Tuesday, July 9, 2013

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

ROSE’S 102nd
I just returned, on this gorgeous Sunday afternoon, from Rose Nagengast’s 102nd birthday party.  I am predicting that Rose will one day be the oldest woman in the world.  Longevity runs in the blood of Montanans as it did in Walter Breuning. 

My memories of Rose and our connection were of the Visitors Information Center.  The idea began with Carol Kleinjan and Karen Bryant. Carol was the owner of the restaurant on the corner of Front Street and 14th Street.  Karen was the owner of the Photo Shop. They realized the need for an Information Center.  They arranged a meeting and volunteers signed up to staff an Information Center (of sorts,) in The Old Fire House.  They were allotted a small space where the restrooms are now located.  It was just enough space to set up a table with a couple of literature racks.  (In back of the temporary wall, was storage of the Christmas Nativity set.) 

Wally and I took a time slot that year and I cannot remember why we were not there the second year.  What I do remember is that Rose managed the whole Center the third year.  She spent many hours sitting just inside or outside the old doors.  If it rained, she had to close.  The area was very hard on the literature.  She spent time refilling the racks and talking to Visitors.

The following year she asked me to help.  We began gathering volunteers for some sort of a schedule.  We were successful and the following year plans were being formulating by the City of Fort Benton to finish the big room for use as an Information Center.
Thanks to Rose, we have a Visitors Information Center to be proud of.  Her legacy will always be remembered by those who were in on the deal from the start.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY ROSE and many more.

The Fort Benton Lions Club is holding a “HUGE YARD SALE” at the Chouteau County Fairgrounds on Saturday, July 20th.   Donated items are welcome and calling Don Foreman at 622-5474 will have those items picked up.  They will be stored in their storage building until the 20th.  What more could you ask for in service for donating.  Your presence at the Fairgrounds would also be a valuable asset in the success of the sale.  It should be a great deal of fun for the bargain hunters here in town and a great place to browse. 

The Lions Club is only one of a few service organizations that still exist in town.  I am only familiar with the Lions, the Community Improvement Association, and the General Federation of Woman’s Clubs.  Our Boy Scouts are counted among the organizations but I am not as familiar with what they do.  I will obtain a report on the Scouts next week.

As far as the Lions Clubs involvements, I have a list of 19 projects they are involved in.  Their latest venture was collecting monies for the Fireworks Show at Summer Celebration.  It was very successful and as I reported last week the donations almost equaled what the cost was.  You can still donate by sending a check to the First Security Bank with ‘FIREWORKS,” written on the envelope.

Last week I asked if there were any “Small World” stories that had happened to others.  I received two and they were both great.  Hope you enjoy.

I heard from our “Darling of the Reporting World,” Bethany Monroe.  She had a two-part story.  (Apparently Bethany talks to everyone, friend or stranger, as I do.)  Summer Celebration weekend, she was engaged in conversation with a young lady who said that she lived in Great Falls but was originally from Oregon, south of Oregon City.  Bethany said, “Really, I am from Malalla.”  It is a small town of about 8,000 population.  (Note from Muncie: it seems like a big town to me.)   Bethany was surprised to meet someone who had even heard of Malalla much let alone live there.  To continue the coincidence, she also came to Montana to be near her boyfriend.

And the rest of the story:  When Bethany first came to Fort Benton, she met Samantha Stefani at the Fort Benton Elementary.  Samantha mentioned that she had a sister who lived in Malalia.  Bethany met Sam’s sister and interviewed her when she worked for the Malalia newspaper.  Small world indeed.

The second story comes from Randy Morger.  It involved two strangers who visited The Old Fort while Randy was on duty.  The first man came into the Fort and Randy noted that he had a heavy German accent.  When asked about it, the man said that he was from Switzerland and had immigrated to Canada years ago.

About 45 minutes later another man came in and he also had a heavy German accent.  He told the same story about migrating from Switzerland into Canada.  Randy then got the two men together and this is where the Small World story began.  They were born and raised just a village apart from each other in Switzerland.  Not only that, they had the same last name.  When they returned to Canada, they were going to contact each other and check if they were related.  They had to travel to Fort Benton, Montana to find each other.  That is really a small, small world story.

They have been here before and they are back again to delight us with an evening of these lively International Troubadours.   They were first brought to Fort Benton by Vera Conrod.  They were an immediate favorite group, that have returned to town for several years.  (Note:  Perhaps it has been longer.  It is so difficult to keep up with time.)  Their appearance at The Old Fort fits the occasion.  The day is Saturday and the date is the 13th at 7:00 p.m.  Bring your chairs and something to sip on/snack on.  It is a two hour performance and may the weather be good to us again as it was in the past.

Here is some background on the Four Shillings and Vera Conrod.  Vera’s son David and wife Jill lived in San Francisco in 1985.  Jill was involved in professional theatre and met the Four Shillings. 
It was then that Vera met them.
They came to Fort Benton in 2009 when Vera told Connie Jenkins about them.  They came again in 2006 and performed to a full house in the Culbertson building.  They were invited back in 2009 and 2010 to perform at the Ag Center and The Old Fort.  Do you readers remember how it began to pour rain and we all retreated into the building?  The Four Shillings finished their performance inside and it was comfortable and cozy.  May this coming Saturday be great weather and we will see you there.