Tuesday, September 20, 2016

VIEW from the BRIDGE
By Muncie

Did you see that Harvest Moon last Friday evening? Connie and I spent the day in Great Falls and on our way home, when we came up the hill from Black Horse Lake; Connie spotted the tip of the noon coming up. We watched it all the way to Fort Benton. We both thought that it was the biggest moon we had ever seen.

When we got to town, Connie drove north on Front St. We could not see the moon until we got to the boat dock because it had not come over the bluffs yet. There is nothing like nature to put on a show.

Last Wednesday evening the Chamber of Commerce invited the Volunteers at the Visitors Information Center to a late afternoon BBQ at the Center. It turned out to be a perfectly lovely evening and a great time was had by all.

Stacy did a very special job of organizing the event. Larry did the hamburgers and they were delicious.  (They fit the buns so well. Hamburger patties that are twice the size of the bun are not how I like them. I am getting so crabby and critical for my old age.) The salads and desserts were catered by Chandee and they were the end of a perfect evening.

About 8 or 10 of the Volunteers were also taken by jet boat down the Missouri River to see the White Cliffs a couple of weeks ago. Now isn’t this incentive enough for you to volunteer a couple of hours a week during the Visitors season from Memorial Day to Labor Day? Not only do we have these great treats and bonuses but it is about the most interesting volunteer job around.

We meet some wonderful and interesting people from all over the world. I have met several people who have become friends and visit me when they return to Fort Benton. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Give a little of yourself to your community and I promise it will come back to you a hundred fold. It is just like any good deed you do.

I didn’t want to tell this story but since it was told at the BBQ, not by me, and it is probably all over town by now in an exaggerated version, I will tell you the true story.

I helped Connie with the Summer Celebration T-shirts Quilt raffle because I donated my Sweetheart’s shirts from the year 1993. It was the year after Connie began coordinating Summer Celebration. A few of the shirts were missing and a request in the View from the Bridge completed the set.

We arranged for the Quilts to be made by Margo and they were absolutely awesome. We ordered tickets on line and when they arrived began selling them for $5.00 a ticket. We had intended to do the drawing at the Chouteau County Fair but a suggestion to do it at Connie’s Fund Raiser would give us 3 more weeks to sell tickets.

We sold tickets by the Price Rite doors, at the Farmer’s Markets, at the Golf Course during a tournament, up and down Front St., and finally at the Fund Raiser.

The winning tickets were drawn by Connie’s 9 year old grandson, Gus, and the first one was B.J. Conn McIntosh who now lives in Oregon and most of us know her. The second winner was Dave (somebody) because we could not read his last name. Connie handed the ticket to Randy who also could not read the name but did note that it was not a Fort Benton phone number. I was given the two ticket stubs that I was sure I put in my pocket.

When I got home that evening I called B.J. immediately because I had her phone number in my cell phone.  She was thrilled of course. Then I reached in my pocket to call the other number but the stubs were gone. I checked all of my pockets and I dumped everything out of my bag. No stubs. I didn’t sleep all night worrying about what I was to do.

I went to Connie’s house on Sunday and confessed that I must have thrown the stubs away with the rest of the stubs at the Ag Center. I didn’t sleep Sunday night either. The first thing on Monday morning I was at the Ag Center and asked Pam if I could get any help to go into the dumpster. She called Merle and he met me in the back where the dumpster is located.

It was my first experience at “Dumpster Diving” although Merle actually did it. He removed the first 6 bags from the dumpster and put them outside. Some were tied with a very tight knot and others were not tied at all. Merle had a utility knife and cut them open. We could immediately see that the hundreds of tickets were not in them.  Then Merle dropped his knife accidently into the dumpster and now he had to get two ladders to get inside the dumpster. He had to do that anyway because he could no longer reach the bags.

Once inside he cut several more open and finally at almost the very last bag he decided to dump it. There were all the tickets, some wet and some with food on them. Merle picked out all the tickets and I was on my way home.

I pulled them apart and checked them with my reading machine. I found B.J.’s almost immediately and so I knew the other ticket had to be there. I didn’t recognize any of them because I actually did not get a good look at it at the drawing.

I separated all of them and laid them on my dining room table to dry out. Connie came over and looked them over but did not see the winner although she said she remembered that it was very dark ink. Randy came over the next morning and instantly found the winner.

It had a very happy ending as Dave Lauvor from Big Sandy and his wife Debbie stopped at my house the next day and picked up the quilt. Dave bought the ticket at the Golf Course the Sunday I was there. The Lauvor’s own the grocery store in Big Sandy.

Randy, my daughter Jennifer and I stopped at the store on Saturday on our way back from the Carroll College football game in Havre with Northern. Dave was not there but Debbie was and we had a nice visit.

All is well that ends well. When I realized I had lost the stubs my fear and worry was that Connie would never trust me with anything again. No one would if the story got out. I know that you forgive me though because I was brave enough to “Dumpster Dive” and just picture it to know I will never do anything like that again.

By the time this edition of the River Press reaches you, Longhorn week will be almost over. I hope you kept the schedule from last week and enjoyed some of the festivities that the Fort Benton High School students worked so hard to make the week exciting. I am looking forward to the parade and the sporting games. It is supposed to rain all week and get colder. That may dampen some events but not the spirit of Fort Benton students and alumni. Go Longhorns!

“Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your family and friends will. Stay in touch.”