Tuesday, December 31, 2013

View From The Bridge 1/2/14

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

I wrote the same thing last year when the new one rolled in.  How long will it take me to write 2014 on my checks?  I can only assume that no one else has a problem with that since I do not hear about it in any conversations.  Well whatever!  Hope you all had wonderful holidays and that you now look forward to an adventurous time in 2014.  Does the New Year feel like a new beginning to you?  Please remember to enjoy every minute of every day.

This is a big year for us women.  There has been a lot of chatter about it being the 100th anniversary of our right to vote in Montana.  I cannot imagine why it took so long.  I cannot imagine what those women went through.  Can you imagine what it would be like today to not be able to vote?  It just would not happen although we still do battle for equality especially in wages.  I am probably getting close to a lot of hot water here and so I won’t go on any further with the subject.

The point of these paragraphs is a new project to be started and it involves writing chores.  I received an e-mail quite a few months ago concerning writing stories about famous and infamous women in Fort Benton history.  Several years ago a list was drawn up in our now defunct Writers Group.  Each of us was to choose a name and do research and write about the woman we had chosen.  Only one woman completed her story and it was about the Nun who started the St. Claire Hospital.  I had some help with my research but never completed the story.  Now is the time to get busy on that project.  I am not sure when they, (who is they?) want the stories completed but we are faced with a huge problem.

We have to have a coordinator to organize this project.  Is there a woman out there who is willing to take this on?  I know that you would get a great deal of help.  There is already a list available about the women to write about.  If you are interested, even to choose a name, please contact the Joel Overholser Research Center at 622-5316.

A little “play it forward,” information is that Summer Celebration will be all about women.  It should be very interesting to see what the organizers will come up with.

The big enjoyable event in my life is coming up the end of this month.  The Performing Arts Consortium will be held in Fort Benton.  I think you remember that we alternate with Great Falls every other year.  If you like to be entertained for a full day, this is the event for you.  Just plan the whole day the Saturday it is scheduled, to enjoy some of the best entertainment in Montana.  You can also critique the acts and make it known to the Chouteau County Performing Arts Board members.  You can have something to say about what acts are chosen.  You do not get to vote but you can give your opinion.  I know that the C.C.P.A. Board would appreciate your comments.  I am looking forward to this fun time during the dreariest time of the winter.

Pie Day at the Golden Age Senior Center will be back on the 3rd Friday of the month.  There was not a Pie Day in December because it was replaced by a Cookie Sale.  I bought 2# of the best Christmas cookies ever.  I still have some in my freezer if you want to stop by for tea, cookies and conversation you are most welcome.

The Trivia Game at the Grand Union Hotel will begin again.  Watch the River Press for the date.  I have heard from several people what a fun evening it is.  (I also heard that my name was mentioned a couple of weeks ago.  I believe the question was something like, “What is Muncie’s real name?”  The subject was about people’s nicknames.  Actually Folks, Muncie is my real legal name.  If you want to know that story, you will have to ask me.

All the organizational meetings will be listed in the River Press.  Jump in and offer help for these non-profit much needed organizations.  Helping them could be your “good deed” for the day.  Help because instead of a few doing a lot, a lot could get it done more quickly.  Get off your couch.  You need the exercise. 

This statement holds true for the Recycling Committee.  What a great job they have done this year.  I’m still doing one bag of trash a week and what a great feeling to know that I do not have to drag my recycling into Great Falls.  Watch your River Press for a change of collection places in the near future.  It may go back to the Dedman Foundation due to the bins being emptied there.  Again, thank you Recycling Committee for a job perfectly accomplished.  You certainly lit one little candle.

We are back to Entertainment after two weeks of Sports and Leisure.  Q.  How many movies were shot in Montana between 1897 and 2003?  Answer below.

GOD BLESS AMERICA, OUR TROOPS and WEAR RED ON FRIDAYS.  (I’m not getting very far with the Wear Red on Fridays Program.  I have come to realize that unless you have someone serving the United States of America, you are not much involved with supporting the Troops.  I know that you watch TV.  You have seen the Wounded Warrior program.  Do you know anyone personally that was wounded in a war?  Did you send a card or package to a soldier this Christmas?  Do you realize that there were thousands of men and women who did not get home for Christmas?  You are safe and sound because of them.  I hope this makes you feel a bit guilty.  Now I’ll be in hot water again but the only way to support in a small measure is to wear red on Fridays.  What is so hard?

A. 97.  (Did you ever hear my story about how the “Horse Whisperer” was made in Montana?  Ask me.)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

What challenges will 2014 bring?  Hopefully it will be solutions to not only our own problems but those of the country and the world.  A little bit of understanding and kindness would go a long way.  I used to write a long while ago, “Do a good deed a day.”  Let’s make it a New Year’s resolution.  Yes, it is difficult but if it makes one person smile, it is important.  Let’s give it a try.

It got past me last week to mention my favorite day.  The 22nd of December is a day to celebrate because from now on the days are getting longer.  We are in the dead of winter with its snow, ice, and low temperatures, so the thought of the sun being with us a little longer each day makes me happy.  I know that many of you feel the same because the subject comes up in conversion often.  Each morning it is enjoyable to see how many more minutes the day allows us.

I do realize that there are two more months of hard winter but thoughts of spring take over.  With time flying the way it is, I think we can handle whatever Mother Nature hands out.  Think Spring.

Thanksgiving week, Dottie Meehan was pulling into her driveway when she saw a robin on her Crabapple tree.  She believed her eyes when a second robin flew into the tree.  Then again on the coldest day of the year, she stepped onto her porch to retrieve her newspaper when, she heard a robin.  Sure enough, there it was in the Crabapple tree.  The tree is planted between the sidewalk and the street.  On December 19th Dottie saw four robins in the same tree.

The robins seem to be hanging around the 17th and 18th blocks of Franklin.  Beverly Grass, who lives a half block from Dottie, witnessed three robins on the ground enjoying bird seed cast off the feeders hanging on her front porch.  I also saw a single robin in my lilac tree recently in addition to a baby woodpecker that stayed in the lilac trees for several minutes.  I met John Cloepfil, who is a bird expert, and he said that he had not seen any robins.  Has anyone else out there seen any robins?  Let me know.

An article, I read recently, said that robins do stay in Montana during cold weather.  It seems they have adapted to the cold and like staying in our beautiful state.

What fun reading all those Christmas letters from the children.  Our River Press does such a great job not only with those letters but the Veterans supplement, all sports coverage, City Council, County Commissioners meetings, and on and on.  It is one of our small town treasurers.  Kudos to you River Press.

Have you been by the new location yet?  I know that they would be happy to see you.  Their “new digs,” are so much like a newspaper office should look like.  Do drop in and say hello.

Last week I chose a question about Makoshika State Park?  Several people asked me where the park is because they have never heard of it.  I checked my Montana map and found it is in a badlands area east of Glendive and consists of 8,834 acres.   (When I checked on the inter-net, it said that there were over 11,000 acres.)  There is a campground there and a dinosaur museum.  Sounds like a great place to check out if you are one of those persons who “Gets Lost in Montana.”

Today’s Q. “How many people visit Makoshika State Park every year?  A. Below.


A.  40,000 people visit the park every year.  (That is a whole lot of people.  I’d like to invite them to Fort Benton.)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

View From The Bridge 12/18/13

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

Today is my last chance to wish you the happiest Christmas ever.  Next Wednesday will be the big day.  I just got word from Tim, (Editor of River Press,) and next week’s issue will be on Thursday.  For those of you who will be traveling, take your time.  Plan ahead in the event that we have a snow storm.  For those of you who will be staying home, cuddle up on Christmas Eve and watch “It’s a Wonderful Life,” for the as many times as you are old.  (Well, it seems like that doesn’t it?  I have watched it so many times; I believe that I could do Donna Reed’s part.)  Merry Christmas to all.

I didn’t mention last week about the Veterans interviews at the High School Library.  For the third year, the 5th Graders, with support from a High School Senior, invited Veterans for interviews about their service.  I did take a count but have forgotten what it was.  I’ll guess about 10 to 15 Veterans. 

I invited the teachers and interviewers to take a field trip to the Sunrise Bluffs to see the Veterans Photo Project.  I think that would impress them more than the interviews. 

I also invited them to our home to see Wally’s Iwo Jima room.  He has many pieces of memorabilia and stories to go with them.  For instance, he has 1 of 100 pictures of the first flag raising taken by Lou Lowry, a Marine photographer.  Wally visited Quantico in 1984 and met Lou.  The result of that visit was a copy of the first flag raising photo.  It is a treasure.  There are many other stories about the Code Talkers, Indian flutes, many framed pictures/posters, and other items.   Please give us a call at 622-3217 before you come over.  You are most welcome.

Kudos go this week to an unknown writer from Fort Benton whose letter appeared in the “Letter to the Editor,” of the Great Falls Tribune last week.  Lo and behold, the letter was written by none other than our own Gladys Peres.  It was a greatly written letter about Fort Benton’s Gold Age Senior Center.  Gladys told me that she just had to write the letter in answer to an article the Tribune published about the Senior Center in Great Falls being the only one open 5 days a week.

Here is a copy of Gladys letter.  “Regarding a recent article on the Senior Center in Great Falls being the only one being open five days a week:  Senior Center Golden Age Center at Fort Benton is open seven days per week year round.  Plus, we have Meals on Wheels and have one evening meal once a month.  It’s only closed on National Holidays.

There’s card playing twice a month on Saturdays and one every third Sunday.  With crafts and exercise, it’s a busy place.  It’s a good place to warm up, visit, and have a cup of coffee. “
Gladys Peres
Fort Benton
I know if Gladys had mentioned Pie Day, we would have had crowds of people coming into town on the third Friday of every month.  (You tell me where you can get a homemade piece of pie and a cup of coffee (with free refills,) for $2.50 other than our Senior Center.)  Enjoy those Pie Days because there are perhaps only five more until those great pie bakers take off for the summer.

Be sure to thank Gladys the next time you see her.  It did a world of good for that letter to appear in the Great Falls Tribune.  We need all the good advertising we can get and it is free.

Each year for the holidays, the River and Plains invite the Board Members, the employees at the Museums, and the volunteers at the Joel Overholser Research Center to a Christmas dinner.  Last week’s dinner was so eye-opening.  I partially know what is going on at the Center as I volunteer there once a week. (I love my work there and call it my day off.)  However, I found that I just knew the tip of the iceberg as to what goes and what is being done at the Museums and the Fort.  I do not feel qualified to write about their accomplishments and I hope that someone toots their horn in the near future. 

I do know that special kudos was given to Mary Zanto, Sharalee Smith, and Sue Lepley.  Mary received hers for her selling ability when she works at the Museums.  Sharalee is a “behind the scenes person” who does the web site and Sue Lepley does all the financial work.  (I need her to help me balance my checkbook and I know she would.)  See below for a peek at Sharalee’s work. 

There were many more people recognized for their help but these three women are outstanding.    Please tell them that you are aware of all they do for their community.

Have you seen it?  What a treat you have in store when you visit http://fortbenton.com/. It is awesome, fabulous, outstanding, the greatest, and all other words to describe perfect.  I checked out every place I could go on the site and the photographs alone tell the story.  How could anyone who is looking at this site not want to come and visit Fort Benton? 

My young readers might like this one on Sports & Leisure.  Q.  Fossils of how many different species of dinosaurs have been found in Makoshika State Park?  A. See below.


A. 10, with the search continuing

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

View From The Bridge 12/11/13

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

  “My trip to Rome is not to be,
    The Saints lost the game you see.
    Everyone says, “There is always next year,”
    But since they bid these games, I fear,
    It may not be Rome again.

What a delightful, “Back to the Old-Fashioned Christmas,” program it was last Sunday afternoon.  This was the Chouteau County Performing Arts third Christmas Concert.  They get better and better each year.

And how about the audience.  It was full to capacity and so many happy smiling faces.  It truly was the “Spirit of Christmas,” and a heart-warming family affair.

Those carols are still going round and round in my head today.  I know that it will last until the 25th of December.  We all have so much to be thankful for especially Karen, Molly, Peter, Kelli, Paige, Wendy and her Dancing Classes at T.C. Powerhouse, Eric and his Choir of Angels, the C.C.P.A. Board, Jim Taylor Motors, Don Hazen of Riverview Greenhouse, the Chouteau County Performing Arts Board Members, the General Federation of Woman’s Club of Fort Benton, and the Elementary School.  (I hope that I didn’t forget anyone.  If I did forgive me, and I will be sure to hear about it so I’ll catch you next week.)

Oops!  Forgot a very important person, my favorite Santa.  Of course, I am partial to him and I wonder if that makes me Santa’s Mom.  His latest poem “Santa’s Lament” is included at the end of
this article.  I know you will want to keep a copy.

I have to comment on the beautiful array of Christmas cookies provided by the Woman’s Club.  Our wonderful auditorium was decorated so eye-appealing, (as always.)  The best thing about the whole afternoon was the turnout by folks who filled every seat in the house.  It was a nasty afternoon to leave your nice warm houses but the love of family was even greater.

I did not get very far with my interviews for collections and hobbies.  However, I knew about Mary Zanto’s collection and saved it for this issue.

Mary has a fabulous collection of Santa’s.  She has been collecting for over 20 years and she has over 100 Santa’s of every description, big and small.  The largest one is 2 1/2 ft. tall and he is elegant.  One of her collection is an unusual one and it is an Afro American Santa.

Her collection began in a store in Malta.  She bought two Santa’s and that began her collection.   It grew every year to what it is today.

She would set them up every year in every nook and cranny in her home.  It is like walking into a Christmas Store but they are not for sale.  This year however, has been a sad one for Mary.  She will not be displaying her collection at this time.

I am going to work on setting up Mary’s collection in a prominent place where everyone can enjoy it.  Perhaps a store window, the Library, or the Museum.  If anyone has a suggestion, please let me know.  I know that in Fort Benton, we can work something out because I know that you and all the children in the community would enjoy it.

Q.  Why did the Montana Club in Helena have to sell the Charlie Russell painting it had commissioned to the Montana Historical Society?  A.  Below

A.  The appraised value of $250,000.00 caused such high insurance premiums it depleted the club treasury.

By S. Claus; presented by the poet at the CCPA Christmas Concert, Dec. 8, 2013

It used to be the North Pole
Was abuzz this time of year
With my little elves manufacturing
All kinds of Christmas Cheer. 

Now, Santa’s helpers are out of work
And I sit around in my recliner
Just waitin’ for the Fed Ex trucks
To bring me toys – all made in China.

And once Johny got skates and Suzie got
that Raggedy Ann doll she adored…
And the only Chinese product then
Was a star-shaped checker board. 

Now no one wants Raggedy Anns or Andys.
Today, if kids list dolls at all
They want ‘em to walk, or talk, or FLY…
(You heard me! FLY!! Here it is… $27.88 ROLLBACK at Walmart)
… The Flutterbye Flying Fairy Doll!!!

And Johnies and Suzies are scarce these days;
They’re all Britneys and Kaitlin and Seth.
I’ll even be making a first-time delivery
To some kid in L.A. named North West.

That’s a little Kardashian humor there
To show I’m “hip”… yep, I’m a hipster.
I’ll bet Kim and Kanye name their next girl “Key”
If North ever has a sister.
(Key…  West…  Get it?!  You’re a tough audience…)

And the gifts are all X Box this and I Pad that
And Nintendo in 3-D.
I’d play ‘em myself but I never received
An advanced computer degree.

And all those Gizmos are multiplied
By a thousand accessories.
Why, I gotta hitch a trailer to my sleigh
Just to haul the batteries!!

I recall when young ‘uns would play all day
With a simple rubber ball…
“Red Rover, Red Rover, Send Randy right over.”
“Ollie Ollie oxen free-o.”
How long since you heard that call?

Remember how kids played “Kick the Can”
Until it got too dark to see?
Now the only folks that are kicking cans
Are in Washington D.C.

Filling stockings was a snap then,
I’d just stuff an orange down in the toe
Plunk in a candy cane and some peanut brittle
And I was Good to Go.

Now I need to be a physicist
To shoe-horn all the junk in
To Baby’s First (wait for it!!)
Electronic Magic Talkin’ Stockin’.
(Walmart…. 18.99… Rollback…)

And kids don’t send letters either
Instead they tweet and twitter you
Here’s one:  “Hash tag Santa @ North Pole Geezer:
‘I want a new tattoo.’”
(Signed “North West.”  Why am I not surprised?)

And it’s not just the kids. Everything’s changin’….

I used to pile my sleigh high
With toys and other swag
Now my reindeer charge me 30 bucks
For every extra bag.

No one leaves me milk or cookies now,
It’s all No-Fat Triple Skinny Lattes,
Seaweed crackers, and a DVD labeled
“Santa’s Emergency Pilates.”

Even Mrs Claus got in the act.
You want to know what she did?
Cross-bred MY reindeer with YOUR muley deer
So I could drive a hybrid!!

I must admit, I am getting much better Grass Mileage…
(HHOL! HHOL! That’s “Ho Ho Out Loud!”)

I want to go back to simpler times
Two thousand years at least
When Christmas started with a simple sign…
A star shining in the East.

What am I sayin? I don’t like change??!!
Why that’s a bunch of folderol!
Cuz now that I think – that kid in a manger –
Heck, that was the biggest change of all.

Now that I think – that young feller brought
The keys to our salvation.
Taught us about love, and hope, and faith
And peace and toleration.

I guess if one man can change the world
I can put up with a Flyin’ Fairy Doll.
It’s not such a stretch when you think of it –
My reindeer can fly, after all.

I better change the title of this poem!
“Santa’s Lament” won’t do.
Let’s call it “Santa Wishes a Very Blessed
And Merry Christmas to Each and Every One of You.”

© 2013 North Pole Publishing.  You can use it, but give Santa author’s credit, or you go straight into the “Naughty” category.  And absolutely no pouting, please….

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

View From The Bridge 12/4/13

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

It is here at last.  Coordinators have been working for weeks on the Chouteau County Country Christmas and Bridgeport Station.  I know that the River Press is full of the schedules about everything that is going on, not only in Fort Benton, but our entire countryside.

Do not forget to take that walk along Front Street to visit all the shops.  You get free treats there as a bonus.  I promise there will be no standing in lines, pushing, shoving, or having someone grab, just in front of you, an item you wanted.  That would always turn out to  be the last one.  Ho, Ho, Ho. 

It will just be a wonderful day for seeing friends and saying “Happy Holidays,” in case you may not see them again before the big days.

Then there is Sunday afternoon for the Christmas Concert.  See you there and everywhere.

It’s all about me as in the story below.  I went to the Benton Pharmacy on Friday to purchase a birthday card.  As I walked into the gift room, I encountered two women and for some odd reason, (actually being nosey,) began a conversation with them.  One woman was from Great Falls and the other from California.  As was my habit when I volunteer at the Visitors Information Center, when people tell me they are from CA, I always say, “I’m so sorry.”  It most often gets a laugh and this lady did laugh.  The other lady from Great Falls then said to me, “Are you Jennifer’s mother?”  I said, “Yes, and how did you know.  (I do not look anything like 5ft. 10in. tall and blond.)  She said, “I am a friend of hers and when you said Information Center, I knew who you were.  Jennifer always talks about you and the Center.”

The reason these women were in Fort Benton was the woman from California had asked her friend to take her to visit the small towns around Great Falls.  Of course the woman from Great Falls thought about Fort Benton first.  The word is getting around about our wonderful town for a shopping and dining experience.

 I believe that you all know by now that I have a grandson, Bryan Graupmann, who is a defensive end for the Carroll College Fighting Saints in Helen.  There was an article about him on the front page of the Tribune Sports section several weeks ago.  Today, (12/1) there was a picture of him with another team mate tackling an opponent?  All credit for yesterdays win was for the defensive team.  (I am more proud though, that he is in the nursing program.)

On Saturday last, the Saints came through again with a 27 to 3 victory.  I was fortunate to be able to be driven to Helena each week there was a game on their own field.  I also went to Spokane and Billings with my daughter, Jennifer, to witness winning games.  I hope that I am as happy next Saturday afternoon.

We have been so fortunate with the road conditions.  Interstate 15 has always been clear and dry each trip.  The weather was also perfect for football games.  Those of you who traveled for Thanksgiving, must have found the same conditions unless you went east.  They were not so fortunate.  I would like to hear if any of you have snow stories.

It has been a very exciting fall for football.  It brings back all the memories of the Utterback boys and the winning of the Class B Championship in 2001.  Fans came from all over to watch great football.  Hey Geraldine-Highwood Rivals;  are you off your high yet?  You must go over that win time and time again.  Congratulations big time.  

In a previous View some time ago, I wrote about yielding to the driver on your right.  What I did not know and learned from TV a few weeks ago, was that even if you arrive at the intersection before a vehicle on the right, you must yield to them.  It does not matter if you get there first.  If there is a vehicle on your right, within sight, you must yield.  I learn something new every day and may it be to your advantage.

We are back to history this week.  Q.  What was the growth rate of Montana in 2000?


A.  0.2 % as compared to the national average of 1.2%.  Neveda is the fastest growing western state with a 5.4%.

Muncie’s view on this as seen on a bumper sticker in Great Falls.  “Montana is full.  We hear North Dakota is nice.”  If anyone knows where I can find that sticker, please let me know.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

View From The Bridge 11/27/13

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

I am wishing you the happiest day ever.  I believe that Thanksgiving is the greatest family holiday.  Christmas is mostly about shopping, Christmas cards, presents, and Santa Claus.  Those things get in the way of just being together with family.  Enjoy every minute of the day.

In Mondays Tribune there is an article from Miss Manners.  She wrote about conversation at the dinner table.  I thought it should be passed on in case you missed it.  “First, do not talk about how stuffed you are and secondly, do not talk about healthy foods.”  Since you may not read the River Press until after the big day, you may get a laugh about what conversation went on at your table.

This big day will arrive in a week and a half.  Schedules are all around town so check them out carefully to plan your day.  Most of the businesses around town will have treats and prizes.  Bridgeport Station will be crammed full of excitement.  Besides the crafts people with fantastic gift ideas, there will be entertainment, breakfast and lunch choices.  What a fun time for our town.  Break open your piggy banks and come on down.  There is something for everyone.  See you there.

Also, plan on being at the Christmas Concert.  I do not know anyone who does not love a Christmas Concert.  We all know the songs and can sing along, (to ourselves as some of us sing off-key.) 

I’ll tell you a secret.  There will be a special visitor and I have a feeling that he will have written another of his famous poems.  I really look forward to that.  What a guy!  With all he has to do, he finds time to write poetry.  Now that is dedication.  Love that Santa.

I agonized all last week as to how I was going tell those of you who are interested, that the Vietnam Wall, the Committee had scheduled for July, has been cancelled.  The Committee is very disappointed but what we learned on Saturday the 16th helped make our decision.

An e-mail that day, informed us that Great Falls had booked a Vietnam Wall for the week after ours.  They also received $5,000.00 as a deposit to the company they were working with.  This is about half the monies needed to bring the wall to Great Falls and that puts them way ahead of us.

Our “Bring the Vietnam Wall to Fort Benton Committee,” cannot compete with that fund raising.  We planned to raise the monies by support of, to name a few, VFW’s, American Legions, Marine Corps League of Great Falls, and Malstrom Air Force Base.  We had planned to reach VFW and American Legions within a 200 mile radius of Fort Benton. 

We needed 20 volunteers to set the Wall up, 20 volunteers to tear down, and 2 volunteers for 4 hours shifts, 24hrs a day for 4 days.  That is another 48 volunteers.  We determined that we would not have enough support a week before the Wall was in Great Falls.

Another unexplained question is why there are 11 Vietnam Walls traveling the United States.  They are private enterprises.  One company has 6 Walls, another 4 Walls, and another 1 Wall.  There is no contact between them.  Our Committee booked the Wall in early September and Great Falls was notified of that.  They booked in late October.  Conversations with Great Falls were of no avail.  They would not change their date.

One of our plans, when the Wall was here, was to honor William Swensgard with a memorial marker in Veterans Way as the only soldier from Fort Benton killed in Vietnam.  Diane Jones obtained an American Flag flown over the capital in Washington D.C. on Veterans Day for Montana Veterans. She planned a raffle and had ordered raffle tickets.  She thought she would have to return the Flag but Jon Tester’s office said that we could keep it to raise money for the Swensgard memorial marker.  A beautiful quilt will also be on the ticket.  The American Legion representatives will be at Bridgeport so please stop by and help support this project.

I know that you cannot be any more disappointed than the Committee about this situation.  I am sorry to those of you who are members of the Swensgard family, VFW members, and American Legion members.  Many hours went into planning and many hours of decision making to cancel.  We just cannot compete with Great Falls

Even though I did not receive any phone calls to “Rent-a-Beard” from the Griz, Carroll College, and Geraldine/Highwood Rivals, they were all winners due to Randy’s beard.  He is quite sure about that.  Well, I certainly am convinced.  The Griz are off to the playoffs and Carroll has two more playoff games.  How exciting is that! 

We are so proud of you Geraldine/Highwood Rivals.  You bring honor and glory to our part of the country.  Football fans really enjoyed your progress this season and knew the whole time that you would do it.  Congratulations.

This week we are back to Science and Nature.  I have wondered about this subject as I did last week about the highest mountain.  Q.  How many grizzles are estimated to live in the Rocky Mountain region between Yellowstone Park and Waterton Park in Alberta, Canada?  A.  Below.


A.  About 950, as compared to an estimated 30.000 in Alaska.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

View From The Bridge 11/20/13

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

Congrats to Donna Arganbright for winning the Farm Bureau Speech Junior Division Contest on Sunday, November 10th in Billings. This is the kind of publicity that Fort Benton needs.  It was published in the Great Falls Tribune on Sunday the 17th in the Farm & Ranch section.  We, in Fort Benton, know that we have the smartest kids and now other Tribune readers will be aware of it.   Donna is an 8th grader, and was assigned a topic which was, “What more can be done to protect agriculture production and profitability from natural disasters.”     I know that she did a lot of research and the fact that she could get up in front of a group of judges and adults was awesome.   We are very proud of you Donna.  Keep up the good work.

Every little bit of notoriety helps and it pays to advertize.  Our “Oldest town in Montana” is an unknown treasure in the Treasure State.  Vehicles go by on Highway 87 and never know that we are down here next to the Missouri.  We find that out very often in the Information Center.  Visitors come in and say that they have passed by dozens of times but it is their first trip down the hill. 

The one I like best is the woman who said when they saw the trees in the distance; they knew there must be a golf course here.  I wonder if planes still land here for people to golf at one of the best golf courses around.  That has been stated many times by golf enthusiasts.   Signal Point is only 9 holes but you can go the opposite way and it is great 18 hole course.

I love the ride to anywhere going and coming because the view is different in both directions.  I even like going to Loma on the highway and return on the bench.  If you are not in a rush it is a great ride from Great Falls through Belt and Highwood.  There is also another route out from a road near Malstrom but because I was not driving I do not remember exactly where it was.

Every time we go to Helena I promise myself that we would take the Frontage Road the next trip.  It hasn’t happened yet but perhaps next year when summer rolls around again.

How many of you were in the white-out in Great Falls last Saturday afternoon?  One person said that it was the most intimidating snow storm they had ever experienced.  From Great Falls to the end of Black Horse Lake it was impossible to see.  Another individual said that they wished they could stop but that was impossible because there may be a vehicle behind them. 

That was the third snow storm this fall and winter came on so quickly that no one was ready for it.  Cheer up folks!  By the time you read this View there will be only 4 ½ weeks until the days start getting longer.  I know I said this last week but I am repeating because I love counting down.  One thing I do not enjoy is changing my clocks to fall back.  Sometimes I do not even change them and then it is the enjoyable time to spring ahead.  What a great sentence that is…to spring ahead. 

What an enjoyable show Two on Tap was.  It was one of the best that CCPA has brought to Fort Benton.  Weren’t those young tap dancers just the greatest?  Wendy Bird, (their teacher,) must have the most fun of anyone in town with those young girls.  (Note:  no boys in the classes.  Why wouldn’t they want to learn to dance?  Co-ordination is everything and it is great exercise.  Who will be the first brave young man to join the classes before you would get too far behind the girls? 

Girls, you were wonderful.  I heard that you only had one hour of practice before the show began.  Take my word for it; it was New York, New York professional.  Other news is that I heard that the very little girls are going to perform at Chouteau County Country Christmas Day.  Check the schedule to see when they will perform.  You won’t want to miss it.

We are back in the book to Geography questions.  These questions are hard to find because I am sure that you all know everything about Montana geography.  I searched long and hard to finally come up with one I always wondered about.  Q.  Montana’s highest elevation of 12,797 ft. is found at what place?  A.  Below

A.  Granite Peak in the Beartooth Mountains.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

View From The Bridge 11/13/13

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

We just returned on Monday evening from the Sunrise Bluffs.  The Veterans Day Dinner was held there for the first time and will most likely be the place from now on.  I know how hard the committee worked to put up decorations, set tables, arrange the centerpieces, put up pictures on that huge wall inside the dining room ,and arrange entertainment.  They worked all day Sunday.  I was there only for about three hours watching B.J. McIntyre hang more Veterans pictures.  A very heart warming idea was to put poppies on those Veterans who have passed away 

B.J. estimates that there are over 300 Veterans photos hanging in the Bluffs hallway.  There is also a classic picture of the American flag and a large poster of the 2nd Honor Guard started in 1946 that were hung Sunday.  There are many old-timers in those pictures and perhaps many of you saw yourselves.  The other picture belongs to Connie Jenkins whose father is in the picture.  It is of his squadron at Malstrom in the ‘40’s.  I’ll have more information about that picture next week because it is all on the back of the picture at the Bluffs.  We will mark Connie’s father’s face somehow as there are about a hundred men on the photo. 

A count of those who enjoyed dinner was about 120 Veterans and their families.  It amazes me how they can judge how many people are going to show up.  Somehow, they had it right tonight.  There were tables of eight and every one seemed to be filled. 

There were many well deserved “thank you for your service,” conversations.  They were well deserved and we would have liked to hear every one of their stories.  All the visitors viewed the Veterans Photo Wall and read the bios of their loved ones.  What a book that bio book would make. 

 I have a floppy clown about 2 ft. in length that holds a sign that reads, “Think Snow.”  Each fall I put him on top of our newspaper box in the entry way.  When I leave or enter the house, there he is with his message.  Every time I enter or leave, someone has turned the sign around.  Well, guess what!  This year I am not even putting him up because I do not do snow-man building, skiing, sledding, snow boarding, shoveling, or anything to do with snow.  Besides, I am tired of turning the sign around.

Today, (Sunday) I had to clean snow off our vehicle because I needed to watch B.J. put up more Veterans pictures at the Bluffs before the Veterans dinner Monday evening.  It was not too bad when I went out about 1:00 p.m. or so, but when I left the Bluffs about 4:30 p.m. I had to scrape ice and snow from the windows of the vehicle.  It is an awful thought that we have at least three more months of this kind of activity.  Woe is me!  Why can’t we hibernate like the bear?  It would be so wonderful to wake up to spring.

The Santa North Pole Outlet Mall for Children is under new management this coming season.  Give them a helping hand to make this year as successful as previous years.  If you do not know what the Mall is all about, here is the scoop.  Private donations and a grant provide Christmas gifts for just Children to purchase at a small fee for their parents and siblings.  It is held at the same location as always and that is the Northwest Physician Building, ll10 Front Street.  The date to remember is December 7th, 2013 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Children from ages K through 6th grade are invited to participate.  Prices start at .25 cents to $3.00, greeters are available to help the children to make decisions, and wrapping is available.  What a deal and what a bargain.  Donations are made from many of the Fort Benton merchants.  Also, private donations are welcome and please take them over anytime soon to the Northwest Physician Building.
If you want to have a fun time, show up at the building to help out or just watch.  The kids are so much fun and a delight to work with.  That is what Christmas is all about.  Happy Holidays for a warm, fuzzy feeling.

On next Monday, November 18th PBS will show nationally the film “Indian Relays.”  Please try to watch it and spread the word to your family and friends in other parts of the country about the program.  Have them check their TV schedules because different PBS stations may show it at different times.  Local Montana PBS it will air at 9:00 p.m. Mountain Time and again on Wednesday the 20th at 2:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon.

Friends of the Library and General Federation of Woman’s Clubs meet on Wednesday and Thursday respectively.  You will have missed Friends by the time you get your River Press.  I should have mentioned it last week.  Sorry about that.

Friday is Pie Day.  No kidding!  Because November began on a Friday, it will be this week.  Call your friends and come on down to the Senior Center on Front Street for homemade pie and a hot cup of coffee.  Nothing could be finer.  Give lots of support to those women who work so hard and a plus is that they are the best pie bakers around.  Don’t miss Friday Pie Day at 2:00 p.m.

I know for certain that Randy growing a beard it is why the Red Sox won the World Series and why Carroll College won the Frontier Conference title last Saturday.  I am begging him not to shave it off until Carroll wins three more playoff games and the final National Conference game. Wait a minute, I just had a money making idea.  It will be called “Rent a Randy Beard.”  I will rent Randy out to hang out at any contests you have going.  I’ll offer him 10% and I’ll keep 90%.  Do you think he would go for that?

I have missed this item the last few weeks because of 911 calls being made from our home.  I think I am back on track now and here is the next trivia.
Sports and Leisure Q.  How many state parks in Montana?  A. Below


A. 43, totaling almost 28, 000 acres.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

Last Tuesday evening, son Randy took me to Great Falls Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center for a screening preview of “Indian Relay.”  I had never heard of these races but many people I spoke with had actually frequented them...

The “Indian Relay” was featured on the front page of the Montana PBS October guide.  The film told the story of three teams through an Indian Relay horse-racing season showing Indian America as it has never been seen before.  The finale was the Indian Relay National Championships at the Eastern Idaho State Fair in Blackfoot, Idaho.

The film kept me on the edge of my seat.  The beautiful horses, the courage of the riders, and the support of the families was outstanding.  It was shown on local PRB last Thursday evening but of course, you could not have known to watch it unless you are a member of Montana PBS and receive the guide.

This film will be shown on National PBS in the near future however after many phone calls, I could not find out the date.  Tell your family and friends to watch for it because it will be aired on National PBS at different times across the country.  I will keep you posted if I am informed by PBS. It is the greatest kind of publicity Montana could get.  Some of the scenes of the Treasure State are spectacular.

I did find in the November PBS Guide that it will be aired on local PBS on Monday 11/18 at 9:00 p.m. and again on Wednesday 11/20 at 2:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.  Enjoy.

Is your calendar filling up as quickly as mine?  The following is a schedule of some of the things you can do to keep busy.  Enjoy.

On MONDAY EVENING, NOVEMBER 5th, Bingo begins at the Club House as a fund raiser for the VFW.  You have already missed that one but put on your calendar every other Monday.  The only exception will be Saturday, November 23rd and that is TURKEY NIGHT.  There are great cash prizes and you can get together with your family and friends for a pleasant evening of fun.  Please support the VFW as it is a long time organization that benefits the Fort Benton Community.

This FRIDAY EVENING, NOVEMBER 7th at 6:00 p.m. at the Grand Union Hotel will be a new fun game called “Trivia.”  I do not know how the game works but I confessed to Dorothy, (Manager of the Grand Union,) that I am not smarter than a 5th grader.  She assured me that there would be teams but she did not assure me that I would be on the best team.   (Just because we watch Jeopardy every night does not make me smart.) Sounds like a fun evening so come on down and see what it is all about.

On FRIDAY EVENING, NOVEMBER 8th 7:00 p.m. the semi-annual “Texas Holdem Poker Tournament”, will be off and running.  A limit of 40 persons fills the reservation list.  Even though these tournaments are held only twice a year, it seems they are coming around faster and faster.  Good luck to all.

On MONDAY, NOVEMBER 11th from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. all Veterans and their families are invited to a Veterans Day Dinner at the Sunrise Bluffs that is a change of location.  Thank you to Naldean Nash of the VFW Auxiliary for spearheading the dinner.  Catering the menu will be the Clubhouse.  You will have a choice of ham or roast beef with potatoes, gravy/sauce, a veggie, and cake and ice-cream.  Because of the good turnout of Veterans, space became a problem at the Clubhouse.  The Sunrise Bluffs affords much more room to accommodate everyone. 

This is a great opportunity for those of you Veterans who have not seen your picture hanging on the walls in the hallways of the Bluffs, to do so.  Please sign the Guest Book.  If your picture is not hanging, please get it to the Research Center.  You deserve to be there.  Semper Fi.

On TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 12th at the Elementary auditorium will be he next Chouteau County Performing Arts presentation at 7:00 p.m.  I saw this couple dance at the consortium in Great Falls last year and they were special.  Tap dancing seems to have gone by the wayside and this young couple is bringing it back big time.  Those tap dancers like Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Donald O’Conner, and Bobby Burgess and Arthur Duncan of the Lawrence Welk show are part of the past.  If you remember and enjoyed the above entertainers, then you will enjoy Two on Tap.  You will dance your way home and especially if it is raining.  You will then be “Singing in the Rain.”

I know that you youngsters have not the vaguest idea what I am talking about.  Do yourself a favor and check out a movie called “Singing in the Rain.”  Gene Kelly does a dance in the rain that is a classic.  Well, at least we thought so.

I have a couple of other events to attend during the week and I am going to be a tired puppy at the end of it.  I will think of my own words and “Enjoy every minute of every day.”  My biggest problem, at this time, is getting used to it getting dark so early in the afternoon.  I am counting the weeks and there are about 6 more before the days start getting longer.  Did I not say that just a short time ago?  It cannot be a year already.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

View From The Bridge 10/30/13

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

Once again, I am not able to do the View this week and for the same reason as two weeks ago.  We made an emergency trip to the hospital last Thursday and from there to Benefis in Great Falls. (It is a good thing that we remembered the number for 911.)   A procedure was done on Friday and we returned home on Saturday.  Everything is going well with lots of rest for my Sweetheart.
We missed Pub Night on Friday evening, our plans to go to Havre on Saturday for my grandson’s Carroll football game, dinner,  and the Lights basketball game that evening.  On Sunday we missed the Harvest Dinner at St. Margaret Mary’s Catholic Church in Big Sandy.  Our social calendar is now covered with x’s.

Since we were a bit preoccupied for a few days, I have not gotten my ducks in a row.  I will try to be back with you next week but these days my time is not my own. (Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy every minute of every day.  I MEAN IT.)


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

View From The Bridge 10/23/13

“VIEW from the BRIDGE
by Muncie

I just have to pass this on because I think that it is the cutest story ever.  I hope that it cheers up your day.

My daughter Jennifer’s friend has a grandson, Kameron, (yes, with a K) who is a precious 4-year-old.  His Mom and Dad do not like video games for kids.  “That is why we have acreage so they can run anywhere and use that crazy thing called “imagination.”   Kameron wanted to play a video game and we told him, “NO.”  He got mad at us and told us, “If I knew the number to 911, I would call it and trade you in for new parents.”

Are you laughing until tears come?

Photos were put on the back burner while I, (and other volunteers at the Joel Overholser Research Center,) worked on Bob Doerk’s books, notebooks, and vertical files.

I had a phone call last week that there were some Veterans coming to visit Fort Benton and they were going to the Sunrise Bluffs to see the Photo Display. 

My partner in this project, B.J. McIntyre had previously had the pictures scanned but they needed to be framed.  Since I had a very hectic week with my Sweetheart in the hospital and my son’s family visiting from Michigan, I called B.J. and she came over immediately and got the job done.  She also typed the bios and put them into the album.

The walls have really filled up this past year and if you still have not seen it please do before Veterans Day on November 11th.  We owe them so much and they can never be thanked enough.  A visit to the Bluffs and signing of the Guest Book is a sign that you care.

Since I did not write a View last week, I failed to tell you that Recycle Day was on Saturday the 19th at the Fairgrounds.  The next Recycle Day will be November 2nd at the Faorgrpimds frp, 11 a.m. to 1:00 p.m./  I’ll have quite a load in my truck by then.  I am so grateful for what the Recycle Committee is doing for our community.  Please volunteer some time to help if you possibly can.

I received this information first hand from a person who walked the new Levee Walking Trail.  There are now solar lights along the trail which adds a safety feature for those of you who walk at night.  Thanks again to the City as they must have been the installers. 

Do remember that there is a need for a couple of cement benches along that trail.  Perhaps during the winter months a need will come up for a table.  Picnic tables would be much enjoyed next summer.  Also remember that if you have a need for wood, there is a good supply available.

Last Saturday morning, I was leaving town about 8:00 a.m.  There was a car ahead of me and another behind me going up the hill toward the Underpass.  A white truck came through the Underpass without yielding.  It was a close call.

If it was a local resident…shame on you.  If it was a stranger, then perhaps they did not understand the procedure.  Please advise everyone that you know the way I was taught.  You pull over as far to the right as you can on the upper side of the underpass, count to 5 and if no vehicles are in sight, drive through. 

There has always been a lot of talk about making the road a one way.  Plan B would put a stop light where you are supposed to stop, and Plan C putting a light down the hill which would turn a light on the top to let you know if a vehicle is coming up the hill.  Somehow the talk dies down.  Must we wait until some serious accident happens?  Must we wonder if it would be someone near and dear to us?

In the meanwhile, please be careful.  Pay attention to your driving, don’t talk on your cell phone, and DO NOT text.  I wish that the whole state of Montana would ban texting while driving.

Here is another dangerous situation with cars pulling out to pass and meeting head-on with a vehicle coming in the other direction.  There was a very serious accident last week to a local resident.  It has recently happened to us while son Randy was driving.  A car pulled out from behind a truck and there we were.  Fortunately, the other driver drove into the ditch.  I still remember the look on his face when he saw us.

By both elevators, Kershaw and Tunis, there is a dip in the road. We tested it a few years ago by driving a quarter of a mile behind our friend’s vehicle.  At those two grain elevators, the car ahead of us disappeared into the dip of the road.  If you were passing at those points, you would meet another vehicle head on.
I called the Department of Transportation and asked if double yellow lines could be painted in those two spots.  It has been over 10 years since I called and memory is short.  I do remember that they came out and checked it out.  They told me that there had not been an accident in those areas for at least 10 years.  Yellow lines are still not there and the same situation occurred to us several times since.

I would like to hear from anyone who has had a dangerous situation happen to them on Highway 87.

Today’s question is a history one.  “How many forts were built in Montana between 1807 and 1885?”  See answer below.

A.  99 and that is more than one a year.                       

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

 “VIEW from the BRIDGE
By Muncie

Since I returned from Whitefish, after seeing the Vietnam Wall and becoming interested in William Swensgard, I have planned on trying to get the Wall to Fort Benton. I spent an afternoon with Diane Jones at a fund raiser and we discussed possibilities. This past week, Diane was able to connect with the Vietnam Wall coordinators to secure a commitment.  The Vietnam Wall will be in Fort Benton next summer on July 16th through the 24th. 

The Wall usually is in one location for five days.  The first day would be set-up and the last day break-down.  We are giving you a heads-up for your plans to help us.  The American Legions and the V.F.W’s are vital to the program.  All inquiries will be answered in time when all those involved are notified and can commit to volunteer.  Our surrounding area will be canvassed because this is a huge project.

Great Falls hosted the Wall 10 years or f15 years ago, no one remembers the exact time.   I would like to speak to someone who remembers how that event played out, because it would be helpful to know the details.  If you have any information, please contact me.
 It should be a very exciting time in Fort Benton and will be a community project. Let us make it a very special time for remembering those that died for us. We will have more details about our program as we acquire it and will keep you informed.

For those of you who attend the Tuesday night dinners at the Golden Age Senior Center, here is some important information.  On Tuesday the 15th of October, if you attend, you are to wear HALLOWEEN COSTUMES.  How long has it been since you dressed up for Halloween?  Do not let the idea of dressing up for the occasion scare you.  If you cannot see yourself at age over 55 dressing up for the holiday, you are welcomed anyway.  It should be loads of fun and I am sure there will be a prize for the best costume.

This message goes out to you in this week’s River Press because the following week would be too late. See you there.

One of my readers met me at the grocery store this morning and asked that I tell you about snakes on the new Levee Trail.  She had just walked it and found it as great as I did.  Alas, the rest of the story is that she did see a bull snake and said that if there were bull snakes around, there would be rattlers. She suggested that you carry a stick of some sort.  Do not try to dispatch bull snakes because they actually are enemies of rattlers.  Good hunting bull snakes!

That conversation reminded me to check with Police Station for report on rattlers on the Levee this past summer.  Police Chief John Turner said that there were about 5 rattlers in various locations but this was a low count compared to other years.  Just be cautious on the trail and actually in everything you do.

Another suggestion about the Trail is that I checked with Skip Ross and if you use wood to heat your home, garage or storage building, you can cut down all the dead wood that you can use.  The only set-back is that you cannot drive on the Trail.  You would have to haul it up in a wheelbarrow.  It would be a great accomplishment to clean up the area of all dead debris. One more addition to the Trail would be a couple of cement benches that could be placed there according to Skip.  If there is anyone out there who would like a memorial bench on the New Trail, please discuss it with Skip or me. The only backside of that would be that the benches would have to be removed for the winter season.  They could be brought up on the Levee for that time period without a problem.  I have had to refuse several requests for memorial cement benches because there wasn’t a location to place them.  I hope to see some benches there next summer.

Oops, forgot about another suggestion.  It would be the prettiest thing anyone could do if you have some wild flower seeds to dispose of them along the New Trail.  If you can do that, please let me know.  What a beautiful sight that would be in the spring. 

This week’s question will be about Science and Nature.  Q.  How many states have a greater number of mammal species than the 109 that live in Montana?  See answer below.

A. None

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

View From The Bridge 10/2/13

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

There will be volunteers at the Dedman Foundation on Wednesday the 2nd of October contrary to other information.  They hope that this information gets to you when you pick up your River Press early on Wednesday.  There are plans in the works to possibly move the collection area for the colder months.  They will keep in touch.  Keep up the great work of recycling for the much needed contributions.  THINK GREEN.

I walked the new Levee Trail this past week.  What a great time I had in the midst of a Mother Nature’s nest.  It is truly a nature trail and I walked on a carpet of fallen yellow leaves.  I did not measure but I think that the trail is 10 ft. wide and it is gravel.  It winds around into a loop at an area under Signal Point.  Another thrill was viewing Signal Point from Missouri River level.  I wish I had my camera because it would have been a prize winning photo.  There were white fluffy clouds and the bluest sky I have seen for a while.  It framed the Point so beautifully that it made my heart beat faster.

There were human footprints but they were far out-numbered by the deer tracks.  We often take a ride along the road beyond Signal Point and almost always saw deer.  It is a heavenly haven for them and the brush to hide, sleep, or whatever it is they do during the day.  I imagine that it is also a great maternity ward in the spring.

I am looking forward to next spring to see if there are wild flowers blooming.  It is also a great picnic area and I am sure that there will be picnic tables there next spring.  So about another half mile is added to the already 2 1/3 miles of trail.  That is a good workout for those of you who walk and jog the trail.  Thank you again to those responsible.  The next question is, where do we go from here?  Only finances and time will tell. 

Jason is not only the best pianist but he is a comedian as well.  He had the audience laughing much of the time especially when he sat down next to the tiny piano.  The youngsters that attended seemed to enjoy that best.  We had a family of four children sitting in front of us and we enjoyed their reaction to the show

The next show on Friday October 25th and it is Pub Night.  The High Street Band will be entertaining so get out your dancing shoes and show us all you learned from those dancing lessons.  It has been a while since we have had dancing at all in Fort Benton and now is your chance to enjoy an evening of it. 

Checking on the attendance, I found that there were over 200 attendees and 45 of them were children.  The committee felt that letting the youngsters in free was a splendid idea.  They really appreciate your attendance and continuing support.  GO MUSICALLY.

I have grown to love the memory of this young man.  I am receiving many stories about him and what a good boy he was.  I’m sure there are many of you who can relate to the short life he was granted.  You probably have sons that would be his age now.  I do.

I will get on with the latest story from Jo Sorkness, (a former Fort Benton teacher who now lives in Philadelphia, PA.)  “Billy was in my fifth grade class.  The youngsters were at their seats doing some creative writing, but could come up to my desk for help.  Billy came up to me and said, “How do you spell pertmer?”  I said, “Do you mean partner?”  “No, I mean pertner.”  I asked Billy to use it in a sentence.  His reply, “I pertner fell in the creek.”  I told him the actual words were, “pretty nearly,” but he could also say “almost.”

Jo went on to say that Billy was a cute blond boy—nice kid.  That was the largest fifth grade she ever taught.  It started with 40 boys and girls in desks from wall to wall.  After a bit it whtn down to 37, but stayed there the rest of the year.  She had help from high school girls and for correcting some papers, but she did all the mass teaching.  The kids were great, I can’t recall a big discipline problem.

Are there any readers out there who were in that 5th grade class with Billy, or high school girls who helped correct papers? I would like to hear from you.  My phone number is in the book.  Please call after 2:00 p.m.. 

On Saturday past, all hands that work at the Museums were on hand at the Museum of the Upper Missouri or MUM as they like to call it.  They work diligently to put together an inventory sale of items that needed to be replaced with new inventory.  The weather cooperated and the sale was held outside the MUM.  It went very well and they are planning another sale at Chouteau County Christmas. 

I purchased a dozen beautiful gifts and wish now that I had more of a certain item that was a real treasure.  Perhaps there will be some left for the CCC day.  I will not tell you what it was because you will all want one.  I can hardly wait. 

Did you find the answer for last week’s trivia question?  It was at the bottom of the page.  It will be the same this week.

This week’s trivia question is about geography.  Q.  A volcanic explosion in Yellowstone two million years ago was how large, when compared to Mount St. Helens?  (Answer at the bottom of the page, in case you forgot.)


A.  2,500 times bigger than the Mount St. Helens blast.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

View From The Bridge 9/25/13

“VIEW from the BRIDEGE”
BY Muncie

Summer was very long wasn’t it?  The two and a half months of extremely hot weather almost did me in.  After you read this View, there will be only five more days of September left (my favorite month,) and then we are into full time fall.  I love fall and the only thing I do not like is that it is getting dark sooner and sooner each evening.  I love being outdoors and the early darkness ends any puttering in the garden or flower beds.

This coming week will mean the turning off of the sprinkling system.  It means having to deal with falling leaves.  It means watching the trees across the Missouri turning yellow.  It means the first frost will be coming on soon and jackets and sweatshirts will replace sweaters and t-skirts.  It means changing the clothes closets from spring/summer to fall/winter clothing.  It means putting on the beds your heavier blankets or electric blankets/sheets.  What it boils down to is actually a lot of extra work and with the thought that we have to deal with another winter. 

Try to enjoy the smell of the cool, crisp air, football games, the harvest moon, and all the holidays.  Once we reach Valentines Day, it is all downhill to spring.  Hang in there and as sure as the sun rises every day, there will be green leaves on the trees before you know it.

My daughter, Jennifer, often deals with out of state people in her job.  Their first question about Montana is usually, “Isn’t it really cold in the winter.”  (That question is also asked at the Fort Benton Visitors Information Center.)  Her reply is, “Well, you can hardly tell the difference between 20 below and 30 below.”

Our hobbyist this week is Mrs. Crafty Hobby herself, Edna McSweeny.  She actually began her craft making seriously about a year ago when she moved from the Sunrise Bluffs to the Missouri River Medical Center.  She had done crafts for years but used them herself or gave them away.

When you walk into her room you are greeted by an array of colors never seen before at MRMC.  I am sure that she has the prettiest room and it is all done with her beautiful colorful wreaths.  She has other crafts like small bird houses and other small items but for the most part, the wreaths dominate.

They come in every color imaginable and mostly for the holiday closest at hand.  Edna is now working on a Christmas collection and will be having a “Christmas Craft Show,” as soon as she completes her schedule of the number of pieces to show.  Edna has held several Craft Shows at various locations.  Those would be at the Sunrise Bluffs and at the MRMC activities room.

One of Edna’s Red, White, and Blue wreaths has hung on my entry door since Memorial Day until Labor Day.  I think of her every day and know how much she loves doing her crafts.  She pours a lot of love into them.  “Keep Busy,” is her motto and her work shows it.  We’ll see you sometime in December Edna and watch this column for the date and time.

On a recent trip to Spokane, I purchased a fascinating paperback for Wally for a little something as a remembrance gift.  A remembrance gift is something you buy so someone knows that you were thinking about them while you were having a great time away.  It is sort of a, “Sorry you couldn’t be with me,” present.

It was written by Janet Spencer and somewhere in the back of my mind, I remember going to a restaurant somewhere, and the book was on every table.  Perhaps one of you readers can remember where that was in Montana.  I am going to do a trivia a week and I hope you enjoy them as much as we have been.

Entertainment question:  The building that now houses the Myrna Loy Performing Arts Center in Helena formerly housed what?  (Answer at the bottom)

Thinking about my trip to Spokane in the trivia above, made me remember to ask if anyone is driving to Spokane, please let me know.  My number is in the book.

The other day when I walked, I again stopped at every bench and table to read the plaques.  What a wonderful tribute we have to the loved ones of people that lived in Fort Benton and Chouteau
County.  I hope that you do the same when you are on the Levee Walking Trail.

It is also exciting news that was in the River Press last week about the Levee Trail being extended.  Congratulations to the Mayor and Council for the work they did to get that job done.  It will be such a beautiful addition to our now very popular trail.

A beautiful story came into the River Press this past week intended for me.  Tim forwarded it and I am going to pass it on to you.

“Bill was in my class in high school.  He was a nice kid: lots of energy and a good athlete.  We sometimes ran around together.  In those days he was smaller than the rest of us.

In the fall of 1963, after football practice, several of us went to Hankin’s reservoir to swim and water ski.  Water skiing was accomplished by hooking the ski rope to a car bumper (my Chevy on that day,) and speeding along the reservoir bank while towing the skier.  It was lots of fun and no one got (badly) hurt.  I remember that Tom Tope, (also deceased,) and Don Kelly were there that day too.
After pulling them all on skis (and getting my turn,) I decided to accept a dare to swim across Hankin’s reservoir.  Now, not having seen Hankin’s Reservoir in almost 50 ears, back then we thought it was approximately the size as Holter Lake and swimming across it was not for sissies.  Well, halfway across I got a let cramp and was in trouble…real trouble.  I yelled for help and the smallest guy in the group, Bill Swensgard, swam out to save me.  It turned out that Bill was trained in water safety and hauled me to the bank without any trouble at all.  The others thought that I was just joking about needing help; but I surely wasn’t.  It was a close call.  I remember I bought Bill a milkshake at the Taste Freeze that evening.

I was so sorry when I heard he’d been killed in Vietnam.  I owed him!”  Larry Krumwiede.

There will be a fun time for Fort Benton Woman’s Club members just to get-together as a social gathering...  It will be next Tuesday, October 1st from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 at the Ag Center.  There will be hor’doeurves, drinks, and a short meeting about Woman’s Club activities.  There will be childcare for those two hours for moms in need.

Please RSVP to Jenna Giese at 868-6866 a.s.a.p. and if you have any questions.  If you can bring along a new member, please do so.  The Woman’s Club meetings are generally business meetings and we women do not have much time to interact.  Now is the time that we can meet new members and socialize with our old friends.  See you there.

I want to thank all who either rented or purchased POW/MIA flags.  It is very much appreciated and is a National Observance.  It was a rude reminder to see them flying last Wednesday and will continue to remind us until the 30th of September.  My heart aches for those families and loved ones left behind.  It seems to me that there is never any closure.  Keep remembering them even when the flags are no longer flying.


The answer is, "A.  Prisoners--it was the county jail.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

View From The Bridge 9/18/13

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

Last week I asked you readers to remember William Swensgard on his birth date, September 21st which was incorrect and should have been October 19th.  No one called me on the error, however, Kayla Mcomber, at the American Legion meeting last Wednesday night, did notice.  She was at the meeting to join as new member of the American Legion.  I would like the officers of The Legion to know what a sharp new member they have. 

The meeting that evening honored the Vietnam Veterans because it is the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.  Diane Jones put together the program and it was held at the Sunrise Bluffs.  Reasoning for that was because of the Veterans Photo program.  (Thank you Diane, as all those in attendance were able to view the walls.)

I was given the opportunity at the meeting to talk about William Swensgard by reading two articles I had written about him in the River Press.  I goofed that up big time because there was not enough light where the podium stood and I needed to use a magnifying glass.  I would have been better off to just talk about him.  Kayla Mcomber, the new member of the American Legion, called me the next day to point out that I had mixed up the dates in the article.  I had printed the wording on his tombstone which of course were the correct dates..  The reason I am mentioning  this is because you can still honor William on Saturday 9/21 by thinking about what he did for his country.

Ron Saville e-mailed to me a site that gave me two pictures of William and more information about his service.  I want to tell all of you who have provided information about William that I very much appreciate it.   

This week we are off to the Land of the Wizard of Oz and Munchkin Land.  It happens to be the 75th anniversary of the movie released in 1938.   On October 1st there will be a release of the IMAX digital movie.  We’ve come a long way Dorothy and I’m not sure that we are in Kansas any longer.

Back in Fort Benton, MT we have the most devoted fan and family.  That would be Valerie Morger, all the Morger kids, grandkids, and great grandkids.  Sister Valerie and Gram Val has been a collector of Wizard of Oz items since 1970.  Her first recollection of Wizard objects began at Spencer’s Gift Shop in Great Falls.  It was a set of porcelain faces of the Oz characters and little did she know then what her collection would grow to be.

She has from A to Z and in-between items.  To name them all would take several pages of this newspaper but just to give you an idea I will name a few.  I have seen the collection and I would judge that there are 200 to 300 items.  Many of those items were gifts from family and friends who would find them for her at gift shops, garage sales or flea markets.  Starting with A, we would find an apron, books, cookie jars, dishes, glasses, makeup (no kidding,) magnets, music boxes, napkins cloth and paper, photos, plates, posters, puzzles, and a rug.  If you ever see a Wizard of Oz item at a garage sale or flea market, you know where it can find a home.

The most important part of these collections is the song “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”  Many of our Chouteau County Performing Arts performers have been asked to perform the song for Valerie.  It brings tears to everyone’s eyes and you can usually hear Valerie sobbing.  It is a great therapy for the family. 

One day we were traveling to Bozeman by way of Helena.  I saw a sign with lettering saying there was an Antique Shop in Townsend a couple of blocks over.  On the way home we stopped and found the store.  There was a Wizard of Oz game with the cellophane wrapping still on it.  Back in Fort Benton, Valerie owned this same game but would not let anyone play with it.  The game was purchased for her, (very inexpensively,) however, to this day I do not know of anyone playing with the old game. 

Next Friday, the 20th is the return of Pie Day at the Golden Age Senior Center.  Everyone is invited and it begins at 2:00 p.m.  It is truly a very nice break time in mid- afternoon.  Join us for a wonderful social hour and bring a friend.  If your friend would bring a friend, who would bring a friend, who would bring a friend, we could possibly have everyone in Fort Benton there.  What a great thought.

Big night on Tuesday, September 24th, when the first show of the season will commence.  Jason Farnham will be entertaining us with his piano music.  Please tell me if you know of anyone who does not enjoy listening to someone playing the piano.  It will be a delightful evening and see you there.  We expect a full house so get there a bit early for a seat.  Bring a friend along to enjoy the show with you.  We have a whole lot of friendships going on today.  Remember, “To have a friend, you have to be a friend.”

At the General Federation of Woman’s Clubs meeting last Thursday, a report was given on the Labels for Education collection.  They used to be collected in the spring but that has changed.  They need to be in by October 1st. 

Each child was asked to bring 25 labels and they would get a free ticket to a movie that is going to be shown.  Check with your grandchildren or neighbor children if they have enough labels.  This collection is of great value to the school.  One other thing…check the expiration date.  (I do not understand why there has to be an expiration date.)  The school also accepts phone books, however the Recycle Committee turns over any phone books that are collected at their collection center.  (Be sure to cut the labels to size.)

MT – LOVE it or LEAVE!
No. 9 – We have golf courses.  But don’t hit the water hazards, it spooks the fish.  (This is the last of the MT – Love it or Leave!)

GOD BLESS AMERICA, OUR TROOPS, and WEAR RED ON FRIDAYS.  (Yes, your Longhorn shirts count.)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

View From The Bridge 9/13/13

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

The worse day in the history of our Country, (according to 60 minutes last Sunday evening) is upon us again.  Were you able to see the program and how the National Museum is being completed?  You look at the faces of those innocents who perished that day and remember how fragile life is.  Think about those 911 victims as well as our Troops every day and not just today.

I often ask for readers to call me if they want an event to be in the View or they have questions.  I asked last week if anyone had information about William Swensgard to contact me. 

I received three phone calls within a few minutes of each other.  The first call came from Doris Rowe’s daughter, Barb, and she said that she and her sister, Nancy, were cousins of William.  However:  she said I should talk to Kareen Bratt, author of “Montana is my Home,” and her sister Renee who are also cousins. 

The second call came from Bill Swensgard who lives in Great Falls.  He said William was his uncle and he was named after him.  He also said that I should talk to Kareen Bratt.

The third call was from Kareen and I learned many facts about Bill.  He did not graduate from Fort Benton High School as the other Swensgard kids did.  His mother, Bea, was very active in the Lutheran Church.  The Church gave young Bill a scholarship to Concordia High School in Minnesota.  He wanted to attend Fort Benton High School with his friends and play basketball.  Because of the nature of the scholarship he left Fort Benton and graduated in 1965. 

He was drafted into the Army soon after.  When he said goodbye to Kareen on his way to Vietnam, he told her that he wouldn’t be coming back.  He was killed just a few days before his 21st birthday.  He is buried in the Fort Benton cemetery.

On his gravestone in Riverside Cemetery reads: 
William A. Swensgard
SP4  COB  1BN  5 Infantry
Vietnam PH
10/19/47                 9/21/67
Remember him on his birthdate September 21st as the hero that he was.

I have a great affection for those men and women in the service of our Country.  Perhaps it is because my maternal grandfather was killed in WWI.  That is the reason the “Veteran’s Photo Project,” was started and now has approximately 250 photos hanging at the Sunrise Bluffs.  Have you been there yet?  Please go to honor these brave men and women by viewing their photos and signing the Visitor’s book.

Do we inherit our likes or dislikes of things our parents do?  Not in the case of Helen Anderson, who as a child, used to stand by her mother’s treadle sewing machine and want to be the one sewing.  Her mom sewed every piece of clothing her children wore.  Her grandmother also sewed.   Helen began sewing in 1970 while she was living in Great Falls and her family did not require her full attention.  She moved to Fort Benton in 1974.

Her quilting hobby really began in 2000 when she joined the Eye of the Needle Quilting Guild.  (Note:  what a clever name.)  Their project at the time was making Baby Quilts for  babies in the huge area of Chouteau County..

When the Chouteau County Cancer Support Group merged, Helen expanded an idea to make lap quilts for those cancer patients who received chemo or radiation.

How long does it take to make a quilt?  Helen said that it only took a couple of days to make the top but that is just the beginning.  The bottom batting, the quilting, and the binding take the longest.  It was difficult to judge the time because it depends on the patterns.  She did however, at one time, make 9 lap quilts in 6 weeks.  Time and energy do not count when you are doing something you love to do. 

Helen tried some Craft Shows but found something her father said to be true.  “If you plan to make money for a living on your craft, go buy a mirror and watch yourself starve to death.”  What a wise father. 

Helen had to put aside her quilting skills for a while but just yesterday, Saturday the 7th, she retrieved her sewing machine and plans to get busy making the quilts she so dearly loves to do.  She loves simplicity in her patterns as the same as her simple life in Fort Benton, MT.  We are blessed to have her among us.

The season begins again next week Tuesday, the 17th.  Look for their ad in the River Press as they give much more detail than I have room for.  See you there.

No. 7 - (Cannot print this one.  If you are curious, you will have to get a copy of the magazine.)
No. 8 – We have more folks in the Army, Navy, and Marines than any other states, so don’t mess with Montana.  If you do, you will get whipped by the best.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

View From The Bridge 9/4/13

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

I had seen the Longhorns practicing many times as I passed by the football field.  Although the weather was not football weather, it still seemed time to get started.  Did I get to see my favorite high school team play their first game?  No!  Blood is thicker than water and I went to Spokane, WA for my grandson Bryan’s first Carroll College game of the season.  The rest of my family did go to the Longhorn game and actually called me when the game ended.  My positive thoughts go out to the team and think about how tough it was to play a powerful team like Power, Dutton, Brady your first game of the year.  Better luck next week.  Good job to the Cheerleaders and the Band.  You make the game so much more exciting.  All of you…keep up the good work and do the best your can do.

My guys also enjoyed their first “great hamburger” of the season.  That particular item is one that is high on the priority list.  (Note:  by the time football and basketball season’s are over, I do not want to see another hamburger or nacho until the next season in September of 2014.  (Just a joke Longhorns, Chefs and Fans.)

An interesting item came from the Visitors Information Center on my shift Tuesday, August 27th.  There was a note on the desk that read something like this, “Does anyone know of someone in Geraldine who would take a photo of a certain gravesite?”  I called Hank Armstrong because he lives in Geraldine and he is very knowledgeable about his town, but he was out of town.  I then was told to call Kim Owen who said she would be happy to take care of the matter.
Hank returned my call this morning (Monday,) and I told him that the phone request had been taken care of.  During our conversation came up the, “Who Knew?”  Hank said that there is a web-site that has the cemeteries listed and you can find any grave site with photos.  These photos were taken by volunteers and they have covered most of the cemeteries in the United States.  I did not go any further with it and there may be much more material to be found.

You all must know that my computer and I do not get along.  Perhaps because I was out of town for those few days, I gave it a rest.  Anyway, it was very good to me today.  I put into Search, gravelocatoringeraldine,mt and lo and behold…up it came as clear as a bell.  I than dared to go a bit further and did another search.  I typed in gravelocatorinriversidecemetery,fortbenton,mt and up it came.  A picture of the Gazebo with the sites listed by name alphabetically was on the first page.   When you reach the web site, you can put in the name of a loved one and a photo of that gravesite will come up. 

This is hear-say but I was told that you can join, (for free,) and be able to get a photo of the site.  Sounds like a wonderful deal to me for those who are not fortunate enough to live in Montana.   I hope that this is all news to you and that you are not all bored by reading about cemetery sites.  Now I know everything I wanted to know about how many boards there on The Old Bridge and how to find a cemetery site on the inter-net.  What next?

This week I would like to write about a man who has a fascinating hobby.  We all know about Wayne Hampton and his crafting musical instruments.  Have you all seen the PBS Backroads of Montana segment about him?  If not, it is aired often on PBS.
However:  the person I know is a carpenter.  It was brought to my attention because he recently crafted several items for The Old Fort Benton.  I went to visit The Old Fort Benton twice a couple of weeks ago, (with a grandchild and then again with two great-grandchildren,) to check out the items he had just completed.  Both items are not your modern rake or wheelbarrow.  No, you have to go way back to the 1880”s.  The rake is wooden and large.  It is being kept in The Blacksmith Shop.  The wheelbarrow sits just outside of The Trading Post building and is also made of wood.  It is unlike any wheelbarrow you have ever seen.  It is very large and is flat in the back but curves up in the front. Those pioneers had to be very strong to maneuver those barrows around.

Make a trip to The Old Fort Benton to see these two pieces that were the work of Cal Nelson, a true craftsman.  He not only creates treasures out of wood but his hobby is collecting old woodworking tools.  Wally and I enjoy seeing most of the old tools he has collected from everywhere…garage sales, antique stores, and E-Bay.  I admire a carpenter.  My grandfather was a master carpenter in Hungary.  I have always loved wood and loved my grandfather’s work shop.  As a small child, I used to use the curls of wood he planed off, as curls in my hair.  What fun and a happy memory.

The River and Plains appreciated Cal’s new editions to The Old Fort Benton.  Wonder what the next thing will be?  Perhaps it would be one of those wooden things that they put people’s heads in for punishment.  Know anyone you would like to put in one of those?  If you know of someone with an interesting hobby or collection, let me know.  I have several in mind, but can always use more information.

#6.  We open doors for women…all women…regardless of age.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

View From The Bridge 8/28/13

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

Awesome!  We knew it and now the whole United States of America knows it.  On the front page of The River Press last week was the announcement from Forbes Magazine.  Fort Benton, Montana, is one of fifteen towns chosen by Forbes as the prettiest towns in America.  I have known it for 20 years and it is one of the reasons that I love Fort Benton.

The visitor that I wrote about last week also found it to be true and is what he talked about.  He said to tell the leaders of our community what a great job they had done to beautify Front Street and The Levee, especially The Levee Walking Trail.  Did I mention that he commented on the historic signs and how attractive they are?  He also admired the Visitors Information Center.  I told him the whole story of the beginnings of the Visitors Information Center in the small space where the restrooms now are.  We’ve come a long way from the time we had to close if it rained. 

If I could look into the future I would like to see many additions to The Levee.  I would like to see the Levee Walking Trail extended north and south.  (I know that Fort Benton sits Northeast and Southwest but just to make it simple I refer to it as North and South.)  I would like to see more of the storefronts on Front Street with a western look. 

The F.B.I., (Fort Benton Idealist Organization,) had talked about some small wrought iron tables and chairs outside some of the businesses.  We talked about more attractive waste contains for which I have already gotten a grant.  I would like to start with four containers between the Grand Union and The Old Fire House.  (There is a hold on this project because of details to be worked out with the Disposal Company.)

This idea has never been discussed with anyone except for one of the business owners and me.  The same trash containers could be used to plant trees on the business side of Front Street.

Perhaps I am sticking my neck out far enough to get chopped off but I would like to know what your ideas are.  I know there are those of you who will say, “I do not want any change, I like things the way they are.”  I agree to a point.  Everything changes constantly and we have to go with the flow.  Just as with your home improvements, there are improvements to make our town as attractive and beautiful as we can.  It is called, “Community Pride.”

I have asked many times about comments, suggestions, or ideas to an article that I have written about.  To date, I have never received any phone calls.  I know for a fact that we have many bright people out there reading the River Press.  Just like everyone has a story, everyone has an idea.  Let’s hear about them.

#5.  So every person in a pickup truck waves.  It’s called being friendly.  Try to understand the concept

We returned late Sunday afternoon from Whitefish where we attended our granddaughter Emily’s wedding.
While staying there, we found out that the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Wall was in town.  It was set up in a large field across from the Grouse Mountain Lodge. 
One of the facts that I learned from a V.F.W. Post member/volunteer was that Whitefish was the only town that the Memorial Wall would be displayed in Montana this year.  He said they would pack up tomorrow (Monday,) and move on to Iowa. 

One of the tents had lists of names and panels that guided you to where you could find a particular name.  They also had a sheet with all the Montana names.  There was only one young man from Fort Benton and that was SP4 William Elling Swensgard.  He was killed 9/21/67 in Vietnam.  I did some research but did not find any family ties.  He graduated from Fort Benton High School.  There are no records in the Veterans Photo and Bio book.  If anyone remembers this young man, please contact me.  I’m in the phone book.

Other interesting, heartbreaking facts are that there are 58,272 carved names of American military personnel, dating from 1957 to 1975.  Name rubbings cannot be done on this display but you can send for an authentic rubbing from Washing, D.C.  What a wonderful service that is for those who cannot travel.

These sheets about the Memorial will be placed in the Veterans Bio books at the Sunrise Bluffs.  I was also given a beautiful greeting card with, “SUPPORT OUR TROOPS,” on it.  (Note:  B.J. Conn McIntyre had returned to Fort Benton and took the time to update the Veteran’s Photo project lists before she had to leave again.  I still have to frame the pictures and catch up with the bios.  I will do that a.s.a.p.)