Wednesday, December 26, 2012

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

Now that the world did not end on the 21st, we can look forward to whatever time we have left to enjoy it without worry.  Not that I did worry.  How many times in my lifetime has it been said that the world was going to end?  So enjoy every minute of every day.  Do your good deeds every day and if you have not started that little project, start now.  Spread your sunshine around, smile, love, and be as happy as you possibly can.

Yes, not again, I goofed, however I have good news.  I disturbed many people by assuming that the solar lights around the FB on the bluffs were taken by some unknown person or persons. That situation happened once before when the bottom half of the lights of the B were missing.  The Honor Society took over and finished the job by replacing the B lights, purchasing, and placing all of the F lights.

A few weeks ago, it was noticed that the lights were not burning.  I notified everyone that I could or who would listen to me.  A thought came to me to call Don Foreman who lives on River Street.  I asked him to use binoculars to look over the FB and assess the situation.  It was evening and too late to see. The next morning Don called and said he was parked on the side of the highway beneath the FB.  He reported that the lights were all in place.

A trek up the hill by one of the teachers found that the lights were operative.  They were not burning brightly because of very little sunlight and the angle at which the sun shone on the lights.  The sunlight charge was not strong enough.

So now, I say I am sorry for this uproar but in defense of myself, I also wonder why the weather persons out there in weather land and those with great scientific minds did not know this fact.  Perhaps they did know but failed to make it known to me.  If I had a report card, I would be getting an F and it would not stand for Fort.  The bad news is that we know have to wait until spring before the light will be right.  I will keep an eye on the situation to see when they can be seen again.  Perhaps this is not of any importance to you, however I would like you to know that our FB is the only city marker in the whole state of Montana whose letters are lit.  We are a first once again.

If ever there was a smiley woman, it was Bessie.  I will miss seeing her walk with Sue (her daughter) each day they possibly could.  Those Benton Pharmacy people will miss her more than most because her family had coffee there every morning. 

My memory of her was her organization of clippings from the River Press and other historic collections.  I did a story once on Coach Midget and basketball.  Bessie invited me over to read items about the Coach.  I learned about every basketball player on the team and his records.  She showed me other interesting clippings about Fort Benton.  I spend a wonderful afternoon with her.  I wish I could be that organized that I could find something immediately.  I will think of Bessie sitting on my shoulder and helping me.

 Another long time friend has also gone across the Wide Missouri.  My memory of Bob is one of a long time ago.  I am sketchy on the details of exactly how it came about.  There was some sort of history conference going on in Great Falls.  I was secretary of the Community Improvement Association at the time and I was phoned to see if I was going to the conference.  Bob Doerk was driving, I could ride along with him, and he did call me.  I had a glorious time on the way to Great Falls listening to Bob talk about Lewis and Clark.  He was a very knowledgeable historian and I benefited from it. 

I learned to say Sacagawea.  I was able to turn my thinking around to call her name differently than I had.  Many people stuck to the old way but the proof was in the pudding when grandson Grayson, from Helena, said that he learned her name as Sacagawea in school.  If that is the way they are teaching it in school then some people are going to have to change, (if the shoe fits…wear it.)  I will never forget Bob for the valuable lessons he taught me.

An enjoyable musical evening was spent by many parents, grandparents, and people who just like music, on December 16th.  Music teachers work very hard because they put on productions with what I would call “raw material.”  Our new music teacher, has developed very talented singers and musicians to their full potential.  I could not help humming along, (thank goodness I was sitting by myself) and tapping my feet.  The only problem I noted was that it should have been longer.  I did not want it to end.  Thank you for a lovely time.

Here are a couple of hints that I found in the U.S.A. magazine to aid in recycling.  The ideas came from a woman who wrote a book on recycling titled “The Zero-Waste Lifestyle:  How to Live Well by Throwing Away Less.”  That title tells you a lot.  She said, “It took maybe 10 extra minutes to sort recyclables or put products in Tupperware instead of a plastic bag.” 

She said to be proactive, instead of focusing on discarding things, think about recycling before making purchases.  Choose to buy t.p. wrapped in paper vs. wrapped in plastic, because plastic is harder to recycle.  Cook and create is another choice.  Certain foods have foil packaging that is not recyclable.  You may be able to make most things that you would have purchased and it was healthier too.  That included chips and doughnuts. On the job you can create less waste by writing on both sides of a sheet of paper, (you can do this at home too,) recycle paper, and use electronic communication.

An update on the Recycling Committee findings are Headwaters Cooperative will come to Fort Benton on Monday, January 14th to speak to the County Commissioners, City Council and any interested Fort Benton residents.  Please make an effort to attend this meeting.  As far as I know the meeting will be held at the City Hall.  I will verify this location for you next week.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

May all of the readers of the View and the River Press, have the most wonderful holiday with family and friends.  How quickly these holidays roll around so enjoy every minute.

Everyone is familiar with the magazine National Geographic.  However, did you know that they also publish another magazine called National Geographic Traveler?  It is probably the most elite travel magazine out and serves a very discriminating clientele who tend to pride themselves in going to stunning places off the beaten path.

The story is titled “20 Trips in the World for 2013.”  Now, can you imagine in your wildest dreams that one of those 20 trips from “IN THE WORLD” would be the Missouri River Breaks and it all starts in FORT BENTON.

The story mentions outfitters Don Sorenson, Upper Missouri River Guides, Missouri River Canoe Company, and the Gagnon’s Grand Union Hotel.  We locals, (that is the term used for Fort Bentonites.) take all of this for granted. I would venture to guess that fewer than more people have ever traveled the Missouri. (that goes for me too.  I have only seen the Breaks from up above when there was a van ride at one time.)  That also goes for visits to our wonderful museums, the Old Fort, and the Joel Overholser Research Center.  People come from all over the world to Fort Benton as shown on the Visitors Information Center sign-in sheets.  This situation is not uncommon because I have read that very few of New York City citizens have ever been to the Empire State Building.

The article has Travel Tips that include when to go, where to stay, how to get around, where to eat or drink, and what to watch before you go.  (They suggest the DVD titled Lewis & Clark Great Journey West that was shot in original expedition locations.)  I am going to call the library in the morning to see if they have that DVD.  Should I suggest that it be shown a few evenings at the library?  I think it is a great idea.

Following are a couple of paragraphs from the article that I thought were awesome.  “For locals, this place where erosion slashes the prairie is simply “the Breaks.”  Some people explore it by canoe, often starting at Fort Benton, (make time for the frontier history museums,) and paddling for days and days.  Others keep their feet dry, but the one thing everybody can find is quiet, the kind of hush that amplifies birdsong, a flutter of leaf, the melody of wind, and your own heartbeat.”

“It’s not easy country.  You will find more cactus and prairie rattlesnakes than people.  You’ll expose yourself to weather that can peel your skin, freeze your flesh, bake you to the bone.  Bring sturdy shoes, lots of water---and an open mind.  In the Breaks, you can fill it with something good.” By Scott McMillion.

Perhaps after the National Geographic comes out, Fort Benton will no longer be the best-kept secret in Montana.  After all, we are the first best place in the last best place.

A phone call this past week informed me that there is a van service running from Havre to Great Falls.  I have sparse information and will check into it further this coming week.  The fee is only $1.00 according to my source.  You can be picked up on Highway 87 or at your home.  It would be great for doctor/dentist appointments as well as specialties shopping trips, (things you cannot find locally.)  It sounds too good to be true but since it has been running for a while, it must be.  I am supposed to get a time schedule and I will pass that on as soon as I receive it.

I did not have the space last week to write about my experience at the reception of the new loader between Carter and Tunis.  I wanted to tell you in the View from the Bridge about the view from the Catwalk 180 feet straight up.  (Again, I am joking folks.  I would just like to have crawled up there for the view.)

We met David Murray from the Tribune and I said proudly I was from the River Press.  I think he was impressed.  I did not go into any detail. There were about 8 or 10 men standing outside the office building when we arrived and I thought they were waiting for the tour.  After a few minutes of standing in the cold, someone said that there was coffee and donuts inside.  Actually, that is where all the action was.  Men were signing up for their I.D. cards and there was a lot of talk about wheat.  I only saw two other women.  As we were about to leave, someone offered to take us on a tour.  Awesome.  What an operation and it is all computer controlled. 

I had to ask the question, “Why are you building all these new facilities?”  You wheat farmers must have known the answer and I thought I knew but it was then verified.  Chouteau County is the wheat capital of the world.  It has the best wheat and foreign countries want it.  That should make our County very proud.  We will get on the MAP one way or another and let it be for the profit of our hard working farmers.

I think I have been writing long enough that you all know that I love basketball.  It is a little harder to get around these days and we missed the tournaments.  We did however; make it to the games last Friday.  It was so “at home” to get those delicious hamburgers, a cheesy nacho, cold drinks, and candy/or popcorn.  The stands were filled and everyone seemed to be enjoying him or herself.  The boy’s game was ever so close at the last few seconds.  They did a great game of catch up with the score and that makes for a great game.  Go Longhorns Girls and Boys.

I met our new reporter, Bethany Monroe, at the Recycling meeting on December the 10th.  I was a tad late and as the meeting progressed to the point that we were talking about getting it across to the public, I said that there was a new reporter at the River Press. Everyone started to laugh because she was there.  Because I was late, I missed the introduction..  So now, Bethany is here, there, and everywhere just as Tim used to be.  I saw her twice again during the week at the Senior’s dinner on Tuesday evening and at the Pie Day and Cookie sale on Friday.  I am quite sure that she likes Fort Benton very much.  Welcome Bethany.  To our readers, if your organization has an event or you know of news happening, be sure to call Bethany at the River Press.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

The solar lights around the F and B on the bluffs are missing again.  I feel sad for those who worked so hard to complete the project after Mr. Anonymous had the bottom part of the B lights taken.  The Honor Society students had completed it and had spent many hours raising the money to purchase the lights.  Why would someone take those lights and to what purpose?  Do they think that they could be sold?  Surely, in a small town such as Fort Benton or surrounding areas, there would be someone who had seen a person or persons on the hill.  It would be difficult to hide or store a few hundred solar lights.  There was a trip up the hill planned to check out the situation but has not transpired as yet.  Perhaps the lights were just pulled out of the ground although that is doubtful.  If you have any suspicions or information as to the whereabouts of the lights, please contact the Police Department.  IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT:  If you read the letter to the Readers of the River Press, you will note that Santa may not find Fort Benton without those lights.
What a group of talented people performed last Sunday afternoon at their 1st Annual Concert.  It was a very entertaining program and I deemed all of those who participated as professionals.  There were pianist, guitarists, a drummer, a violinist, and several singers.  They talked excitedly to us afterward about how it would be bigger and better next year.  There were two TV screens on each side at the front and words to the songs were available.  There were also winter scenes and my favorite was one with a lane in the middle, snow covered trees on both sides, and the sun shining through.  At the end of the concert, everyone sang many Christmas songs and I surprised myself when I remember many of the words.  I really enjoyed the concert and the appreciated the work behind putting it together.  Good job folks!

After the concert, we went for a ride along the river.  Other creatures also love the Missouri.  In fact, there were more geese on the river than there are residents of Fort Benton.  Truly, there were thousands of geese from the Old Bridge to Signal Point.  That was as far as we went and I am sure there were more around the bend.  I became chilled just looking at those birds in that cold water.  I should have called Tim to get a picture of them.  Perhaps they will be there again tomorrow and he can take a picture.

Copies of newspapers all across the country will be “keepers.”  They will be a collectors item because that date will never be seen again.  Store away your River Press today in a safe place and years from now your family will enjoy reading it. Have you noticed that there are 5 Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays this month?  I checked with my oldest son who is a magician and numbers are very important in magic.  He said that in March of 2014 there will be again 5 Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays.  There are other months that there are 5 of one of the days of the month, however I choose that one because it is identical of this month.  I really enjoy numbers and they are so important in our lives.  Just think about your life and how numbers affect it.  For example they involve your every day activities, your age, your finances, and on and on.  Numbers control all games that you play like cards.  I just wrote this to give you a break in your routines that involve the numbers in your life.  How many more can you think of?

I attended a meeting this morning (Monday,) and the program is off and running in the planning stage.  We are on the agenda next Monday at the City Council meeting and those of you who are interested are welcome to join us.  Next month, there will be a Public Hearing meeting planned for the community.  We will have speakers and if you missed the last community meeting because of the storm, you will have an opportunity to hear experts on the subject.  Watch the River Press for the date and time.  We would really appreciate any input that you may have.

By the time you get this River Press, there will be only a week or so until the days get longer.  I usually party on that day so if you want to join me, let me know.  I simply cannot handle darkness coming on by 4:30 or so in the afternoon. 


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

If you did not get your fill of the Christmas Spirit this past weekend, it was no fault of the many people who worked to make Chouteau County Christmas happen.  Most enjoy the music and the decorations of the season.  Most do not enjoy the commercialism that has replaced the old traditions. Let us try to bring them back into our lives.

The weather could not have been more perfect.  I walked Front Street early (for me) in the morning with my down coat on.  I quickly realized that I was over dressed or rather over coated.  I do not know who ordered the weather but keep up the good work for events.  I watched a group of children making pinecone ornaments at the Benton Pharmacy.  The Benton Breads and More Sandwich shop smelled of gingerbread and all supplies for Gingerbread Houses were on hand.  Most places of business were not yet busy.  After I left the Convention Center that afternoon, I returned to four stores to purchase Charms, to find I could hardly move around because of the crowds.  It was a grand turnout and a good shopping time for all. 

I met a woman from Canada in front of the Culbertson building.  She said that she and her husband come to Fort Benton often because they enjoy our old town.  She meant by that, the old buildings and structures.  She said that younger people, like her daughter, do not appreciate old (her words not mine.)  I will have to talk to some young people around town about this.  I have seen cases that younger people can hardly wait to get out of town and after a period of time, they can hardly wait to get back.  
Chouteau County Christmas reminds one of the good times of my childhood.  I was a depression baby and believe me young people; many of us received new pajamas, a book, an apple, an orange, and a candy cane in our stockings.  Each of us had our own traditions that were very simple.  Decorating the tree together after having gone to cut our own was the most exciting.  Having a sleigh ride to get to that special tree was a bonus. Midnight services were a tradition and we had to go right to bed when we at last returned home.  Having hot cocoa and homemade rolls while seeing what Santa had brought us was almost the best of all in the early morning hours of Christmas Day.  We took turns opening one at a time to be thrilled by our own and sharing siblings presents as well.  Each family had their own special Christmas rituals and they were looked forward to with anticipation.  Enjoy the next few weeks as you share with lots of love your own traditions.  Note:  there were no Black Fridays in those days with all its craziness.

Santa reigned at the Convention Center, (my own name for the Ag.)  I wore my Santa hat as I always do since our mail route days, (they really keep your head warm.)   Children often stare at me as they did on Saturday.  Santa told a small group that I was Mrs. Santa.  I told him that I did not like to talk to children because I did not want to promise something that I could not deliver.  He said that a very little boy had just asked him for an I-Pad.  I then told Santa that if he was giving him an I-Pad, I would like one too.  What do you think about that?

I was not able to be in town by late afternoon.  I could not indulge in the Chili Feed, walk the Luminary Trail, or see the Parade.  The Marine Corps Toys for Tots Auction is the same evening.  From all reports, the Parade gets better and better each year.  I am sure that Tim (Editor) will be telling you all about it and the winners. 

Awesome!  I have attended many a Christmas Concert; however, that one was the greatest.  I am sure that they were Angel inspired.  The first half-featured Angels Peter and Molly.  I am sure about that because only an Angel could sing like Molly.  After intermission Angels Rudy, Gail, and Julie performed with many of the instruments made by Gail’s father, Wayne Hampton.  Closing your eyes, you were sure that you were in heaven listening to the harp.  We did not ever dream that the concert would be better than last year however it was.  The selection of music was a mixture of the classic and modern for every ones enjoyment.  Peter and Molly came on stage again and the last part was a sing-along. Everyone sang four or five songs ending with, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

There was another Christmas Poem by a surprise visit from Santa, (wasn’t he the greatest.  Of course, I am a wee bit attached to him.)  I will include it in next weeks View, as this week is way too long.  If you do not have the time, only read half of the column.
To top it off, the refreshments were beautifully decorated Christmas cookies and fabulous cupcakes with that great tasting frosting that Price Rite produces.  We not only had Christmas spirit outside but inside as well.

I was asked to invite you to another Christmas Concert next Sunday the 9th at the Community Bible Church.  It begins at 3:00 p.m. and is free to the community.  Come and enjoy the concert and fellowship with your friends and neighbors.  There are many hours of preparation for these concerts and a large crowd would be a tribute to those involved.  See you there.

Since the meeting is on Wednesday December the 12th before you get the River Press, I am reminding you in this edition.  There is a great potluck lunch and a White Elephant silent auction.  I especially want to invite Walleyne because I know how she loves auctions.  By the way, Readers, we are not feuding as I have heard some rumors around town.  We are best of friends and my comments are only in fun.  This is only true though until she starts outbidding me.  See you there Walleyne.

On December the 11th, I will have been in Montana 20 years.  My Fort Benton anniversary will be next May.  I am very proud of that and since my first visit to Montana was in 1988, I wonder what took me so long.  I have never regretted my move and would never want to go back to mid-America.  Happiness is Montana and long may she reign as “The Last Best Place.”  I hope that you do not think that I am overdoing this Montana and Fort Benton thing but this is one of the #1 things to be thankful for on my list. 


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

View From The Bridge 11/28/12

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
 By Muncie

There are many very busy people around town preparing for the annual Chouteau County  Christmas.  I picked up a schedule, (available all around town,) and there are two pages of events.  It will be another of those great weekends when you do not have to cook Ladies.  In fact, it is one of those weekends like Summer Celebration and the Chouteau County Fair when you can eat anything and everything that your little heart desires.  (Thank goodness for Pepto Bismo. Just kidding!)  There is great food to eat not only at the designated places on the schedule but the “Eateries” around town.  Not only that, most of the businesses have treats.

While the rest of the world has “Black Friday,” Chouteau County Christmas will have “Black Saturday.”  I do not like the term however, I understand the meaning.  May everyone involved come up in the black. 

One of my favorite thing to do, is to walk down Front Street and visit every establishment.  They all have “Gift Certificates” and that is the easy way to shop for most of us older folk.  However, do not let me influence you one way or another.  It is wonderful to receive a gift that is “Made in Montana, Fort Benton, Highwood, Geraldine, Shonkin, Loma, Big Sandy, or Virgelle”.  In other words, shop local.  I know that I nag on that subject and I promise that this will be the last time I remind you until next year. 

I have heard several stories about deer in town.  I suppose that you have seen them too.  I just thought that I would mention it so you would be a little more careful driving around town.
On Sunday the 18th, we were returning from Great Falls about 9:30 p.m.  We were talking about several happenings with deer.  Many years ago, we picked up my youngest son at the airport and he was spending the night here in Fort Benton.  As we came down and through the underpass, there was a deer at the left hand side of the road.  Now being a city boy, he had never seen a deer at that close range.  He was excited at the sight and as we were to have him see it.

In early fall, we came down the hill about 5:00 p.m. to see at least 20 deer in the cornfield on the right (after it had been cut.)  As we came down into town, we were talking about these incidents.  As I drove around the curve, I spotted a deer next to the road on the right on the Allen’s lawn.  I applied the brakes and the deer ran across the road in front of us.  It was a close call.

A neighbor told me a story that happened this past week.  She went out onto her porch and saw a buck deer on the lawn.  He attempted to charge her.  That was another encounter of the weirdest kind.  She quickly reentered her house for safety. 

I think that all the deer have found refuge in town rather than out somewhere, out there, where the hunters are. I live across the street from the new location of the M & B Processing Plant   I spend a good deal of my time in the kitchen and it seems every time I look out the window that is over the sink, there is another vehicle with a deer in/on it.  Mike has been especially busy since the day after Thanksgiving.  Hunters said it was actually too warm to hunt when the season began. 

One of our relatives was lucky enough to get a deer.  I will not see any elk in my freezer this year because my grandsons only had one day to hunt and did not bag one.  Last year they both were successful and well as my daughter.  They shared one of the elks with us.  What a grand treat and of all the wild meats, my favorite is elk.

I did not fill the bird feeders this summer because I read they could manage on their own.  I began feeding them about the 1st of November and have had hundreds of them visiting.  They are such a joy to watch.  How those tiny creatures can survive the Montana winter is such a mystery?  Somehow, they manage although I do not see any nests in the trees around the house.  Two doves feed with very small black colored birds.  They are not wrens.  Perhaps one of you bird lovers can identify them for me. 

Can you believe that Saturday is the 1st of December?  It has been a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.  I like it best because it is a four-day holiday for most of us.  Christmas is on a Tuesday this year.  That will be another four-day holiday, as most will have Saturday, Sunday, and Monday to do the last minute things that always come up. It will be here before you know it and we will slide into 2013 wondering what happened to the 13 years since we wondered what was going to happen when the clocks chimed out midnight and we entered 2000.  It passed without incident and without all the dire predictions.  Again I say, enjoy every minute of every day

I do not seem to be getting very far with the plea for support of our Troops by wearing red on Fridays.  There are so many ads on TV, in the newspapers, and magazines about how much they need our support.  Take some time out to buy yourself a red shirt, blouse, sweatshirt, t-shirt, or sweater and wear it proudly.  If someone asks you why, tell them.  Everyone is asking for donations at this time of year and all that is asked for Troops Support is wear something red on Friday.  You could look for something in the newspaper that tells you where to write to one of our Troops and perhaps you can even send him a package.  It would mean the world to them. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

We have a lovely young woman who moved to Fort Benton a month and a half ago who is making a difference.  She began a movement to collect coats, hats, gloves, and scarves, for the victims of the Sandy storm.  She has enough coats at this time but is collecting monetary donations.  If you would like to go that route, please contact Amber Steers at 781-9199 for information as to how to make that kind of donation.  The packages are being mailed this week and her father, Jim Steers, is picking up the tab. 

Amber began this campaign because her sister, Kaylie, who lives in Florida, was working there for the storm victims.  Amber said that she could not believe the generosity of Fort Bentonites.  Her Mom is the treasurer of the General Federation of Woman’s Clubs of Fort Benton and her Dad is the manager at Jim Taylor’s Auto Sales.  Her Dad is retired from the Air Force and Amber has moved seven times in her 23 years.  She was born in Great Falls while her Dad was at Malmstrom but also lived in England, Germany and many states in the United States.  Amber said that of all the places she has been, she thinks that Fort Benton is the best. 

Her hobbies are playing softball in Great Falls, and fishing.  She caught her first sturgeon last week in Loma and was very excited about it.  I forgot to tell her that when she catches her first catfish, I would like to know about it.  It is my favorite.

We had a very nice visit and I am happy to know her.  She did a project that I happen to know that several people talked about but did not carry through.  Kudos to you Amber and I hope that you stay here in Fort Benton for a long while.

First order of business is to say I am sorry that I said last week that Bingo was an old lady’s game.  I did not mean to offend my old lady friends but since I am one of them, I did not think that they would think a thing about it.  I did not actually get any feedback but when I played at the Club House on Monday evening, (the 12th,) I found that there were old men there too.  There were 15 players that evening as compared with the first evening when there were 10 players.  Looks as though it is catching on.  Remember that it is a fundraiser for the VFW.

Matt Patrias is the Quarter Master for the VFW and is in charge of the Bingo evenings.  If you enjoyed the Monday games and the Turkey Bingo, be sure to let him know.

What a fun evening and what a crowd that turned out on Saturday.  Matt and I guest-a-mated there were 75 people who showed up. It could have been leftovers from the Bobcat/Griz game but whatever; it was more fun with more people participating. Lo and behold, there were many young people. Connie and I were a tad-late to find a place to sit.  Matt quickly commandeered another banquet table for more players.  There were nine “Bingoer’s” or would it be, “Bingoee’s” at our table and there were six winners.  It played out as four winners because both Sandy and Gary were duel winners in separate games and had to draw for the highest card for the winner. They both drew the low card.  Sandy drew a 2 and the other person drew a 3.  How weird was that?

The next “Bingo” evening will be the 26th of November at 7:00 p.m.  See you there.  I am thinking that those who no longer live in Fort Benton and subscribe to the River Press are snickering about me reporting on bingo games.  Whoever thought that I would be writing about Bingo?  What would you call us?  Are we desperate “cabin fever” folks looking for any event to get out of the house?  Exactly!

A week from Saturday begins the Christmas season in Chouteau County.  The Country Christmas is always a great success because it seems that everyone has the “Christmas Spirit.”  Read all about it in the River Press and keep the schedule on your frig.  Remember to shop all the local stores as well and most of them have treats.  (I especially like the cookies that Judy Hazen makes at the Riverview Greenhouse.  Her lemon bars are out of this world yummy.)  I know that you can get all your shopping done in that couple of day’s time and you do not have to travel far. 

Do not forget the free concert on Sunday.  It was so enjoyable last year and I know it will be equally as enjoyable this year.  See you there.

We lost another good friend this past week.  However, we are sure that he is in a better place that does not have a weed in sight.  That is how we all have known him lately as “The Weed Killer.”  He would show up in the spring with his spray gun and get rid of those obnoxious weeds in our lawn.  He would also fertilize and make our lawns look fairly presentable.  We were always so happy to see him.  He was a friend to all that knew him and we will miss him especially when spring rolls around.  No one could ever take his place. 

The second paragraph of the Red Friday brochure reads:  “Our idea of showing solidarity and support for our troops with dignity and respect continues each and every Friday until the troops all come home, sending a deafening message that…Every red=blooded American who supports our men and women afar, will wear something red.  By word of mouth, press (our River Press,) TV, and any way possible!  Let’s make the United States on every Friday a sea of red.”

Our Morger family has had three grandsons in Afganistan.  They are all back in the United States now.  Last Thursday a fourth grandson was deployed. You all must know how supportive we are.  Isn’t there any other family out there who has a young man or woman in Afganistan or any other foreign country?   Please let me know.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

View From The Bridge 11/14/12

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
by Muncie

I have so much to be thankful for that I am about to burst.  I have had more happiness than sadness this past year.  I wish the same for you and that it continues to get better and better.  I wish that your families are able to see each other more often, that your health holds at an easy pace, that all things go positive instead of negative, and generally just that you can enjoy every minute of every day.  Remember the slogan, “Do a good deed everyday.”  Make that thanksgiving call right now to someone you have been meaning to call for weeks.  Take on one volunteer job if you have never volunteered.  There are many volunteer jobs waiting around town that need you.  If you already volunteer, keep up the good work and know that you are appreciated.  A big job can be completed if there are many little helpers. 

About 30 individuals were able to attend the Recycle meeting at the Golden Age Senior Center last Thursday evening in spite of quite a bit of snow on the ground.  What I was most excited about were the Fort Benton High School students that were there.  Although I am sure that they realize that we want them to take over civic duties someday, they were attentive and interested in the proceedings.

Our speaker from the Department of the Interior could not make it from Helena (understandably).  The speaker from Havre, (where they have a recycle program in place,) also could not attend.  However, there was a phone call connection for about an hour and she was a wealth of information.

There were representatives from many businesses and organizations.  My opinion was that all who attended came away with valuable information.  Another meeting will be set-up and I will let you know when that will be.  Eleanor, (the most popular young woman in town these days who is a new member of the B.L.M. crew,) conducted the meeting and is doing most of the research. 

A flyer was delivered to my home last week announcing the newest form of recreation in town.  The V.F.W. is holding BINGO games every other Monday evening at 7:00 p.m.  The first was held on October 29th and had a sparse crowd.  Now that you are aware of the time and dates, you can support them by enjoying an evening of fun and frivolity at the Club House.

In addition, there will be a TURKEY BINGO NITE on Saturday the 17th.  One of my acquaintances enjoyed the Turkey Nite last year and took home two turkeys.  In addition, she had a great time with friends. 

I made an announcement at the General Federation of Woman’s Club Fort Benton last Thursday.  I said that I thought that Bingo was an old woman’s game and so I would be there.  Come on over and sit with me.  I plan to be there as my calendar was clear that evening when our Great Falls Marine Corps League Birthday celebration dinner was cancelled November 10th because of the snowstorm.  When we received the phone call, we assumed it was the next Saturday, which would have ruled out Turkey Nite.  However, we later found that it was changed to Sunday the 18th that worked ou6t well for me and Turkey Nite.  We will see you next Saturday evening.  The only sad part of the whole affair is for the turkeys.  It will be a “pain in the neck” for them.  (Not my original joke!)

Hope that you did not have to go anywhere on Friday or Saturday.  Reports from Helena and Great Falls from friends and relatives were not at all good.  Their cities were dumped on with more snow that Fort Benton.  It was strange here in Fort Benton because some areas in different locations in the city received more snow than others.  Today is Saturday the 10th and we have not left the house.  It is cozy and warm and just looking outside makes me shiver. My greatest fear is that the electricity goes out.  I do not mind the dark but I do not like to be cold... 

Tomorrow is another story as we are going to the Veterans dinner at the Club House.  Fortunately, we live almost across the street however, I do not know if the GoGo will go in the snow.  It would save us from trying to find a parking place.

It is now Sunday morning and the sun is shining bright on the snow that is covering everything.  A ride along the Missouri was picture perfect as in magazines and calendars.  It is very cold although people are moving around town.  A volunteer from the Sierra Club called yesterday who said that he would send some warm weather up to us.  He has never traveled to Montana but said that he would like to visit.  Of course, I invited him to head for Fort Benton, the first stop, where he would learn all about Montana history.  He said that he would spread the word.  It amazes me how little the rest of the U.S. knows so little about Montana. 

The letter from my schoolmate in last week’s River Press made an impressive on Marg Chappell. She wrote a “Letter to the River Press Readers.”  Please read it in this week’s edition.  She and her daughter, Muriel, came to visit me about the article.  She was very touched by Dorothy’s letter because her feelings were the same.  I would hope that it affected you in the same way.  “Just light one candle,”

In just a few weeks it will be time for Chouteau County Christmas.  Final arrangements were completed this past week and as usual, it will be a fun time.  Let us hope that the weather is kind to the many vendors and shoppers.  I will have more information next week as well as the ad from the Chouteau County Christmas committee.  Here I go again, asking for support for all the events that take place in Fort Benton and the surrounding areas.  If you cannot find just the perfect gift while shopping local, then voice your concerns to the Chamber of Commerce and or the Chouteau County Christmas committee.  Suggestions are welcome and new ideas always considered.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

View From The Bridge 11/7/12

VIEW from the BRIDGE
By Muncie

The V.F.W. (Veterans of Foreign Wars,) and Ladies Auxiliary invites all Veterans and their spouses to a Veterans Day Dinner.  It will be on Sunday, November 11th at the Club House and dinner will be served from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.  How appropriate this dinner is being held on Veterans Day.  They would like to see all Veterans from the surrounding area there to enjoy dinner and conversation with your fellow Veterans. 

This dinner is an annual affair and as numbers dwindle, it is more important than ever that Veterans know how much they are appreciated.  If it were not for them, we might not be here, speaking Vietnamese, Japanese, German, or Arabic.  It was that close many times and the Veterans put their lives on the line without hesitation. 

Speaking personally, remembering WWII, we owe them so much and it can never be repaid.  However, respect and a well-meaning thank you for your service will do.
GOD BLESS AMERICA AND OUR TROOPS.  WEAR RED ON FRIDAYS to let them know that you support them. 

I receive a newsletter spring and fall from the high school back in Michigan from which I graduated.  One of my classmates wrote to the newsletter that touched me deeply.  This week instead of writing another paragraph from the “Red Friday” flyer, I am going to share Dorothy’s letter.  (She is also an accomplished artist and her husband is a United States Marine.)

“I have a prayer request.  There’s a lady I’ve known forever.  She’s very sick.  On top of that, she’s being abused by those to whom she has given everything.  Lies about her abound, and seem to come from all sides.  Just breaks my heart.  Seem there’s nothing I can do alone but maybe, if we all join in and lift her up together, He can heal her.  She’s well over 236 years old, but way too young to die.  Her name is “AMERICA,” and I love her and have always been proud of her.  Please take time to say a prayer for her, even if it is short and simple.  A prayer like, “Lord, please heal our land, Amen.”  Thanks!    

Awesome!  I was one of the lucky ones who had a ticket to the luncheon on Friday due to a sponsor who filled a table.  Both rooms were filled to capacity.  I saw a van outside marked Cambridge Court from Great Falls and as I looked around, I realized that many women were not from Fort Benton.  I had talked to several Fort Benton women who said that by the time they called for a reservation, there were no tickets available.

The luncheon meal was food that would have been served when the hotel was opened.  After we had our Pumpkin Soup, the Fashion Show began with models showing clothes from the 90’s, 80’s, and 70’s.  After our salad, the models showed clothes from the 60’s and 50’s as they went from room to room.  After dessert, the best of show were clothes from the 30’s, 20’s, and back to 1882.  Many were wedding dresses and actually worn by grandmothers of women who live in Fort Benton.  Many of the clothes came from private collections and some were from the Ag Museum.  A dress from 1882, loaned by the Ag Museum, was one worn the evening of the grand opening of the Grand Union Hotel.  Historic!

There was a group of women from Big Sandy who were also dressed in clothing worn as if they were on the Titanic.  They were very excited to be included in the festivities and to put together their costumes.  They were adorable.  They were really “into it.”

We all sat there in awe of what we were seeing.  We would never see another fashion show like the one we had just witnessed.  In addition, the models were fabulous.  Most of us were thinking that our figures were like theirs B.M.  (That is “before motherhood.”)  Most of us have bosomed out a bit and will never wear a size 6, or 8, or even a 10 ever again.  It was just enjoyable however, being in the Grand Union, being waited on and enjoying a special afternoon with special friends.

My dear friend, Walleyne Flanagan, reported in her story about the Shonkin Hall fundraiser that the Morgers were the big spenders (perhaps she included Randy’s purchases.).  I would like to set the story a little straighter by saying that my name is Muncie Morger and I approve this message.  First, you did not have to be a big spender at the Auction because most of the items went for a dollar.  I bid and was the highest bidder on three items and Wally was highest bidder on one item.  We spent the enormous amount of $13.00.  Our items were all small ones except for Wally’s clothes rack, which now resides in the garage, as it was too large to fit in the house.

Ms. Flanagan, on the other hand, purchased large items and I am sure that she was just as big a spender as we were.  In observing Ms. Flanagan at the auction, I would venture to say that she is an “auction addict.”  I have seen her around town since that day and warned her that I would be defending our family’s name in this issue of the River Press.  I just hope that Cindy Lenington does not get a hold of this information because she always accuses me of being the only one who votes for the White Elephant Sale at the Friends of the Library Christmas meeting.  I get enough grief from her.

Well Folks, I know you must realize that this is all in jest and we all had a great time in Shonkin.  I have given away everything that I brought home except the clothes rack.  No one wants that monstrosity.  It will be at the next Friends of the Library Christmas White Elephant Sale.  I invite you all to be there for the time of your life as far as White Elephants go. They say that you should always be laughing for a longer life.  Well, you will spend a special laughing session at that meeting.  See you there in December.

Again today (Sunday) we have lost a most beautiful woman from our lives.  We have to believe that Diane Lehman is in a better place.  I have missed her, as you must have too, as the Cheerleader’s coach.  She never missed a game and her lifestyle of discipline was passed on to her girls.  All of our loving thoughts go out to you Ed and know that we will never forget her


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

View From The Bridge 10-31-12

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
by Muncie

If you did not attend the Chouteau County Performing Arts evening last Wednesday, an enchanted evening is what you missed.  What a professional performer, what a gentleman and a scholar, and musical genius is pianist Mike Strickland.  The whole evening was filled with beautiful music, both well known and his own very enchanting melodies.  We did not want the concert to end.  My favorite piece of the whole evening was Clair de lune by Debussy. Mike played it because that was his mother’s name and one of his favorites...  What a wonderful tribute it was to his mother.

I would like to adopt Mike.  I told his lovely wife that I wanted to live next door to them.  Why?  So I could listen to him practice, of course, because it was so relaxing just to have the music flowing over you.  I watched a movie once that the main character was seeing a shrink who told him to listen to Braham’s to relax.  

When I was about 8 or 10 years old, there was a boy, who lived down the street, who was an excellent piano student.  I would sit on his front steps and listen to him practice.  I barely can remember what he looked like but I still remember his music. 

The other enchantment of the evening was the honoring of our precious music teacher for 65 years in Fort Benton, Doris Rowe.  She blushed at every compliment said about her and her long career in music.  She and Mike played Nola as a duet and the song that everyone knows how to play, Chopsticks. We all love you Doris and you are one of Fort Benton’s treasures.

This week many of Fort Benton’s old-timers lost a dear friend.  Mary Ann Hampton is gone from us physically but not from our hearts.  She was such a blessing to our community.  For those of you who knew her gentleness, we shall never forget.  For those of you who did not know her, but only heard about her, it was truly a loss for you.  Women like Mary Ann made a difference in lives of others.  We will miss you Mary Ann and guide us from that far away place you are in called Heaven.

Can you even imagine what Fort Benton looked like 130 years ago?  I have seen pictures of the hotel at different stages of its life however not so clearly as on Backroads of Montana last Saturday night.  Early pictures show chimneys above every room releasing smoke from the fireplaces.  I wonder whose job it was to build fires and keeping them fed with wood.  Were they stoked every evening to keep the room warm all night?  The cooks must have prepared meals on wood stoves.  That is an art in itself.  Did the bedding get changed every night and how did they handle laundry?  Was it a “gathering place,” as it is now?  Perhaps someday in the distant future, we will be able to go back in time.  I am very sure though, that I would want to come back as quickly as possible.  I am too used to my modern conveniences.  How about you?  I am also convinced that it was much harder on women than men way back then.  Let all women now take a moment of silence that we are living today.

If you have never attended a Poker Tournament, do drop by the Grand Union on Friday evening to see how it progresses.  It begins with 40 men and women and they are eliminated one by one until the final table of eight.  It really gets exciting then but about this time, it is after midnight.  We have not reached home until about 2:00 a.m. because we stick it out to the very end.  You can watch poker tournaments on TV but there is nothing like actually being there.  Come on over and sit with me to the excitement of the final card being played.

I am still asking for a sea of red on Fridays.  Now that it requires a coat when you go outside, it is difficult to see if people have red on.  At the “What Women Want Show” a couple of weeks ago, my daughter bought me a pin that said, “Support Our Troops.”  It was attached to a card that was titled Red Friday.  I am going to pass on one paragraph each week and perhaps it will help to make you realize how important it is to support our troops.

Americans who supported our troops used to be called the “silent majority.”  We are no longer silent, and are voicing our love for country and home in record-breaking numbers.  We are not organized, boisterous, or overbearing.  Many Americans, like you, all our friends, and me simply want to recognize that the vast majority of America supports our troops.

Please Folks, try to attend this meeting that will impact Fort Benton.  On Thursday, November 8th at 7:00 p.m. at the Golden Age Senior Center a meeting will be about possible recycling with the United States Department of the Interior and the Missouri Breaks Interpretive Center. The core committee working on this project have been to most businesses and organizations, however will return sometime in the next few days with posters.  They will urge you to come to the meeting or to send a representative.  We want your imput and even the smallest suggestion is helpful.  The only dumb question is the one that is not asked.  Put it on your calendar right now and just be there.

It is that time of year again. I have one clock that I do not change.  It is too heavy and I have to take it to the World of Time to have it changed.  I have not wanted to do that for several years and so I am just going to have to remember that it is an hour ahead.  However, it is better to be too early for an appointment than too late.  It is just a matter of a little concentration that I do not have much of these days.  Whatever!  I wish you a fun Halloween, a thankful Thanksgiving, and lots of luck with your Christmas shopping.  Remember to shop local.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

‘VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

My happy news this week is that the plaque that was lost has now been found.  If you have been following the View the last couple of weeks, you know that a plaque was missing from one of the tables.  I had received an e-mail from someone about the loose and flapping plaque but did not follow up.  I also could not remember who e-mailed me.   I did discover who it was, my friend Joan Albers, who gave me a few clues.  She said that it was that very windy day Fort Benton had endured and that it may have blown off.  I realized that it could very well have happened because the plaques I ordered about halfway through the project were from a different company.  They were much lighter material.  I began checking the area over the Levee bank but to no avail on my part.

Last Friday late afternoon, I received a phone call from the Riverview Greenhouse.  It was Corrine who is “My Heroine of the Year,” and is employed as one of the “flower and plant arranging specialists.”  She said, “Your plaque is here at the Greenhouse.”  I had her repeat it because I could not believe it.  After reading my plea about a someone with boots on to check the Levee, she walked over and peered over the bank.  There was the plaque face up in good condition.  I cannot believe that I did not see it.  Corrine tried to comfort me by saying that she thought it was covered with leaves and that they had blown off.  O.K.  I will accept that.  The plaque had just one corner with a chip broken off.  She is now holding it at the Greenhouse for me to pick up.  Please tell Corrine thank you the next time you shop at Riverview because it made me so happy.

Last Friday was the greatest time we have ever had at Pie Day and was probably the best attended one in its history. There were 11 pies, not two alike (except two Sour Cream Raisin,) and just a few pieces were left.   There was a Pumpkin, Banana Cream, Apple, Lemon Meringue, Sour Cream Raisin, Cherry, Key Lime, Raspberry Rhubarb and one other that I could not remember.  Doesn’t that just make you sorry if you were not there.  As I said last month, the Raspberry Rhubarb was my favorite and I appreciate that Idela, who baked it last month, baked another this month.

More news about Pie Day is that in November there will be NO PIE DAY.  It is too close to Thanksgiving and because of Plan B, they decided not to have it at the end of the month.  You ask, what is Plan B? In cooperation with the Grand Union Celebration of 130 years, the Senior Center will be having pie, coffee and baked goods on November 3rd at 2:00 p.m. at the Golden Age Senior Center.  This event is partnering with the General Federation of Woman’s Clubs Fort Benton.  They do not have any decade planned but will either wear or decorate with hats from the past.  I vote for them wearing the hats and perhaps my one vote will sway the way they go.  It should be an interesting get-a-way on Saturday afternoon and to make it a success requires your attendance.

At the meeting Monday morning at the L & R Sandwich Shoppe, there was a core group to plan the next move in the direction of a recycling program in Fort Benton.  I also received phone calls from two organizations saying they were very interested but could not attend at this time.  The organizations are the roots of our community and will be welcomed at our next meeting.  This Monday morning meeting was a brainstorming session with ideas contributed from those women who attended the Women’s Club Conservation meeting on October 11th.  It never ceases to amaze me what meetings such as this one can bring to the table.  GO RECYCLERS!

There will be a meeting at the Golden Age Center on November 8th at 7:00 p.m.  Sandra Boggs from the Department of Environmental Quality will lead a discussion on creating a permanent recycling solution in Fort Benton.  She will discuss economics and models from other towns in Montana.  There will then be a round table discussion about attendee’s thoughts and ideas as to what they think could be done with recycling personal and business.  Please read more details in another article about this meeting.  Please attend and bring your friends and neighbors.  It is vital that Fort Benton begins a workable recycling program.  Every bit of information that you give to this meeting is important   See you there...

 It is time again for the Fall Cleanup.  I have been waiting since last spring because I was not able at the time to participate.  This is the opportune time to be rid of “want-to-be but cannot-be anything” around your home, garage, and shed.  Honestly, ask yourself if you really need to keep that rusty can, or that pile of junk that you have no idea what it is.  You hardly notice it because you see it every day but others view it as not necessary to keep for use someday.  Please help to make Fort Benton a tidier and cleaner town than Philipsburg.  There is something to be envied about that town and sometimes I wish the volunteers from the Visitors Center had never gone there to visit.  Most of us keep comparing their town to ours.  I know, for a fact, that Fort Benton is a more beautiful town but their town is cleaner.
Please make the coming weekend, (October 26th, 27th, and 28th a time to cleanup, fix up and enjoy.  If you are busy or away, then take advantage the following weekend, November 2nd, 3rd, and 4th.  Appearance is everything.

Many kudos and congratulations to the volunteers who worked on and completed the Naval Monument.  It looks very impressive and one day last summer I talked with a family who had come to Fort Benton from Kalispell just to see the monument.  I hope that there is some sort of ceremony, (perhaps Veterans Day,) to celebrate the completion.  It adds feelings of nostalgia to anyone who spends time reading all the plaques.  How many of us really realize what those men and women who fought in WWII, Vietnam, Desert Storm, and Afghanistan went through?  The least we can do is support them.  The most we can do is remember, pray for them, keep them in our daily thoughts, and WEAR RED ON FRIDAYS.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

View From The Bridge 10/17/12

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

Recycling is near and dear to my heart as it is a cleanup project.  We are drowning ourselves in garbage and the ocean is full of plastic bottles.  Aluminum cans are recyclable; however, they are in the landfills by the billions.  Until this year, I was Conservation Chairman for the General Federation of Woman’s Clubs and have for years tried to instrument a program.  Councilwoman Barb Thomas collaborated with me but to no avail.  Recycling in Fort Benton was out because it would cost more to haul it out of here than it was worth.

At the Woman’s Club meeting last week, the different committees held their own meetings after the main meeting.  There is a possibility that a grant would be available to implement a program by partnering with other organizations.  I do not have information to pass along at this time, but what I am doing is asking if any readers are interested to get involved with this project, to call either Karen Giles, at 622-3834 or myself at 622-3217 (after 2:00 p.m.)  We have a meeting scheduled for next Monday the 22nd at 11:00 a.m.  We would like to see you there.

Continuous probing yielded information as to the person who e-mailed me about the loose plaque.  It was my dear friend, Joan Albers, and I learned a valuable lesson.  I should have immediately checked out the situation.  Joan said in the e-mail that the plaque was, “Flapping in the wind on the table.”  She said it was the day of the big wind and that the plaque may have blown off.  When I met Joan on the street, I was on my way to an appointment in the Lewis and Clark Memorial Statue area.  Afterward, I walked across Front Steet and examined the levee bank.  The area is overgrown and impossible for me to get into. 
What I am asking is for some brave someone, who owns a pair of heavy boots, to get into the area to see if the plaque can be found.  Please do not do it alone.  I realize it is a big maybe; however, I cannot bypass the chance that it may be there.

My “Plan B idea,” is still that someone found it and did not know what to do with it.  Please keep “talking it up,” and it may show up.  I just cannot believe that the plaque was discarded as a piece of trash. It was too beautiful and actually an historic piece of information.  That is what Fort Benton is all about.

Pie Days are rolling around very quickly.  Come on down to downtown Fort Benton on Friday at 2:00 and enjoy homemade pie and lively conversation at the Golden Age Senior Center.  I am sure that you all will enjoy hearing about Medicare Supplements that override all political conversations as we only have a short period to decide which plan to choose.  For all of you youngsters, someday you will say, “I wish I had paid more attention when the seniors talked Medicare.”

At the Friends of the Library last week, the quietest member of the organization entertained us and it was quite a treat.  Our own Kathy Nelson, Controller of The River Press, (I am giving you a new title Kathy,) was the speaker.  She talked about, “I’ve Read Everywhere.”  The basic theme was about reading aloud and its many advantages.  We were riveted to her every word, however the best was yet to come. Kathy is a former teacher and you certainly could tell by her presentation.

To the melody of Johnny Cash’s song, “I’ve Been Everywhere Man,” she put together words to tell where she had read.  If you are familiar with the song, you know that the “I’ve Been Everywhere Man,” has the names of towns sung very quickly.  Kathy instead incorporated the places here she has read.  The best part was that she sang it.  She not only has a great voice but must have put in hours of practice to sing it so quickly.  I will only mention a few places as you will probably never hear the whole thing because she does not ever want to do it again.  It must have taken her hours to practice singing her words as fast as she could. The Singing Sons of Beaches could not have done it faster.  They do the same thing with names of cities and towns in Montana.  Sooooooooo, here we go.

She reads on library stairs, front room chair, and bus stops.  She reads street signs, thrillers, magazines, romances, tabloids, and even books on conservation.  Each of those words rhymed with other words to make the whole thing very humorous.  Now Kathy warned me if I put this in the View, she would never forgive me.  I am taking the chance because if she gets enough requests, she may relent.  Please!
It was one of our best Friends of the Library meetings and even today (Sunday the 14th,) I cannot get the tune out of my head.  I am humming it all day long.  You are a treasure Kathy.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

I did not hear from anyone this past week about the missing plaque on a memorial table.  As of now, it will have to be reordered and reattached.  It will be in the spring because when the weather turns colder, it is difficult to attach a plaque to cold cement.  I am still in hopes that the plaque will show up and the someone who called me about the missing plaque has not yet had time to read the River Press.  It would also help if it would be mentioned at organizational meetings and gathering of residents (like coffee morning get-togethers.)  Spread the word around and maybe, just maybe, the request will get to the right person. 

Homecoming seemed to make the Volleyball game and the Football game more exciting.  The bleachers and stands were full and the singing of the school song seemed to be louder.  Again, the Lady Longhorns were at the football game and they show their enthusiasm.  The Cheerleaders know their craft well and the half time show was very entertaining.  I realize their talents require a lot of practice however; I would like to see the half time show at every game.  I want to mention what a great job the coaches are doing with all the teams.  I remember checking out and writing about the hours that the cheerleaders put into their routines.  They practice as many hours as the sports teams practice.  Go Lady Longhorns, Longhorns, and Longhorn Cheerleaders.  You all make our attendance at the games a lot of fun.

I received an e-mail forwarded from Linda Williams about a Workshop Summary of the opinions of the presenters of the influenza pandemic.  If you remember, in May of 2012, Fort Benton was selected as the rural area from all over the United States to participate. 

You can learn more about the differences between Workshop Summaries and Consensus Reports by going on the inter-net.  Go to httn://

I could not reach Linda today because of the Columbus Day holiday.  I would have asked her to arrange another Pandemic Explanation evening.  That would take care of all the explanations and questions.  A question for those of you who attended…would that be something you would like to see happen?  Let me know.

I had a busy e-mail week.  I also heard from Charlotte Caldwell, the author of Visions and Voices: Montana’s One-Room Schoolhouses. 
I have a story to tell you about the book that I found fascinating.  Ivan Doig, well-known author of Montana books, wrote the foreword in her book.  Charlotte did not know Mr. Doig but sent him a letter about her book and a chapter.  He wanted more, she sent him half the book, and he said, “YES!”  She said it was an honor for her.

At the annual Humanities Montana Conference the Festival of the Book, the first part of October, Charlotte met Ivan Doig for the first time.  He was a presenter that evening and Charlotte presented the next day.  It was quite a thrill for her to meet an author whose books she had read for years.  It was her “15 Minutes of Fame.”  By the way, the book is now available at the Chouteau County Free Library.

As I said earlier, I had an interesting week of e-mail.  I feel that I must pass this on because there is no way I can forward it to all readers of the River Press.  It shows the importance of supporting our Troops.

Your cell phone is in your pocket.  You’re looking at all the pretty girls.
You call your girlfriend and set a date for tonight.
You hug and kiss your girlfriend every day.
You roll your eyes as a baby cries.
You criticize your government, and say that war never solves anything.
You hear the jokes about the war, and make fun of men like him.
You see only what the media wants you to see
You are asked to do something by your parents.  You don’t.
You stay at home and watch TV.
You crawl into your soft bed, with down pillows, and get comfortable.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

View From The Bridge 10/3/12

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

About two months ago, someone e-mailed me that two of the memorial plaques on benches/tables were loose.  I forwarded the message to Myrna and Denny Allen, as they are the super chargers who put the plaques on the benches and tables.  When next I talked with Myrna, she said she did not get the message.  She gave me Denny’s e-mail address again, I forwarded it, and they did not receive the message.

Dashiel, (Randy’ son,) visited Fort Benton for two weeks on leave after spending almost a year in Afganistan, did some cleaning up on my computer.  I told him to clear everything I did not need and away went my sent messages.

I am in great hopes that the person who sent the message about the plaques will read the River Press and contact me again.  (I have the typical old-age problem of great long-term memory and worrisome short-term memory.)  I would like to know which plaques they were because last week I discovered that two of the plaques are missing.  Were they pried off or did they just become loose?  Last week I said, “Enough already” however, I did not think that more objects so precious to those that purchased them, would be vandalized.  Perhaps, thinking positively, someone found them and did not know quite what to do with them.  Perhaps, someone saw the plaques being pried off or knows their whereabouts.  If that is so, please return them to me.  It is very important that they be returned. 

I have not heard any word about the Old Bridge Historic Designation plaque about which I wrote last week.  I will wait a little while longer and then order a new one.  We have a plan that will assure us that the plaque will never be taken, removed, or lost again.

What an exciting week this will be with the Homecoming events planned.  “I Love a Parade,” is a great song and it runs through my head with each Fort Benton parade.  I enjoy the returning students examining all the graduation pictures in the high school hallways.  There is more excitement in the football stands as they are full-up.  The concessions are very busy and the 50/50 ticket is worthwhile to buy.  If I promise that an alumni will win, would you purchase twice as many tickets?  (Just a joke because then no one else will buy a ticket.)  It makes Fort Benton come alive as does Summer Celebration and the Chouteau County Fair.
So put on all your Fort Benton gear and enjoy this year’s Homecoming celebration.  See you out and about around town.  GO LONGHORNS.

Amazing!  None of the old timers can believe a September that did not have a frost or a snowfall.   But then, who can believe that September is over?  We would like it to go on forever but with one addition…rain.  Forecasters say that perhaps Tuesday or Wednesday will bring us cooler weather and rain.  Gosh, I sure hope they are right about the rain.  I’ve been practicing my “Rain Dance” but to no
avail.  Only proves the point that no-one listens to me.  If it does rain, I am going to go outside and just stand in it.  What fun!  I loved to do that very thing when I was a kid. 

I realize that some of you readers have had problems with squirrels.  I would like to hear about it.  In my yard last spring, I had two squirrels that gave us a lot of pleasure watching their antics while eating, scampering around the yard after each other, and climbing up onto the shed roof or Linda’s roof next door.

Not long afterward, there was only one squirrel and it came to visit us every day.  When we were in Great Falls for 17 days at the hospital and rehab, the squirrel was not fed.  We have only seen it once since. 

Randy and Wally worked in the compost bins a week or so ago putting leaves into the grinder from the leaf bin.  Randy came in afterward and said that he had good news and bad news.  I took the good news first that was they had gotten many leaves ground up.  The bad news was that they found one of the squirrels in the leave bin quite dead.  It was difficult to determine how it met its demise.  Perhaps that is why the other squirrel never returned. 

Last week I told you about an occupational therapist from Benefis West who comes to Fort Benton every year for dinner at the Grand Union on their wedding anniversary.  They were celebrating their 19th year together.  Today, (Sunday, I met another couple on the Levee Walking Trail who were celebrating their 34th anniversary at the Grand Union.  They were from Denton and it was not their first visit to our town.  Their other visits were for other reasons however, they said they would be returning every year for their anniversary.  After I did my story about Fort Benton’s attractions, they said that they would return to visit the Museums, the Village, the Old Fort, and the Upper Missouri River Breaks Interpretive Center.

With the fall season upon us, it is a good time to cleanup the plots of dead flowers, trimming bushes, and pulling weeds.  Now that I am walking every day, I am taking notice of the looks of the Levee Trail.  My plot probably needs the most work.  The rocks that were placed under the new bridge are washing down.  I do not know where the water is coming from.  This summer just passed me up as far as outside chores.  To work outside was much too hot.  I expect the next few weeks will produce more energetic working days.  By the way, there are still plots to be adopted.  Please consider it seriously.  Our Levee Trail is one of Fort Benton’s most attractive assets. 


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

View From The Bridge 9/26/12

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

The volunteers at the Visitors Information Center enjoyed a wonderful evening on The Old Bridge last Thursday.  The food and beverages tasted exceptionally good eating on the Old Bridge on the loveliest last evening of summer. There were many “hellos and I haven’t seen you for a long time” greetings.  Spouses were invited and so Wally attended with me. We enjoyed the great view with definite signs of fall across the Missouri.  There was beautiful music being supplied by Jamie and her husband, Shaun.  They were playing Shendoah when we arrived and that has been my favorite song long before I moved to Montana.

Jamie’s sister, Jessica was sitting on the planks nearby baby-sitting Jamie’s baby girl Magdalena.  The funniest thing happened that would never happen again, no matter how you tried.  Magdalena was playing with two paper plates.  She dropped them and they went between a wide space between the planks and floated on down into the river.  We watched them float away while everyone enjoyed a good laugh.  It could never happen that way again as they say, “In a million years.”

The Baumgardner Girls are very musically talented.  Jessica plays the guitar as well as the violin and she played, that was to me, a very complicated piece.  We remember so well when the four little sisters played their violins at the Farmers Markets.  We remember when Amanda opened the Wake Cup Coffee Shoppe.  We remember Jamie’s wedding reception at the Fair Grounds.  When did those darling little girls grow up to be the beautiful women they are today?  What I love most is that they were able to stay in Fort Benton and make our town a better place to live in.

A ribbon cutting ceremony took place and because Ruth Carlstrom, who was responsible for getting the grant for the work involved, was not present, Keith (President of the Chamber of Commerce) chose me to cut the ribbon.  I asked, “Why me?”  He said, “Because I said so.”  Believe me; I really appreciated the honor because of my love for that Old Bridge.  I wish it could talk.  Can you even imagine the stories it could tell?

We Volunteers would like you readers know that since Ruth retired, a very brave Glenda Quick took over the Coordinator job with the help of Joan Schafer.  I do not know if she had any problems, she never said, however, from my two hours a week, everything went like clockwork. (Actually, I could not have done it with Dusty.  She had to call me every week to remind me that it was Tuesday and my time to put in my two hours.)  At the ceremony, Glenda gave us interesting background for the Log that each volunteer writes in during his or her shift.  She said that many volunteers went out of their way, and over and above to help to keep things running smoothly.  For instance, one volunteer said that the person following her shift did not show up.  She said that she would return to put the flags away at closing time.  That is truly over and above.

After visiting with the Commissioners last week, I learned from a Jim O’Hara phone call, that the Old Bridge did have a plaque.  I talked to Jack Lepley this morning, (Monday,) as he was attending the Historic Conference last week.  Jack said that there was a plaque and that it was stolen.  Someone unscrewed the plaque and removed it to no one knows where.  It you have any information about the plaque or its’ whereabouts, please call the Police Department. 

I am now talking to the Department of Transportation, who has all the records, but would like the original returned rather than order a new one.  Please tell me why anyone would want to steal?  It is just beyond my comprehension to take something that does not belong to them, that someone paid for, was on someone’s’ private property, or public property.  It is similar to the road signs being shot at.  Did you see how much money it costs to replace them?  Those replacements all come out of taxpayer money.  Perhaps when these people have to pay taxes, they will realize the wrongness of their actions.  Enough already!

We had to leave the Bridge party early to make out way over to the football field for the game between Simms and Fort Benton.  Another win make the evening a perfect one.  Go Longhorns.  To make the evening more special was the presence of the Lady Longhorns.  The singing of the school song was definitely loud and clear with their help.  Go Lady Longhorns.

After the football game, we drove over to River Street to see the FB lit up.  I was surprised that there was not as much traffic as I thought there would be.  It was Thursday evening and I surmised that most of the residents when out on Wednesday evening after the River Press hit the stands or was picked up at the post office.  I would like to know a few opinions so give me a call after you have looked the lights over.  I am in the book.

I would encourage you to read Walleyne’s story again in last week’s River Press about the FB solar lights.  It was filled with valuable information about who, what, when, and why of the stolen lights replaced, the F lit up, those behind the purchase, those who put them up, and the cleanup of the area.  Can you believe two truckloads of trash hauled away?  I am so happy that there are others in Fort Benton who are in a clean-up mode.  I would like to tell all involved that your work is much appreciated.  It is truly community spirit.

We were there early and got first pick of pies.  I had Raspberry/Rhubarb, which was “out of this world,” or “to die for.”  Dee Lohse’s Mom is visiting from Utah and Dee brought her to Pie Day.  Dee said that she had marked it on her calendar.  I see that Pie Day is also reported on the River Press calendar. 

Well, it is back to the Joel Overholser Research Center on Tuesday for B.J. Conn McIntyre and me after having to take the summer months off.  I was at the Bluffs the other day for the Foot Clinic and stopped by the check on the corrections book.  B.J. and I have a lot of correcting to do and are happy to do it.  We appreciate that you stopped by to check out the display and to take the time to make us aware of the corrections.

It is now Sunday late evening and we had a nice surprise this afternoon.  When Wally was in rehab at Benefis, we met an Occupational Therapist.  She knew that we were from Fort Benton, said she had been on a river trip on the Missouri between Fort Benton and Loma, and found an unusual rock at one of the sites.  She took pictures of it but had no way of knowing what it was.  It looked very much like a petrified turtle.  She brought the pictures for us to see what we thought about the rock.

She and her husband come to Fort Benton to celebrate their wedding anniversary at the Grand Union every year.  They stopped in to visit us for a few minutes to see our artifact collection and the rocks we have collected over the years.  She said that those few minutes taught her what she would be looking for on future rock hounding trips.  That is my second encounter this summer with persons who enjoy that hobby.  As she said, it does not cost you any money, only pleasurable time.

GOD BLESS AMERICA AND OUR TROOPS.  ARE YOU WEARING RED ON FRIDAYS?  I would like to see a “sea of red” all over town on Fridays.  Remember, the whole idea is to support our Troops.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

View From The Bridge 9/15/12

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

Well at last, The Old Bridge side railings painting project has been completed.  It now looks like an old bridge should look minus the yellow paint, the rust, and the not-so-well done maintenance look.  It may pose a problem for all those artists and photographers who have done their thing involving The Old Bridge.  They may have to return and do it over again in black. Perhaps painters can just repaint their work but it is not possible for photographs.   

The first contact of the F.B.I. (Fort Benton Idealists,) about The Old Bridge was with the Montana Historical Society Preservation Office in Helena.  It was with Mark Baumter, PhD and he is the State Historic Preservation Officer.  He introduced us to Pete Brown who is the Historic Architecture Specialist.  Pete was a wealth of information about our Old Bridge.  We all know that the Bridge was build in 1888 originally, however did you know it was the oldest and first iron bridge across the Missouri in Montana.  I did not know that fact. 

Pete said that since the replacement, (the original first idea concerning the railings,) of the Old Bridge wood railings, could not meet current codes.  He continued that replacement could be done in a way that would be in character with the bridge.  After getting bids from several local contractors, the F.B.I. decided that it was not financially ready to replace the rails at that time.
The painting of the side rails came as a band-aid solution to bring the Old Bridge more into character.  Black paint was suggested, (by the Historic Society,) to keep in character of the bridge color.  At no time was it a question of painting the bridge itself.  That question had been asked of one of the B.F.I. members.

Other, what I consider good news, is documentation that the Montana Historical Society Historic Preservation Office, in spring of 2011, that they are in the process of nominating all the bridges to the National Register of Historic Places.  This was another questions brought up to a member of the F.B.I.  Our County Commissioners may be considering whether to approve or disapprove the nomination of the Old Bridge.  I will, as soon as possible, check in at a Commissioners meeting and see if anything has be done in that direction in the last year and a half.  I will keep you posted.

An anonymous person, (who said I had to die if I told,) purchased 100 solar lights and placed them around the B on the hillside several months ago.  I mentioned it in the View but most residents I spoke with about the FB lights had never seen them.
Mr. Anonymous recently, (in the last two weeks,) noticed that the bottom half of the B no longer was lit.  No, it could not be true.  Yes, it was.  Someone had stolen the lights.  Why would anyone do a thing like that?  I never will understand people who steal or destroy other peoples property.  If anyone knows any details of the stolen solar lights, please notify the Police Department.  There is a reward. 

And now, the rest of the story.  The Fort Benton High School students not only replaced the bottom of the B and they also completed the F too.  It really looks spectacular.  I am calling it, “The 9th Wonder of Fort Benton.”  Why the 9th?  Fort Benton has so many great wonders within our city and 9 is one of my lucky numbers.
Now I know that you are all going to take a ride after dark to see this wonder.  I have arranged for Police Traffic Control for the crowded Highwood Rd.  There will also be a parking area and there will be a $3.00 parking donation for three nights.  The donation will go to the High School students who purchased the solar lights. I realize that someone had complained at the Chouteau County Fair gate, that he/she had paid a $6.00 fee when they paid their car registration, to park on state land.  I will check tomorrow to see if that area is state land and if it is then, forget about the parking donation. You could then park there for three nights free.  It that adeal or what?  (I DO HOPE THAT YOU READERS REALIZE THIS IS A JOKE.)

It is now Monday afternoon and I just returned from a meeting with the Commissioners.  The FB is on private property and you will not be able to park to view the FB.  However, with traffic control, you can drive slowly, go to the top of the hill, turn around and return to Fort Benton having a second look.  Another option is to drive on River Street although you will not be able to park there.  Just drive slow and when you get to the end of the street and turn around, let someone else drive so you can get a better view.  Let me know what you think.
P.S.  I think Tim will have to take another picture of both the F and B lit up.  He had a picture in the August 15th edition of The River Press of the B only. 

Pie Day is Friday the 21st at 2:00 p.m.  Take a break from your chore obligations, your business obligations, and enjoy a homemade piece of the best pies in Fort Benton.  It not only satisfies your sweet tooth but it is a fund raiser for the Golden Age Senior Center.  I have nothing but admirations for those ambitious women who get up early on Friday morning to bake.  They did not bake during the hot summer months, (and wasn’t it hot,) so this is a real treat coming up.\ for this fall season.  Invite just one other person to come with you so you not only enjoy pie but conversation with each other.  You may not have seen much of your friends and neighbors during the summer because of the heat, so let us see you on Friday.

The first of this seasons C.C.P.A. (Chouteau County Performing Arts,) entertainment evenings will be on Wednesday the 26th of September.  I am reminding you this week because you may not pick up the 26th edition of the River Press in time for you to read about the pe4formance.  Put it on your calendar now and we will see you there.

The members of The Friends of the Library enjoyed a real treat last Wednesday when Kareen Swensgard Bratt was our guest and speaker.  She grew up in Fort Benton and wrote a book about growing up on a wheat farm in Chouteau County.  Her book, “My Home’s in Montana,” was her subject, of course, and it was a most enjoyable hour listening to her talk about her bringing up.  Everyone at the meeting (there was quite a crowd,) enjoyed her book and having her tell us some background stories.  She was most informative about self-publishing. 

That should interest several people I know who have written books and would like to publish them.  You can get in touch with Kareen about her book by contacting me.      If you are a farm family, it is a “must read” book.  It will bring back many memories for you too. This meeting was another good reason to join “Friends of the Library.”  As Cindy always says, “Be a friend and bring a friend to Friends of the Library.

Friday is our last day of summer.  Where did it disappear?  Saturday will be the first day of fall and it is certainly in evidence.  The trees across the Missouri are turning yellow and the smell of fall is in the air, (that is when you cannot smell smoke.)  On my way to Helena last Saturday, there were also many trees that were half yellow and half green.  I had to turn the furnace on two morning this past week because the house temperature was at 50 degrees.  I really do not mind what Mother Nature is handing out these days but I do mind the days getting shorter.  Several people have voiced that complaint to me.  I will just have to look forward to 3 months from now when the days get longer again.  In the meanwhile just enjoy every minute of every day.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

View From The Bridge 9/12/12

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

I found this very humorous written piece in my e-mail.  Hope that you enjoy it as much as I did.  “I really don’t have to pay a parking donation at the Chouteau County Fair because:
1.  I’m a 4-H’er.
2.  I’m a senior citizen.
3.  I’m a minor.
4.  I live in Chouteau County.
5.  I don’t live in Chouteau County.
6.  I’m just dropping of my entries.
7.  I’m just picking up my entries.
8.  I’m just checking on my entries.
9.  I’m just feeding my animals.
10.  I’m going to the 4-H auction.
11.  I’m not sure I am going to stay.
12.  I only want to use the restroom.
13.  I just came over to get some fry bread.
14.  I’m only going to be here a couple of hours.
15.  I’m meeting somebody.
16.  I’m only looking around.
17.  I’m with the car in front of me.
18.  I’m a (pick one) vendor/contestant/participant/casual observer.
19.  I’m helping (one of the preceding categories.)
20.  I’ve already bought a (pick one) pig wrestling /rodeo/demo derby ticket.
21.  I’m going to buy (pick one) pig wrestling/rodeo/demo derby ticket.
22.  I came in (pick one) Thursday/earlier today/last year for free.
23.  I’m dropping off my (pick one) son/daughter/wife/husband/friend/other and I’ll be right     back out.
24.  This isn’t actually my car.
25.  I’m just bringing it in for (pick one) a business, organization/relative or friend.
26.  I already paid $6.00 (in car registration) to come on state lands.
27.  I’m not going to the fair; I’m going down to the river to fish.

Then there were the following that gave us pause:
28.  I’m camping at the campground.  (Given the voluminous number of these, someone  should consider opening up a KOA in Fort Benton.)
29. I paid last year.  (No, you didn’t.)
30. I work here.  (He looked like Ed Romano, so we let him in.)
31. Conn Forder said to tell you that I get in free.  (Judging from these, Conn knows a huge number of people.)
32. I’m with the Sheriff’s Department.  (Judging from his natty brown uniform, official-looking Ford F-150, badge, and side arm, he probably was, so we waved him through.)
33. I’m related to you.  (This was the only excuse that cut absolutely no mustard.  “Pay up relative.”

Finally, Roger Axtman actually backed his pickup through the rear gate, attempting to convince the attendant he was exiting in reverse.  (In the interest of full disclosure, Roger had a parking stub and was just spoofin’ us.)

Actually, visitors to the Fair were very generous at the gates.  The volunteers explained that the monies collected were a donation to the local Lions Club.  The Club would be giving scholarship to Chouteau County students.  There were many $5.00, $10.00, and $20.00 donations.  A great outcome for everyone involved.

Last Saturday, on our way to Butte for a football game, we saw a black bear running (full speed,) along the I-15 fence line.  We spotted it between Ulm and Cascade.  It was quite a sight and actually, I only saw a black blur because he was running so fast.  Years ago, on a trip to Glacier, we spotted two grizzles on a hillside quite a distance from the road.  We have seen many species of bears on TV shows but you do not realize how huge they are up until you have seen them up close and personal.  We wonder if they are really taking over the prairie again.  Have any of you readers had the experience of seeing a bear up close.  We do remember the ones that were near Fort Benton several years ago.  Have there been other experiences for any of you?  We would like to hear about it.

Are you waiting for some rain before you start seeding?  Perhaps this second week in September will bring some moisture.  We are hoping that is so for you.  However, we just have to wait and see.  I was told that by this time of year, Montana had already experienced a frost.  I remember in 1988, when my daughter called me in Michigan to tell me that it was snowing in Great Falls in the middle of August.  Mother Nature certainly has a vast variety of weather patterns.  We are, as I have said before, wondering what this winter will bring us.  Will it be like last year or will it be like the year before?

I had one of the special people in Fort Benton tell me last week that she did notice the white bulbs on the entrance to The Old Bridge.  She said she had never liked the colored lights either.  I appreciate her noticing

I enjoy those little tid-bits of long ago very much.  Many of the names are so familiar.  The old Chouteau County Fair pages are to be treasured.  Is enjoyment of those articles just a matter of loving history?  Our living in the most historic city in Montana is such a plus for us.  You residents still have two and a half weeks left to visit the Museums, Village, and the Old Fort.  Take advantage of it.

What a perfect evening for a football game last Friday was.  To make it more perfect was the win.  GO LONGHORNS but remember that we love you no matter what.