year.”

If you were asked, for one thing that you are thankful for, what would it be? I will not go to the obvious. My one thing would be that I am thankful to be living in Fort Benton. Our economy is looking up, there are the best caring people that live here, and its beauty is wonderful to behold. We are so blessed.

A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory.

As you do your Christmas Shopping in the next few weeks, be sure to check your labels to see where the products are made. Let’s put our unemployed back to work. You have only 4 weeks and a few days to finish (or start,) your shopping. Do I have to remind you?

I had a very young person tell me the other day how quickly the time is flying by. I always reply with, “As you get older, it goes faster and faster.”


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

View From The Bridge 11/16/2011

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

It is Monday afternoon, November 14, 2011, and we just returned from Great Falls. It does not concern anyone in Fort Benton but I felt that because we just celebrated Veterans Day, it had a story that I wanted to tell. There is a slight reference to Fort Benton as Matt Patrias (Nancy LaChappell’s husband,) told us about the event last Friday at the Veteran’s dinner and he transported us to Great Falls.

A Corpsman, who is an Associate Member of the Marine Corps League 688, received a Purple Heart. Wally actually inducted him into the League. Senator John Tester presented the award and six other ribbons to Marvin “Doc” Brewster. It was long overdue. Doc had actually received the Purple Heart 50 years ago BUT it was never recorded. Therefore, he did not receive the benefits that were due him. He was wounded in Vietnam.

Doc pursued his benefits when he was diagnosed with lung cancer a few months ago. He is undergoing chemo at Fort Harrison in Helena and radiation in Great Falls. The doctors have determined that his cancer was caused by Agent Orange. This illness was quite a price to pay for his country.

It was a very impressive ceremony and I am sure that a few of you saw some of the proceedings on Channel 3 and Channel 5 Monday evening. It was an honor to be at the V.F.W. in Great Falls with many of Doc’s friends and fellow Marine League members. We wish him a quick recovery and a long prosperous life.

Another reason for writing this story is to spread the word about Veterans Benefits. I have already talked with people who are going to check their records, as they had no idea to what they were entitled. Our Country (we the people,) owes so much to these Veterans. We owe them our lives and all the benefits that we enjoy today. Say thank you to every veteran that you meet. Just that simple phrase, “Thank you for what you have done (or are doing)” means so much.

The Veterans Administration sends a representative to Fort Benton on a regular schedule, (once a month I believe.) Check your River Press, as there is always an article about the visit. If you have any doubt about what you should have received…check it out. Good luck. Be patient because it took Doc 2 ½ years to get what he received today.

I often wonder how far the wreath, that is thrown from the Old Bridge each Memorial Day morning, travels. Does anyone know or does anyone else ever wonder? I called several V.F.W. members and they had asked this question many times. They never had an answer.

Perhaps next year we can find out how swiftly the river is flowing, how far it is to Loma via the river, and estimate the time the wreath would get to the Loma Bridge. Then we have to find a volunteer to take up a watch to see if it gets that far. In the meanwhile, if anyone has ever seen the wreath, fess up. Give me a call…I am in the book.

Again, this Veterans Day, an excellent dinner was put on by the V.F.W. and the American Legion of Fort Benton on Friday evening. They did a tremendous amount of work putting together the dinner, decorations, and servers.

The dinner is quite a tradition now and thoroughly enjoyed by all that attended. It added so much to our community spirit. It is something to look forward to, as there are many old friends in attendance. Of course, there are many new faces and I would like to see the newcomers introduced and a description of their service. It is difficult to talk to more than the people sitting immediately around you. However, no matter what the situation is…they all served their country without hesitation.

The hanging of the photos was completed on Thursday afternoon. I had Chandee Bomgardner and two of her youngsters, Bailey and Jordee as helpmates. They volunteered at Woman’s Club after they had put in a days work making the lunch for the club. If you want a job done ask a busy person and that is Chandee.

We had a problem with not knowing what war the Veterans were involved. We have hung the photos under a sign that signifies all the wars starting with the Civil War. World War II has more photos so far, than any of the others.

If there are any errors…there is a notebook close by on a lamp table. Kindly write what the problem is, sign your name, and phone number. For instance, if the photo is under the wrong war, the name is misspelled, the rank is incorrect, or the photo is not there at all…it will be corrected as soon as possible. However, it may take some time because we will have to accumulate all the corrections before the gold labels can be reprinted.

We have heard some favorable comments about the project and the location of it. The Sunrise Bluffs is open at 8:00 a.m. and the doors are locked at 10:00 p.m. Other locations did not fit the criteria. The Club House is a Sports Bar…not a Vet’s Club. The V.F.W. merely has their meetings there. The Library has meeting room downstairs that has great walls but it is kept locked. It would have been inconvenient to have to unlock the door each time a visitor would like to view the photos. The Sunrise Bluffs seemed the logical place to hang the photos. You will have to go there to view the set-up and leave your comments. It is not inconvenient to visit there and it is a beautiful walk/drive along the Missouri.

We are now working on the bios. They are so informative and so interesting to read. Did you know that Chouteau County drafted twice as many recruits than anywhere else? The reason being, the Draft Board goofed and doubled the number to be drafted. There is proof of draft records at the Overholser Research Center as there is a file on the wars.

I will start listing those photos that have no bios or incomplete ones. Watch for the names and perhaps somewhere…somehow…we can get a connection to that Veteran. Watch your River Press for the list.

I thought I wanted a career. Turns out, I just wanted paychecks.

Well, we cannot deny winter any longer. It is snowing in Fort Benton at this moment Monday evening. We traveled the Highwood way to Great Falls this morning and it was snowing in that area. It ended soon afterward but started again as we reached the V.F.W. on 10th Ave. S. I am not complaining, mind you, just writing it to keep track with View dates and on my calendar. I am going to enjoy this winter because it gives opportunities for great photos of snow weighing down tree branches like a cave. I would not want to miss those snow piles on the east side of Front Street especially the one at the Grand Union parking lot. They look like mountains. I would not want to miss the Missouri freezing over and then watching it thaw out. Awesome winter! Come and go quickly won’t you.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

View From The Bridge 11/9/2011

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

I do not know exactly how to write this but can only say that best laid plans are not always the way you expect them to be. Dottie Meehan gave me some very sound advice, Sunday morning, on our way to Geraldine for the Harvest Dinner at the Catholic Church. She said that when you plan a deadline, “you should add on three times more time than you planned on.” I asked her why she did not pass this on to me years ago.

I, once again, do not think that I am going to reach my deadline by next Friday 11/11/11 Veterans Day. Mary Zanto and I only were able to get half the labels onto the framed pictures last Tuesday. No problem, (I think.) We can probably finish on Tuesday of this week. Then, perhaps we can get those pictures labeled and added to the list of those photos that will be taken to the Sunrise Bluffs for hanging.

The picture hanging today, Sunday afternoon, went exceptionally well. Three women came to my rescue at almost the last minute. Karla Ayers, Wanda Diekhans, and Diane Jones were able to play “Experienced Picture Hangers,” late Sunday afternoon. There were approximately 75 photos to hang and the job was completed in a little over an hour.

If you have the opportunity to go to the Bluffs on Friday, Veterans Day, and the photo you turned in is not there, the label has the wrong information, it is hanging in the wrong war, or any other corrections…please write in the notebook near-by. Would you please leave your name and phone number with the correction. We will make corrections as soon as possible.

We did the best we could, however with the photos going to four different drop-off points, there were bound to be problems. Remember, the folks who turned photos to me were asked for their name and phone number. It was my error that I neglected to tell the other three drop-off points to do the same. My excuse…nobody is perfect and I admit I fall far below standard.

I stopped in the shop to visit with Vi Cameron, the new energetic entrepreneur of the Thrift Store. She had decided to name the store after her mother, Sadie. It is a very memorable sentiment. Vi proudly took me outside to see the new signs that had just been hung. There are two signs…one with “Sadie’s” on it and the other with “Fort Benton Thrift Store.” Take notice when you go in to visit Vi.

Vi is still sorting, arranging, and rearranging. I have dubbed her Mrs. Clean. She told me a humorous story about going through the inventory and finding items that she thinks will never sell. The day I visited, she sold a “Cement Brick Maker” to a female buyer. I wonder if the woman will ever use it or like myself, think I am going to use it.

Vi has a beautiful size 8 wedding dress that she had dry cleaned and it is ready for the ceremony. Vi is going to rent the dress that would save a great deal of wedding expense. You could purchase a wedding dress and keep it stored for years. When your daughters or even granddaughters are ready for the big moment in their lives…will they really wear your wedding dress? I am not saying it will not happen but rarely. In this economy why not save a great deal of money and rent. Actually, don’t the men in the wedding party always rent their suits? There are not many events going on in Montana that a man wears a tuxedo. Rent is the way to go.

Vi has a great deal going on for the month of November. A bag of clothes goes for a $1.00. There are some great buys in that department as Vi has sorted and organized for easy picking.

Drop in and visit Vi and give her support. I found several treasures there and one was a birthday present. The recipient said that it was the best present he had ever received. I do not want to mention names so if you want to know, “the rest of the story,” ask me the next time you see me.

The new store hours are Thursdays 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturdays 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. Drop off times are the same.

I mentioned earlier than we went to the Harvest Dinner at the Catholic Church in Geraldine. We joined many friends from Fort Benton and Geraldine. We enjoyed a wonderful ham dinner with all the trimmings. There was also a silent auction with great-donated prizes and a raffle with many donated prizes mostly from businesses in the area.

It is good will to thank those who donated as you shop at their businesses. Be sure to do that when you see them next.

On Saturday will be a fundraiser for Joan Trindle. Mounting medical bills are bad enough when you do not have a serious illness. When you have a serious illness, it can be catastrophic. The Trindles have been an intricate part of our community for many years. Her husband, Pat, is a well known local veterinarian.

There was an article in last weeks River Press about their daughter Molly and her career in music. She has many musical awards and I know that her parents must be bursting with pride.

I know Vera Conrod, (Joan’s mother.) very well. She was my neighbor across the street, for a long time. She is also in the exercise class that we attend every Monday and Wednesday morning. I know that Vera moved to Fort Benton to be near Joan and her family.

Our Fort Benton Community sends our best wishes for Joan’s full recovery and some relief of those medical expenses. The Trindle family is so grateful for all the kindness of our community. They think about the caring that went into all those meals that were delivered to their home. There is no place like a small town to live in for that very reason.

Whenever I fill out an application, in the part that says, “In case of emergency, notify.” I put “DOCTOR.”

The heavy winter coats came out of the closet a few days ago. The yard was completely winterized and the water to the hoses drained and turned off. The snow shovels came up to the garage from the shed and the furnace is running all day. We turn down at night about 5 degrees and it sure is cold in the house in the mornings.

I did not get the Halloween lights taken down outside so I hope that we have some sort of a break so I can get that done. I will put up the Christmas lights at the same time. I usually put up the Christmas lights sometime during those nice September and October days. However, I did not have Halloween lights before this year that were outside lights.

The good news is that in 6 weeks the days start getting longer. That is something to look forward to. In 2 weeks, it will be Thanksgiving and in 4 weeks, I can start thinking about Christmas. I am going to ask for a secretary for Christmas. I cannot get it together anymore.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

View From The Bridge 11/2/2011

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

What a proud name to be called…Emergency Medical Technician. A call is going out for community and civic-minded people to volunteer. There is a real need in our community and in Chouteau County now. Many technicians have retired these past few years after twenty and thirty years as an E.M.Ts. They deserve to retire. However, someone needs to take his or her place.

If you can function under very demanding conditions, then you are the person they need. I will not say it is at all easy. You meals are often disturbed, you are awakened in the middle of the night, and during the day while you are at your job. Your employer understands what the priority is and we are grateful for that. One E.M.T. was called away from their child’s Christmas play. That must have been a difficult one to handle.

When you arrive at the scene, you never know what you are going to find. Automobile accidents can be gruesome. Doctors and Nurses are accustomed to such sights but for a first time E.M.T., it is the turning point. It is a very self-sacrificing volunteer job and sometimes without even a thank-you. Mostly though, there are thank-you letters in the River Press.

There is a Training Session beginning next month. Sign up now to do the most important volunteering that you could ever do for your community. It is time to say again that you are really needed now. There are Angels among us and I know that they are EMT’s and Volunteer Fire Fighters. We do not know who they are unless we have an incident when they are called to help us. You never know when you might need them. Look for details in the River Press.

Two teachers from Stevensville put this show together. Incredible. It compared with a Broadway production. What great singing voices they had and their harmony was so perfectly blended.

I did not get an opportunity to ask them the hundred questions I had. I would like to know how long it took them to put the story line together. I would like to know how many hours they spend practicing their lines and their singing? I would like to know how long they have been doing their show?

Well, I just had many of my questions answered. I went on the Inter-Net and put in Suds ‘N Suds Montana Performers. Both Cara and Beth have very interesting backgrounds. No wonder they sing as they do. It was not an amateur production. It was professional all the way.

If you would like to know more about them, go to www.Suds’NSuds and be inspired about a dream that two women had come true.

Another performing arts show is scheduled on November 8th featuring Andre Floyd and Dave Griffith. Andre is called a truly gifted product of Montana. He not only is a popular musician but he is a renowned promoter of concerts and producer of CD’s for other artists. He is musician and businessman. I wonder what he does to keep busy.

Dave is a musician who plays the sax, keyboard, pedal steel, guitar, mandolin, and more…often at the same time. You have to see it to believe it. Perhaps you have seen him before as he played with Michael Martin Murphey, Rob Quist, and Jack Gladstone. Dave played with Jack Gladstone a couple of weeks ago at the Myrna Loy Theatre to introduce Jack’s new album. Dave was a part of that album as well as our grandson Grayson’s 4th grade class in Helena’s Jefferson School’s Honor Choir. They sang 10 songs with Jack.

When Jack introduced Dave, he told us that Dave was a 10-year cancer survivor. He is an inspiration to everyone that meets him or hears his music. I really believe that music is one of the strongest, if not the strongest, healers of mind and soul.

Next Sunday afternoon is the “Big Hanging Party.” Pam Schoonover took charge of having the gold labels made for each picture and Mary Zanto and I will be putting them on the photos on Tuesday at the Overholser Research Center.

I have plenty of “picture hangers” I hope that I am not hanging myself when I say that on Veterans Day, the 11th, you can go to the Sunrise Bluffs and view the display. There are about 175 photos.

The biographies and autobiographies are not completed. Those who volunteered and I will complete those during those long winter months when you cannot get out of your door because of the snow. (That is only a scenario Folks.) Actually, what I mean is that there is a little more time since we do not have gardens to tend and other outside work.

As much as I would rather be doing that…I have no control over the weather. The weather controls us doesn’t it? I can handle the snow but not the ice. We old timers dare not fall in fear of breaking an arm or leg bone or worse…a hip fracture. Now…how did I get from hanging photos to winter weather problems?

A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a workstation.

I am adding another sentence to the end of the View this week. Besides GOD BLESS AMERICA AND OUR TROOPS, I ask that you to BUY AMERICAN. Check your labels to see where everything you purchase is made. Let’s get our Americans back to work.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

View From The Bridge 10/26/2011

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

Last Friday the Pie Day time change went into effect from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. There seemed to be the same number of people enjoying the social hour. There are pros and cons to this change however; the pros are in the majority. A survey of some twelve-pie lovers showed that twelve approved of the change.

Some of the pro comments were they did not want pie for breakfast but that after lunchtime was a nice break. Good point. One of the pie bakers said that it was wonderful not to get up at 5:00 a.m. to bake a pie (or pies,) and get it (them,) to the Golden Age by 10:00 a.m. Good point. The whole atmosphere seemed more relaxed and we hung around for about an hour visiting with our friends. There were no negative comments and if there are, please let them be known to the Board Members of the Senior Center.

One person said that considering winter was coming with expected snowfall, it is easier to get out of the house at 2:00 p.m. than at 10:00 a.m. Good point. The consensus was that it would be tried for a couple of months to hear more comments from everyone concerned. Your opinions would be appreciated. Until then, happy Pie Day on the 3rd Friday of each month at 2:00 p.m.

I really admire the women who bake the pies (and there are not enough of them.). It is an expense for them in time and money. I am thinking about huckleberries at $40.00 a gallon. That is what I paid this summer; however, they were going other places for $60.00 a gallon. My estimate is a gallon would make four (4) generous pies. That is $10.00 just to make the pie filling not counting the sugar and ingredients for the piecrust. At $2.00 for a piece of pie means, $12.00 profit to the Center but the baker is out $10.00. Yes, I know that is an expensive pie but consider a pumpkin pie. By the time you buy a can of pumpkin, sugar, evaporated milk, and the ingredients for piecrust, it would run half as much. The lesson here is do not make huckleberry pies.

If there are any pie bakers out there who would bake a pie once every three months, it would be a great help. It would help the Golden Age Center a great deal. Think about it for next month’s Pie Day. Next month will also be a Bake Sale and Pie Day combined. It is a great way to stock up for the holidays.

Last Thursday morning, Ruth Carlstrom introduced about 20 volunteers to the new coordinator of the Info Center. Karen Meeks Sarsoucie not only will coordinate the Center but she will take over the job of secretary to the Chamber. Ruth has spent six years at the job and is the busiest person I know. She retired from teaching and is a person who cannot say no. She still fills in as a substitute teacher, seems to be at the Center all the time, travels a little, and is a very loving grandmother. I love to hear about her travel adventures.

We will all miss her very much; however, she said that she would volunteer some time at the Center. We all owe her a lot for the many favors she has bestowed upon us. As I said, she does not know the meaning of the word “NO.” She just goes and goes like the Energizer Bunny. I hope that she slows down and smells the roses.

Karla Ayers and I had a nice visit this past week discussing the hanging of the Veteran’s photos. If all goes as planned, they will be hung the weekend of the 5th of November. I have enough help with that project.

I am still trying to get the bios and auto bios set up on the computer. It has been a hassle with the picture of the American Flag that I wanted on each page. I took a picture of an upright flag from a military catalog. I was then told that I could not do use that picture because it was copyrighted. My good friend in Great Falls immediately went to the hill in Great Falls and took several pictures of the Big Flag. They are so perfect with the blue sky and white fluffy clouds. The notebook may not be finished but at least I would like to get the pictures hung for Veterans Day on Friday the 11th.

A Paraprosdokian I have been saving for this particular section of the View is; “War does not determine who is right – only who is left”

Karla told me about a Motivational Seminar her company sent her to in September. There is a part of the conversation that I would like to pass on. It was concerning people’s attitudes and was called “Look Within.” “If you are bored…it is because you are boring. If you are irritated, it is because you are irritating. If you are aggravated, it is because you are aggravating, etc. etc. etc.” I am sure you can make up many of your own.

Last week when I walked on the weekend, I met many people. Yesterday (Saturday,) I did not meet one person. Today (Sunday,) I only met one young man with his little girl. It was such a beautiful day with temperature holding at 64 degrees. I believe that with the wind blowing, it kept many people from walking.

As I walked toward the Sunrise Bluffs, Signal Point and the Island were bathed in a gorgeous color of gold. There was a blue sky and white fluffy clouds like the typical Montana sky. When I arrived home, I grabbed my camera and returned to the spot where I saw the beautiful scene. It was gone. In the few minutes it took to walk home, the sun had moved just enough to lose the color. I envy good photographers (Tim) and their knowledge of when it is the right moment to take a picture. I now only have it in my memory. Perhaps I will return tomorrow about the same time and be lucky enough to get a great picture. Note: It is Monday morning and I am not going to get that picture today.

I was late getting to the Sunrise Bluffs Sunday evening for the Herbert the Entertainer’s performance. I thought the time was 7:30 p.m. and reported that time in the View last week. No one called me on it so I missed about half of the show. Fortunately, he played the song that I liked so much, soon after I arrived. It is a song that he wrote for his wife called, “My Love.” I spoke with his wife afterward and asked if I could have a copy of the music for it. She said that I could not because there are no copies of any of his songs. They are all in his head. I had thought that I could learn to play it on Garth’s guitar. However, I did purchase a CD with “My Love” on it and that is the only way I will be able to enjoy it.

There was not anyone, except myself, from the community in attendance. The audience consisted of residents of the Bluffs. I am sorry that you missed a very pleasant musical evening. The residents and I are looking forward to he and his wife’s return next spring on their way to Mexico.

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

View From The Bridge 10/19/2011

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

Wally, Randy (our son,) and I had the privilege of touring the Montana Capitol Building last Friday. What a magnificent structure it is. I was in Helena at the Capitol Building several times during the renovation, but not since it was completed. I urge you, in the event you are in Helena, to go on a tour of the building.

The whole building was restored, as it was when it was originally built. The paintings, the marble floors/columns, the stained windows, and the historic artifacts are a history lover’s heart beat a little faster.

Of course, the two houses of representation are not in session now but will resume in January. They were in session one of the times that I visited and it was exciting to hear history in the making. That is the reason that we should all keep in close contact by phone or e-mail to our representatives. They are influenced by what you think. Their numbers are in the phone book. Take a few minutes to do that phoning as it has so much to do with your future, your children’s, your grandchildren’s, and your great-grandchildren’s. Once laws are made (whether right or wrong,) they are not easy to undo.

I know how busy your lives are and that you say to yourself that you should make a few phones call but never get around to it. I am the same way. Since I learned such a good lesson from my visit to the Capitol, I am going to try harder to be more involved with what is going on in Helena. We, unfortunately, do not get the televised programming of the sessions but with some pressure to your TV provider, that may become a reality.

We also visited the Historic Museum and we learned so much that we had never realized before. The addition to the Historic Museum was one of the failures in the Legislature to appropriate the funds. The Museum needs expanding desperately. There is so much history that there is no room for displaying. Perhaps this piece of legislation will come up in the next session. I understand that all expenses are being cut and an addition would be very expensive. In the meantime, you can support the Historic Museum by a small private donation. Yes, I also know that every organization is asking for funds however, set your priorities and if history is a priority in your life, just do it.

Just a reminder that Friday, October 21st, is Pie Day. The change will be that it will begin at 2:00 p.m. instead of in the morning. Instead of pie for breakfast, you can now have pie for lunch. It is a wonderful social hour and meeting old friends is such a plus to that afternoon. See you there.

On Sunday October 23rd, at 7:30 p.m., Herbert the Entertainer will be appearing at the Sunrise Bluffs on his return visit to his home in Saskkatchewan. He puts on a very entertaining program and the public is cordially invited. You will thoroughly enjoy his electric piano, his accordion playing, his singing, his own composed songs, his ventriloquism, and his sense of humor.

Come on over to the Bluffs next Sunday evening and we’ll see you there.

The next evening Monday October 24th, will be the second in the series of eight programs held at the Fort Benton Elementary School. If you enjoy a good laugh this is a show that you should not miss. “Suds N’ Suds” will fulfill a promise of a laugh a minute. It is all about overcoming a life of Montana travels in their newly inherited laundromat with songs and witty banter. Who doesn’t need a good laugh these days with all the bad/sad news on the TV and in the newspapers?

Come, join the C.C.P.A. for your season’s ticket, and enjoy seven more shows. We’ll see you there.

We said our so longs to Clarence last Saturday. He was a long time friend and on our rural mail route for years. He was a man who boasted 9 children, 30 grandchildren, and 47 great-grandchildren.

The service was held in the Fort Benton Elementary Auditorium and a luncheon afterward in the gym. We estimated there were about 250 people at the reception. It was truly a celebration of his life. We will remember him always and the memory of the great farmer he was.

I really am proud of our Elementary and High Schools. They are as well maintained as to my standards of being clean and tidy. I had occasion to visit the High School this past week and that building is also in perfect condition. A fresh paint smell is in the air and there seems to be a place for everything and everything in its place. Appearance is everything and if you perchance would visit the schools, you would be proud too.

I was always a room mother in Michigan and visited the schools often. I saw hallways with papers scattered around, lockers wide open with trash inside and a general disorder. I have been to the high schools in Great Falls and visited college campuses. Here in Montana it seems to be the same story. Tidiness and cleanliness seem to be the norm. Perhaps the difference is the number of students in these schools. We have small enrollments and they are easier to keep track of. Whatever the reason…we can be very proud of the Fort Benton and Montana schools.

To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.

GOD BLESS AMERICA AND OUR TROOPS. Be kind and do a good deed every day. . .

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

View From The Bridge 10/12/11

“VIEW from the BRIDGE"
By Muncie

Despite the rain, the Homecoming went off with a great deal of success. The Parade went down Front Street with various color umbrellas. The football game was watched with the stands quite full. The whole weekend was advantageous to Fort Benton and Chouteau County.

Homecoming is just what it says. It is coming home to where you perhaps were born, raised, and went to school. Even though you no longer live in Fort Benton, it will always be home. The older you get, the more you enjoy coming home. Most people have happy memories of their hometown and the friends they had. This is the one time that school means everything.

It is unlike Summer Celebration and the Chouteau County Fair. Those celebrations are open to the public with strangers coming from all around the area. Homecoming is family and friends plain and simple. We know that you all had a wonderful time, there will be another homecoming next year, and hopefully it will not be raining.

Last week Tuesday and Wednesday, 22 people attended the Montana Touchstone Project, “Saving Chouteau County History.” The Montana Preservation Alliance presents the workshop and their mission is to save and protect Montana’s historic places, traditional landscapes, and cultural heritage. It was the most interesting two days. If you love history, you missed being involved with the four discussions that those who attended listened intently to every word.

The program included, Archives 101 and Documents/Book Preservation, The Oral History Interview, Montana Memory Project, and Montana Historic Property Record Form and the National Record of Historic Places. Help is offered for each of these subjects by calling 406-457-2822. The speakers will be returning to Fort Benton to aid in any or all of the above programs. Keep reading your River Press for information.

I was especially interested in the Property Record Form and the National Record of Historic Places. Did you know that your home or property only has to be 50 years old to be placed on the record? About 5 years ago I requested the forms for our home but gave up when I saw the paperwork. At the workshop, I was assured that I would receive all the help I would need. My next project, after the three I am working on, will be to fill out those papers.

I have often encouraged the River Press readers to bring their pictures/stories to the Overholser Research Center to be scanned. Those will be permanent records, where in time your pictures will fade and disintegrate. The family records and stories are just as important. There may be some information there for a researcher to use to make the pieces of a puzzle fit together. Once you begin researching, it becomes addictive. You want to know more and more about what happened in the past for those descendants in the future. “If you don’t know where you came from, you can’t know where you are going.”

Saturday, I met 14 people on the Trail. I do not believe I have ever experienced that before. It reminded me of when Wally and I had our rural mail route. We rarely saw another vehicle and when we did, we would say that we would have to move because of the heavy traffic.

That is the thought that crossed my mind when I found the Trail somewhat crowded. It really was great however, and it makes me very happy to see so many enjoying one of Fort Benton’s attractions.

The best thing that happened was my meeting Aaron and Marissa Skogen from Highwood. They were sitting on a bench near 10th St. and were both working on watercolors. Marissa was painting the Old Bridge and Aaron was working on the Bluffs across from the Fair Grounds.

Our conversation jumped from what they do, to Marissa’s birthday (that day,) to my birthday/Garth and me, and to basketball. Aaron is a math teacher at Highwood and Marissa is getting her master’s degree at the University of Great Falls. Aaron is the boy’s basketball coach at Highwood and Marissa is assistant women’s basketball coach at U of GF.

They are a delightful couple and our ending conversation was Aaron telling me that we would meet again at the Highwood/Fort Benton basketball game.

I also met a man, his daughter, and granddaughter from Manhattan. They were on their way home from Havre and stopped to see what was down in the valley off the highway. They thought our town to be very beautiful plus with the historical significance. They had a hard time believing that Fort Benton was now Class C. They remember playing football with our Class B team. Anyone remember that game?

We are overjoyed at these beautiful fall days. The wonderful warm days and the chilly evenings are so enjoyable. About half the trees have turned to color and are starting to fall.

I found the best way to clear my front porch and the sidewalks of leaves is to use the leaf blower. It beats trying to sweep them with a broom by a mile. If you have done that in the past, I wish you had passed it along to me. Actually, it was not my original idea. I saw Brad Utterback, who maintains our lawn; use the blower to blow the grass off the sidewalk after he mowed. It I had not seen him, I would still be sweeping.

I will never get used to these modern conveniences. I do have to tell you that my computer has been a little kinder to me lately. Perhaps that is because I do not mumble, under my breathe, in front of it with not-so-kind words. Actually, I am learning to love it because what would I do without it.

Grades K through 5 will be doing Halloween window painting on Tuesday, October 25th. We always loved watching the youngsters doing their painting and walking along Front Street to see which one we would vote as the best. Actually, they are all the best for the effort put into the project.

Talking about Halloween brings up the subject of “Trick or Treat.” The first year I moved to Fort Benton, we had so many children begging that we ran out of our give-aways. Last year we had about 10 children, if that many. We had to eat all the treats ourselves…just kidding. We donated the goodies. Would someone please inform we “treat-givers,” if there are places we can donate our goodies?

“Evening news is where they begin with “Good Evening,” and then proceed to tell you why it isn’t.

GOD BLESS AMERICA AND OUR TROOPS. May this 10-year war be over soon? It has gone on too long. We are spending billions of dollars killing each other and children are starving to death. Does that make any sense at all?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

View From The Bridge 10/5/2011

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

Last Wednesday’s performance by Pam Drew Phillips was a smashing success. Over two hundred people attended and were thoroughly entertained. Pam is not only beautiful, charming, but also very talented.

She was asked how many songs she knew. She said that once she has heard a melody she could play it. We sat where we could see her fingers on those ivories. We have never seen any pianist’s fingers move all over those keys so quickly.

She visited the Sunrise Bluffs and played each song that was requested. The residents as well as the audience that evening did not want her to leave Fort Benton. Perhaps she will return just for a visit. We will look forward to that.

The next performance will be Monday, October 24th and will feature Suds ‘N Suds. It sounds like a fun evening. We also look forward to the intermission when we can enjoy coffee/lemonade and cookies. The General Federations of Women’s Clubs Fort Benton really outdid themselves last week. Why do my cookies never taste as good as Woman’s Club cookies? We sure do appreciate that break.

Herbert the Entertainer is returning to Fort Benton on his way home to Saskatchewan. He and his wife travel from their home to Mexico every year. All the way there and back, they entertain at retirement homes, hospitals, and nursing homes.

When he was here, soon after Summer Celebration, he thrilled the Sunrise Bluffs residents with his electric piano. He is also a songwriter, singer, comedian, and ventriloquist.

The date is in a couple of weeks; however put it on your calendar now. It will be Sunday evening, October 23rd at 7:30 p.m. It will be at the Bluffs again and the public is welcome. They can set up for a large crowd in their dining room so please be there to enjoy a wonderful evening of a variety of music. I will remind you again for the next couple of weeks.

Last week I mentioned the McFarlane’s visit and said that I would put into print their story. Since there is no longer news from the Visitors Information Center or other items this week, I am going to share portions of Leslie’s e-mail.

Leslie and her husband Jim are involved with the volunteers at Fort Battleford, Saskatchewan. Jim is quite knowledgeable about the history of Fort Battleford and the area. He is involved with the canon and rifle demonstrations that are held every day from mid May until the first week of September. Fort Battleford has a replica-working canon that has been used in the reenactment of the Battle of Cut Knife Hill.

Jim travels to Calgary to be in their parade, to Regina to be used in their Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sunset Ceremony and to Fort Walsh for activities held there Leslie’s involvement at the Fort began (for one season) as an interpretive guide to present the history of the Fort. Her interest in the history led her, because she sews and gardens, to doing the heritage garden and mending the period costumes.

Jim retired this year and that allowed them to become involved with the North West Mounted Police Commemorative Association. They travel by invitation to various events. They set up a camp similar to that which would have been set up by the Mounted Police as patrol historically and they present the history of the time.

This voluntary activity brought them to Fort Benton. They were at Fort Steel for their Fair Days, on to Seattle visiting family, and on to Fort Benton to add another link to the chain of events, that is their past.

They arrived in Fort Benton on September 21st and checked out the Museum of the Upper Missouri. They were told that the next day was Heritage Days for the schoolchildren. They were invited to participate and did that in costume. Jim wore his North West Mounted Police 1885 uniform and Leslie was a settler’s wife.

They enjoyed the buffalo on a spit, soup, biscuits, and baked desserts. Listening to the guides explaining the history to the children, witnessing skinning of an animal, and the scrapping of a hide were some of the activities.

Leslie enjoyed a conversation with the teacher who introduced the native dancers. They shared a “Small World Story,” as the teacher spent some time on a reserve a mile from where Leslie lived.

The guided tour they later enjoyed was very rich with the history of Fort Benton itself. (What have I been trying to tell you for months? If you love history and have not been to the Fort for the tour…you are missing the opportunity of a lifetime. Now you have to wait until next year.)

Their evening walk took them along the Levee Trail reading the historic signs and it added to their whole experience of what Fort Benton was in the past. They stopped by the Visitors Information Center by invitation to the Fall Fort Benton Chamber of Commerce Prelude Mixer. They chatted with many of the Chamber Members and learned of the present history of Fort Benton.

We enjoyed meeting the McFarlane’s and invite them to stop by any time.

I appreciate the one phone call I received to help type bios and autobiographies. Every little bit helps since my right hand person (who is left handed,) had to return to Oregon for six weeks. However, as with everything else…it will all work out.


Next Wednesday, October 12th will be a Friends of the Library. We had such a great time last month with our author speaker and our potluck luncheon.

Remember that we do not discuss a book until January. You will receive the book in December so you will have a month to read it. You will not want to miss our Christmas party and White Elephant sale. It tops off all the rest of the holiday parties. Dues are only $5.00 for active members and $10.00 for inactive members. What a deal. No, I did not make a mistake. The fees are one of our own Cindy’s sense of humor ideas. Go Cindy and as she says, “Be a friend and bring a friend.”

Woman’s Club of Fort Benton will be the next day. They are always busy with projects. The highway is to be cleaned of trash, plans for the Thanksgiving baskets are underway, and there are always those cookies to be baked for C.C.P.A. Come and join the best Woman’s Club in Montana. Help boost our members count. See you there.

If your organization or club has any special projects coming up…please let me know. Along with your ad in the River Press, it does not hurt to remind people in the View. I can only write about what I know about as far as events around town.

We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

View From The Bridge 9/28/2011

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

I am asking help to type up on the computer, the biographies, and autobiographies for this project. These records will go into a notebook that will be available near where the photos will be hung at the Sunrise Bluffs. I am trying to complete the project by 11/11/11. I have enough help for hanging the photos.

If you feel that you have the time to type 10 bios, (I have about 175,) I would be most grateful if you would volunteer. Some of the material is very short and others are long. I have one that is on a c.d. and would have to be copied. I have no idea how to do that. Remember, my computer hates me.

I have the page set up, margins etc. designed by Lindsey Krause. She does such a great job with the River Press and she did a great job for me.

If you turned in a very short bio, perhaps you could gather up a few more facts about their duties while in the service. These are permanent records that will be at the Joel Overholser Research Center forever. Many more people are coming to the Center to check the records not only their ancestors but also other subjects. (See article below about Chouteau County History.)

It is not too late to get the photos and bios added at any time to the project and it is ON GOING. I have said many times before that the “War Years” book has 1,080 names in it. There is still a long way to go as I only have 175 photos. Many of those are service members and women who have served or are serving after WWII. I ask you to go through those photos you have of your parents and grandparents to see if you can find military pictures. It is the only honor we can bestow upon them at this time. We owe them our lives.

After a couple of good frosts, we will be able to get the granite from Square Butte quarry. The high weeds and snakes will not be a problem that has held us up so far from completing the project earlier this summer.

I need help with this project as well. It will be a last minute phone call when we are ready to proceed. A clue as to when will be the tearing down of the old planter. When that happens, we should have the granite in town ready to be placed. That will be when we need your help. Please do not volunteer if you have a bad back. It should be a great project and look so much better than what is there now. The present planter hides the front of the bridge. Call me at 622-3217 after 2:00 p.m.

Visiting Venetta Morger from Houston, TX and I walked the bridge last evening. What a wonderful stroll under the lights. I wonder if the Committee who did the yearlong (perhaps longer,) study, planning, and execution of the Lighting of the Bridge received enough thank you and accolades. It is one of the best projects that have happened in Fort Benton. We appreciate you…”Lighting the Bridge Committee.” You are awesome.

Chatted with Ruth Carlstrom about the Center last week. She had some figures worked up about attendance during the season. The busiest day was Sunday June 24th, (during Summer Celebration) when 114 visitors signed the Guest Book. The total for the season was about 3,500. Those figures can be doubled because half of the visitors do not come into the Center or do not sign the register.

I do not know why visitors do not sign the register. My theory is…they do not want to put their address. The Center does not ask for their address, merely where their hometown is. As I told you last week…the most visitors came from Canada. We do have great neighbors.

Fort Benton had the pleasure last week of a visit of Jim and Leslie McFarlane from Canada. They stopped and camped here for a couple of days. They arrived on September 21st and found out that Heritage Days were taking place the next day.

This couple is very into volunteering at Fort Battleford, Saskatchewan. They were invited to participate in the Heritage Days program in costume. Jim wore his North West Mounted Police uniform (period 1885) and Leslie was a settler’s wife.

They were also invited to enjoy the Fort Benton Chamber of Commerce Fall Prelude Mixer that evening. We enjoyed meeting and talking with them about their volunteering and travels in their RV. In the near future, I will put their entire letter in the River Press, that I know you will enjoy reading. Hello McFarlane’s. I know that you will be reading this column on the web site. You added much interest to the mixer and all of us were happy to meet you. Come back again soon.

On this coming month’s (October) third Friday, the time of Pie and Coffee will be changed. Instead of 10:00 a.m., we will get those delicious pies at 2:00 p.m. This is a trial to see if an afternoon snack is more suited to pie eaters than breakfast. It sounds like a great idea and suits my “Gang” just fine. We go with the flow, (whatever that means.) See you there. I will remind you again the week before the third Friday.

If one more person asks me, “When are you going to play that guitar,” I am going to scream. At the Longhorns game last Friday night, Roger D. said to me, “What’s in this rumor I heard that you are going to play that guitar at halftime?”

Actually, I took guitar lessons years ago, with two of my kids, on TV. A Laura Weber taught an hour class every Saturday night for a year. When we got to the second book of instructions, I gave up. I could play, “Green, Green Grass of Home,” if you like…with a few wrong chords. You would not enjoy it.

Yesterday (Sunday,) I was told that I was on Garth Brook’s blog. The picture that Tim (our editor) took was there in full page. I am hearing from long lost friends especially in Great Falls after the article appeared in The Great Falls Tribune. My 15 minutes of fame continue.

Trust me when I say that it is tough to be a celebrity. People want to know how an 82-year-old woman from Fort Benton, Montana goes to Las Vegas and comes home with Garth Brook’s guitar. I really do not know anyone in high places but like to kid about it. It really was not about knowing anyone but just plain being the luckiest person in the Garth Books fan club.

“If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.”

Just a few days left in my favorite month. There are a few yellow leaves here and there and it somehow feels like fall. Perhaps it is the cool evenings. Whatever enjoy, because before we know it, we will be wishing for spring. That seems far off but we can be assured…it will be back. Now we have Halloween, Grayson’s 10th birthday, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s to look forward too. Enjoy every minute of every day and I will talk at you next week.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

View From The Bridge 9/21/2011

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
by Muncie

After last week’s “Garth and Me,” anything that I write will be anti-climatic. It was a wild week with phone calls and e-mails. The story went global because Wally’s daughter, Darcy, has two sons in Afganistan. They told their buddies who in turn told their parents. Two of my friends put the story on Facebook. The E-Edition did its share of getting the story out. I have friends in low and high places in almost every state in the U.S. and they were all informed.

I took the guitar to the First Security Bank twice because Jackie was out to lunch the first time. She wanted a picture for her daughter. Talking about pictures…I appreciate the picture that Tim took of the guitar and me…and that he put it on the front page. I cannot complain about the coverage. I still cannot believe that it happened and how it happened. Awesome.

Have you tried the internet for the E-Edition of the River Press? It is amazing what technology has accomplished and to think about what will be in the future. Give it a try as it is free until the middle of October. At first I could not bring up the site on my computer, (it is an old one.) I called Tim and he said to go to www.riverpressonline.com. That brought the River Press up immediately. I am sure that this site is going to be very convenient for many readers but especially those out of town.

The Visitors Information Center, the two Museums, and the Fort Benton Fort Tours all end next week at the end of the season. I will have figures on attendance soon but I have no idea how it went. I had to give up volunteering at the Center this summer and as a result the “View” has not had very many “Small World” stories nor have I been able to talk to any of the visitors…local or foreign. The one thing that I was told was that Canadian visitors were in large numbers.

If you have never been to the Museums or have gone through the Fort Tour, you are really missing an historical adventure. Visitors are amazed that a town the size of Fort Benton put together those sites with volunteer labor. Make it a point to take your family before the closing. It is awesome.

We made the trip to Chester last Friday evening with the aid of Harry Buckingham driving and getting us into the stands. We really enjoy that ride and we saw many fields that had been seeded with winter wheat. One farmer was in the field seeding with a slight dust cloud raised by his tractor. Now, if it would only rain.

The Longhorns played hard and it looked good in the first half. However, the last half did not go our way at all but we still love our team. This coming Friday the Longhorns will host Simms and it will be Senior Night. We always enjoy that night when the parents come onto the field with their football playing sons and their cheerleading daughters. They deserve the honor bestowed on them for Senior Night. Be there and give them a great round of applause.

I forgot to remind the readers about Pie Day last Friday and there were not as many pie eaters and coffee drinkers as I would have liked to see. Even my “Gang” (as I call my friends,) that consists of nine people had only four there. Some had appointments, others had commitments, and others were out of town.

Next month, the 3rd Friday of October, mark on your calendar right now because we do not want the Golden Age Senior Center to discontinue Pie Day. It is a tradition and although they did not bake during the summer months, we are now going to enjoy those great pies each month from now on. Next month on the third week, it will be all about Pie Day. Garth will be old news by then.

Next week Wednesday, September 28th, will be the first performance of the Chouteau County Performing Arts. Pam Drew Phillips is a pianist and that instrument is one that can hold its own and does not need accompaniment. Pam plays a great variety of music and I know she will begin the season with an excellent/enjoyable show.

Support the C.C.P.A. They are giving you 8 shows this season. The Christmas Concert is now set and for the money, you have a real bargain. It averages out to about $5.00 a show. Most places you cannot see a single show for $40.00. For those of you who do not participate…think it over quickly and buy your seasons ticket. Even if you cannot attend all the performances…support the C.C.P.A.

I know that I am always asking you to support this, that, and everything. The point is that we are Fort Benton, MT and we are getting entertainment that you would pay a fortune for in Las Vegas. The bonus is that you are not fighting great crowds and you do not have any cigarette smoking in any area. You have a beautiful auditorium, cookies, lemonade, coffee, and time to chat with friends. You cannot find that anywhere except in a rural community. So again, let us fill that auditorium. It seats approximately 400 people and I believe that a little over 300 has been the high attendance. Let us make it 400..

The C.C.P.A. will have an article in this edition also; however, it does not hurt to report in the View too. I can scold you about attendance and the Committee would never do that. They are too kind but I do not mind telling it like it is. Get off your seat, forget about the TV for an evening, and get over to the Elementary School to listen to Pam play the piano. You will not regret it.

I received an e-mail from Dusty Kuehner about that title. The definition is “Figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected.” I would like to share one with you each week. Let me know if you like them.

“Where there’s a will, I want to be in it.”


It is difficult to read the paper these days with all the bad news and happenings around the world. Let us be thankful for our beautiful town and its people.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

View From The Bridge 9/14/2011

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

This week is it all about Garth and me. Everyone wants to know the story of the very special guitar and the View is the best way to get it in writing. I have had some great adventures in my lifetime but this birthday was the most bizarre of them all. I have written some personal events in this column before but this is my 15 minutes of fame. I was a V.I.P. for a few moments and here is the story.

My Sweetheart, Wally, bid on a Las Vegas package last December at the Toys for Tots Auction. The package was from the Tropicana Hotel and included 3 days and 2 nights stay in addition to our plane fare.

The minute I knew that Garth Brooks was appearing at the Encore Theatre, I wanted to use the auction package to get to Vegas. The whole purpose of the trip for me was to be at that show on my birthday. Randy said he would also like to accompany me to the show.

Before we left home, I had written a note to Garth telling him that it was my birthday and would he please sing “The Dance,” for me. My thought process was that I would tip an usher to take letter backstage.

All plans went smoothly with the flight and the accommodations that we carefully booked. At last, the Saturday show evening arrived and we departed early to have dinner at the Encore Hotel.

As we walked down the hall in the hotel, looking for a restaurant, we passed the theatre. There stood a middle-aged woman in an usher’s uniform. I boldly went up to her with the note and a $10.00 bill in my hand and asked if she would take the note back to Garth. Very sweetly, she said that she could not do that but she would give us some advice. At the end of most performances the house lights would be illuminated and Garth would ask the people, (he called the audience people) if they had any questions or requests. The usher asked which of us had an "outside" voice. Randy said that he did and she advised him to stand and shout Garth’s name as loudly as he could. Randy said he could handle it.

I had tried to imagine what Garth’s show would be like but it was way beyond my expectations. He began with 50’s music and imitated singers with songs that made them famous at that time. He talked about his parents, the kind of music they liked, and how it influenced his life as to his music choices.

He went through the music of the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. The show brought back such great memories for   everyone. When he reached the 90’s, he announced that they were all, “Garth Brooks Years.”

He began with his first song, (and great hit,) “If Tomorrow Never Comes,” that he made in 1989. The rest is history in the music world and he retired about 10 years later to a farm in Oklahoma. He drives his children to school and does the farm thing.

So finally, the house lights went up and he is reaching the end of his show. He said that he does not do encores but he would play three more songs for us. He then asked if anyone had any questions or requests. Everyone in the audience stood up and they were screaming. Randy called out but was not heard. Garth called on a woman in the front row who was celebrating her anniversary without her husband. Garth told her that next time she should bring her husband and that brought on a good laugh Randy stood again and shouted Garth’s name to no avail. Garth then spoke with two young women near the front. Randy stood again, shouted Garth’s name, and this time Garth pointed to Randy.

By this time, I was quite excited, nervous and this is how I remember the conversation going. Randy said, “This is my Mom’s birthday. She is from Montana and is your biggest fan there. She would like it if you would sing “The Dance” for her.”

Garth said, “We should sing, “Happy Birthday” to her,” and he began to strum his guitar and sing. Two thousand people joined in and sang Happy Birthday to me. I finally managed to stand and throw a kiss to Garth. I immediately sat down because I thought I was going to faint.

Then Garth said, “I think I ought to give her a present on her birthday. Would someone get me a Sharpie pen?” (At this point I thought that he was going to autograph a CD or a picture for me. Wrong.) Garth went to the curtain of the stage and someone handed him the pen. He started back across the stage, stopped, and said “I don’t have anything to write on.” He began taking the strap of his guitar from around his neck. The people went ballistic. They screamed and chapped because they realized what he was going to do. The woman sitting next to me said, “He is going to give you that guitar.” No way. Just no way possible.

Garth then asked me how I spelled my name…with a cie or cy. When he finished writing, he said that when he finished three songs, I could have the guitar. On the guitar he wrote…Muncie, God Bless, Garth Brooks, and the date. It was surreal, unbelievable, mind boggling, awesome, incredible, miraculous, and a dream. Really, none of those words could describe my feelings. This just could not be happening to me. It was my 15 minutes in the limelight.

Many of the my female friends in Fort Benton, who knew I was going to see Garth’s show, asked me to bring him back with me. That really being an impossible happening, I was now going to bring back what he said was his favorite guitar. Unbelievable.

After Garth did his last song, “I Have Friends in Low Places,” he slowly backed off the stage amid screaming, cheering, and hand clapping. When he disappeared behind the curtain, a woman came out and took the guitar from the stage. As the crowd began to disperse, they all said Happy Birthday, hugged me, or shook my hand. One man said God Bless You, which by the way, Garth had written on the guitar.

Randy and I were told to wait in our seats until two security guards brought out the guitar in a beautiful case. One security guard led us into the Casino to pick up my Sweetheart and then guided us right to the head of the taxi line, (which was very long.) All along the way, people said Happy Birthday to me.

Little did I know when I said that I wanted to see Garth Brooks on my birthday that in my possession would be Garth Brook’s favorite guitar? So here you have the story, it is all about Garth and me.

Because I was going to be out of town for a few days, I decided last week that I would not be able to write a View this week. Little did I know what would be in store for me. I’ll be back next week with Fort Benton news.