Tuesday, December 30, 2014

View From The Bridge 12-31-14

VIEW from the BRIDGE
By Muncie

Often times I wish I could play it backwards and peek into the 1880’s and 90’s in Fort Benton. There are so many questions I would like to be answered. I can only read about events at the Joel Overholser Research Center.

I would not like to play it forward because my environmental concerns are bleak. I was interviewed a while back by a college student about aging. I would not want to live my life over. Most people say that if they knew then what they know now, they would do it again.  Of course, that makes sense because you would not make the same mistakes a second time. (You would just make other mistakes.) Since we cannot live our lives over again, I suggest that you enjoy every minute of every day. Make it a Happy New Year.

The Wolf Full Moon is what the Native Americans called the January moon. The story is that amid the cold and snow, the wolves were howling hungrily outside the villages. Other names are the Full Yule Moon and the Old Moon. Take your pick. The Full Snow Moon is my favorite and that certainly applies today, (Sunday the 28th.) It is 2:20 p.m. and I am guessing that we have 5 to 6 inches on the ground. It is a sight to behold from inside and I did enjoy my walk over to the Gold Age Senior Center for dinner at 1:00 p.m. The full moon is on the 5th, (next Monday.) Hopes are that we see it as it lights up the entire south side rooms of this house.

 From the “50 Things You Didn’t Know About Montana” book are the following. (I think that is where I left off.)

22. 46 out of 56 counties in Montana are still considered “frontier counties with less than 6 residents per square mile.

23.  Mary Fields was born into slavery in 18332 and who would later become known Stagecoach Mary. She was one of the toughest women in the Montana Territory. She was described as a “tart-tongued, gun-toting, hard-dirking, cigar and pipe smoking, 6 ft. tall, 200 lb. black woman who was tough enough to take on any two men. She arrived in Montana to establish missionary schools on the Cheyenne, Crow, Blackfoot and Fort Belknap Reservations.  (GO STAGECOACH MARY.)

24.  (No. 24 is not printable in this View. Now I suppose you will go out to buy the book to see what it was.)

I am sure that you all will be relieved to know that Santa contacted me to let me know that I was off the Naughty List. I had his poem printed in the River Press and he considered that a present from me. (Thanks River Press.)  I’ll have to be very careful this coming year especially in November and December when he is checking his list regularly.

I still believe in you even though what I wanted did not materialize. I asked you for the National Championship for the Carroll College football team. Several people said to me that there is always next year. Yes, there is always next year but…it was my grandson’s senior year. After five years to traveling to Helena on Saturdays in the fall or watching the game on my computer, it leaves a huge “what will I do on Saturdays,” hole on my calendar.

The point of this whole thing is that I know that Santa is a football enthusiast. He didn’t do well with the Bobcats and the Griz either. Do you think Montana is too big to cover all the games? College games have now taken over and we have to look forward to, a million of them, the Rose Bowl, and the Super Bowl. I’m all “Bowled” out just trying to keep up.

Would like to remind you to watch the Parade of Roses on HGTV on Thursday. It will be without commercials and the color is outstanding with HD. You know where I will be seating that morning. I’ll be humming, “I Love a Parade.”

There are so many events happening in the New Year. 2015 has such a nice ring to it.  Chouteau County Performing Arts presents Jonathon Kingham on Wednesday the 21st. He is great Folks and I hope to see you there.

The Performing Arts Consortium is being held in Great Falls on January 23rd, 24th, and 25th. Saturday, of that program, is special as you can enjoy an entire day of entertainment when the artists and musicians showcase their acts.

For those of you who are new to Fort Benton, the Performing Arts Consortium is a gathering of all the Performing Arts groups from around the State of Montana. In days gone by, the event was held in bidding towns and cities. A huge winter storm, when it was held in Malta, resulted in the Board of Directors to change the event to be more centralized. As a result Great Falls and Fort Benton were chosen to be hosts every other year.  This year it is in Great Falls and it will be back in Fort Benton in 2016.

Of course, having it in Fort Benton was wonderful for our town. We have the most beautiful auditorium in the Elementary school for the showcases and the Ag Center for the booth setups and meals. Chandee is the greatest caterer in Montana and she not only services Fort Benton but Great Falls as well. (Imagine her hauling all that food from Loma to Great Falls. She says it is all in a day’s work.)

In October I was invited by Chandee to a birthday party at Ma’s for a mutual friend. We went to her home to give her a ride and we toured her new commercial kitchen. I am not a cook but I would love to have a kitchen like that. A place for everything and everything in its place. They converted their garage into culinary heaven. Everything she cooks and bakes are perfection but she is the most famous for her “Fry Bread.” You will never taste better…even in Mexico or wherever they began doing it.

Next Friday is the first home game of the season. It should be very interesting with the merged teams. Looking forward to not only the games this season, but those great hamburgers at the concession stand. (I take my own sliced onion as sometimes they do not have them prepared. I’ll share with you if I see you in the lunch room. I do not like to eat in the stands because I always, and I mean always, spill my drink.) See you there.

January 3rd, Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to noon, will be a welcome date to meet at the Dedman Foundation with all your recyclables. I am sure that many of you have accumulated an overabundance of plastic bottles, aluminum cans, and cardboard boxes from the holidays. It is going to be very cold this week and perhaps you can tie your papers and etc. in the house.

The report I gave you on the poundage gathered by the Committee is so impressive. What a great job they are doing. Remember if the weather is below 10 above, the collection day will be the following week.

I forgot to tell you this Thanksgiving story. It was a nice, sunny, clear day, and I was on my way to the Sunrise Bluffs for dinner. I drove down Main Street and when I reached the Paddle Wheel Playground, I had to stop. There were parents with their children enjoying playing in the park.

Thanks to the General Federation of Woman’s Clubs the City Crew, and several very generous donators, we have a playground that people actually stop in Fort Benton so their children can enjoy it. I had visitors relate this to me at the Visitors Information Center during the visitor season. But at Thanksgiving? It made me very thankful that I live here.


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

VIEW from the BRIDGE
by Muncie

I received an e-mail sent on Monday the 15th, informing me that the View had to be in on Thursday the 18th. Therefore, the View will be short and sweet (I hope.)

I wish you a Merry Christmas, I wish you a Merry Christmas, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  Good tidings to you, wherever are. Good tidings for Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Well, here it is already.  The Eve of the greatest holiday seems to have more celebration than the biggest day. However you celebrate be careful and enjoy.

My family, when I was back in Michigan, celebrated the 21st not only as the first day of winter but as the eve, of the eve, of Christmas Eve’s eve. Can you follow that one?  Since three of my boys are back east, they always get in touch on the 21st. It is now a tradition. I really love it because it means that the next day the days began to get longer. Hurray!  Things are looking up.

I picked up a 2015 calendar and have already started filling it in. January will not be a boring month. There are many events to be attended and I’ll try to keep you posted.

Have you wondered where the Lions calendar is? I found one today, (Wednesday the 17th) at the First Security Bank for a donation. (I’m suggesting $10.00 as we previously paid.) I found out that the calendars are available at most businesses.

I love that calendar because it lists birthdays and anniversaries. If you are on the calendar and your information is incorrect, please see Larry at the First Security Bank.

I will resume Montana until after the holidays.

I attended the concert at the Elementary school on Tuesday the 16th evening. Again, as at the Christmas Concert, it was so enjoyable. It was short and sweet. I would like for it to be longer but realized how much practice went into the pieces they played. The difficult pieces that were played were by musicians unknown to me and expanded my very slight knowledge of music.

I would encourage the soloist, Katt Kirkpatrick to continue her voice training. She is a special singer. We all know Joellyn Clark who is the accompanist on many occasions at the Elementary School. Bravo to Eric Lenington, the members of the High School orchestra, Katt, and Joellyn. You made the evening full of Christmas spirit.

Most Friday nights will see many of us at the basketball games. Since we did not see much football this year, looking forward to basketball games is exciting. Pick you schedules up at various locations around town and see you there.

Did you see on TV the decorating of the Whitehouse? Friends tell me that it is on every year. I have never seen it before but I have seen the outside tree lighting. What a fun hour watching volunteers decorate dozens of trees with hundreds of lights and bulbs. It is like watching the North Pole Elves at work. Watch for it as I cannot give you a channel number because we all have different providers.

Our Troops were especially honored that leads me to say, GOD BLESS AMERICA, OUR TROOPS, and WEAR RED ON FRIDAYS.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

VIEW from the BRIDGE
By Muncie

I’m in big trouble with Santa and he put me at the top of his “Naughty List.” I received a phone call from the North Pole advertising department saying that I had not mentioned Santa taking time out of his busy schedule to make a visit to the Fort Benton Christmas Concert. I was told that I mentioned everyone else but not a word about Santa and his specially written poem for Fort Benton.

Actually, I had made arrangements for the River Press to print his poem on another page because it was too long for the View. It was supposed to be a surprise. As it turned out, there wasn’t space for it last week but check out the River Press this week and see if you can find it.  So Santa, take note, when you read your Press this week you will find what I had planned as a little surprise for your Christmas present. I would also like to tell you that many concert goers come to the concert just to see you and listen to your poem. You certainly did not disappoint us. Your hardy laughter and ho, ho, ho’s, (as Clint Eastwood would say,) “Made My (Our) Day.” Merry Christmas to you, and to all of my readers. You are all special.

Am I back on your “Nice” list?

Every year the Chouteau County Library has an ornament day. You can make a Christmas ornament, a wonderful keepsake, to put on your tree. They supply all the makings and give helpful directions. This year’s ornament was a paper clip Angel. You had your choice of various color ribbons that were the hangers.  The ribbon went through a hole in the Angel’s wooden head. The Angel also had her head attached to the paper clip with a crown all held together with the ribbon.

It was such fun and I have to confess that the Liberians actually made my Angel. I could not manage getting the ribbon through the wooden head and crown. Then it had to be tied and I am about as clumsy as one can get. I have my Angel hanging in my kitchen window so wave to her when you go by on Main St. It is the same window that I can look out to see the Christmas lights on Front St. There is just something special about Angels at Christmas time. Perhaps it is because we are all trying to be as good as an Angel.

I just spoke with the Library and they said that they will leave all the fixings out on the table until Friday. It isn’t too late to make this year’s ornament and make sure you do not miss out next year.

While you are at the library to make your ornament, take out books, or return books, you can check out the collections of Nativity sets brought in for the display. There are 57 different and unusual sets on display and they are beautiful. Your children will love them. (I do not think that those on the Naughty list are like Angels.)

I do not know of any other way to get this suggestion to organizations short of going to all the meetings I could attend. I think that you know that would be an impossible activity especially in this unpredictable weather.

Something I would like to see accomplished is a report from all the organizations, the Hospital, the Library, the VFW, the American Legion, Woman’s Club, the Lions, River and Plains, and anyone else who has meetings and does volunteer work.  I would like to see monthly reports in the River Press on what your projects are, what is going on with your group, and any other interesting and informative information.

It is not that you will be blowing your own horn. It would be letting the River Press readers be informed as to what is going on in the community. I know this would be another job, probably the secretary’s, but I really enjoy those that keep us informed. I know that Bethany keeps us up to date with City Council and Commissioner meetings, and other events out and about. The Extension Service from Tyler Lane, school news from Fort Benton, Geraldine, and Highwood, Nancy Lachapell from the Garden Club, the Senior Citizen news, the Weather Reports and more are what I find interesting and informative. (I hope I didn’t leave anyone out.)

Remember that readers ask me what is going on as if I know. Trust me, I do not. The fact is that I am usually the last one to know. It is a small town but sometimes I find out something I have done before I do it.

If you agree with this idea, please let your organizations know.

I learned this past week that these 50 Things came from the book, “50 Things You Didn’t Know About Montana.” I’ll have to check my library because I am quite sure that I have that book. If memory serves me correctly, I put these facts into the View once before a long time ago. I originally found the book on every table in a restaurant somewhere in Montana. When I recently began these facts, I did not know where they came from.  I took them from an e-mail that someone sent to me.

19. The bed of bison bones at First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park in Montana is 13 feet deep.

20. Fort Peck Dam is the largest earth filled dam in the world and the photo of it was the first to grace the cover of Life magazine in November 23, 1936.

21. It is illegal to operate a vehicle with ice picks attached to the wheels within the city limits of Whitehall, Montana.

I did get to the Riverside Cemetery on Saturday morning for the Wreaths Across America ceremony but I did not last long. It was very chilly for me and it began to sprinkle. By the time I reach the truck, I had to turn on the windshield wipers.

I did want to tell you about the ceremony because I have always purchased wreaths but had never attended the ceremony. It was a tear jerker as the VFW Color Guard presented the Flag. The National Anthem was played and some of us sang. The Boy Scout Troop put wreaths for each United States Service on memorial stones as the name was called out.

Diane Jones read the history of the Wreaths program. She then called upon Mrs. McDonald’s 6th grade students to read Veteran’s stories that were gathered at a program at the high school last week. After several readings, I had to wimp out because it was too cold for me. I wish that those letters could be printed, (perhaps one a week,) in the River Press.  Please check it out Bethany. I would love to read them and check out if they are in the Veterans Photo program.

On the TV news that evening, they showed Wreaths Across America in Great Falls and Washington, D.C. Last year Great Falls had a total of 12 wreaths and this year it increased to 50. Your small town of Fort Benton sold or placed in memory over 200 wreaths. What a remarkable feat.

I also saw that the Governor made an appearance at the Veterans Hospital in Columbia Falls, Montana. I would like to see him come to Fort Benton because of this strong Veterans program. The committee sold more wreaths per capita than any other in Montana.

I am going to check out this week how many men and women Chouteau County are in the service of our country at the present time.  I was on top of that when the Veterans Photo project began, but have no idea of its status today. I’ll try to let you know next week.

In the last few weeks I have received about a half dozen photos for the Hallway of Veterans Photos at the Sunrise Bluffs. I am way behind in this project as I lost time at the Research Center this year. I have corrections to make on the gold labels, photos to be scanned and framed, and bios to type up. I will get to this project as soon as possible. Please be patient with me if you have asked me to do something and it is not yet completed.

Last Friday I did not realize it was Friday. I had on a Christmas sweatshirt and it wasn’t even red. On the way to my truck at the Mini Mall I met two friends who were so proud to show me that they were wearing red. It was only the second time in all the years since we started the program in Fort Benton that I forgot. I cannot see the shirts that are printed with Support Our Troops because most everyone has a coat on. I am happy that my friends could not see that I didn’t have red on. Do you remember that about 300 shirts were sold?

Do you thank Veterans and those you see in uniform for their service? They need to know.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

VIEW from the BRIDGE
By Muncie

What an awesome weekend. The Chouteau County Old Fashioned Christmas was the most fun day as the weather permitted my daughter, (from Great Falls) and me to walk around town. The “goodies” added a few pounds that will be mighty hard to lose. The weather denies me from walking it off but I will wear my coat everywhere anyway.

From Front St. we proceeded onward to drop off recycling. The next stop was the Ag Center and if you did not have the Christmas Spirit after being there, you never will.  We walked through first just checking out what we “we could not live without.” Next in line was Tonya’s famous Taco soup that was a very generous portion. Yummy! It really hit the spot.

Then we returned to the aisles and aisles of very different kinds of homemade and crafty gift items. They were much different than Summer Celebration vendors and I am sure it was because of Christmas. It was definitely geared toward gifts for others rather than for yourself. Reports were much the same from the vendors. They all did well. What I enjoyed the most was seeing so many friends and they were enjoying themselves.

We returned to Front St. to check out a couple of businesses that we missed the first time around. We concluded our day by a visit to the Grand Union where we turned in our colored circles that we collected from the businesses for a purchase and that would be entered in a prize drawing.

The only thing I really would like to have done was visit all the other communities that were involved. There just isn’t enough time in the day. If there is anyone of you readers who was able to do that, I would love to hear from you.

To top off this wonderful Chouteau Country Old Fashioned Christmas Celebration weekend, the weather cooperated, I just returned home from the Christmas Concert (Sunday) at the Fort Benton Elementary School. AWESOME!  I think I mentioned before that all events get better every year. If you were not amongst the over 400 concert goers, you missed the best ever.
I hardly know where to start. I think the beginning would be a good place and that was with Peter and Molly and friends. I did not retain all the names but I am sure that Bethany will have them in her article about the concert.

I would love to live next door to Peter and Molly so I could hear them practicing every day. Their lives are filled with music and they so effortlessly share it with their family, friends, and students.

(I have a story to share with you readers. I had a couple sitting in the row in front of me and they had three children. The two children were keeping time to the music when the first two Christmas songs were jazzed up. I asked the woman what their names were and found out that they were Peter and Molly’s children. Toby is 5 and Hosanna is 4 years old. It makes me wonder if music is hereditary. Peter and Molly…you have it all…talent, great kids, Highwood, and each other.)

Next on their program was a song that Molly wrote and sang. It was called the “Christmas Box” and it was special. There followed a couple of Charlie Brown songs that I know the kids recognized and enjoyed.

Next on the program was Michelle Danreuther who not only played the piano but ended her performance with the harp. Have you ever heard Christmas music on a harp?  It was like what heaven must be like. It was a tear jerker for me.

On stage next were the “Dancing Darlings” under instructor Wendy Bird. You are amazing Wendy because your girls looked like the Rockettes. (If you young people do not know who they are…check the internet.) What about those costumes? They were just adorable. Can you purchase them or do you mothers have to sew? I had friends who had kids ice skating and roller skating in competition. They spent hours sewing sequence on.

The audience could see how they have improved since last year. It is apparent Wendy that you have taught them love of dancing because they all seemed to be having a great time.

What about that Fort Benton High School band? Weren’t they a professional looking group with music teacher Eric Lenington as the director and again I thought I was in Radio City Music Hall? You are #1 on my list and I am looking forward to your Christmas Concert.

Thank you to Jim Taylor Motors for their sponsorship and to the Price Rite for the treats at intermission. Please let them know that you appreciate their efforts.

I just have to tell you this story. It is about the cash prizes given out by the Chamber of Commerce for shopping the participating businesses. For purchases at a business, you were given a colored ring like they made years ago made from paper to decorate the Christmas tree. (It was like the Creepy Crawl at Halloween when you collected spider legs except the rings were given if you made a purchase.)

I collected three rings and my daughter collected five. We turned them in on Saturday evening and the winners of the cash prizes were to be announced by Cheryl Gagnon at the concert.

After intermission, Cheryl gave her talk thanking everyone who participated in what I will call the “Shop‘til You Drop Walk.” She said, “You know you live in a small town when you put your first name on a slip of paper and everyone in town knows who it is.”  I won the third prize of $40.00. What fun! I rarely win anything except a couple of 50/50’s at Woman’s Club in 20 years. The Creepy Crawl and the Shop‘til You Drop Walk were fun and so well organized.

16. The Montana constitution mandates that all students must learn Native American history, culture, and history.

17. A cowboy once insisted on riding his horse to his room in the Grand Union Hotel, in Fort Benton, Montana. When the manager objected, the two exchanged gunfire. The cowboy was killed before he and his horse made it to the top of the stairs. Fourteen slugs were later removed from his body.

18. A Gideon bible was first placed in a hotel in Montana.

Do you remember when Ruth Arent was visited Fort Benton a few months ago? She did a reading of a few of her poems at the Golden Age Senior Center. The name of the book was “I Am Older than Most of You.” It was geared for us older seniors but perhaps if younger people read it, they would understand us a little better.

I have taken a few copies of the book to the Senior Center and they are $6.00. It would be great stocking stuffers for your wife, husband, parents and grandparents. Make a trip to the Center to pick up a copy and have lunch. The menus are in the River Press weekly and you cannot beat the price. I especially love the days that they serve soup and a sandwich. You also get salads, vegetables, coffee, tea, and dessert to go with your meal. The meal is served at 12:00 noon on weekdays and 1:00 p.m. on Sundays.

A summary of the Recycle Effort Program was handed to me when I drove up last Saturday morning. What a gigantic effort the committee took on. This year of 2014, they have collected 94,360 lbs. that equates to 48,180 tons of recyclables. How much of that was yours? Are you making an effort to recycle? Is it too much of a bother? Do you not believe that there are 50 billion plastic bags being used each year and billions of plastic bottles floating in the oceans? It is impacting our population today but can you imagine, if it goes on, what it will mean to our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren? I hope this means something to you and with a small amount of research, you will start recycling today.

GOD BLESS AMERICA, OUR TROOPS, (every day but especially at this holiday time of year,) and WEAR RED ON FRIDAYS

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

View From The Bridge 12/3/14

VIEW from the BRIDGE
By Muncie

There will be a whole lot of baking going on this month for the women of the Golden Age Senior Center. Please pay attention to the change of Pie Day from the second Friday of the month to the third. The HOLIDAY COOKIE SALE will be on WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 10th from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The PIE DAY will be changed to the THIRD FRIDAY, DECEMBER 19th at the usual 2:00 p.m. Obviously it had to be divided because all the baking could not be done for one day.

I purchased about 2 lbs. of cookies last year and put them in the freezer. I had a “cookie-a-day” for a long while. I am just sorry that it is only once a year but also realize how much work that is. The Senior Center does not have many fund raisers so please support this one.  It will be very satisfactory to your tummy.

I simply do not know how these women can do all this baking. Part of the reason I no longer bake is that I cannot organize my time very well lately. The second reason is why I should when I am supplied with Christmas cookies once a year and awesome pies once a month? I now think that I will buy 4lbs. of cookies this year so they might last until next Christmas.   Enough of that dessert already.

You Griz fans must be excited with their win on Saturday. I, on the other hand, will not be going to Dayton Beach, FL as the Saints lost their games. To add to my disappointment was the fact that I could not watch it on the computer nor could I hear it on the radio. Neither the Griz nor the Bobcats games were on TV. What is going on in Montana? Other sates big college games are nationally televised. It’s time to get on the phone to complain but who do you call to complain to?

Oh well, I will be able to spend the entire day this coming Saturday at the Chouteau County Christmas celebrations. I have checked my schedule list twice and again and I even can foresee by the reports that the weather will be decent.

I have always wanted the Christmas lights along Front St. lit before Thanksgiving. Perhaps I have not paid much attention the last few years but this year as I looked out my kitchen window, I could see the lights were on the Monday before Thanksgiving. It cheered up my whole week. Thanks Skip and crew. I do not know how much Santa pays you but it isn’t enough as far as I am concerned.

I will not even discuss it. The worry was about those traveling over passes and through the canyons to grandmother’s house. It is a great relief to know that they are all back safely to their homes. The reports kept me from going to Helena on Saturday and it was a good decision early last week when we learned from weather reports what Saturday would be like.  I have a cross-stitched framed sampler in my house that reads, “I wonder what it was I worried about a year ago.”

13. The earthquake in 1959 left Hebgen Lake in Gallatin County, Montana to recede 22 ft. leaving a wide gravel beach along its lakefront.

14. In 1903 the library in Bozeman, Montana was intentionally built across the street from the red light district and opium deans.

15. Montana is the only state in the United States that does not have a ban on texting. (I checked this and as of 6/12/14 No. 15 is a fact.  It is time for all of you readers to call your Congressman/women and Senators.)

I faced the cold on Sunday evening to attend a poetry reading of Margie Bernstein’s “The Poet & the Wolf.”

Ross Rettig, who plays a mean guitar but would not give it to me, provided the audience with music between each poem.

A bonus was the Bernstein’s youngest daughter, who is a professional ballet dancer and did a ballet dance routine to modern music. She came from Chicago to spend the holiday with her parents in rural Fort Benton. Awesome! Again I felt, when I closed my eyes, as though I was in a Broadway theatre.

The finale was homemade apple cake and blueberry bars for dessert baked by Margie. A great time was had by all.

When I left a suburb near Detroit 22 years ago on December 7th, detractors said that I would miss people and culture. How wrong they were. I found Fort Benton, my extended family, and more historic culture than anywhere else in Montana. I have all of you that I am thankful for.

I returned a few minutes ago from the funeral of one of my most faithful readers. I did not know her well until my stay for therapy after my knee replacement. I learned from her daughter that Verna wanted to know when I was going to write the View again. I visited her and did not have to learn to love her. She was so warm heated and so interested in what I wrote on the board because she was hard of hearing. One had to communicate with her by writing.

Verna was very active at the Golden Age Senior Center and many other organizations. She retired from the Senior Center in 1992 when I moved here. I did not hang out at the Center as I do now. I am happy that I knew her and she wall live on in many people’s hearts. So long for now Verna.

I made a trip to the library today to add my collection of Nativity sets to their display.  Please make a trip to see the display but especially to see mine. (How do you like that for advertising?) It is a very good project since we cannot have our outdoor Nativity set up by the Information Center any longer. I just do not understand why this is happening.  I would think that more people want it than do not want it. Oh well, Marry Christmas and think about the meaning of that day.

I said that I would have printed the words to the song that Butch Hankins sang at the dedication on Veteran’s Day. It was titled, “Soldiers Last Letter.” It is too long to put in the View and after the holidays I will make arrangements for the words in a separate column. In the meanwhile…


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

View From The Bridge 11/23/14

“View from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

I know that I said it last week but it bears repeating. As of today, (Monday afternoon,) it looks as though there may be some problems traveling. Start early and take your time if you are going to be on the road. Have a great holiday and I am sure that there will be stories to share.  I would be thankful if you would share them with me.

I must get out to the shed and find the Santa Hats. It was a ritual for us. Actually, I have a purple Carroll College Santa Hat. When I am out and about around town, please do not say to me that I should be wearing “RED EVERY DAY” before Christmas. Who should I be loyal to? I know…I’ll wear the red one on Fridays.

This is an update on the full moon that is due on December 6th. You would only have two days’ notice after the 12/3 edition of the River Press is in your mail. I do not, as I think back, that I saw the full moon in November because it was overcast. I did see it the next night.

The full moon on December 6th is called the Full Cold Moon or the Full Long Night Moon for obvious reasons. Just think though, two weeks later, the days begin getting longer. I hope that makes you feel better about the cold and the long nights. No! Not much on these cold and dark nights. This past week was somewhat encouraging. We didn’t get the snow flurries and rain they predicted for late Saturday evening and today Sunday. Let’s count our blessings that we are not like Buffalo, N.Y. The only thing I like about that is their name.

It is lining up to be the best ever. I feel that local talent is the more enjoyable. They love living here or they would not be here. They share much of the daily living of our small communities. They breathe the same air that we do. That means a lot to me and I am anxiously waiting for that day, a week from next Sunday.

By the way, the auditorium looked so professional with the newly covered seats. I felt as though I was walking down the aisle at Radio City Music Hall.

Our M.C., (Randy Morger,) mentioned that there still remains a balance on the payments of the seat covers. It would be a good time to purchase a seat for a Christmas present for a loved one or yourself. Remember that the names of the donors will be on a plaque near the entrance doors. What a wonderful legacy to leave for your descendants in years to come.  Just do it!

I thought that last weeks “so called facts,” were believable. I just wish I could remember when I want to recall in telling.  Enjoy these this week.

10. Montana is the only state to allow double proxy weddings. In other words, both the bride and the groom are allowed to have stand-ins exchange matrimonial vows on their behalf.  Double, proxy divorces, unfortunately, do not exist.

11. Montana is the only state that has rivers that drain into three different oceans, the Pacific, the Atlantic, and the Artic, (by way of drainage into Hudson Bay.)

12. Montana has more residents (8.529) per 10,000 people) serving in the United States Military than any other state. It is the only state without a modern naval ship named in its honor.

With collections once a month, the recycling really piles up. I try to tie up and organize when we get breaks in the weather so I can work in the garage. I am semi organized with perfectly sized boxes for newspapers and magazines, 3 large plastic contains for plastics, aluminum cans, and metal cans. As of late, I have had to arrange for pickups because of Saturday football games. I have always been accommodated and my admiration for the Recycle Committee is unending. What a fantastic job they are doing. They go above and beyond the call of duty. Just wanted the Committee to know how the community feels about you.

Did you know that the General Federation of Woman’s Clubs National Convention gave an award to Fort Benton, Montana for the best recycling program in the United States? Congratulations to not only the Committee but to those in the community who supported the program.

The University of Montana Grizzlies and the Carroll Saints both won on Saturday. The weather was good but some people did not like the wind. As it turned out, the Griz and the Bobcats are in the playoffs. The Saints played their first playoff game and it will be a big one next Saturday when they play Southern Oregon for the third time. It will be a nail biter for me especially if I am not able to go to Helena because of the weather. I would have to watch it on my computer. A few times I lost the game on the computer, after I paid for it, could not retrieve it, could not find it on a radio station, and had no idea what was happening. Oh well, “what ever will be will be,” as they say in Greece, (Do I have the right country?)


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

View From The Bridge 11/19/14

VIEW from the BRIDGE
By Muncie

Although it is not a very happy day for the turkeys, I wish you all a very happy day with family and friends. If you are traveling, please be as cautious as possible, (as if you wouldn’t,) and make more memories at your destination.

The phase “create memories” has come to my attention often lately. Thanksgiving Day is the perfect time to create memories when everyone is together to share. It is like creating “memoir’s,” vocally instead of writing. Everyone will remember a different way and to share those memories is precious. Enjoy every minute of that day.

The dedication of Billy Swensgard Memorial was a very special time on Veteran’s Day. The ceremony at the Old Bridge at 11:00 a.m. was attended by about a dozen brave souls. It was the first time I remember being able to see the wreath float down the river. The water was the calmest I have ever seen it as I watched it float away.

One of the Honor Guard said that they had forgotten one thing. They had meant to put a name and phone number on the wreath to perhaps learn where it floated to. Perhaps someone will remember next Memorial Day to attach identification to the wreath. I do remember one year, someone from Loma found it. The Honor Guard would like it if it floated all the way to New Orleans.

Because of the bitter cold, the Dedication was held at the Golden Age Senior Center at 2:00 p.m. There was a sign at the park and someone in a vehicle to notify participants of the change. Mostly the notification was by word of mouth.  I tried to take a count of the individuals who attended at the Center, but lost count each time. We judged there were between 30 and 40 people.

The Color Guard did their thing inside but the 21 gun salute took place across Front Street. We told the audience that they did not have to go outside but most of them did step outdoors in the cold. They all returned for refreshments that were a Vietnam menu type of food.

We then had a reading of Billy’s Army service, a reading of the plaques that will be placed on the memorial tables, a story by Larry Krumwiede of Carter of how Billy saved his life from drowning, a humorous story from teacher Joanna Sorkness from PA about Billy in the 5th grade, and then a surprise.

Diane asked me if I knew anyone with a guitar. It seems that Butch Hankins said that he knew a song he had heard in Vietnam. (Now, who knew that Butch was in Vietnam, that he could sing and play the guitar?) I volunteered the guitar that was given to me by Garth Brooks. Randy was sent to get it. It was an awesome song titled “Soldiers Last Letter.”

The annual Veterans Day dinner at the Sunrise Bluffs hosted by the V.F.W. time frame was close to 5:00. A program that included the introduction of Billy’s family, the reading of several documents, Larry and Joanna’s stories, and Butch singing the song was repeated. It was the first time for those who did not make it to the Senior Center.  After the program was concluded, over 100 Vets, their families, and guests were served a fantastic dinner. Nothing the Committee could have done would have made the day more perfect.

One last note; Diane Jones did not get the credit she deserved. She was the Mistress of Ceremonies and gave credit due to everyone except herself. She gave me way too much credit and I actually did nothing compared to what she did. Fort Benton is fortunate to have her living back here. I envy her because she was raised in Fort Benton and graduated from Fort Benton High School. I am an import of 21 years, love this small town, and feel so lucky to have been planted here.

Two weeks from Saturday, December 6th, will be the Chouteau County Christmas.  I have a copy of the schedule and it is fabulous. It is beyond me how the Committee can pack so much to do into one day. Actually, there are events scheduled for the 5th and 7th.  Schedules will be in most businesses so pick up a copy and plan your days so you do not miss anything.

On Sunday, take time off to relax and enjoy the Christmas Concert. The regulars will be there including Peter, Molly, and friends, Michelle Danruther on the harp and piano, the Powerhouse Dancers (remember how cute they were,) the Fort Benton High School Band and soloist, a Sing-a-Long, and the very special visit from Santa and his latest poem. I do not care if it is the worst blizzard possible; I am going to be there. If there is a blizzard, I may have to run a rope from my house to the Fort Benton Elementary School so I am not lost in some snow drift. (I learned that from watching old movies about farmers and ranchers.) I am not sure that all of you readers know that I live within a block of the school.  It’s a piece of cake. Now, getting to the Ag Center may be another story but I am wishing for good travel weather. (The above is just a lot of joshing about the weather.)

I want to apologize to Mother Nature for blaming her for the sudden change in temperature. It was not her at all. It was Ol’ Man Winter that caused the change. He is a tough customer to deal with and he hung on with vengeance. Things warmed up last night after being 14 degrees in Helena at the Carroll Saint’s game. When I went to bed at midnight Saturday and it was 28 degrees here in Fort Benton. The sun was out today, Sunday, and the roads were slushy and the temp is now 27 at 4:30 p.m. My regards to Mother Nature. (I would not want to upset her.)

No, I did not freeze to death as all of my friends worried about me. I had on 4 layers of clothing, 2 pair of socks with boots, my long down coat with hood, and a pair of gloves inside a pair of mittens. I also had hand warmers in each mitten.  It was Parents Day and we had to walk out onto the field, be introduced, and our picture taken. When up in the stands, our feet were a little cold because we were sitting in a snow bank as the stands had not been cleared of snow. We had to keep our toes juggling to keep them warm as there was no room for warmers in the boots.

Carroll is #1 in the standings but a coach who gave a short speech, said we are not to pay attention to that. The Saints are in the playoffs next Saturday and they are treating it as one game at a time. I am NOT planning on Nationals like I did last year. The championship game was held in Rome, Georgia and Carroll lost out in the semi-final.  Rome had a contract for 5 years and this year the National Championship is being held in Daytona Beach, Florida. I would like Carroll to win as it is my grandson Bryan’s senior year. (I know I have told everyone that he is going to be a nurse.) I am not planning or committing for the trip. On the other hand, who would not want to be in Florida on December 19th?

(Note that I put them in alphabetical order.) Their big game comes up next Saturday also. It will be the game to watch for all of Montana. They fought hard for their positions. I will not tell you which team I favor, just as I will not talk about if I am a Democrat or Republican, (in alphabetical order.) I hope that you never tire of my own made up jokes.  Please tell me you laugh.

Did you know that Bingo has started again at the Club House? It is held every first and third Monday. However, it was not held on the 17th but a Turkey Bingo on Saturday the 22nd at 6:00 p.m. Try to make that fun evening. Put it on your calendar now.

I did not have enough room last week for the Montana facts. I did however check about a wife committing a felony if she opened her husband’s mail. I consulted a lawyer who said that he thought it never did exist. This makes me wonder if any of the so called facts are true about Montana. If you remember, I received the e-mail but have no idea where it came from. I think they are kind of interesting but if anyone disputes them, please let me know.

7.  When Great Falls High School was built in 1886, a band of sheep was used to compact the earth around the foundation.

8.  Jordan, Montana, the county seat for Garfield County, is 175 miles for the nearest airport, 85 miles from the nearest bus line, and 115 miles from the nearest train.

9.  It is perfectly legal to ride your house home if you have had too much to drink. (Is that known as a designated horse? That is my stuff folks.)


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

View From The Bridge 11/12/14

VIEW from the BRIDGE
By Muncie

We cannot complain Folks. It has been a beautiful fall. Do you ever remember a Halloween when the temperature was 71 degrees? I hope that you had your winter coats, hats, gloves and boots all ready to go.

The only thing that bothers me somewhat is the fact that we have about 13 hours of darkness these days. We can expect to have more dark time in the next six weeks. I look forward to December 21st when winter officially sets in and the days began to get longer. The backside of that is that there are actually 3½ months of dark ahead of us.

All advice givers say to catch up with unfinished projects during those long winter days. Have you ever done so? I do not believe it but will try again this cold season.

For me, it is easier to put on more warm clothing and turn up the heat when it is cold. Unless you have a swimming pool, it is difficult to cool off in the summer. Just try to remember those two months of 90 degree weather we had last summer. Wish we could bottle it.

By the time you get this edition of the River Press, Veterans Day will be over. The year or more of the planning by the committee, of the dedication of the Billy Swensgard’s memorial will be just a memory. As of today, the plaques for the two memorial tables are not in place because installation cannot be done in this kind of weather. It will have to wait until next spring. When that time comes be sure to take a walk around Veterans Way Memorial Park and read Billy’s story on the plaques. He gave his life to protect us during an unpopular war. I do not know exactly what that means…unpopular? Do you know of any war that was popular?

The response, in the last week, about the soldier from Big Sandy was awesome. When I was in Big Sandy a couple of weeks ago, I asked about the Haagensen family and was told that there was no one from the family left. I did not realize that meant there was just no one left in Big Sandy.

Daughter Valerie contacted me about the Haagensen being her neighbors when she lived in Big Sandy. She said that David had a brother and a sister. Val said she had the sister’s phone number at home and would call me with the number.

Shortly afterward I received a phone call from Jay Worrall telling me that David Haagensen has a brother in Texas and a sister in Helena. He gave me her name, Ruda Marshall, and phone number. When I called her, she said that she would come to Fort Benton on Tuesday. We are also going to honor David that afternoon and evening with stories about his life. As Bethany reported last week, David was the most decorated soldier killed in Vietnam from Montana. Ruda said that she has most of the medals and would bring them with her. I hope that Ruda can make it from Helena but if not we will arrange for her to come another time.

Today, Sunday late afternoon, the forecast does not look very promising for the outside dedication. I know that there are family members who are invited as guests and will be unable to attend. One of Billy’s brothers is driving from Oregon. We cannot expect Mother Nature to cooperate with our plans for events.

I remember one year when I coordinated the Summer Celebration Day Parade. On Saturday morning it was pouring rain and did not look as though it would let up. Within an hour the committee had to decide whether to cancel. We did and it was the first time the parade was ever cancelled in its history. Do you remember that day?

Yes, it is time again for Pie Day. The ordering of pies ahead of time for those who want a whole pie, is working well. The neat part of that program is that you can order whatever kind of pie you want.

On Tuesday, the 18th is the once a month 5:00 p.m. dinner at the Golden Age Senior Center. It is limited to 48 people so get your name on the list a.s.a.p. Call the Center at 622-360l.

Did you know that our Golden Age Senior Center has lunch, (more like dinner,) seven days a week? This also includes Meals on Wheels.  Everyone is welcome; the meals are excellent, and reasonably priced. I get Meals on Wheels and I cannot make my own meals for what I spend a month. I found that there are others who do not cook for themselves. I found it difficult to make meals for two and even more difficult to plan for one. I really appreciate that Fort Benton has such a great program. Check the River Press each week for the menus.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. If I have my dates correct, the Chouteau County Christmas is only 3 weeks away. The Christmas Concert will be on Sunday of that weekend. For our women readers…where could you spend a great day of breakfast, lunch, entertainment, and shop-till-you-drop? It is warm and cozy. You can hang your coat and be comfortable. You cannot do that anywhere else and shop. I am looking forward to it and see you there.

Next Tuesday, the 18th, is the next concert. If it is comforting to you to listen to a piano playing, then be sure to be at the Elementary School at 7:00 p.m.

The refreshments are free but I would like to see the donation jar a little fuller. This is my observance and because none of the Performing Arts Committee would ever say anything. I can. A donation lets them know that you appreciate a cup of coffee or tea and a choice of the best cookies ever.  

I checked out the new upholstering a couple of weeks ago. Most of the seats were ready to go except those where the frames were broken or pulled away from the cement floor.  I am quite sure they will all be in place by next Tuesday. They are so beautiful and those of you, who adopted a chair, will enjoy sitting in it. It is not too late to buy a chair in memory of someone or just because you are an alumni. See you there.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

View From The Bridge 11/5/14

VIEW from the BRIDGE
By Muncie

You are all invited to the Dedication Memorial for William “Billy” Swensgard on Veterans Day, Tuesday 11/11/14, at 2:00 p.m. Afterward, proceed on to the Golden Age Senior Center for refreshments and conversation about Billy.

The V.F.W. has also has invited Veterans and their families to the annual Veterans Day dinner at the Sunrise Bluffs. The time of arrival should be 5:30 and dinner will be served at 6:00 p.m.

Please make an effort to come to the Dedication as Billy was the only soldier killed in Vietnam from Fort Benton. We will also remember a young man from Big Sandy who was killed and the only one from that town. There is no one from his family left behind.

See you there.

What a fun day that turned out to be.  I began at noon to walk Front Street. I had a copy of the River Press with me to check off the businesses that were participating and the ones I should visit. It was a gorgeous day weather wise at 71 degrees. No sweaters, jackets or coats interfered with my costume. I was not “Maxine” that day but a vampire. I purchased it at the Price Rite last year and found it hanging in the upstairs closet. I really did not look like a vampire because I could not find a set of vampire teeth. I did put red lipstick drops of blood down my cheek that helped the effect a bit more.

I appeared and disappeared as if by magic from the businesses listed except the new Ambulance Garage. I decided to do the Pub Crawl because spiders and spider legs had to be turned in at the Grand Union. I had not realized that the Pubs had spider legs. I finally found a Crawler to go with me and we hit all the Friday and Saturday night hangouts. We went in the front door or the establishments and out the back door. We finalized with the Ambulance Garage where the ghouls and ghost-ies had made a fire. They were putting together Some-mores. I declined the graham crackers and marshmallows but quickly ate a good hunk of chocolate. Ummee! I had collected that day, several bars of candy, a brownie, a donut, and a cup of pudding with chocolate crumbs on top. I controlled myself and saved the candy for Trick or Treaters visiting my home. (Honest.)

By the time we arrived at the Grand Union, I had 22 spider legs and had to fill out 22 slips of paper with my name and phone number. I headed for home and since no one called me by midnight, I assumed that I did not win any prizes. However, it was the most fun evening I have had for a long while. (P.S.) I know I was the oldest vampire on the Crawl.)

On Tuesday, November 18th will be another Chouteau County Performing Arts performance. One of my friends at the Golden Age Senior Center told me that she had her piano tuned by a man who came from Helena. He is scheduled to tune the grand piano at the Elementary School sometime this week. He said that Tie n Hsieh was the most fantastic artist he has ever heard.

I do not know if she incorporates classical with other forms of music but the following is a description on the flyer. She is a serious, composed, and full of music pianist. She expresses a warmth and freshness in classical music that has made her one of the hottest artists on the west coast. (I am so happy she is from the west coast. Anything or anyone east of the Mississippi makes me uncomfortable. You know the attitude of Easterners. This does not cover any artists that we have had in Fort Benton who are from east of the Mississippi.)

A few weeks ago there was a program on Sixty Minutes about plastic bags. Perhaps some of you readers saw it and if I do not have the facts correct, let me know.

Americans use FIFTY (50) BILLION plastic bags a year for about 20 minutes for each. That is a whole lot of bags Folks. Please, please use cloth bags. I have talked to Price Rite about getting some cloth bags in again. Another alternative is to ask for paper bags. They can be recycled and actually used several times.

I asked up, down, and around town and I get the same answer as my excuse. “I have cloth bags but I forget to take them out of the vehicle when I get to the store.” One bright young woman said that she put a note on her dashboard. I keep mine on the passenger seat since I do not have a passenger. I know that is not the answer for most of you. I have also had several cashiers remind me that I have forgotten the bags when I walk into the store.

Benton Pharmacy has neat smaller white (now green) cloth bags. If you forget to take your bags in, you could not use a plastic bag if you only have a few items. Please make an effort to recycle. It soon becomes a habit and doing automatically is such a breeze. Happy recycling day and every day is a recycle day.

I received another cute story about the movie. I really enjoy them and I appreciate hearing from you. Dusty Keuhner sent this one to me. “When the movie was being made, my Uncle Marvin was a mechanic for Rice Motors in Great Falls. Somewhere in the movie there is a shot of Clint and Jeff’s car in the service space at Rice Motors. Uncle Marvin was under the vehicle on one of the little sleds on rollers. If you look quickly, you can see his feet.”

Dusty went on to say that back in the days when any of the family was watching that movie, we would talk about our uncle being in it. When his feet showed, we would all shout, “There his is!”

It reminds me of the movie, “Somewhere in Time.” It was made at the Grand Hotel on Mackinaw Island in Michigan. A friend of ours was working the summer there during his college years and was recruited to be a member of the orchestra in the dining room. As many times as I have watched that movie, I have never seen him. My family would also shout, “There he is!” I never saw him but just knowing that he is in the movie makes it special. ”Cut and print.” End of story.

4. The Montana Yogo Sapphire is the only North American Gem included in the Crown Jewels of England.

5. In Montana it is a felony for a wife to open her husband’s mail. (Boo, Hiss. I wonder if that law is still in effect and can the husband open the wife’s mail without it being a felony? Who is with me on a protest march to Helena?)

6. Montana is the only state bordering three Canadian provinces, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

View From The Bridge 10/29/14

VIEW from the BRIDGE
By Muncie

I sincerely hope that Friday is a nice day and all you adults/shoppers take advantage of the “Creepy Crawl.”  Look for the ad in the River Press to schedule your day. All businesses will participate with “Trick or Treat” specials and sales. If you have not noticed, Christmas decorations are everywhere. You only have 7 weeks left to get that taken care of. Why wait until the last minute when you can spend an enjoyable day browsing in Fort Benton?

My favorite activity is walking the Levee Walking Trail. What a change of scene it will be to walk on the business side of the street, collect the “Creepy Crawler” legs, visit with family and friends along the way, and enter your name to be eligible to win some fantastic prizes. Halloween is not much about adults except to hand out candy to the young Trick or Treaters.” I hope that this article gets you enthused about this “Creepy Crawl,” and the after-hours businesses “Crawl.” I am having company and they will take Gramma to the evening “Crawls.” What fun! We Senior Citizens have to keep moving or else we will not be able to move at all.

By the time you receive this copy of the River Press, there will be on 2 days lefts in October. November 2nd ends Daylight Savings Time and even with the extra hour of light we still face the early dark evenings. No more evening walks, riding your bicycles, sitting on your front porch/deck, and enjoying some ice cream after dinner. Funny how time slips away. I have not thought about that song for a long while but how true.

It is also time to make your Thanksgiving and Christmas plans. Wasn’t it just a few weeks ago that we were doing that?

I received in my e-mail, “Greetings from MONTANA, USA.” Friends in Great Falls said that the Tribune was printing some of the facts about our state. No one seems to know where it came from and therefore I cannot give anyone credit for some of the following facts. I think them immensely interesting and that you will too.

1.   Montana has more bookstores, birdwatchers, firearms, people who hunt, and people who fish that any other state per capita.
2.   Montana is larger than Japan, the United Kingdom, and Italy. If Montana were to secede from the Union, (and there have been numerous calls to do so,) it would be the 3rd largest country in the world.
3.   Tweets originating from inside the State of Montana are larger than any other state averaging just 43 out of a possible 140 possible characters in length. (What is a Tweet?  I think it is a computer term but it could be a bird call, a small Tweety bird, a nickname for a short person, or a pinch on the cheek?) (In parenthesis is a Muncie joke. Of course I know what a Tweet is…it’s #2…a bird call.)

There is a lot of talk about doing another deer harvest. The talk is that they are all around town but until a few minutes ago, (Sunday the 26th at 3:00 p.m.) I had not seen one. I know they are emptying the bird feeders, making a sleeping nest in the compost pile and leaving their droppings as a calling card.

As I sit here at my computer that is next to a window looking out at the back deck, I saw something flash between the deck and the house next door. There is about an 8ft. walkway there. I ran to the kitchen window that faces Main Street and saw nothing. I then went to the side door on Main Street off the kitchen. I looked north first and then south. Sure enough. There was a deer on the lawn near the curb. It took off headed west on 14th Street. I know that is the deer that is sleeping here every night. I think they are very smart. It is hunting season and they know where they are safe. When I meet you on the street, let me know your deer stories.

It reminds me of the time that grandson Morgan Wood, Venetta’s boy, was visiting and we had deer in the backyard all the time. Wally gave Morgan a bb gun and told Morgan to pop them on the rear end. Morgan was so excited and did just that. The deer jumped the stone fence and headed west on 14th with Morgan in hot pursuit. A minute or so later, Morgan is running back shouting, “Papa, Papa!  He is chasing me.” Sure enough. We supposed that the deer though that he was not going to let this little Whipper Snapper chase him away. As soon as the deer saw Wally, he took off again. I love that story Morgan. I’ll bet you never saw any deer at West Point or in Afghanistan.

The full moon is on the 6th and it is called the Full Beaver Moon. This was the time of year to set beaver traps for warm winter furs. It could also be that beavers were preparing for winter. Another name is the Frosty Moon. (I prefer Beaver because Frosty indicates chilly or cold. I do not need to be reminded.)


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

View From The Bridge 10/22/14

VIEW from the BRIDGE
By Muncie

A week from Friday will be an exciting day around town. An all-day event is being planned for Friday October 31st. It is being labeled “Creepy Crawl.” Every adult can go “Trick or Treating” to all businesses. For each business that you visit, you will add a leg to your Creepy Crawler. Trick or Treaters will then be eligible for great prizes.

I think this is a very exciting social event. No excuses such as, “I don’t go out at night” because it is all day during business hours. It will be a “coming out of your shell,” time. Enjoy a fun and great get-to-gather with your friends and neighbors. See you there.

These are strictly all my opinions and the way that I understood the meeting as a senior citizen. Michelle Turville who is Director of Community Development for Bear Paw Development Corporation was the speaker. She did a chart on the suggestions from the audience and will present the material to the Commissioners and City Council. There will be another public meeting and I will keep you posted.

The basic message from this meeting is if we are not moving forward, we move backward. If we do not upgrade our hospital, clinic, nursing home, and assisted living, our insurance rates may be raised.

There is presently a problem with a Medicare supplement insurance that many of us in Fort Benton carry. There were 10 counties cancelled because of low population. That was my question to Michelle about why we were being cancelled.

After the meeting a young man introduced himself to me. He is the new Director of Revenue at M.R.M.C. He basically handles insurance. He explained what was happening with my insurance being cancelled. Any questions you have can be directed to him.  Call the M.R.M.C. and ask for Bobby Garmon.

Jay Pottenger gave an explanation about the need to remodel the clinic and hospital.  I was sorry that more people were not there to hear it. I sat in front of the room and I did not look around. As far as I know there was no representation from the mayor, council people, presidents of organizations, (except Chamber of Commerce,) or businesses. I hope the next meeting includes all of them. This is the most important issue of any that the City of Fort Benton could be involved in. (It costs money and where do you get it, that should interest everyone.)

Questions like, “Do you think an up-to-date hospital will bring patients to Fort Benton?”  “Do you think that you would be more likely to use the hospital with better services than going to Great Falls?” It is up to you Folks! Either go forward or backward. Please show up at that next meeting. I’ll keep you posted.

The hospital issue was not the only subject that was brought up.  There were questions about sidewalks, streets, abandoned houses, an assisted living apartment building, and other very helpful suggestions. It was an excellent time to get your complaints out in the open. I hope that this information will help to interest you in coming to the next public meeting.

On Thursday October 23rd at 1:00 p.m. at the Golden Age Senior Center, there will be a representative who is an Independent Agent for Senior Health Care. Leslie Thompson will talk to the community about supplement insurance. This is just a notice in case you are really anxious about your supplement as I am. I am sure she can answer any of your questions.

Everyone is invited.

I would like to hear from the Widow’s in the community about having a “Tea” once a month. I am quite sure we could use the Golden Age Senior Center to meet for “Tea.” It would just be a get-to-get her, tea, conversation, and sharing. There would not be any obligation for dues or fund raising. Just a good old fashioned “High Tea Time,” with friends.                                                                                                  
Now that I am a widow and having been a care-taker for a while, it occurred to me how seldom I was able to visit with my friends. I promised a friend’s daughter last Summer Celebration that I would visit her mom. I just did it last week. We had a lot to share and I really enjoyed the visit.

Years ago my friend, Helen O’Hara, told me that there were 63 widows in Fort Benton.  She counted them from the phone book. I have no idea how many widows there are in Chouteau County. The possibility of a dozen or two widows showing up for tea is not impossible. Let me know if you see me around town what you think. Call me if you would like to chat or give me your opinion at 622-3217.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

We are well into fall now and Mother Nature did not do her usual as in the past couple of years. Summer went directly into winter and winter into summer last year. The falling leaves were a sight to behold as they fell continuously. The trees on my boulevard were bare last week while others on the block are now ridding themselves of leaves.

Just a reminder that leaves will be picked up the week of the 20th of October. That only gives you a few days to rake them to the curb or edge of your property. It has been said over and over that leaves are not to be put in the street. If you see a friend or neighbor who has not gotten the word, please tell them kindly that activity is not acceptable. Of course, this depends on who your friend or neighbor is. No hard feelings should enter the picture so use your judgment as to what to do.  Community pride ranks high on the list.

It is official now as an ad was in the River Press last week. The big Fall Cleanup will be on the24th, 25th and 26th. If you cannot connect with that weekend, the cleanup will be the following weekend also.

Columbus does not get enough credit for what he accomplished. He was a very brave man at a time when people thought you would fall off the edge of the world. I only knew today it was Columbus Day because I stopped at the bank and the post office and they were closed.

Cheers to you Columbus.  I will be thinking of you all day. I know it is on my calendar and I write important dates there too. I forget to look at it and I miss many important activities.  

I checked the internet and found that there are 22 cities named Columbus and 10 Townships. Of course you all know about Columbus, Montana. According to those figures, not every state has a city named Columbus.

I’ll bet that all the people in Canada know that today Monday the 13th is Columbus Day.  Well, perhaps not because it is Canada’s Thanksgiving Day. I can smell that turkey and pumpkin pie from here. I wish I could get up there for dinner tonight without a passport.

Hope you enjoyed “Columbus Day.”

The Committee for the Dedication of the Memorial Tables would like you to know a month ahead of time about the schedule. The dedication will be on Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. in the MontanaVeteran’s Memorial Park.

Afterward, there will be refreshments, conversation, and stories about Billy at the Golden Age (Senior Center.) At 5:30 p.m. we will proceed to the Sunrise Bluffs for the annual Veteran’s Day dinner.

We will also draw for the raffle that was started months ago to raise the money for the memorial tables. The prizes are an American Flag that flew over the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., a beautiful Red, White and Blue Quilt, a Red, White and Blue table runner, and two patriotic wreaths made from barbed wire.

Please put on your calendar for Tuesday November 11th. All Veterans will be honored that day so make an effort to celebrate with us. We, the general public, have total respect and love for those who fought for our country. There are very few ways we can show our support and this day is one of them. As these wars and protective measures go on and on, there will be many more Veterans. GOD BLESS AMERICA, OUR TROOPS, and WEAR RED ON FRIDAYS. As an after thought, wear your “Support Our Troops,”  t-shirts that day.

Think about Billy Swensgard on Sunday, the 19th, as it is his birth date.  He was only 20 years old when he was killed in Vietnam.

Just another reminder, a week and a half ahead of time, that Saturday the 25th, it will be Rockin’ and Rollin’ at the Ag Center at 7:00 p.m. David Bennett and the Memphis Boys will be entertaining. David is not only noted for his pumpin” piano but he sings as well.  You won’t want to miss this one. It is going to be one of the best yet.

I did not get to see the moonrise of the Full Harvest Moon. By the time I shut off the lights, there was still heavy cloud cover. I did see it the next night but it was not orange.  Oh well, perhaps next year.

The week of the 20th, that starts next Monday, will start the leaf pickup. Let’s hope that it doesn’t rain and make it difficult to pick up. Not that I do not like rain but it would make things a little sloppy.

The following weekend will be the big “Clean Up” time. Do not wait until the last minute because you will always forget something and perhaps not get rid of it. Then you wait until the next weekend and then before you know it you have to wait until next spring. In the meanwhile, the STUFF just hangs around, getting in the way, and a general nuisance.  Oh well, when will I get organized? Come join the crowd!

There was a Book Reading on Monday the 6th, at the Chouteau County Library. Fort Benton welcomed two new authors who moved to town about six months ago. A month or so ago, Margy Berstein had a reading of her book titled “The Poet & The Wolf.” The reading was at the Lark & Laurel and I and several other friends were not able to attend.  (I wish that she could repeat that reading.)

“A Shipment of Arms” by N. B. Miller was read on Monday the 6th. It was very interesting and I could have listened to him for hours. They say that most people enjoy having someone read to them.

The nice surprise about these readings was that both authors donate the proceeds to the Library. Ask at the Library for details.

Enjoy each and every minute while this beautiful weather hangs on.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

View From The Bridge 10/8/14

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

I called the City Hall for these dates that are very important to me this year. I have many items to dispose of as I have not been able to concentrate on any of it for many years.
Friday, October 24th, Saturday the 25th, and Sunday the 26th will be the first week for disposal of “stuff.” The following weekend October 3lst, November 1st, and November 2nd, will be your second chance to get it done. I am sure that there will be more notice in the next couple of weeks but I wanted a “heads up” and I am passing it along to you.

I also checked this date because I will not be able to compose leaves this year. Watch for leaves pickup the week of the 20th of October. I cannot give you a specific date because we do not know weather conditions. Please rake your leaves to the edge nearest the street. DO NOT RAKE THE LEAVES INTO THE STREET. I appreciate this service that the City of Fort Benton does for us. I checked with Skip and the leaves are taken to a location where they are composted. Thank you Mother Nature.

The author of this most humorous poem booklet visited Fort Benton last week from Oregon. Ruth Arent calls herself a nonagenarian and is a friend of mine and Hal Weber’s. Hal has recently returned to Fort Benton and is living at the Sunrise Bluffs. Ruth is the author of many children’s books and Hal is also an author of books on falconry.

Ruth could only stay for a few days and arrangements were made for her to do a reading at the Golden Age Senior Center on Wednesday during the lunch hour. She was only supposed to read two poems but someone from the audience (it was from the other side of the room,) asking for another poem. She finally finished after he 6th poem and it was enjoyed by all.

I have some copies of her book and if you would like to have one, contact me. I know that you will enjoy it.

Yes, Friday is Pie Day.  Take a break on Friday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. and bring your family and friends for a very pleasant social get-together. There is a wonderful variety of pies and almost always there appears a piece of pie with different fillings in front of each of us. You cannot get a better bargain in the State of Montana. Come and join us.

This my favorite full moon in October.  I have always called it the “Harvest Moon” but I found in the Farmer’s Almanac that September was also call the “Full Harvest Moon”. October is also listed as the “Full Harvest Moon” and the “Full Hunter’s Moon”. It is an important feast day in Western Europe and the Native American tribes.

Since I did not do the View for several months, I missed many of the moon names. In trying to remember back, April may have been the last month. May’s moon had a beautiful name and that was the “Full Flower Moon”. June was the “Full Strawberry Moon”, July -the “Full Buck Moon”, and August-the “Full Sturgeon Moon”.

If you want to know more about the meanings of these moons, go to the moon almanac on the inter-net for stories about the origins. The “Full Harvest Noon” is due on Wednesday the 8th when you receive your weekly River Press. Isn’t wonderful to go the Post Office and the River Press is there by 5:00 p.m.

Even though I do not handle Adopt-a-Plot any longer, I still welcome phone calls about them. I can answer questions and give advice.  (It is cheap,  always free and I can always direct you to the right person.)

I received a phone call a couple of weeks ago from Laura Aschim asking if she could adopt a plot. It made my day as I asked if she would like the plot that once was lovingly taken care of by Nancy Hanford. Laura and I met at the plot one afternoon and she had already been working to pull some nasty weeds.

There was a huge juniper in that plot as well as many along the Levee Walking Trail especially in that area from the New Bridge to the Water Plant.  (I have not been able to pin down the reason so many junipers died this summer.)

Laura engaged her husband Terry into removing that huge dead bush. I took a ride in my Go-Go today (Monday) and checked the plot. It already looks 100% better. Go Laura.

I am apologizing for my plot which is under the new bridge.  There is a problem with rain water and mud running down both sides of the bridge footings from the highway.  I have had help in scraping and sweeping mud from the trail twice and now it is covered again. The rocks are being repositioned and it looks terrible. Right now there is nothing we can do about it and we will wait until spring to try and correct the situation.

I am going to ask again that those of you who had a plot, please work on it. If you can no longer handle it, please let me know. If you think you could handle a plot, I am certain one is waiting for your TLC. It does not have to be done in a day. Laura works a little at a time when she has time. The Levee Walking Trail is one of the high points of our city and Visitors tell the volunteers at the Visitors Center how beautiful it


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

View From The Bridge 10/1/14

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

Another story from Sharalee Smith will be added to the legend of “Thunderbolt and Lightening.” Sharalee has been employed by Vielleux for many years and was in 1973, when the movie company was here in Fort Benton.

She was sitting in her usual spot facing the window that looked out onto Front Street and the Missouri River. A black Pontiac Firebird parked directly in front of the insurance building.  Sharalee went ga-ga over the car that a tall handsome man stepped out of.

For all of you who knew Bessie Vielleux, you will understand why she said, “I think that is someone famous.” When Sharalee related this story about this beautiful car to a customer, he asked if she got his autograph.  Her answer was, “Whose?”  So much for the recognition of movie stars. They are just  people like us except they make lots of money for pretending they are someone else.

I checked the inter-net for the origin of “Dressed to the 9th degree,” that Ron Saville talked about in last weeks View. The phrase “to the nines or to the ninth,” was used to indicate perfection-the highest standard. Since ten (10) is perfection, the ninth was as high as one could go. The women of Fort Benton were striving for perfection in an attempt to impress someone and I love them for it.  (My opinion is that it was not for Clint Eastwood. This is another of my own joke material.))

Last Saturday evening there was a dinner theatre at the Grand Union. I could not have been more pleased or entertained. It was the first time performance for three “Seven” women actresses.  They had been rehearsing for about two months. They played the parts of seven women from different countries and what they endured being women.  (Read the interesting article in last weeks River Press.) I will not go into what the play was about but just how I hung on to their every word for a little over an hour. I did not want it to end. I wanted to know more about what their lives were like.

I complain about my house being dusty from living on a busy street. I complain about prices going up and up, especially for food.  I complain about such unimportant things and the older I got the more I complain and get crabby. I have never had to sleep on the ground because I had to leave my home. I have never had to know that my parents were murdered. I never was separated from my children and never knowing if I would ever see them alive again. I never prayed to die because conditions were so horrendous.

Well, I have vented enough about these seven women who made the audience aware of what they had gone through. They are making a difference in the world. So count your blessings that you have a clean bed to sleep on, that you have enough food to sustain your life, and you have your families and loved ones to love daily. End of lecture. I am so happy that I made the effort to go out in the rain on Saturday night. It was meant to be.

I was only able to participate in one event for “Homecoming” and that was the “Homecoming Parade.” It was awesome and I know many hours were put into the organization of it. I especially enjoy the High School Band and how they have developed to the 9th degree. GO LONGHORNS.  I appreciate the great entertainment you provide.

Last week I went into the back yard and the leaves were falling around me like rain. I savored the moment and now the ground is covered with them. We always composted our leaves but not this year. They will be raked to the sides of the street and picked up by the City of Fort Benton.  Goodbye summer.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

View From The Bridge 9/24/14

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
By Muncie

Guess who won the "Choke Cherry Pit Spittin" contest. Yep, it was me. I spit that pit 20 ft. to make me the top female winner. I was awarded a candy bar that I devoured the minute I got home.

The 48 diners, (that is all the Center can accommodate,) had a questionnaire waiting at each place setting. The questions were to be filled in with the names of old radio and TV shows.  When I arrived I asked Ann Larson what games we were going to play that evening. She said it was a surprise.

After our outstanding dinner of bbq ribs, potato, veggie, assortment of salads, and a luscious dessert, came the surprise. We were asked how many attended the Choke Cherry Festival on the previous Saturday. A few hands went up and our hostess said that she had met a woman who told her that she won the “Spittin” contest at the festival in Lewis Town. The pit she spat went the distance of 35 ft.

Ann then told us that the cherries were in a plastic bag on each table. Most everyone chewed on the choke cherry while we were asked to give the contest a try. No one moved or made any indication that they were going to be spittin’ in front of all their friends. The skin of my choke cherry stuck to the roof of my mouth and I was drinking coffee by the cupfuls to loosen it. I was not successful but finally said that I would be the first to give it a try.

My pit went 20 ft. and I really did not know I had won until I was preparing to leave. It was a complete surprise. Tim Riddle won in the men’s category and his distance was unknown because they could not find it. They were certain it went the furthest.

I now have another notch in my gun. I was the first female mayor of Square Butte, Garth Brooks gave me his guitar, and now I am “#1 Pit Spitin” winner in Fort Benton. A good time was had by all.

I was made aware this past week of three stories that concerned Clint and the movie, “Thunderbolt and Lightfoot.”

Story #1 was from daughter Lisa (about 13 years old at the time) who said that she went up to Clint and asked him for his autograph. She has in her possession his autograph on one side of the paper and Jeff Bridges on the other side.

Story #2 was from Shannon Sykes but I will write about it last because it ties in with Story #3.
Story #3 is from Ron Saville and I am giving him full credit and I have permission to put it into the View. I did make some cuts as it was a long story.

Ron was working for the Police Department, hired by Police Chief Jerry Robo, to do crowd control. Originally the script called for Clint and Jeff to just drive over the bridge. The director liked the backdrop of the Old Bridge and the Missouri so he changed the script.

The scene of the Chouteau County Bank was actually at that time the present Banque Club.  The present Corder building was the Gamble’s Store. Eastwood walked out of there with a 6-pack of beer and a sack of apples. Ron Saville thought it strange that they came out of the Hardware store with beer and apples but no one but the people of Fort Benton would know that.

Harold Thomas, who owned the Grand Union then, decided to paint the building. Perhaps he thought he might be in the movie. The black Dodge the stars were racing around in was parked in front of the hotel. The crew put cardboard license plates that read Idaho. (Not fair!)

Next was the scene where Eastwood sat under the cottonwood tree and he and Bridges proceeded to eat apples and throw the cores into the river. (See Rod Sykes story below about the apple cores.)

The funniest thing that Ron remembers about the crowd control was keeping the crowd north of the Pastime Bar. You would have thought that it was Easter Sunday because all the women were dressed to the 9th degree (this is a dark ages expression.) You could hardly breathe for the perfume in the air.

In the meanwhile, Eastwood’s wife took their children to Rudy’s Shoe Repair Shop, (located next to the old Price Store,) and bought them cowboy boots.

Ron, I have taken a lot of liberties to make the story shorter but not to eliminate any part of your great story. I do appreciate your e-mail and your recall of that day like it was yesterday.

It is now Monday afternoon and Ron Saville brought me a photo of Eastwood that he took and a copy of his autograph. (Editor Tim said that he would print them.) Ron also said he has a paycheck stub that the film company paid him for crowd control.

Story #2… when I spoke with Shannon Sykes last week about the Price Rite, she shared her husband Rod’s story with me. He was up river near what is now the boat dock.  He could not get any closer because the area was cordon off. He saw the apple cores floating up the river.

Tomorrow, (Tuesday the 23rd is officially the fall season.

Your next weeks River Press will be dated October 1, 2014.

Three months from tonight will be Christmas Eve. You have three months to shop. Is that depressing or what? Not that it will be Christmas but about how fast time is flying by.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

View From The Bridge 9/17/14

VIEW from the BRIDGE
By Muncie

Two weeks ago I gave you a list of the benches and tables on the Levee Trail between the Lewis and Clark Memorial and the Sunrise Bluffs. I said that I would do the next one when I walked that week but I did not have an opportunity because of rain and winter setting in.

Today, (Sunday morning the 14th,) I was able with help from daughter Lisa, to check out the trail between the Grand Union Hotel and the B.L.M. Interpretive Center. Please remember the Kotstad, Our Visitors, General Federation of Women’s Club of Fort Benton, Ritland/Kassmeier, Worrall/Stillwell, Morrow, (second bench for General Federation of Woman’s Club of Fort Benton), Kegel, Erickson, Beecher, Morger, and Willett families. Their generosity was a very important part of the Walking Trail. It is so history oriented and their loved ones to be remembered.

This is a story I could not tell you until some facts came to my attention. It concerns a movie, “Thunderbolt and Lightfoot,” made in 1973, and movie star Clint Eastwood. A few scenes were filmed here in Fort Benton on the Missouri River Levee.

When I moved to Fort Benton in 1993, I was told that Clint Eastwood sat on a bench along the levee across the street from the old Price Rite that was located right on the corner of 16th and Front St. The new Price Rite was built in 1990.

I will fast forward to the year that I volunteered to paint the three wooden benches between the Grand Union and the Old Fire Hall. The City of Fort Benton provided the paint and I gave those old benches two coats of paint.

So, what happened? I got bursitis in my shoulder and went for therapy for three months.  That was the beginning of the Memorial Bench project by replacing the wooden benches with cement benches that demanded no maintenance.

As the project moved along the levee, all the wooden benches were replaced. I do not remember the exact date but a long while after; I realized the bench that Clint sat on was gone. What had I done?  I could have used it as a fund raiser, auctioning or raffling it off. The bench was gone forever but not my guilty feelings.  I dared not tell anyone. Some people could be very upset, (perhaps…who knew or paid attention.) After all, we do not have a movie made with a big star like Clint Eastwood in Fort Benton very often.

And, the rest of the story …one evening this summer I saw in my TV directory that “Thunderbolt and Lightfoot,” was scheduled. I watched it and much to my relief my guilty feelings disappeared as I realized that Clint did not sit on a bench. He sat on the ground by a cottonwood tree close to the Grand Union.

While I was making my confession to son Randy, he related his story.  He and Mark Johnsrud were on the roof of a building across the street watching the whole filming.  He knew exactly which tree it was.  It was not one of the cottonwoods that were cut down this summer.  It still stands, very tall and stately as it was years ago.

I have some more stories about the making of this movie that were told to me today after talking with several people. Everyone has a story and if you have one about this filming, please let me know at 622-3217.

I have a cross-stitch sign made by my daughter Jennifer that reads, “I Wonder What It Was I Worried About a Year Ago.” I should change it to “Years Ago,” because I did worry about those benches for many years. Thank goodness for old movies on TV. P.S. It was not a very good movie. Kind of corny.

I wrote last week that summer may turn directly into winter.   I also said that I was looking forward to Indian summer. Am I a good weather predictor or what?  I met Editor Tim on the trail and he checked his smart phone and said that it was supposed to be 88 degrees on Thursday. I will have to get out early on those hot days to walk. Enjoy while it lasts.

Last Friday was the most fun day ever at the Golden Age Senior Center. Gail Fischer, who is Executive Director of Travel Montana, was in Fort Benton on a PIE TRAIL.  In the last few weeks she has had 15 pieces of pie in a trail across Central Montana. Our Golden Age Center was the only one of its kind. All the others the Pie Trail led to were restaurants.  She ate different kinds of pies in each of her stops. So far the best pie was in a Denton restaurant. The pie cost in Fort Benton, although very delicious, was the least expensive. Other pie costs began at $3.50. (At our Center pie and coffee are $3.00.) Gail said the most expensive pie on the trail was $4.50 for huckleberry pie. (I paid $5.00 for a small slice of huckleberry in Seely Lake and the price of a whole pie was $35.00.)

Gail was a delightful story teller and we hope she returns soon to visit. The PIE TRAIL will be on a website soon. I will let you know as soon as I get the info.

I was able to go to the J.V. game on Monday the 8th. The stands were about half occupied with parents and grandparents. There were a few of senior citizens who usually attend every sporting event. I did not have to learn the Shorthorns fight song as we sang the “Fort Benton High Your Grand.” Bethany Monroe joined me in the stands, commented that I sang along, and that I knew all the words. I have learned a lot in 21 years and the fight song was one of the first. Loving football and basketball was also on the agenda.

Again I will say that I am sorry that I do not write enough about girls’ sports. I do enjoy reading about girls excelling in sports and was very happy to see the Sports supplement in the River Press.

I am sure I have written much about my grandson, Bryan Graupmann, who is a senior this year and is a Saints defensive end. (He is going to be a nurse and he is a big guy.)

He was injured a week ago Saturday in the first few minutes of the game at the Southern Oregon University. I am writing about this because so many of you ask me how Bryan is doing.  The team doctor thinks he may have torn something in his leg and an MRI was not done this past week. He has a brace on it and was not able to play this past Saturday. I appreciate all your kind thoughts.

I have not seen many full moons lately because of cloud cover. I was giving you the names of each month’s moons but because I did not write since March, that info fell way behind.

October is a different story because without checking I believe it will be called the Harvest Moon. It should be a bright orange color. One of my fondest memories was a Long Horn football game when there was the full Harvest Moon. Wally and I started singing, “Shine on Harvest Moon,” and all the seniors around us joined in. What a fun time!