Tuesday, April 26, 2016

VIEW from the BRIDGE
By Muncie

Fort Benton’s Friends of the Library and the River and Plains arranged for Dr. Sally Thompson to be a guest speaker. She arrived on Sunday evening from her whirlwind speaking engagements and research projects around Montana.

She was busy every minute she was here. On Monday afternoon she went to Geraldine to go exploring with Historian Hank Armstrong.

On Monday evening we went to dinner in Loma. On the way home I asked if she would like to check out the Blue Herons rookery. We went off the highway on the road I do not know the name of. There were the nests in the second clump of trees near the wetlands by the river. We counted 16 nests with Herons in 5 of them.  One nest had a baby in it. Mom must have been off getting supper.

Dr. Sally was so thrilled and she bemoaned the fact that she did not have her good camera with her. She took pictures with her cell phone but they were not as clear.  Another thrill for her was that she saw a bald eagle in the same area.

On the way back to Fort Benton she spotted that old schoolhouse and she had to check it out. Many more pictures were taken. She asked why it wasn’t preserved. I could not answer that question. I just know that there are many one room schoolhouses that were not preserved. The last time my late husband, Wally, and I checked out that building it was in fair condition. Now the back part is falling apart. My impression of the whole scene was how lonely it was. At one time, years ago, there were children at recess running around the area. I know there are people in the area who attended that school. Could I please hear from you?

On Tuesday morning Dr. Sally did research at the Center and we were to return at 5:00 pm for her to set up her program. When calling some friends to be sure they remembered to attend the program at 6:00 pm, I was reminded that at 5:00 pm was the once a month Tuesday night dinner at the Golden Age Senior Center. I had signed up and so I ate my dinner and left immediately for the Ag Center.

It was well attended and the program was about the paintings of Father Nicolas Point. That is what the research was all about. Father Nicolas did not record who the Native Americans were and where the area was. Dr. Sally was researching to match up actual areas where the paintings were done. The paintings are stunning and there is a copy of the book, “Following Nicolas Point Through Blackfeet Country,” at the Chouteau County Free Library if you are interested. If you love art, it is well worth the trip.

On Wednesday morning Dr. Sally was off again to prepare for her presentation at the Library at noon. Her program was about the book she had written titled, “People Before the Park.” It is the true story of the Kootenai and Blackfeet before Glacier Park. (She taught us the difference between Blackfeet and Blackfoot. The Blackfeet tribes are on this side of the Canadian border and the Blackfoot in Canada.) The slide show that accompanied her presentation was so well done and enjoyed by everyone.

By the way…there was a good gathering not only of the Friends of the Library members but other guests. One of those being a Blackfoot named Jeanette Manyguns from Canada. I was not able to learn much about her except she likes to do research. She arrived in Fort Benton on Tuesday, too late for the River and Plains meeting. Ken Robison told her about Dr. Sally speaking the next day and Jeannette stayed overnight.

She brought her disk of how she teaches her native language to children in her tribe to preserve it. She and Dr. Sally agreed to get together for further research. It was a great break from routine and we will look forward to Dr. Sally’s return.

On our way home from Loma on Wednesday evening, we again checked out the rookery. There were more herons in their nests. I cannot remember how many years it has been since we first heard about their existence in the area. If you want to know more about Blue Herons, check it out on the internet.

This is a personal story and relates two parts. First of all, Wally and I eloped to Whitefish to be married on May 5th, 2006. We would have celebrated our 10th anniversary this year. I was signing my name to the View from the Bridge with my maiden name…Muncie Kacso. I had been signing that way for 6 years. In the next edition of the View I signed my name as Muncie Morger. Guess what!  No one even noticed it. I thought the anniversary should be noted here because it was 10 years ago. “Funny how time slips away.”

I also loved the quote that Tim had in the River Press a couple of weeks ago. “I never think of the future – it comes soon enough.” Albert Einstein.

May Day was always important when I was a little girl. It was a custom back in the old days to give flowers. In my urban town there were many fields with wide flowers growing. I remember picking violets to give to my Mom. There were also pussy willows in the Ford’s Woods nearby. (That is Henry Ford’s Woods. It was a beautiful wooded area a mile square and separated my town from Dearborn, Michigan...Henry’s home.)

We used to ride our bikes to the Henry Ford Museum and Village two miles up the road. We would have a wonderful time going through the museum and the village free of charge.

When I returned to Michigan for a visit about 10 years ago, a friend wanted to visit the museum and village. She had never been there before.  There was a charge of $17.50 for each of the places. I do understand that there were attendants in costume to give tours or each building and that is where the cost comes in. We spent the day and it was well worth it.

It brings to mind that most of the people in the surrounding area never visited the museum or village. Is that the case in Fort Benton? Have you ever visited our historic Fort Benton Fort or the Ag Museum with your family? Just do it this summer.

Our brain uses the same amount of power as a 10-watt light bulb.