Tuesday, June 7, 2011

View From the Bridge 6/8/2011

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

There is someone who remembers that rainstorm and that someone is Florence Ritland Kassmeier Wilmes. She remembers it very well as she was about to have a baby and was on her way to the hospital. The hogback near Geraldine had washed out and large planks were placed across it as a temporary bridge. She and her husband had to carry their two other children across. However, I was not able to contact Florence for more details today (Monday) and so I will continue this story next week.

I also heard a heart-warming story from a person who reads the “View” on the Fort Benton website. She visited Fort Benton a few years ago to do genealogy research at the Overholser Research Center. She enjoyed visiting as she thinks it is a comfortable size, friendly and a pleasant getaway. She was born in Great Falls but moved away.

This is her story. She was visiting her grandmother during the rainstorms of 1953 when she was 12 years old. Gram lived alone in a small bungalow on 2nd Ave S in Great Falls. She remembers one particular storm when lighting took out the neighborhood lighting and struck destroying a concrete birdbath in the front yard. The birdbath sat in the center of beautiful spruce trees.

Gram found a kerosene lamp, set it on the dining room table, and taught her to play cribbage. They talked like grownups and huddled together in their bathrobes. The lightening was very loud and threatening but Gram remained calm through it all. Gram gave her a flashlight to check the basement for water and there was enough with which to be concerned.

Gram remembered some ice cream in the freezer and she made us some 7-Up floats. The storm raged around them but she would never forget the taste of that wonderful treat. After the storm, she remembers the mosquitoes were terrible for the rest of her vacation.

The rest of the story is that Gram and her gentleman friend were married later that summer. The storm must have convinced her that having a man about the house might be a good thing. She had been a widow since the mid 1930’s and she remarried at 69 years of age.

Gram was born on Shonkin Creed in 1884 and died in 1978 at age 94. She lived in Great Falls most of her life. The little bungalow still stands on 2nd Ave. S minus the birdbath. The spruce trees outlived her but have since been removed.

My friends and I enjoyed our visit to our neighboring community, Carter, last Saturday morning. We had no idea were we were going but cruised Carter until we found the Community House. It is an old building but very well maintained.

I picked up some treasurers immediately and when I checked out, I spent the whole sum of about $5.00. However, I did spend more in the kitchen where I bought lunch, a piece of rhubarb pie/coffee, and a whole peach pie with dish included. What a bargain. I have been to many bake sales but I have never been to one that had so many and the variety of pies. It was very difficult to pick which would satisfy your pallet. My mouth is watering at this moment thinking about that piece of rhubarb. It was superb. (I found another word besides awesome.)

It was also wonderful to see some old friends. I want to say hello again to Ann Crawford and Karen Bryant who were busy with the rummage sale and the kitchen.

Mark Rose Nagengast’s birthday on your calendar. There will be a celebration on Sunday, the 19th from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Sunrise Bluffs for her 100th. Can you believe that? Well, neither can she. She called us a few nights ago and we assured her we would not forget. Every one is invited to attend.

I think there is a lesson to be learned here. I know two women and know of one man who lived to be 100 years old or over. They all lived in a retirement home. If you want to live to be 100 years old, move to the Sunrise Bluffs. It may work for you.

My association with Rose goes back to the time the Information Center was in the front part of the Fire House storage room (where the rest rooms are now.) We had very little space and the chairs for us to sit on were outside. The literature was exposed to the weather and if it rained, we had to close up.

The Center was open for twelve hours a day and Rose was there most of the time for a visitors season (Mother’s Day to Labor Day) by herself. She opened and closed the big doors. She kept the racks filled with literature that was stored behind a makeshift wall with the Nativity Set. Talk about, “Making a Difference.” Rose loves Fort Benton and it paid off with the Visitors. Show her that you appreciate her and her 100 years of life. (Ask her if it paid off to live in the Bluffs?)

IN FORT BENTON: Sock Hop Fund Raiser at the Club House on June 11th starting at 6:00 p.m. until “you turn into a pumpkin” time. It is sponsored by the American Legion and sounds like lots of fun. Drag out those poodle skirts, bobby socks, saddle oxfords, and cut a rug as they used to say back in the 1950”s.

IN CARTER: Bluegrass and popular music and dancing at the Rocking K at 8:00 p.m. on the 11th.

IN HIGHWOOD: A Hoe-Down on June 12th at 5:00 p.m. at the Community Hall sponsored by the Highwood Women’s Club.

If you have any American flags that are worn or tattered, June 14th would be a good time to dispose of them. The flags are no longer referred to be as being burned but that they are to be retired. The ceremony that day is called, “Dignified Disposal of Unserviceable Flags.” The American Legion Post 26 and Boy Scout Troop 47 are sponsoring this service.

If you have such a flag or flags, contact Scout Master Simon Dieghan at 734-5234 or 231-5845. He will arrange for the flag to be picked up. You can also bring the flag to the Fairground arena for the ceremony at 6:00 p.m.

Flag Day would also be a patriotic day to hang your new American Flag. We cruise the town almost every day to check on the Missouri River. We like to look over the landscaping of homes and the flowering trees/bushes. We did see a few American flags waving but would like to see many more. Lehman’s has a good supply of flags and holders, so surprise me on Flag Day with flags all over town. This plea also includes Front Street from one end to the other. Show how much you love your country and your flag.

I have talked to several people this past week who have recently moved to Fort Benton in the last few months. Why? They visited our town and fell in love with it. It takes a lot of love to move everything you own from another town, city, or state. They assured me that they had done the right thing and were very happy. Take a lesson from that and be as happy as you possibly can. That is all that matters in the long run.