Tuesday, May 28, 2013

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

What a special day last Friday was.  It was the opening day of the Old Fort, the Museum of the Upper Missouri, the Ag Museum with its Homestead Village and Hornaday Buffalo Room.  The ceremony began at 7:00 p.m. and there were blue skies and fluffy white clouds above.  Jack Gladstone, the Native American “Poet/Singer,” entertained us with many songs and short stories about the songs.  His lineage goes back to his great, great, great grandfather so that gives him a great deal of material to write about.

The next up on stage was Darrell Norman and his commentary about the Blackfeet Tribe.  We found it extremely interesting, as we had never heard about the content of many of his stories.  The stories were all historical in nature and it was truly entertaining.

There were some presentations of “Lifetime Memberships to the Museums,” given to Jack Lepley and Bob Doerk’s widow, Mary Doerk.  Mary had donated all of Bob’s books and notebooks to the Joel Overholser Research Center.  I did not know how many books there were as Donna and Mary did the work of  cataloging as is done in a library.  I do know that there are 160 plus notebooks and approximately 75 to 100 booklets, as Brenda, Connie, Mary, and I are cataloging them.  We have not yet completed that work but when we are finished, we will have them all in order and indexed.  It has been a pleasure to work on a project that is invaluable to Fort Benton’s history.  Thank you Mary Doerk.

Randy Morger, Director of the Museums and the Old Fort, said that we could not have a celebration without a cake.  There was then a break in the entertainment while the audience had a piece of cake and coffee.

Just about this time, the sky began to darken and a few raindrops began to fall.  An announcement was made that the last part of the program had to be cancelled.  The audience scattered either into the Fort or to their vehicles.  A wonderful evening had ended as all good things do.

Last Friday was also the opening of the Visitor’s Information Center in the Old Fire House.  A meeting was held on Friday morning with the purpose of former or new volunteers to sign up for a shift.  The hours will be slightly different this year and they are Monday through Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.  Friday through Sunday, they will be 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. 

Even if you cannot be a full-time volunteer but think you could volunteer occasionally, please call the Center (622-3864,) and let them know.  Trust me when I say, you will find it very enjoyable.  You will meet visitors from all over the country and the world.  You will become acquainted with other enthusiastic volunteers and become more knowledgeable about your community.  It truly is “The First Best Place,” in the “Last Best Place.”  Just try it.

In the last few years, I had made the acquaintance of new friend.  Anne Marie Stranahan Shaw’s Celebration of Life was held last Friday here in Fort Benton even though she lived in
Havre and Missoula.  Anne was born, raised, graduated from Fort Benton High School, and was married here.  Her sister, Lorene Stranahan lives in Fort Benton and we know her well as she graduated from high school with my Sweetheart Wally in 1941.

It is vague now, how I met Ann.  I cannot remember if it was because of her first book, “Roscoe and Tooey Montana Runaways,” or because she owned the Havre Book Exchange.  We made a trip to Havre just to visit the Book Exchange, as I was searching for some old books.  She located the books and had them sent to me.  I made a second trip to Havre to visit her with daughter Darcy and son-in-law Glenn who are teachers.  They had much to talk about being in the same profession.

I loved Anne’s Roscoe and Tooey books and we had some conversations about how to publish a book.  Should it be company published or self-published?  Ann was in Fort Benton last Summer Celebration with her second book and I visited with her at Tom’s “20,000 Books.”  She was located on his back lawn and read several chapters of her latest book to the gathered audience.  Of course I had to own it and had to wait for Wally to read it before I did.  The books are all about Fort Benton and some residents but factious as far as the story line.  The books are one of my treasures and when I re-read them, it will keep her memory alive. 

In speaking with David, the only son of Anne’s that I had met previously, he said that he reads the “View” every week.  I asked him if he subscribed and he said that his Mom gave him and his four brothers subscriptions to The River Press for Christmas.  Now that is a great gift for kids, family, and friends for any occasion.  I’m sure Tim will be happy to read this.

The poem on the back of her service brochure, is about traveling alone.  “So, bless the memories in your heart.  And then, when you must come this way alone, I’ll greet you with a smile and a ‘Welcome Home.”

It is just a month away now.  All of the places to stay are booked up so if your company did not plan to stay with you and do not have a reservation, they may be staying with you.  What fun!  Actually, they would only sleep there.  There is so much to do; they would spend the entire day in Old Fort Park, along the Levee, or on Front Street.  You do not have to do any cooking because there is so much good food available.  So enjoy, it only comes round once a year.

Did you think that only seniors could eat at the Golden Age Senior Center?  Not so.  Anyone can have dinner there at 12:00 p.m. every day of the week.  On Sunday, dinner is at 1:00 p.m. and it is a special Sunday dinner 

Did you know about Meals on Wheels?  It is the best thing going for almost any reason but primarily when one has just gotten out of the hospital.  The meals are delivered right to your door between 11:30 a.m. and noon.  It is hot and ready to eat.  You get your allotment of fruits and veggies.  It is a great program for the elderly but also for those who cannot prepare meals for themselves or just do not feel like preparing meals for themselves.  Give it a try if you find yourself in a situation that you are hungry but cannot do for yourself.  Trust me, you will love it.