Tuesday, March 5, 2013

View From The Bridge 3/6/13

View from the Bridge
by Muncie

There isn’t much to chat about today except the weather. Winter is not going to give up easily. In fact, it may stay around for several months. I remember, not so long ago, when it snowed 8 inches on May the 8th. Please believe me, Mother Nature, I am not complaining. This winter has been fairly mild, with only a few times that snow had to be shoveled. I believe the lowest temperature that I can recall was about 5 degrees below zero. Correct me if I am wrong. March came in like a lamb, so what does that tell you. Actually … nothing at all. How I feel about snow is that it is like rain. It is good for the crops, and that is important. I would advise you to delay sending your winter gear to the cleaners quite yet. I’ll keep my electric blanket on my bed a while longer, too, even though spring will be here in a couple of weeks.

This Sunday evening at 6 pm, I went outside to the truck to turn the heat switch on. I am lucky enough to have the gadget that turns the engine on from the house. I had forgotten to do that the last time I used the truck. At 6:30, I could still see outside. At 8:45, I received a call from my neighbor, Connie, asking if I had looked outside. I went to my kitchen window and could not see outside because the screen was covered with snow. In 20 years, I have never seen that happen. I could hardly see across the street when I went to the entryway storm door.

Connie heard from some travelers who were headed to Great Falls on Highway 87. Near Carter they gave up trying to go any further because they could not see the road. They asked if a certain apartment was available, as they would return to Fort Benton. It was available, and it took them 30 minutes to get back to town. They could only drive 30 miles an hour. They are now safe and sound in a warm house with a cozy bed awaiting them after their stressful journey.

I just checked outside again, and the storm has subsided. It is now 10 p.m. I would guess that we got about two or three inches of snow. Temperature is 30 degrees. We can handle all of that. Isn’t Montana wonderful and exciting from day to day?

I received a great report this morning, Monday, about the turnout last Saturday at the fairgrounds. A count was taken, and about 30 recyclers with a great deal of cardboard participated. Several businesses became involved. As of today, the committee had not yet weighed the cardboard; however, it should prove to be more than the other recycle days.

The committee really appreciates the effort that is being put into this project. I appreciate the effort that the committee is putting into the project. I know how many hours of research and actual hours spent in the field. By the field, I mean the hours spent at the fairgrounds and the hours (and cost of gas) taking the products to Pacific in Great Falls. It is a labor of love, a caring about the environment, air quality, and clean water.

Be sure to get to the fairgrounds on the 16th of March. Make it a banner day.

I checked with the elementary school this morning and found that you have to take the phone books to the office. Make an effort to do that, as we recently received new phone books and the old ones are outdated.

1. My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don’t see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night. Clare – age 6
2. “Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.” Elaine – age 5

The last two evenings of “bingo entertainment” will be next Monday the 11th and two weeks later on March 25th. No more bingo is planned at this time. Interesting bingo news is that the jackpot will be given away either of those dates. It should be a good-sized prize, so you do not want to miss it. Good luck to all you “bingo fans.”

Congratulations, Jack. I’m sure you have read in the Great Falls Tribune and the River Press about Jack’s retirement. I told Jack, as I say to others who have retired, “You will wonder how you had time to work.” Jack deserves a rest; however, he will be here, there, and everywhere around the Ag Center with his wealth of knowledge about Fort Benton history.

There is so much activity going on at the Ag Center, museums, Schwinden Library, and Joel Overholser Research Center these days, it boggles my mind. Seven years ago when I first volunteered at the center, there were four volunteers. I joined Donna, Hank, and Ken. It was very quiet, and I always called Tuesdays my day off. The center is only open on Tuesdays. Today, there are 12 volunteers working at keeping up valuable records of Fort Benton history and Fort Benton residents. It is a very busy place, with dozens of projects involved in the process.

Try to imagine a vertical file for each family in Chouteau County. Joel Overholser, editor of the River Press for over 50 years, and River Press employees worked on cutting out articles throughout each issue of the River Press, and they filed the articles in envelopes labeled with family names and also with the names of organizations, businesses and other subjects. That process stopped when the Overholsers sold the River Press to the Tichenors in 1993. The envelopes with the clippings are at the River Press office.

The importance of historical records is the reason I keep reminding you readers to bring your pictures and family histories to the Schwinden Library for filing. They will be photocopied and you can keep the originals. Copies of birth certificates, marriage licenses and death certificates/obituaries are very important. Old pictures of anything in Chouteau County are important because one never knows when that particular picture will mean something to someone who is doing research. So, “JUST DO IT,” and get that information to the center.

I have often wondered why Fort Benton mail goes to Great Falls every evening and returns in the morning. I chatted with the postmaster a few days ago about why this was the procedure. The answer was quite clear, and in view of what is going on with the Post Office, made a lot of sense. Great Falls has a machine that counts, cancels, and forwards Fort Benton mail. I asked why Fort Benton Post Office didn’t have a machine like that. You guessed it! There is not the volume to warrant a very expensive machine. Now you know the rest of the story.
If you have a question, contact me. I will try to find the answer but please not anything political or religious. I don’t go there.