Tuesday, December 29, 2015

View From The Bridge 12/30/15

By Muncie

Are you going to try the same ole, same ole resolutions again this year? I am sure that you all start out great but how long does it last? Do you go into a slump or do you start again?  No matter what you do it is a brand New Year and does feel like a fresh start. Take some time for yourself to reflect on the past year and the next one. Best wishes and Good Luck and may it last the whole year through.

What better time for it to get cold when the Kiddos are on Christmas break. I feel for those of you who have to rise and shine to go to work. Take comfort that the 2016 Christmas will be on a Sunday. Christmas Eve will be on Saturday and perhaps you will get Monday off.  That is the day to relax and get caught up on your rest that you lost over the weekend. Try not to think about all the things you have to get caught up on. Just enjoy every minute of every day.

Be sure and check the Community Calendar in the River Press so you do not miss any events or meetings that will be held in January. Make a few phone calls to your friends and neighbors to remind them of goings on in Fort Benton. I have been lucky so far as being reminded because it seems to be easier when it doesn’t get dark so early to go out. See you here, there, and everywhere.

Golly, I seem to be getting a lot of phone numbers incorrect these days.  I have called several of you when I wanted someone one number away. Well, I did it again with Denise Marcussen’s numbers printed in the Potato Bag article. Here are the correct ones with her land phone being 622-3674 and her cell phone is 788-4647. I just phoned her at both numbers to make sure they are correct.

When I first came to Fort Benton in 1993, many homes were decorated for the holidays. We used to take Dode Morger for a ride around town after dark almost every other night. She loved the lights. On Wednesday the 23rd, I was taken for a similar ride by Granddaughter Erin Bley and with us was Great Granddaughter Ireland. It was so awesome because Ireland is just beginning to talk. She said Santa, reindeer, Mickey Mouse, and Snowman.  We covered most of the streets and shared them with quite a few other vehicles. It seemed as though many others shared the same thought the same evening.

Other cute words that Ireland says at the U of M football games that she attends, because she lives in Missoula, is “Touchdown, Go Grizzlies.”  How loyal is that! You have to train them early so they never forget where their roots are.

On the Christmas ride I only saw three homes with green lights on the front porch. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt because we did not cover some of the blocks. But three houses?  My thoughts are that perhaps you have Christmas lights up and as soon as they are taken down, you will put in the green bulb. I’ll take another ride around the middle of January to check on your porches. If you do not have a porch light you can put it in your front window.  Please show your support for our Troops in an inexpensive way.

There is a project pending that I would like to gather information about.  I want to know about the Celebrations before Connie Jenkins took over 24 years ago. I have talked with Dave Parchen, who is a wealth of information about how it developed since 1976. From Darcy Morger Grovenstein I learned much about the 4th of July Celebrations before 1976 as she remembered as a youngster. It was always celebrated as the 4th of July and was only held on Saturday and Sunday.  The first few years I lived here the Summer Celebration was on the 4th of July weekend. That ended because Great Falls had their Lewis and Clark Celebration at that same time. Fort Benton changed to the last weekend in June before the 4th of July.

Those early celebrations were the really old-fashioned ones. There was a Parade, a softball game, picnics in the Old Fort Park, and games like the 3-Legged Race. I would like to hear from you readers about the other events that you remember. Were there prizes for the winners of the games? How long were the Parades? About how many people participated? I could look some of this info in the old River Presses but it would be much more interesting to hear it from what you remember.

I now know that there were no t-shirts before Connie took over. I have t-shirts starting in 1993 to donate. If you have any shirts before that time, would you be willing to donate them for the project I mentioned?

Were you in or remember any details about parades back in the early days? Please get in contact with me.

The theme this year will be the “40th Anniversary of Summer Celebration.” It will be a big one so join in, offer your services, and let’s make it a very special one to help Connie out.

The January Moon has many names. They are Full Wolf Moon, Old Moon, Moon after the Yule, and sometimes Full Snow Moon. (The Indian Tribes usually used the Full Snow Moon for February.) The full Moon will be Sunday the 24th.  Did you see the full moon Christmas night? It was gorgeous. It lit my deck and with the snow on it, it was a winter wonderland.  The Weatherman on TV said that if you have 1” of snow on the ground, it is considered a White Christmas.

“I was always taught to respect my elders, but it keeps getting harder and harder to find one.


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

View From The Bridge 12/23/15

VIEW from the BRIDGE
By Muncie

Golly!  Baby Jesus will almost be in his cradle in the stable and Santa will be almost on his way by the time you read this. I hope that you were ready because I certainly am not. Days roll around too quickly and I am sure that you too can never catch up.

Everything is looking up and the days are getting longer. We only have to put up with this darkness a couple more months and I will be lovin’ the longer days.

So enjoy every minute of every day during the holidays and every day thereafter.

Since I wrote about asking for Potato Bags at Bridgeport Station, they have become a hot item. My order was delivered today and they are beautiful. If you would like to know more about them, please call Denise Marcussen at 622-3784 at home or her cell phone at 788-4747. Denise knows, “Everything you ever wanted to know about Potato Bags.” She and I are thrilled about what one little question brought about.

Sharalee Smith is retiring after (blank-blank) years and I will sorely miss her for many reasons. I would like all of you to know that Sharalee is responsible for putting the View from the Bridge on the Fort Benton website. I have no idea who could ever take her place or do the outstanding job she has done for the community.

I wish I could clone her brain for her knowledge of the computer and especially for her knowledge of Fort Benton’s history. My one consolation is that I will be visiting with her at all the historic events that take place in Fort Benton.

So long for now and enjoy your retirement. You will be missed.

Who is the very best male singer in Fort Benton? Well, it is Steve Vielleux who has sung with the Great Falls Symphony Choir for years.

How did I come across this inspiring information? Last Tuesday nights monthly dinner at the Golden Age Senior Center at 5:00pm, Steve was the entertainer. Since I had another dinner to attend at 6:30pm, I just went to the Center to hear Steve sing and how exciting it was.

Who knew that he played the guitar and that he had Mary Lee Bakker to sing harmony?  What a performance and I asked Steve when his CD would be coming would be available?

Their program consisted of five (5) songs and they were not the traditional ones. They brought back so many memories with songs like, “Silver and Gold,” “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” and “The Little Drummer Boy.” Awesome!  

Mary Lee Bakker is a Senior Citizen and at one time sang with the Sweet Adeline’s.  (When I called her she said that no one would remember the Sweet Adeline’s.  I think that many of you readers will remember. She and Steve became “The Singing Methodists,” because they belong to the same Church. Steve and Lee, I hope that you do not mind that I named you.

Steve sang at 5:00 pm because he had another commitment and that was great for me because I was able to listen to him and Mary again. See below.

At 6:30 pm the River and Plains Society had their Christmas Party. When I heard that Steve was going to entertain at the Golden Age, I suddenly became the Entertainment Chairperson of River and Plains because I asked the Director if we could have Steve entertain us. It worked out splendidly as that is exactly the way it came about. I was able to enjoy Steve and Mary Lee a second time in one evening.

My comment about these two events was that Steve should quit his day job and just get that voice of his out and about. He could put on a cowboy hat, jeans, and a denim shirt and become famous. (Do you think someday he might give me his guitar?)

I was invited to the Lions monthly meeting last Thursday. It was their Christmas get-together. It was very interesting about the work that the Lions do in Fort Benton. I was able to meet Mariam Smith (at last as I had stopped at the First Security Bank, where she is employed and could not connect,) who began writing for the River Press as secretary to the Lions Club which she did last month.

Of course, every organization wants more members and all of you out there, have a variety to pick from. However, the Lions are diverse in their activities.  I believe that everyone knows how I feel about volunteering so check out all the organizations and see what would fit your schedule. I would like to see everyone in town belong to at least one organization. Wouldn’t that be the greatest! Imagine how much more could be accomplished? After the holidays go for it please.

The Longhorns Basketball teams rumbled last Friday evening. It was the first games of the season and it was a great evening. Both the Longhorns and the Lady Longhorns won big time. As I walk in the school every day, I have been watching the practices. They work very hard and the best part is that they love what they are doing.

I really enjoyed the article by Bethany about the High School Juniors visiting Helena High and Carroll College. That is what it is all about visiting, talking, and sharing with our neighbors. If that could happen in the world, what a wonderful world it would be. I want the world to be different for our youngsters and they are doing it a little bit at a time.

I hope that the juniors will include everyone in town to help you when the Juniors from Helena come to visit us. Please keep us posted.

A man climbs to the top of Mt. Sinai to get close enough to talk to God. Looking up, he asks God, “What does a million years mean to you?” God replies, “A minute.” The man again asks, “What does a million dollars mean to you.” God replies, “A penny.” The man then asks, “Can I have a penny.” God answers, “In a minute.”


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

View From The Bridge 12/16/15

VIEW from the BRIDGE
By Muncie

On Monday evening, December 7th, I again played Bingo at the Club House sponsored by the VFW. I sat next to the “Bingo Caller Man, Nathan Nash,” so I could hear better and see the board. It was quite different than when I played Turkey Bingo a few weeks ago. It was quieter. Bingo is played every 1st and 3rd Monday of the month.  Who knew!

I learned all there is to know about Bingo and I thought I would pass it on in case it may interest you to become a player. By the way, it is for a good cause.

1. You cannot cheat at Bingo as I can in Solitaire.
2. Do not scream out when you need one more number and someone calls Bingo.
3. Only play one card if you have indulged in a little celebration.
4. The game is random.
5. I learned what a photo box is.
6. I learned what a T is.
7. I learned to wait for breaks to eat my sandwich.
8. I learned to clap and be very happy when the gal sitting across from me wins three (3) games and I have not even come close.
9. I learned how old I was when I asked Nathan if he had a son in the service that I made a poster for years ago. It turned out that he was the soldier and had been out of the service for 10 years. Ouch! 10.  Take a cushion to sit on. After an hour or so, the metal seats seem to turn to cement. I was there when a record was set.  A player got a Bingo in 5 plays.
11. Finally, I had a great time and think I could very easily get addicted.  

On Tuesday the 8th, the First Security had their Christmas Open House. If you read the River Press, you knew about this event. They again had beautiful Christmas wreaths displayed and you could fill out a slip with three choices and enter it in a drawing.

I have not received a phone call that I was the winner of one of the wreaths. Oh well, there is always next year.

Again, who knew! I was told about the Concert because I have an adopted grandson now in Kindergarten. On Tuesday, the 8th, there was a dress rehearsal at 1:00pm. I choose the daytime performance instead of the evening one.

It was incredible how those children and teachers produced a play that would make Broadway envious. They sang, danced, and never missed a line. I believe that the Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades did the first part and the 4th, 5th, and 6th the second half. It was a wonderful afternoon and I want them to know how delightful it was.

It was a busy week with something going on nearly every day. The “Bakers” at the Golden Age had a yummy variety of Christmas cookies to be sold by the pound. This year as was last year, I purchased 2# of cookies. I put them into the freezer and allow myself 2 a day for dessert. I hope that you made it over to the Center. It is such fun to walk around the table and pick a plateful of your choice. I wish that would happen more than once a year. How about Easter cookies or any of the holidays?  You Bakers do such a great job.

On Friday it was Pie Day and what a great variety there was. Most of the pies were gone but one gorgeous Pecan Pie. There was still time after I left and I hope it sold. To entice you to come to Pie Day I am going to list the kinds of pies that were there. There was lemon, apple, pumpkin, peach, cherry, and the pecan. Does that make your mouth water? See you next month on the second Friday of the month at 1:00.

The Bakers also offer a bake sale. If you are having company and do not have time to bake, check out the Bake Sale. You can put your purchase in the freezer and thaw it when needed.  You cannot find a better solution. See you next month.

This happening was the result of what I wrote about last week’s story about the potato bags. If you read it you will understand what occurred on Thursday after the Woman’s Club meeting.

The handicapped parking place was taken but there was a great spot in front of the library on Front St.

After the meeting I walked to the Post Office and when I returned across the street to my truck, a vehicle pulled up to the stop sign. A man rolled down the window and said, “Muncie, how many potatoes fit into the potato bag?” Isn’t that that the cutest?

I am sorry that I do not know who he was. My eyesight at that distance is not good. Besides, I was trying to tell him quickly because another vehicle was pulling up behind him. I explained that 3 small potatoes would fit and 1 large sweet potato. I also told him that I had just gotten my bag, for a pattern, to the woman who will attempt to make them. As he pulled away, I shouted to him to call me. As of today, I have not any further information than she is working on them. If you would like a bag, please call me at 622-3217.

On Saturday the 12th, I drove to the Riverside Cemetery. Nancy dropped the wreath at my house for me to place on my Sweetheart’s grave. I decided to attend the ceremony and there was a bit of a crowd. When the speeches were over, the crowd began taking wreaths to put on the Veterans graves that were marked with little flags. It was a thrill to see them gather as many wreaths as they could carry and start across the Cemetery.

The sad part of this project was the several people that I talked with in town who said they wished they knew about Wreaths Across America. If they had read their River Press, they would have known about it. There were several articles in the paper that told about the program.

Bethany, (our lovely young reporter,) was there taking pictures and I am sure that she will tell a better story.

I want to say these words to all of you who read the View and tell me about it. I have found that those of you who live out of Montana are weekly readers. Today I would like to say hello to the Miller’s who live in Virginia. What I usually ask of those who live elsewhere, first of all I am sorry about that and secondly how is your weather? (This is my own joke of the week.  Laugh please.)

Because they had reservations at a busy restaurant, my elderly neighbor and his wife were told that they had a 45 minute wait for a table. “Young man, we’re both 90 years old,” the husband said, “We may not have 45 minutes.” They were seated immediately.


Tuesday, December 8, 2015

View from the Bridge
By Muncie

Everyone was buzzing about the great time they had last Saturday while doing the rounds about town. My daughter, Jennifer, came up from Great Falls at 11:00am and we hit the road to the Ag Center Bridgeport Station.

It was awesome to see the thousands of items to choose from. If you could not find the perfect gift somewhere in those incredible displays, then you did not look hard enough.

We finally reached the lunch table and took our food to the table closest to the entertainment. We finished when Jamie had sung beautiful Christmas Carols and the Barbershop Quartet had finished their magical singing.

We then headed for Front St. and stopped at as many shops that we could manage. The first stop was at the Country Shoppe where we enjoyed delightful snacks. I was also given two small white ceramic Angels for the two members of my family that had passed away this year. They are so precious and I have placed them on a shelf in front of my kitchen window.  I think about Lisa and my brother-in-law Marty every day and these Angels are such a comforting reminder.

Next stop at the Benton Pharmacy where there were Kiddos making Christmas decorations. I wanted to join them but I didn’t have my Santa hat on so I couldn’t tell them that I was Mrs. Claus which would be a good reason to sit down with them. Oh well!

Next door was Lehman’s True Value and when we made purchases we were entitled to a free hat. There was a huge hat display to choose from and I found the cutest pink cat hat for my daughter to give to her granddaughter.

On down the street to the Toggery that is Jennifer’s favorite place. I visited with my longtime friend Sandy.

We then drove down to the end of the street and visited the Taste of Chocolate, the Wake Cup, and the newly named Rivers Edge Floral. I met the new owners who told me how much they love Fort Benton. That was not news to me because everyone who comes to Fort Benton loves it. They do not say that it is a nice place to visit but they would not like to live here. All the visitors I talk to at the Information Center, always say that they would love to move here.

Next year I am going to start out earlier.

It was getting dark already and Jennifer left for home and I prepared to attend the tree lighting. I arrived a bit early and found a great parking place. I walked to The Freeze and saw friends immediately although it was quite dark. I want to send Cheryl, Connie, and Ruth huge kudos for putting together the whole Tree Lighting event. It was exactly how I wished it would be…like a Hallmark Christmas movie. Cheryl provided the candles that Laurie passed out and lit.

What I didn’t expect was the way Santa arrived. Words to Christmas Carols were passed around and when we sang “Here Comes Santa Claus” down Front St he came. It was very exciting and a dream come true for me. I thought that he was arriving in an automobile.  He was in a sleigh shaped wagon with horses pulling it.

Merry Christmas and may all the love at this time of year be to all you volunteers who made that day possible. No one, unless they have done it, knows how much work and how many hours go into planning that day. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

The Benton Pharmacy Christmas Decorations won 1st prize from the Chamber of Commerce with two other businesses. The Chamber had a difficult time choosing and decided to give 1st prize to all three.

You actually have to walk by and stop to enjoy the Pharmacy’s windows. In the right hand side is Mary Zanto’s Santa Claus collection. A few years ago I began, in the View, the story of people’s collections. I remember contacting two people and asked that others call me about their collections. The only one I knew about was Mary Zanto’s but we thought we would wait until closer to the holidays.

I had seen Mary’s collection in her home.  I remember a figure something like 65 Santa’s displayed all over her house. We asked Chris Halko if Mary could put her display in the window of the Pharmacy. Chris said yes but it was too much at the time for her to take them to the Pharmacy.

This year Kirby Hoon transported the collection from Mary’s house to the store. The “Window Dressers” at the store arranged the collection in the window. It is so precious and I know that you will enjoy it with your Kiddos or just by yourself. Look for the whole story in a couple of weeks.

There will be a start-up meeting on Tuesday the 13th, 12:00 noon at the Chouteau County Library. It has been a while since the members no longer gathered together to discuss the virtues of a good book. Friends was always my favorite organization for sharing conversation about a good book

Every Craft Fair that I go to I ask vendors who sew if they have Potato Bags for sale. What is a Potato Bag you ask?  It kind of looks like a pot holder but it is shaped more like a bag. You wash your potato, dry it slightly, put it into the bag, into the micro, and bake your potato for the allotted time. (I bake medium sized potatoes for 4 to 5 minutes. Large sweet potatoes or yams take about 8 minutes.) It is so convenient and the potatoes are so moist. An advantage for me is that they are easier to handle.  No more foil problems.

The point of this story is that I asked on Saturday of a vendor if she had any potato bags. She said that I was the third person to ask her. She said she would look for a pattern and when I told her that I have a bag, we decided that I would send it to her and she would make some.

SO ATTENTION to those of you who may have asked for a bag, call me at 622-3217 and I will get one for you. I would like to tell her how many to make. (Would this increase the sale of potatoes at the Price Rite?  Just joking!)

Here again was a wish come true the auditorium was filled to capacity. Peter is the ultimate musician even though Molly was not able to make the traveling team. (Hello Molly, hope you are feeling better, and we all are happy about the news of another baby. Keep in touch.)  

It was also sooooo adorable when those little Dancers from TC Power brightened up the stage. I especially looked forward to seeing the little Angel who the last two years does not dance but watches all the other little Angels. I thought perhaps this year she might not be bashful but there is always next year.

The treats provided by Shannon and Rob of the Price Rite Grocery store were yummy. There was, I noticed, one little girl who put a cookie in her pocket.  She then took a cupcake and decided not to put it in her pocket. It was so funny.

So, it is over for another year and I know that it will be even bigger and better next year. Actually, I do not know how that could be possible?

All eyes were on the radiant bride as her father escorted her down the aisle. They approached the altar and the waiting groom. The bride kissed her father and placed something in his hand.  The guests in the front pews responded with ripples of laughter. Even the priest smiled broadly. As the father gave her away in marriage, she gave him back his credit card.

This Support the Troops project is really spreading all over the country now. I spoke with Ed Lehman on Saturday and he said that he has a supply of green lights and has sold some. Be sure to support this project by installing a green bulb on your front porch. I had several people tell me that they had noticed my green lights burning.


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

View From The Bridge 12/2/15

VIEW from the BRIDGE
By Muncie

The WOW FACTOR hits you when you read the schedule for this coming weekend. I hope that you hit all the great events that will be happening so close to home. Make a day of it from early morning to late in the evening. Walk Front Street and stop for treats and hot drinks at the stores. Have lunch with friends at Bridgeport Station while being entertained.  Shop until you drop and follow the national trend of “BUY LOCAL.” Try your best to visit our Sister-Cities. And please, please attend the Christmas Tree lightening. Bring your children and grandchildren. Make it a tradition. There will be treats and lots of excitement when Santa arrives and the lights are turned on.

On Sunday is the best of all…the Christmas Concert. It is really going to be special with all of our local talent. Let’s fill the Elementary School auditorium to capacity and enjoy the treats at intermission. I can hardly wait.

Invite your family and friends that live out of town. I heard on the evening news tonight, (Sunday) that it is supposed to be up in the 50 degrees. Who could ask for anything more?  See you there and let me know by wishing me a Merry Christmas.

One of the happenings during the Thanksgiving week was the return of the birds to my feeders. I began filling them two weeks ago and it takes a while for the word to get around bird world. It only takes a couple of days for them to empty the 5 feeders. When I open my shade in the morning, it is a great feeling to see the yard full of birds. I do have two problems with this “free kitchen,” is that the deer came in and knocked the suet feeder to the ground and it opened up. They ate the entire contents. There were also cat tracks in the snow that led directly to under my deck. I truly feel compassion for that animal. How can it survive in the kind of weather we are having now?

Another exciting event that occurred last week was that a squirrel returned to my yard. It has been a couple of years since I had two fun-to-watch playmate squirrels in my yard. I had even given my squirrel feeder away, to a friend who lives at the north end of town. She had squirrels in her yard but the minute she put out the feeder, they disappeared.

I know that there is a 50% chance that you do not like squirrels, but we had many happy breakfast hours watching them frolic about the yard chasing each other. They also would climb in the lilac trees, outside the back window, jumping from branch to branch.  They were having so much fun. Do you remember when Tim Burmeister took a photo of the two squirrels taking a bath in our bird bath? It was quite a while back. We found one in the leaf compost pile and have no idea what happened to it. The other one was around for a while and then it disappeared.

Back to the present day, I made a phone call and retrieved the feeder along with the peanuts and squirrel feed I had given away. I filled the feeder just as it began to snow and found today (Sunday,) that it was empty. It was a tad difficult to get to the feeders today because I had 6 inches of snow to plow through.  

The bright side of the snow was the way the full moon lid up our deck. It was one of the most beautiful sights ever. I wish I had a picture of it but I have to happy with the memory.

50”s Home Schooled
I have run out of those bits of wisdom. There were some that were not printable. I will move on this week to another category.

Observed in a grocery store in the 6-Item express lane a customer was quietly fuming as a person slipped into the line ahead of the customer, pushing a cart piled high with groceries.  Image the surprise and delight when the cashier beckoned the person to come forward and looked into the cart and asked sweetly, “So which 6 items would you like to buy? (Wouldn’t it be wonderful if that happened more often? Actually, we do not have to worry about that in Fort Benton. If I have just a few items in my basket, I am always sent to the front of the line. On the other hand, perhaps they think because I am old that I cannot stand in line any length of time.)

I know more of what is going on in Geraldine because of the “Over the River to Geraldine” column by Robyn Scribner. I met Robyn several months ago. She is the Kindergarten teacher and took over writing the column every week. I have always envied teachers because they knew so many people. Robyn apparently knows everyone in Geraldine. It makes for very interesting reading.  Keep up the great news. (My excuse is that Fort Benton is larger than Geraldine and I couldn’t possibly know everyone. When Randy Morger and I publish our book, “What Changes We Would Make as Co-Presidents,” the first item would be…Everyone would have to wear a name-tag when they are outside the home.”)

The Lions Club also has a new reporter. Miriam Smith gave a great update on Lions Club projects. She just moved here from Bozeman and is already quickly into volunteering. I now know everything I ever wanted to know about The Lions. As stated so many times on all the pages in the River Press…every organization needs volunteers. Please make an effort to help out one of them.  

Have you installed your green porch light yet? You really need to do that. It doesn’t take much effort for a show of support. I cannot help but think about our Troops, thousands of miles away; when in a few weeks it will be Christmas. We Americans are so fortunate to have the protection that we have. Even with what we have there are great dangers. What would it be like if we didn’t have those Troops doing what they are doing?   


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

VIEW from the BRIDGE
By Muncie

A recent Support Our Troops program has begun to put a green bulb in your porch light socket. It is called “Operation Green Light.” If you see a green light on a porch or window there is a good reason. Green is the color or hope, renewal, and well-being.

I mentioned this program in the November 11th issue of View from the Bridge and just this past weekend looked for it on the inter-net. More than a million and a half homes already have green lights on their porches or in their windows. In Washington, D.C. there is a great showing of green lights in government office buildings as well as office buildings in New York City.

I installed the green bulbs on my front porch and side entry over the weekend. I also purchased green flood lights for my security fixture. So I am up and running to support our troops especially with what is happening in the world today. I have known nothing but war in my lifetime. My Christmas wish is that the youngsters of today will know only PEACE. Please make it your Christmas wish too. My Hallmark Christmas movies all tell that you do get a Christmas wish.

I spoke with Ed Lehman of True Value and he will order green bulbs. The cost is $2.98 and that is the least you can do to Support Our Troops.  Call Ed at 622-5042 or pay a visit to the store to place an order. If you order in the next few days, he will have the order in the following Monday. Please participate in this program. It is a nation-wide program just as the wearing “Support Our Troops” t-shirts and wearing red on Fridays.

The Wreaths across America is also nation-wide and have you purchased a wreath yet?  The actual program will take place on Saturday, December 12th at 10 am at Riverside Cemetery. Nancy Lachapelle is letting me put my wreath on my WWII Veteran Wally Morger’s grave. That will make my Christmas a little happier.

Just as Santa is busy at the North Pole, everyone in Fort Benton is busy with community events and their own family events. Keep a sharp eye on the Community Calendar in the River Press and the Chouteau County Country Christmas flyer so you do not miss anything. I find conflict with two events at the same time but try your best to visit each of them.  The Chouteau County Country Christmas, Bridgeport Station, the Christmas Tree Lighting, and events in our sister cities all are packed with the Christmas Spirit. They are all there for your convenience.

My biggest enjoyment is the entertainment. I love music and especially Christmas music.   As you look over your CCCC program, you will not know where to go first. Be sure to invite your family and friends from out of town. It is a great time to get together to spend quality time at an easy pace.

One thing I would especially like you to attend is the Christmas tree lighting. It will be held on Saturday at 5:30 pm at the Circle. (I hope you all know where the Circle is?) I watch too many Hallmark movies and the town’s tree lighting is the biggest event in town. Last year was the first year of the tree lighting and as with all first events it did not go as planned. This year is a different story and I would like to see a huge crowd in attendance. Santa will be there and the most inviting thing will be the refreshments.  Sounds like a Hallmark movie to me. I’ll see you here, there, and everywhere.

I only have another month to wait until the days start getting longer. It actually will be another two months after that when we noticed the nights are shorter. I can hardly wait.  These days of 16 hours of darkness are not helping my attitude. I just wish I could hibernate like the bears. The only problem with that is eating enough to sustain me until the middle of March. On the other hand, it might be enjoyable to eat anything (sweet) that I wanted to gain the weight. Oh, forget all that. It would be more trouble than it is worth.  Where do I get these foolish notions? It’s those long, long, long, evenings.

Thanks Bethany for the great coverage of the newly dedicated “Strand Room” formerly the Hornaday Buffalo Room.  It made us aware of importance of our Museums and Fort Benton’s heritage. Fort Benton is the most important historical city in Montana and it is the best kept secret. Word of mouth is the best way to get this secret out so do your part in promoting our town.

On the cover of the October issue of this magazine was a photo of Lost Lake. There is also a story inside that tells some interesting facts about the area. Until I read that article, I thought that it was a volcano eruption. Who knew?  The issues of this magazine are free and you can find them all over town. They usually have articles about local residents.

I receive a quarterly magazine from the Mt. View Co-Op. I have often said that I do not know what is going on in town and that I am the last to know.
In the fall issue of the magazine is an article about the Fertilizer Plant breaking ground in Fort Benton, MT. When I took some junk to the dumpster for Clean-Up weekend, I saw a man surveying the property. The magazine says that excavation and work will start before the snow flies. I made a phone call to verify the information and it may have to wait until next week before I find info.

I had a great time at the Club House last Saturday night playing, of all things, bingo for a turkey. I had a great time sitting at a table of eight friends. I won my turkey on the 10th game and after that three more people at the table won turkeys plus one person won some cash. I am not a die-hard bingo fan because the caller always calls numbers next to, in-between, and when I only have one number to go someone shouts BINGO. In spite of all that, it was a very enjoyable night out with a turkey to boot.  Go VFW!


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

By Muncie

Another Veteran’s Day has come and gone but not the many thanks to all of our Veterans for their service. There are just not enough words to express our gratitude not only to the Veterans but to their families. Their sacrifices deserve all the help they can get.  Please contact your senators and representatives to give them what they need in health care, mental health care and all other benefits. DO IT NOW. Do not put it off until tomorrow.

(I made my phone calls today, (Monday) and only spoke to Senator Tester’s office in Great Falls. The others I called I could not reach. The lines were busy, busy, busy. I’ll try again tomorrow and the day after until I talk to someone.)

The Wreath program at The Old Fort Benton Bridge was not very well attended. I know that it was not as warm as the Memorial Day Ceremony but there are many Servicemen who are cold where they are. The American Legion and the VFW assured me that there was an announcement in the River Press. Perhaps next year more information about what is going on in town will be available.

I would like to commend the young man who blew Taps on his trumpet live.  Gabe Wallace, a sophomore at Fort Benton High School, did a tremendous job and I hope that he will make it a lifetime habit to be at all the Wreath Ceremonies.  Go Gabe!

The Veterans dinner was well attended and the food was delicious. We were served and plates whisked away for the dessert. I sat at a table with two friends and met three new acquaintances. In case you are wondering what I was doing at the Veteran’s dinner, I was invited. I am a Marine by marriage.

Scott Kirby put on an awesome performance last Wednesday evening. He also performed at the Geraldine High School on Tuesday, the Missouri River Medical Center on Wednesday morning, the Fort Benton Elementary School on Wednesday afternoon, and Highwood High School on Thursday morning.

Scott not only plays a phenomenal piano but he is now a watercolor artist, photographer, and song writer. The first half of the show consisted of pictures and videos of community get-togethers, old schoolhouses with children on playgrounds, old churches, and photos of Scott Joplin and his rag time music. Scott coordinated his piano playing with what was on the screen. It took many hours of practice to get it so perfect.

I am still walking at the High School from Monday to Friday. I was thrilled this past week to see students playing with a basketball. Official practice starts on the 19th and the first game is December 18th. Go Longhorns.

I have difficulty dealing with late fall and winter. It is not so much because of the cold, ice, and snow, but it is the darkness. With the overcast, dreary days lately, it is getting dark by 4:30 p.m. and really dark by 5:00 p.m. Mornings are still bearable because I wake at 8:00 a.m. and it is light outside. I know that I am going to have cabin fever soon.

I keep trying to think about those beautiful summer evenings when it stayed light until 10:00 p.m. I used to take a ride on my Go-Go down Front Street, on the business side, to the Freeze, cross the street and ride back on the river side trail late in the evening. It seems a mighty long time before I can do that again.

I am very attached to the PBS show Backroads of Montana. I watch it every week and I also own a DVD of every episode. Fort Benton has a treat in store when on Saturday, November 21st at 5pm and Monday, November 23rd at 8pm, Backroads will feature our local historian, Hank Armstrong. Hank lives in Geraldine but comes to Fort Benton every Tuesday to volunteer at the Joel Overholser Research Center. I believe he has been doing that for over 25 years.

What you will see on that evening will be…Making Passages watching the closing of the dinosaur digging season near Bynum, listen to a centenarian bugler pay his respects, follow a Polson man in his quest to raise the largest pumpkin, and then Hank’s effort to preserve a special rock quarry near Square Butte. This is a new show and I will be watching with you. If you do not get PBS, I am inviting you to my house to watch it. If you have other plans for that evening, I am going to record it and we can watch it any time that is convenient.

In Bethany’s story last week about the PBS show mentions that the Old Jail in Square Butte and the Cahalan Drugstore used quarry rocks in their construction.

In Fort Benton, the quarry rocks used as a base for the Lewis and Clark Memorial and the Shep bronze were from Square Butte. The rocks in front of The Old Fort Benton Bridge are quarry rocks but from a neighboring area.

There is some question about quarry rocks in Fort Benton. The Grand Union Hotel and the Chouteau County Courthouse basements have quarry rock as foundations but the rock did not come from the Square Butte Quarry. These buildings were built in 1882 a long time before the quarry was in business. It has never been found where those rocks came from.

It was rumored that the Benton Pharmacy that was built in 1882 has a granite foundation. I checked with Chris Halko who gave me Jim Willett’s phone number in Arizona. Both of them said that the basement was a brick foundation. Interesting, isn’t it:

I am wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving because you may not be able to pick up your River Press the day before. We here in Fort Benton have so much to be thankful for and I want to extend a gigantic thank you to all the people and organizations who have worked so hard to make Fort Benton what it is today.

My mother taught me about ENVY. “There are hundreds of less fortunate children in the world who don’t have wonderful parents like you do.”


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

VIEW from the BRIDGE
By Muncie

I want to extent gratitude to my readers for all your kind thoughts about missing me and the hugs, concern, and love that you have bestowed upon me. There are so many of you out there in River Press land who gave me comfort at a very sad time. My greatest comfort is in the fact that I am not alone in grieving and just a smile of understanding these last few weeks have been what I have been holding onto.

I want to thank all of you Veterans for your service to our country. From WWII to today you have kept our country free. It takes great dedication to do what you do.  I also thank the families of those Veterans for the sacrifice you endured. You are very special people and I am so proud of all of you. God bless you and your families.

I also want to thank our VFW and American Legion for their organizations and what they do for Fort Benton.

See you on The Old Bridge on Wednesday and at the dinner that evening at the Sunrise Bluffs.

“What is going on?”  The many people that I speak to, friends, visitors, and strangers, always ask the same question. “What is going on in town? Trust me when I say that I am usually the last to know. I do not do Face Book. In order to correct that situation I have been in touch with the organizations in town to write once a month when their meetings are held. We would like to know some insight into what they have done, what they are doing, and what they are planning on doing.  Do they need help with any particular project and perhaps there is someone out there whose talent could be incorporated?

I asked for help a few months ago with the Veterans Photo Program and I now have two volunteers who are going to help me “catch up.” I have about six photos to post, frame, and hang on the wall. I have bios to type up and many to be corrected. I merely had to ask and I hope that other organizations are successful with volunteers.

So look forward to these new additions to the River Press and then perhaps you will not have to ask, “What is going on?”

I know that most of the View is after the fact but I feel that I want to tell you my impressions of different events that have taken place the few weeks that I took some time out.

The last Tuesday night dinner that was held at the Golden Age Senior Center was very enjoyable and filled to capacity. Our entertainment consisted of Ellie Stensland’s daughter-in-law, Julia, and her three children from Ulm. Their ages are 10, 9, and 8 years of age. Perhaps you remember their picture was in the River Press with their names. The children played the piano and sang in harmony. It was an awesome performance and I hope they return soon.

I spoke with Julia afterward and found that they began their piano lessons at 8 years old.  The boys played several duets and their sister played several pieces that I could not play after 8 years of taking lessons.

The amazing fact about these children was as their mother put it, “Taking piano lessons was not an option.” The point is that kids may not want to take lessons but once they enter the world of music they will understand.

Because Connie Jenkins was using her home to put together the booklet for the season and she was a bit shorthanded she asked me to join in on the fun of putting the booklet together.

Folks, do you have any idea what is involved. Do you have any idea the work that is put into that organization? I didn’t have a clue but what an eye opener that day was.

We cut and pasted and cut and pasted. There were phone calls made to verify if the advertisers wanted changes. At the concerts, I get a booklet, go through it about the shows and glance at the advertisers. What would we do without the advertisers and the sponsors?  I know that we clap for them on the night of the convert but from now on I will make an effort to thank them personally.
I know that son Randy Morger, the Master of Ceremonies, talks about the artists but do you read about them in the booklet because reading stays in your mind better than hearing it. These performers are artists whose talent is their livelihood. Get to know them a little better. It makes life so much more interesting to learn about other people’s lives. It’s a whole new world out there.

There was a Chouteau County Performing Arts program on October 24th. The Great Falls Symphonic Choir with 100 voices performing gave one of the best concerts we have ever had. Near the end of the show the women came off the stage and lined up in the two aisles.  They sang Amazing Grace and it was the nearest to heaven than I am going to get. It was simply and truly the most heart-warming event ever.

By the time you get this edition of the River Press, it may be too late to hear about the concert the evening of the 11th. Scott Kirby will be performing and I guarantee that you will enjoy that evening immensely. Scott has performed in Fort Benton before and is back by popular demand. According to the booklet he has a whole new show and will still include the rag time piano. Scott is now a watercolor artist as well as song writer.  I certainly hope that you have not missed it. My hope, and it just my opinion, that the auditorium is filled. Having only half the seats or less occupied is not my expectation or acceptable in my opinion. I would like to see all 400 seats filled. Do it the C.C.P.A. Board Members, for Fort Benton’s reputation, and for me, please. It is my dream. See you there!

Were you able to view the eclipse of the moon last month with it also being closest to the earth? I really enjoyed it because I won’t be around for the next one.

The November moon is called the Full Beaver Moon or the Frosty Moon. It is the time to set the beaver traps before the swamps freeze over to ensure a good supply of beaver hats at that time. The beavers are also actively preparing for winter according to the Alumax.  The full moon will be on Wednesday, November 25th the day before Thanksgiving.

Last night, Saturday the 7th, on our way home from Great Falls about 8:00 p.m. I asked my driver to stop at the top of the hill just off the highway. What a thrill my vision beheld.  It looked as if the stars were going to fall to the ground. The sky was completely filled with stars and I could see the Milky Way.

I went to a Planetarium many years ago and when the speaker turned out the lights everyone gasped at the sight of the stars. He said, “You know that you have this show almost every night if you just go outside.” Since I live on a corner I have too many street lights on two sides of the house and across the street to view the sky. I’ll bet that all of you ranchers and farmers have great views of the sky.

I have heard that on these Smart Phones you can be made aware of when the Northern Lights can be seen. I am not smart enough for a Smart Phone.

A while back, Diane Jones and I did a program to “SUPPOST OUR TROOPS,” by wearing red on Friday. I learned of the program from the internet. We sold 300 t-shirts and I thought that I would see more of them in the summertime when we did not have to wear sweaters or coats. I would like you to renew your commitment to wear your shirts or red on Fridays. You know Folks, those troops are still over there and they are dying for your country. The least you can do is wear red on Fridays.

In the last two weeks I saw this commercial repeatedly to Support our Troops. The program to put a green light on your front porch is a simple one. It is very impressive when it shows a block of homes with green lights lighted on their porches.

Let’s make this program work. I tried to urge the American Flag on each home several years ago so we could become the “American Flag City of Montana” but that went over like teaching me Latin or Greek. The “Support the Troops” shirts at least interested 300 people. That was very encouraging. So spread the word about the green bulbs and let us see every house in Fort Benton supporting the Troops.

I have always felt that it did no harm for “happenings” to be mention in several sections of the River Press. Pie Day at the Golden Age Senior Center will be on Friday, the 13th at 1:00 p.m. with a Bake Sale.

Please note that there is a time change again. It started back many years ago when Pie Day was at 10:00 a.m. In order to attract more customers, the time was changed to 2:00 p.m. which for many of us was a better time. It was a pleasant break in a busy day to enjoy a great piece of homemade pie and tea or coffee. Time flew by and Pie Day was not being supported very well. In order to boost sales, a bake sale was added and the time was changed to11:00, then again it was changed to 1:00, then 12:30 and now back again to 1:00.

I would like everyone to meet on Friday and discuss the time changes with the powers in charge. I would like what is best for the Center but I would also like what is best for those who participate.

You readers can also check out the Golden Age Center section of the River Press for schedules. Remember that anyone can have a very good lunch/dinner at the Center from Monday through Saturday at noon. The Sunday dinner is a 1:00 p.m.  My favorite is Meal on Wheels that are delivered to my home. There again is another example of volunteer work to deliver those meals. All the work done at the Center is volunteer and a thankless job. I am declaring here that I appreciate the demanding job that the Board has. Go Seniors!

Have you all signed up for the Community Dinner that the MRMC is hosting for the community on Thursday November 19th from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.? You have to R.S.V.P. so just do it now by calling Bryan at the hospital. This is your opportunity to ask all those questions you have for our new C.E.O. Louie King. Put in your 2 cents worth of pros and cons. Talk with the Board of Directors as to their decisions on grants and financing. I know that it will be a very informative evening. See you there.

Back to my old days now with - My Mother taught me WISDOM. “When you get to be my age, you will understand.”


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

VIEW from the BRIDGE
By Muncie

I am going to take a break again and at this time I do not know for how long. My Morger family lost another daughter, Lisa Morger Miller, Saturday morning 9/19/15. She was “a Fort Benton Girl” as loyal as could be. She loved Fort Benton and visited often to stay in the home she was raised in. She was a teacher, mostly 4th grade, and loved her students.  

Many of you knew Lisa, went to school with her, and will remember her as the loving person she was.

It is difficult losing her after losing Audra four (4) years ago and my Sweetheart Wally a year and a half (1½) ago. Audra and Lisa were much too young but we do not have choices.  I just keep saying, “Enjoy every minute of every day.”

If you haven’t already seen it, drive by the Ag Museum and the mural that is being painted by Jeanette, a very talented artist, amongst many other hats that she wears. Her artistic talent was purchased at a silent auction in Billings. I am involved because she is staying with me. She is the Operations Manager of the Moss Mansion in Billings, teaches, volunteers, and is a mother to a 5 year old and 11 month old. (I thought I was busy and I certainly do not have the energy.)

It is now Monday morning and Jeanette made a last minute check at the Ag. She put in an over 12 hour day yesterday to finish the work. See Bethany’s picture and interview in this paper.

Reader’s, this mural is absolutely awesome. You know that I use awesome when something is perfect. It takes your breath away when you see the detail. The outside lighting does more for the mural than inside the Convention Center wall with artificial lighting.  Convention Center is my name for the big room at the Ag.)

Take yourselves, your children, and your grandchildren to see this mural.  It is not only a lesson in art but in history and homesteading. Your Kiddos will love it because of the deer and lamb that are in the picture. Women will love it because of the daisies and men will love it because of the horses and the farm house. I think that about covers it. I hope that it means as much to you as it does to me.

I have a correction from last week. I reported that the Butter Braid (I even had the name wrong as Braided Bread) had three (3) flavors. Actually there are several more to choose from.

Members are to pick up their order forms a.s.a.p. at the Library. They are to be turned in by October 22nd and the bread will be delivered at the November meeting. Yummy!

Last Tuesday’s late afternoon dinner was the first of the season at the Golden Age Senior Center. It was well attended and the guest speaker was Marta Ferguson. She was a “hoot” and kept us laughing at stories about the High School and the students. (Don’t worry Kids, there was nothing incriminating and no names were mentioned.)  It was one of the most entertaining evenings I have spent lately.  Go Marta-Horn. (Now don’t you students start calling her that because I will be blamed? I have writer’s privilege.)

I know that there are items I am forgetting to tell you about but at this time I cannot think what they are. You all take care of yourselves, be careful and cautious in everything you do, play your sports for the fun of it, and remember that you are only young once.

My mother taught me HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT. “If you don’t eat your vegetables, you will never grow up.”


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

View From The Bridge 9/16/15

VIEW from the BRIDGE
By Muncie

The General Federation of Woman’s Clubs of Fort Benton have a fund raiser planned. It is “Braided Bread” and it sounds very exciting. There are three (3) flavors and those are Cinnamon, Cream Cheese and Raspberry. At the last Woman’s Club meeting the members were all given a sample. Trust my taste buds…all three were soooooo good. What I am afraid of is that I am going to eat the whole loaf.

You have to bake the bread or you can freeze it for a later holiday like Thanksgiving or Christmas. I think it would be perfect for Christmas morning breakfast with hot cocoa while opening presents.

I like the baking part of it because first of all it makes the house smell so nice. Secondly, baking it yourself makes you feel like you are doing something. That is the reason cake mixes do not have eggs or dried milk/oil in them. When you have to add those ingredients, it makes you feel like you are doing something.

The orders for the Braided Bread will begin this week and the bread will be delivered November 12th. Call Connie Jenkins at 750-2918 to order if you are not contacted by a member of Woman’s Club first. Bon Appetite!

Last Saturday, when I took my walk, I shared the Ag with a group of 12 women touring the Museum. They are members of Sorority Pi Beta Phi from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA. Our local resident, June Bough, owner of the Franklin Street Guest House here in Fort Benton was thrilled that her Sorority chose to make their yearly get-together in Fort Benton. They usually meet somewhere on the Pacific Coast and there were women from Georgia, Pennsylvania and Washington.

The awesome part of this story is that this was the 55 year anniversary of their pledge in 1960. They have met once a year since that day that bound them together as Sisters.  What I heard, and what I love to hear, was that this was the best vacation they had ever had. Thank you for making Fort Benton your destination.

Later that same afternoon a group of sixty (60) members of The Montana Ghost Town Preservation Society toured Fort Benton’s Agriculture Museum, The Village, The Museum of the Upper Missouri (MUM,) The Old Fort, and The Missouri Breaks Interpretive Center. That group was also pleased with what they saw and as always they say they are going to return. That is what we like to hear.

What a great Homecoming week it was. The Homecoming Parade was the first I have ever missed. I could not break away from a meeting I was attending but I could hear the fabulous Fort Benton High School Band.

Butterflies in my stomach were soon settled when the Longhorns completed their third touchdown. I can always relax when the team is that far ahead. I should not have been anxious at all should I?

Another high was when the Longhorns bus came into sight with the Girls Volleyball team. I always feel better when I know that teams are safely back in town because it is just like family.

How about our F.B.H.S. Band…aren’t they awesome! I had mentioned two weeks ago that I would try to arrange the words to the school song be printed on the program. The Boosters at the gate were handing out copies of the words. There was a lot more singing for that reason, because there were a lot of old folks there, and or because we sang it so many times, they memorized them. Also Eric Lenington, we loved “Sweet Caroline,” but do not know all the words to it. Perhaps the Booster Club could provide the fans with copies of it.

It has been definitely decided that the last day for the Visitors Information Center will be Sunday, the 27th of this month. That is in line with the Ag/MUM Museums and The Old Fort Benton. Check your River Press for the hours of the Missouri Breaks Interpretive Center. They remain open a longer period and by appointment. (They have a very informative movie about the White Cliffs of the Missouri. The Kiddos would love it and learn a lot from it. Take them there on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.)

Last week I had to change shifts with son Randy at the Visitors Information Center. My shift is on Tuesdays from 1:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Randy’s is on Wednesday at same time.  I had an eye exam on Tuesday that I have been waiting for 3 months and so we traded.  Now, Wednesday happened to be my birthday and Randy asked me if I wanted to spend that day at the Center.  I said yes because I had no other plans.

I had a few Visitors come in and around 3:00 p.m. I had a couple from Canada and a couple from Great Falls. His wife was chatting with the couple from Canada and he and I were chatting. He said, “Well, it looks as though you are going to have more visitors.”

In the door came a conga line of 9 people singing Happy Birthday, a cake, ice cream, lemonade, and all the paper items you need for a party. I was completely, totally surprised. I had thought it strange that, of all the phone calls I received in the morning, that Valerie and Randy had not called me. They had planned the party for weeks and had my friends sworn to secrecy. I always referred to my close friends as “My Gang.” We did many things together, including Pie Day, and since one couple is moving, it would be the last time we were all together. It was a memorable day and came and went as quickly as the other long list of birthdays.

The point of this story is not about my birthday but that if you are planning a surprise party for anyone, I will make arrangements to hold it in the Visitors Center. It is such a great location, along the Missouri, next to The Old Bridge, and in The Old Fire House.

One of the Visitors said to one of my friends, “Isn’t it wonderful to live in a small town.”  “Yes, it is for me.”

My mother taught me about ESP. “Put your sweater on, don’t you think I know when you are cold?”


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

View From The Bridge 9/9/15

VIEW from the BRIDGE
By Muncie

I am starting this View on Saturday evening and Fort Benton is deserted. I know the weather is dull and dreary but he sun has peeked through several times to brighten up the day a bit.

I have always wondered why there is nothing going on in Fort Benton on Memorial Day, the 4th of July, and Labor Day. I know the 4th of July is too close to Summer Celebration but still it is the birthday of our country.  Actually, I do know why there are no events for these holidays. It would be a lot of work to organize and there isn’t anyone, including me that will step up. Sorry I mentioned it. I know you all have families, picnics, and get- togethers. It actually is just another day.

Weather was not good for picnics over the weekend but today, (Labor Day,) it is a nice fall day with lots of sunshine, blue sky, and white fluffy clouds. How many furnaces and heaters were used over the weekend? The weather predictors were completely off in the last few days. The heavy rains that were supposed to drop 1 to 2 inches of rain did not materialize on Sunday. We did have some nice rain during the previous days and nights and that was most welcome especially for Fire Fighters.

I brought my inside plants, that I had outside all summer, back inside the house over the weekend. Tyler Lane at the Extension Office had a great article titled, “September Horticultural Management.” It is about what to do with your yard and garden at this time of year. Thanks Tyler, I need all the help I can get.

I really enjoyed last week’s edition. The article written by Middle School Coach Jory Thompson was just what I like to read. He gave the stats of the game and the team. I hope you can keep those reports coming Jory.  

Skip Ross also reported about our Longhorns Varsity Football Team. The article was open and honest about the many questions the fans wanted to know. There were no excuses, just the facts. Since I know little about the workings of football, the articles were an eye-opener for me. I am one who pokes fans all around me asking, “What happened?” The action is too fast for this old fan and fortunately, everyone is obliging.  Keep the articles coming Skip. Thanks for all your time, patience, and it is great to see you out on that field.

I was able to get to the game last Friday evening with my down coat on, gloves and a blanket. (Actually did not have to use the blanket.) I was as snug as a bug and it was a beautiful, perfect football evening. The wind did come up about the last quarter but it was not uncomfortable. There were several fans I saw who did not have a sweater or jacket on. I can remember the days when I did not have to keep warm. To those sweater-less/jacket-less souls, enjoy while you can.

It was a very exciting game with a couple of long runs for touchdowns by the Longhorns. We were able to sing the school song a few times. That was fun except I think that there were just a few fans along with the Cheerleaders who sang. Don’t you know the words? I am going to see if the words could be printed on the program.

In my world, the singing of the National Anthem and the school song should be heard in Loma and Carter. I see on TV that many do not even put their hand on their heart while the Anthem is being played. (That is a whole other subject with me.)

There will be many more fans this coming Friday night because of Homecoming. GO HORNS!

Of interest also was the letter from Keith Ballantyne, Chamber of Commerce President, about the Missouri River Medical Center. I really hope that those of you readers who have questions about the expansion of the clinic and hospital have evaluated your thoughts about the benefits and negatives. It is all up to us.

I remember a long time ago writing about a story featured in the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book. It was about a sign written on a wall somewhere that said, “Practice Random Acts of Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty.” I am sure that everyone who read it had a different idea of what it meant. I understood the practice of random acts of kindness but senseless acts of beauty still has me puzzled. Why should an act of beauty be senseless? Perhaps it means to do an act of beauty without thinking about it? Just do it!

It meant so much to me that I had it printed on my business cards and that is why I remember it so well.

The past week I heard stories about that very saying and I would like to share because they are all Fort Benton happenings.

1. A woman lost a rolled up amount of money from her pocket and she had a good idea where she lost it. She returned to the area but was unsuccessful in finding the money. The people in the area were aware of what happened. The whole amount was soon returned to her by the individual who found the cash. No one would have known if she had kept the money.

2. At the football game Friday evening, I was going have a bite to eat when I realized that I had left the sliced onion in the truck. I had just left the lunch room when a young student came in the back door. He saw me down the short hallway and he backed up and kept the door open for me. Chivalry is not dead.

(I have never seen so many door openings as I have at the Price Rite. I know that I have not opened a door for myself ever. The best part is when a young mother teaches her children to open doors for everyone, not just the elderly.)

3.  A woman called the Visitors Information Center from out of town to ask where she could purchase gift certificates. The background story was that she had car trouble and two young men solved her problem and sent her on her way. They would not accept any money and she wanted to send them a gift certificate. Would you or would I have stopped to help her?

Do you have a Chicken Soup story to tell me?

The Center will be open until the 28th of September that will be on schedule with the closing of the Museums and the Old Fort. You have about three weeks to tour those facilities that will amaze you.

I meet many Visitors as I take my daily walk in the Ag Center. I, of course, always ask where they are from. Visitors always like to discuss their trips. They all say that we have the best museums, historic markers, and Levee Walking Trail in Montana. I agree completely and have said so many times. You should take yourselves and your Kiddos to the Museums, the Village, the Old Fort, and the Missouri Breaks Interpretive Center. If you love history those buildings should be your destination.

Friday is PIE DAY and a BAKE SALE at 12:30 p.m. Please support this effort by the Golden Age Senior Center.
On Tuesday, September 15th at 5:00 p.m. will be the once a month Tuesday night dinner. Be sure to sign up soon as it is the first of the season and the list is filled quickly. They can only accommodate 48 diners. See you there.

My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION. “Just wait until we get home.


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

View From The Bridge 9/2/15

VIEW from the BRIDGE
By Muncie

Last night, 8/29/15, we saw a view of the full moon through the smoke on our way home to Fort Benton from Missoula. We glimpsed it when we left Missoula. It was very faint because the smoke there was heavier in that area. It never really cleared but became less as we traveled toward home. The moon was huge, full, red, and later an orange color. It was gorgeous.

September is my favorite month. Full Corn Moon or Full Harvest Moon is its names. All of the names of the moons are from Native Americans and the Full Corn Moon was the time when the corn was to be harvested. The Full Harvest Moon is actually the full September moon closest to the equinox. It usually occurs two years out of three when it may occur in October. The Almanac has the interesting story about how during Harvest Moon time, it rises 20 to 30 minutes earlier each night as compared with the normal 50 minutes. You can keep track, if this interests you, by checking the Fort Benton weather site for times of the moon risings. The farmers can work late into the night by the light of the moon.

Next week, Friday the 11th of September, there will be a Bake Sale and PIE DAY at the Golden Age Senior Center at 12:30 p.m.) Note: the time has changed again.) There has not been good support for this fund raiser. For the “faithful pie eaters,” it is a long time tradition. Please do not let it go by the wayside as the many other events that needed support. I think that the members of the Senior Center work too hard at all that baking. The women that I talked with about their hard work said that they love to do it. (Note: They use their own money to buy the ingredients.)

Keep in mind that if you want a whole pie to call the Center at 622-3601 and order it the Monday before. Please do not come in early on Friday and take a whole pie. It doesn’t leave much choice for those who only want one piece of pie and coffee.

The Fort Benton Golden Age Senior Center is one of a kind. It is the only Senior Center in a far reaching area that serves meals and delivers Meals on Wheels 7 days a week. It is open to the public and it is a dinner for which you would have to pay twice as much for a sandwich. It is served buffet style so you can have seconds. The Sunday dinners are served at 1:00 p.m. instead of noon. They are special because the tables are set with your tableware, napkins, tablecloths/place mats, condiments, water, and coffee.

It is a social get-together. For those who go every day for dinner, it is like family. There is always a puzzle being worked on, card playing, blood pressure testing, bake sales, and of course the awesome PIE DAY. FRIDAY IS PIE DAY is my motto once a month.  Again, please do not let it be gone with the wind. There won’t be another day tomorrow.  Once events are gone or are said to be postponed until another time, it never happens.

Cooler weather will be upon us soon. It is so nice to take a break once a month to enjoy homemade pie and a coffee cup that is bottomless. Nowhere around can you get the combination for such a reasonable price.

Who knew? You can drop into the Center any morning and have a cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate, for a donation, about 9:30 a.m. and the coffee will be ready. (There is also exercise class at 9:30 a.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Come a little later if you do not have an inclination to exercise. (That is my joke for this week.)

I hear a lot of talk about walking but as yet I have not seen anyone at the high school or the Ag Center. I walked the high school Monday through Thursday and the Ag Friday through Sunday this summer. However, the high school closed two weeks before school began to polish and wax the floors.

The Ag Museum opens at 10:30 a.m. and that fit my schedule very well as I had been doing that all summer. Once school began, I have to walk at 4:00 p.m. The Ag Museum will only be open until the end of September so I will continue to walk there and then switch to the high school. I haven’t figured out yet where to walk on Saturday and Sunday.  I hope the weather holds cool for the next few months and I can say, “Walking Trail…here I come.

When I found I could not get to the football game in Chester last Friday, I decided to go to the Volleyball game. It was so exciting and I wanna play volleyball. I would have loved it and what little I knew about the game. It was my very first game. Who knew what orange lines were, who a line judge was, and why the clock wasn’t running? I had to ask those fans who sat around me what was going on. What I liked so much about the game is that all the 6 players played. It was a real team effort. The Junior Varsity won the 3 games out of 5 and it was awesome. Unfortunately I had to leave before the Varsity Team played as it was a tad too warm for me in the building.

At this point I would like to say thank you to all the individual sponsors and business sponsors for supporting the Football insert in the River Press and the programs at all the sports games. I cannot say thank you to all of you individually and so I hope that you are reading the View. When sports fans are attending games or checking out the insert, make a mental note of the sponsors. When you frequent their businesses, remember to say thank you.  They provide a great service to our community.

“How about that” as expressed by the Coach on TV sports news? I just have to comment on the game. I deny saying before the game started, after seeing the size of the North Dakota team that I doubted U. of M. could ever win.

The company I was with said that they were witnesses but they really have no proof. I know that the elation over the win and the thrill of the last few seconds has made them forget my doom and gloom forecast. “Go Griz!” That game has become #1 in my memory over the winning games of the Longhorns State Championship and a couple of games played by the Saints of Carroll College. Saturday’s game will be talked about forever and every play will never be forgotten. It was a thrill of a lifetime in football history.

My mother taught me about HIPOCRICY. “If I told you once, I have told you a million times, don’t exaggerate.”

Someone asked me the other day that they had heard I was moving to Great Falls. NO, NO, No! I never want to leave Fort Benton. Perhaps the rumor was started because they want me to leave. Who started that rumor? Let’s go one on one.

I know I am repeating myself but I want to tell you readers that I was concerned when I moved here that the community would think that, “here she comes from another state and wants to change things.” In my home state, (how I wish it had been Montana,) I did a lot of volunteering. I was employed by a Non-Profit Organization. I had people volunteering for me. It was always a part of my life. I saw some projects that could be improved here, not changed. It was exciting and fun to be a part of. You all accepted me as friends and family. Fort Benton is my heart and I do not want to move to Great Falls. I would pick Great Falls as a second city to live in but it is way too populated. There is also too much traffic and I would have to drive to a walking trail, the Senior Center, and shopping. No, I want to stay in Fort Benton.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

View From The Bridge 8/26/15

VIEW from the BRIDGE

There was so much more about the Chouteau County Fair that I did not get to last week.  If I leave anyone out, I am sorry. Much of the attendance numbers were covered by Shirley Embelton. It looks and sounds as if there will be more involvement next year. I certainly hope that is so. I have always had many memories and this year I have more. I met dear friends at the 4-H building for breakfast every time I ate, friends and neighbors would stop to visit. I went through the exhibits with a longtime friend. It was a great time for me and I would like to hear your memories.

The School Exhibits was spectacular this year. I wonder how many hours it took to set them all up. Each grade from all the schools around the County contributed. There were some very artistic pieces and talented artists whose work we can look forward to seeing their future development.

Did you see the display about WWII? These youngsters are not forgetting “The Greatest Generation.” Thank you for that.

Although the Fair does not have a carnival any longer, I observed that the Kiddos were having a great time jumping up and down on those bouncy things. (I do not know what to call them.) Diving off and landing on a cushioned area made me shiver. (I also watched them at Summer Celebration.) The individuals who do that must also like diving out of airplanes and rock climbing to name a few daring feats. I wonder if I would have done that when I was young.

The Food Concessions were 5-Star Fair Food. I have always loved the Fair because I used to say that it was one time, and include Summer Celebration, that I could eat all the junk food I wanted. Not so! I take all that back because I ate some terrific meals, quickly served and very appetizing. I ate well for three days.

Another event I really enjoyed was the “Mini Cars.” What a blast that was. It equaled in enjoyment like the Kiddos that wrestle the pigs. Kudos to all you youngsters who participated. You are so much fun. I hope you are back next year.

Most likely during the coming week I will think of someone or something that I forgot to mention. If you see me out and about, I would like it if you told me what you enjoyed and if there was something you saw that I didn’t.

On Thursday last, Ken Robison, our local author and historian, gave a talk at the Missouri Breaks Interpretive Center on the Mullen Road. It was at the same time as the meeting at the City Hall concerning the deer. Ken dubbed it the Deer-Fest when he greeted us as we arrived at the Center.

Ken’s program was about an hour long and I drove on Front Street for two reasons. I was taking Marge W. back to the Sunrise Bluffs and I wanted to see if there were any vehicles at the City Hall. No there were not and the building was dark. On the way to the Bluffs on Front St. a deer ran across the street. It was alone and as usual it stood on the lawn and stared at us. I’ll have to wait for the River Press to see what took place at the Deer-Fest.

I cannot believe that the summer has gone so quickly. I can now return to walking at the High School about 4:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and on Friday at 3:00 p.m. because of early out. It will seem strange because of the absence of vehicles parked around the school all summer.

I see by the Community Calendar that the Girls Volleyball and the Boys Football game are played on the same day. It must be difficult for the parents that have students playing on both teams. I know this has always been a problem and I am happy that I do not have to make those choices.

I have good thoughts for all the teams. I do watch a lot of Hallmark movies and they have many about schools, teachers, football, and basketball. Of course because it is a movie, the teams always win. They do emphasize it is not the winning but the effort put into the contest. All you can do is your best effort and enjoy what you are doing. We love the Longhorns and we are happy that we have a football team again. I saw the team on the 5:30 p.m. local news the other night and Coach Skip Ross said that the team is inexperienced. We realize that and we are behind you all the way. Go Horns!

The Farmers Market is going well. It has been hot most Thursdays and so I rush over and rush home to watch the 5:00 p.m. World News. It looks as though there is good attendance and I’ll report next week when it will end.

I still need help with my Veterans Photo Program. I asked a few weeks ago in this column but have not received a response. I realize that everyone is busy and next month all the organizations will begin their meetings.
I only need a couple of days help. When the program began, I said that it was never ending. I have changed my mind and after I finish with the 5 or 6 photos that I have to do, it will be the end of the program.

I am excited about two research projects that I am working on and my Adopted Plot. Those projects and doing the View keep my life interesting and make me more aware of how precious friends are.

My mother taught me about ENVY. “There are millions of children in the world who don’t have wonderful parents like you do.”


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

View From The Bridge 8/19/15

VIEW from the BRIDGE
By Muncie

On Tuesday the 11th I did my usual shift at the Visitor’s Information Center from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. A young man and his wife came in and in the conversation he said that his mother was coming to visit Fort Benton on Thursday. Her name was Mary and she was, (and still is,) an attendant for about 10 years at the Conrad Mansion in Kalispell. She had never been to Fort Benton before and wanted to see where the Conrad family came from.

I alerted the volunteers due on shifts to call me when she arrived. I wanted to show her where the Conrad’s Honeymoon Cottage was and then direct her to our other attractions.

She actually arrived early on Friday morning after staying overnight in Great Falls to see the Louis and Clark Interpretive Center. I was called about 10:30 a.m. on Friday and when I arrived at the Center and met Mary, she asked, “How did you know my name and when I would be here?” I told her that her son told me on Tuesday and she was surprised. Her son travels around Montana on business and she had not spoken to him. I showed her and her husband Bob, the cottage and sent them on to the Museum of the Upper Missouri to start their tour.

I spoke with Mary today, Monday, and she said that she loved Fort Benton and enjoyed her visit immensely.  If you are making a trip to Kalispell and you have not been to the Conrad Mansion, it is a must. The top floor is filled with pictures and items from Fort Benton. Not only is the Mansion beautiful but the grounds are a pleasure to view. Be sure to tell Mary that you are from Chouteau County and hello from Fort Benton.

Also on that Tuesday, a man and his son came into the Visitors Center. I always ask where they are from and the father said that they were from Atlanta, Georgia. I said that I had a son who worked in Atlanta but lived in a small town called Suwanee that is a suburb of Atlanta. The man looked at me in surprise and said that he knew where Suwanee was as he lived there for 15 years. What are the odds that he would come to Fort Benton, Montana that is a suburb of nowhere and talk to someone who also knew where Suwanee, Georgia was located? It’s a small, small world.

My affair with the Chouteau County Fair is honest and true. I came to Montana from the Detroit area in the state of Michigan and I had never heard of a County Fair.

I attended my first CC Fair in 1993 and was told excitedly by my Sweetheart, that we would be going to the Demolition Derby on Sunday evening. What! A demolition derby, what in heavens name was that? Well, now you will know who screamed the loudest and had the most fun. It was me who knew nothing about County Fairs, farming, ranching, wheat, never learned to can fruits and veggies, ever entered a single baked goods item to be judged, or even knew what a blue, red or white ribbon stood for.

I still have never learned to can but those of you who do, please forgive me. I have other talents. I don’t know what they are as yet, but they must be out there somewhere. I did sew most of the families clothing for about 14 years but gave it up when my daughter graduated from high school. I made her prom and graduation dress and that was the last time I ever used the sewing machine.

I took a quilting class once and made a pillow that I still have. That was the end of that.  My eyesight was not good enough for those tiny stitches. I really enjoy checking out the quilts that are on display at the fair.

In the area where the canned goods are displayed, are shelves from one end of the room to the other. They were filled, in the old days, with bottles. Not today. This past weekend there were perhaps two dozen bottles and most of them were entered by the same woman.  (I wonder if I could pay her $100.00 an hour, if she would come to my house and doing canning for me. Actually, no amount of money could compensate the work that canning involves.)

There was a minimum of baked goods and compared to the first few years of my residence here and it was sad. Another section had each town in Chouteau County had displaying a fruit and vegetable type stand. We truly enjoyed looking at all those products of hard work.

What is happening here? The Chouteau County Fair should be the most exciting time of the year for farmers and ranchers. I am not excusing town folk either. I love the getting together with old friends and neighbors. I witnessed a lot of that this past weekend. Do you realize how lucky you are to live here in this rural community?

I came from an area where there were 3 or 4 million people. When I moved from my old neighborhood to a new one in Michigan, I only knew the neighbors on either side of me and never knew them well enough to consider doing anything in the world to help them. I was a stranger in a strange town.

There were no open spaces and you drove from one town right into another. My move to Montana was the best decision I ever made. God bless America, Montana, and Fort Benton.

I am ashamed of myself.  I did bake a couple of years ago but this year I said, “Oh it is too hot to bake.” I promised myself to do more next year if I’m still around. I will bake when it is cool and put it in the freezer. (I hope that is allowed.)

My friend Nancy L. entered the wild flowers from the garden this year and I won 4 blue ribbons and 3 red ones. It was exciting. I am going to try to do what I can to promote the CC Fair. Can I get you excited enough to do the same? Only your cooperation will make next year the 104th CC Fair a greater success.

Another event I am questioning is the attendance of the Saturday evening entertainment.  The audience was very sparse. Where were all those people who complained about not having entertainment on Saturday night?

This is a quote that I overheard, “People pay $14.00 just to go through the gates to the State Fair in Great Falls and they will not pay $14.00 to see great entertainment in Fort Benton.”   It is expensive to bring in good entertainment. If you are a Country Music fan and were not there in the stands on Saturday evening, you missed a terrific show. I have loved country music since I was a teenager and it was called Hillbilly music then.

As I contemplate the Fair today, Monday, it is now here and gone for another year. Next year wouldn’t it be great if each family would enter one thing. I will suggest to the Fair Board to wrap that theme around, “All for One and One for All.” How do you like that idea?

My mother taught me about WEATHER. “That room of yours looks like a tornado went through it.”


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

View From The Bridge 8/12/15

VIEW from the BRIDGE
By Muncie

I need some help as well as many organizations in Fort Benton. I have to do some catching up with the Veterans Photo Project. My eyesight and time are limited these days.

I need someone who can spend a couple of Tuesdays with me at the Joel Overholser Research Center. I am only there once a week on Tuesdays as well as Ken Robison who does the scanning of the photos.

I need someone who loves their computer to add names to the list of photos already hanging at the Sunrise Bluffs. I also need someone who can help me “catch up,” with the biographies. I have about six (6) photos to bring up to date, framed and hung at the Bluffs.  I also need corrections done to the gold label names on the pictures. You would have to work with Pam on the labels.

If I have reached someone who will volunteer, please call me at 622-3217. I would like to get the project completed in September.  

This is also a call to all of you young, energetic, bright, and enthusiastic people in Fort Benton. My motto is, “Give back to your community.” You enjoy living in a rural community, at least I hope you do, and volunteering is a little pay back for what you enjoy.

I always want to congratulate the youngsters in the community who make us so proud.  Sometimes “what I want to do, or mean to do” do not cooperate with “have to do.”

I apologize if I have forgotten anyone.  Several weeks ago Hanna Bach won 1st place in the Montana State competition for her poster on conservation. She was to advance to the National competition. (I loved your poster.)

Last week’s River Press featured an article about Hayden Axtman who swam to the top at State. What a great accomplishment. Proud is not a big enough word to put a title to the many hours of practice you put in.

To all of you who have brought titles to Fort Benton I consider “Hero’s.”  You have done outstanding work.  That goes for all the others who competed because you were involved and put in just as many hours.  You are “Hero’s” too and I love you for your efforts.

On July 7th, 2015 there was a happening that I call, “The Night of the Grizzly on the Teton.” A grizzly bear killed two calves on the Brant and Donna Hasbrouck farm/ranch west of Carter. It happened about 10:00 p.m. and at that time of year it was light enough to see the corral close to their back deck.

The family stood on their deck and witnessed the whole horrible scene. The grizzly took off but they do not know in which direction. The part that frightens me is that bear came down the Teton that borders the Hasbrouck’s property. Do you remember a few years ago when two grizzly’s did their killing near Loma? I do not remember the details but I do remember that they traveled the Teton.

Fish, Wildlife and Parks was called to the Hasbrouck’s and were trying to determine if it was a cub was with its mother. Those are the dangerous ones. The rest of the story is that the family was told that this area was the stomping grounds of the grizzlies and they are showing signs of returning to their natural habitat. Traps were set on the property but to no avail.

I have not checked with Fish, Wildlife and Parks. I am relating this story because there was nothing in the newspapers about it. This is just a notice for those of you who live on the Teton to be careful.

A friend of mine was pulled over on Highway 87 on her way to Fort Benton from Great Falls. It was late evening, already dark, and the officer said that she was going over the speed limit. She and I did not know that the speed limit at night is 65 mph. We thought that was only for trucks. Ignorance is no excuse although she only got a warning; she learned a valuable lesson and passed it on to me.

I was never pulled over because I only drove 65 mph all the time. My lesson was to read signs more attentively. I always took the classes on driving for years that gave me a discount on insurance. I do not remember ever having heard about a limit on night driving.  I am very fortunate that I arrange rides into Great Falls now and I’ll bet you are happy that I am not “on the road again.”  (Warning: I still drive around town but the older I get, the more anxious I am.) I just hate backing up as has to be done on Front Street. The wonderful thing is that Fort Benton drivers will wait while you back out. Good Job!

Great, there is going to be a concert on Saturday night. The River Press article said that fair-goers had asked for a concert to be held again. I am one of those requesters. There are just too many rodeos around the area but not enough entertainment.

One of my most pleasant evenings was years ago on Saturday evening. The performer was Dan Seals and he sang one of my favorite songs, “If I Had but One Friend Left, I’d Want it to be You.” The sun was setting and the bluffs were a fantastic shade of red. The evening temperature was perfect. The Benton Belle was going by on the Missouri. What a great concert it was and I remember it as if it were yesterday. I am happy that the Fair Board Committee is bringing back a concert again. See you there.

My friend Nancy L. has planted wild flowers in the veggie garden the last two years.  The first year they were straggly but this year they are quite lovely. She said that she is going to enter some of them in the Fair Garden displays.

Last year my daughter Valerie won Best of Show for one of her entries and I teasingly said to Nancy that perhaps I could give Valerie some competition for Best of Show. Since I have this lovely space in the River Press, I can ask you to check out the Flower building and vote for me. (You know I am having a senior moment, don’t you Val.) I hope this gives you a good laugh because I, in no way, have a green thumb. Let’s see. I would consider mine a black thumb.

My mother taught me about STAMINA. “You’ll sit there until all that spinach is gone.”