Tuesday, July 3, 2012

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

Several weeks ago, Maggie showed up at the Joel Overholser Research Center.  The Center’s fame is beginning to be spread far and wide although we have found that most of the people in Chouteau County do not know of its existence.

Maggie is completing a book on “Steamboats on the Missouri,” of which she was only supposed to edit.  Her friend, Jim Pyle, had done a great deal of research and writing, but passed away in 2006.  She decided that she would complete the book and came to the “First Best Place,” on the Missouri to do more research.

I was called to get right over to the Center to chat with Maggie.  I asked if she had arrived on the airlines but she said that she had driven from St. Joseph, Missouri.  I was amazed and said, “You drove by yourself?”  I drove across the country from the Detroit area to California, to New Mexico and back home in seven (7) weeks in 1985. However, that was twenty-seven (27) years ago.  Maggie is younger than I am but still.  She replied that she had driven a truck for 30 years and the drive from St. Joseph was just a short haul.

She was delightful to chat with as the conversation evolved into a broad view of why she is finishing the book and her research.  She would like to have stayed longer but because of Summer Celebration, there was no place for her to stay.  As it turned out, she actually had to leave on Thursday morning quickly because her new baby grandson was to be operated on for an obstruction.  She got back to Missouri in two days and then other 100 or so miles to where the baby was.  (Just a note…the little one is doing fine and recuperating.)

Maggie wants to return to Fort Benton as she wrote me on a recent e-mail, she only touched the tip of the information that the Research Center has.  Maggie also has a period costume, (perhaps some of you saw her walking around the Old Fort area,) and she portrays a captain’s wife.  It was the only woman that Maggie could find research on in the early days of steam boating.

If you history buffs would like to know about Maggie and her upcoming book, you can learn more on her web site.  It is www.moriversteamboats.com  Come back soon Maggie and we will arrange for you to do a “Steamboat Captain’s Wife,” story.  After all, what better place.

Sometime in the last few weeks, I acquired a photocopy of a notice that was to be spread by word of mouth, press, TV, and every way possible.  The message is, “On Fridays and every Friday until our troops come home, wear RED.”  Let our troops know that the once “silent” majority is on their side more than ever.  The first thing a soldier says when asked, “What can we do to make things better for you?”  They would answer that they need your support and your prayers.  Get the word out and lead with class and dignity, by example, and wear something RED every Friday.

Would the person or persons who gave me the flyer, please identify themselves?  This reminds me to ask if you have been to the Sunrise Bluffs yet to see the Memory Wall.  However, seeing the Wall should not be the only reason that you remember the Veterans…they should be on your mind all the time.

It also brings to mind that I have not heard from any families who have sons or daughters in the Service.  I believe that all readers would be interested to know who they are and where they are

It was such fun to read the River Press last week.  The photos were great, the stories (especially about the cleanup,) were very informative, and the stats on the contests were so interesting.

I know several people who read the Press on-line and said that it was a little like being here.  They would love to be in Fort Benton for Summer Celebration.

I have not talked much about the weather but I have to say that it was a great relief when the wind stopped blowing after five (5) days of it.  My real problem with it was that I had picked up all the small sticks and twigs around the yard in preparation for Summer Celebration and lo and behold, there are twice as many now.  I know they call the wind “Mariah,” however, I think it should be changed to “Marauder.” “Mariah” is too gentle a word for what it really was.  What do you think?

Here is a wish for a happy 4th of July.  If you are at a parade and the flag goes by, put your hand over your heard and thank God, you are living in the United States of America.  Sing out the National Anthem if it is played.  I know that I am a fanatic about it but I am tired of professional athletes who do not put their hand on their heart, chew gum/tobacco, spit on the ground, and act like it is no big deal to honor the flag.  They make big bucks in our country and the least they could do was return a little respect.  I am not picking on professional athletes in particular because I see it everywhere.  Watch the upcoming Olympics and see how many of them put their hands on their hearts.

Well, I said my piece and I would close off with one last piece of advice.  Teach your children to honor the flag and teach them the words to the National Anthem by example.  I am sure that Kiddos do not know the words so how can they sing.  It should be a requirement in kindergarten and then they could teach their parents.  It is always great to let them sing louder than you do.