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.