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.