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.”