Wednesday, March 21, 2018

View From The Bridge 3/21/18

VIEW from the BRIDGE
By Muncie

Just when I sang her praises last week she turns around and gives us another winter blast. Snow and cold are no longer in my vocabulary and if all this snow and cold is not gone by Easter, I am never going to have anything to do with her again. There I said it and now I feel better. Are you all behind me?

This fun holiday is only a week and a half away. Have you got your Easter bonnets ready? Back when I was young, the Easter outfit was a very big thing. We had to wear hats to Church then and it was a blast to see the hats.  The colors were pinks, purples, yellows, and greens.  Dyed hard boiled eggs have now been replaced with plastic. Hats are no longer needed and jeans have replaced dresses. We seniors long for the old traditions but have to go along with the changes. Only our memories remain and perhaps an old hat or two remain in a closet.

Easter parades are also a thing of the past. If you lived in a big city (which I did not,) you and your whole family would walk up and down an area that was judged for the most attractive outfits.

The real meaning of Easter has been lost as Christmas.  It is all commercial now and has become a mania of shopping for gifts and candy.  Only the dentists benefit. Amen for now.

I hope that I am not boring you with this story but I must say that it has kept me amused during this dreary winter days.

I must be watching too many “Garage Sale Mysteries.” I am working on the elimination process to track down the person who is decorating the hollow tree at the corner of 22nd and Front St.  Since no one will own up to decorating the tree, I have several clues as to who it might be.

The first clue is that it must be a woman who loves to decorate and is very artistic. Secondly she used the community garden (because of the pumpkin,) and third must live in the neighborhood of the hollow tree. From the direction of the footprints, she and her helper came in from Front

I thought this person had given up the project because of the snow and drifts and there were no decorations for Valentine’s Day or St. Patty’s Day. I put a Valentine Heart in the tree but it blew away. I had a friend staple the leprechaun to the tree for St. Patty’s Day.

This afternoon, Sunday the 18th, I used my walker for support to get to the tree. As I stepped on the drift I would sink into my knees. Lo and behold, there was a welcoming wooden rabbit.

I would really like to know who you are so we can work together. I promise that I will never reveal who you are.  Please give me a call and we can discuss further holidays over coffee. I also am offering a reward of 2 dozen Lemon Bars to anyone who will give me information. (That is not a joke!)

The jolly Leprechaun has left his position on the hollow treed. (I think he went south.) In his place is taken by no other than my Peter Rabbit. I know that because his vest has his name on it. It is appropriate that he has taken up residence next to the community garden even though there is nothing there for him and Farmer Brown is not around. Perhaps Peter is just going to wait until summer. He joins the Welcome Rabbit to wish you a very happy Easter.

I hope you were able to visit with the Leprechaun but Front St. and 22nd were so terrible ruddy, it was almost impossible to drive much less walk. I will just have to be content with his picture in the River Press.

Just a reminder that Loma Days will be held on April 7th, the Saturday after Easter. See you there.

The last VFW Bingo will be on March 28th at the Club House at 7:00 p.m.

The VFW has been plagued with sickness and snow which cancelled man of their scheduled games this winter. Perhaps spring will be a little kinder and this last Bingo night of the season will take place. See you there.

On Saturday, the 31st of March and the day before Easter, will be the annual Easter Egg Hunt sponsored by the Lions Club of Fort Benton. Check the River Press for the times and locations for each age group. If you have never watched this hunt or had kiddos hunting, then you should go to the park for a fun few minutes. I love watching the infant to3 year olds and the 4 to5 year olds. It warms your heart to see the loving parents trying to help their little egg hunters. A good time is had by all.

The ever popular PUB NIGHT will be on Saturday April 7th at the Ag Center. The Pan Blanco band from Bozeman sounds very exciting. The word SALSA is a dance that I hope fills the dance floor. If you do not dance then just come and enjoy the music and people watching. See you there.

Some of my faithful following have contacted me by way of word of mouth or cards. I want them to know that I thank them for their concern and they would be Jeff in Great Falls, Marilyn in WA. and Ginger in AZ.

I am supposed to get a new computer in the next few weeks and will contact you with a letter. Just know that you are in my thoughts too.


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

By Muncie

Spring is on the way. By the time you read this weeks edition, spring will only be a few days away. The weather is already looking up, the Missouri is clear of ice, and people have been spotting robins.

Next Tuesday, the 20th, will be the welcomed arrival of one of the most looked forward to seasons. In about a month from that day, the trees will be budding out and the grass will be a lovely green.

So get out and enjoy the wonderful gift that Mother Nature will be giving us. I am so cheered up that I am ready to walk along the levee trail singing. It would not be a pretty sight so I hope none of you see me. I am not flipping out but just released from the cabin fever I have had for months now. Enjoy every minute of every day and pass along those smiles to every one you meet.

Can you tell that I am quite happy? It is 6:15 on Sunday evening and it is still light out. The sun has not yet set and I am enjoying gazing out my living room window to see the beautiful sparkling diamonds on the snow. It will soon be just another memory and topic of conversations well into spring and summer.

On Saturday when I drove on Main St., I saw several people digging the snow to search for the drains. The melting snow has made huge puddles of water that has nowhere to go. The street I live on is not paved and has not melted as quickly as those that are paved. I am wondering where the water will go. I just have to wait and see. Well, enough about the weather.

There will be a Tuesday night dinner at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday the 20th. At the Golden Age Center. Get signed up today by calling 622-3601. The last two months the dinner was cancelled and you do not have to guess as to why? It will be good to see old friends again and share winter experiences. I wish that you would share some of those stories with me. I only had one, and that was the one whole week I did not leave the apartment and entertained the worse cabin fever ever.

I know two friends who live out of town and they were held hostage by the storms for two whole weeks. Actually, we should not be complaining. Those poor folks in the eastern side of the country have lost electricity for days at a time. That means no heat, no way to cook unless they had a grill, and no way to purchase food. The grocery stores emptied out very quickly and the frozen food was the first to go.

Have you noticed that Fort Benton has not lost electricity in a long time? That new power station must be doing its job. Thank you to whoever is responsible. I just dreaded resetting all my clocks every time that happened.

On March 20th, there will be a program on “You’re Heart” at the Chouteau County public library. You Senior Citizens can go from the Golden Age Senior Center dinner to the library to learn from this very important program about your heart and how it functions.
It is especially import for women because most often they do not know that they are experiencing a heart attack. Symptoms are different then men’s in most cases. Make an effort to be there to learn. It may save your life.

About once a year, a band from Great Falls entertains at the Sunrise Bluffs. They usually come in March, but because of the uncertainty of the weather, they have set their schedule for April. I will let you know as soon as I hear when that will be.

I am mentioning it now to encourage everyone who loves old time music to plan on being at the Bluffs. There is also dancing but you do not have to dance. Just come and enjoy the music.

It is a labor of love for these people to entertain almost every Sunday at Senior Centers, hospitals, nursing homes, and churches. Another of my dreams is to have the dining room at the Bluffs filled with people dancing, singing along, and just enjoying the music. I would like them to know that Fort Benton appreciates their efforts by making an effort to be there.

I did not think that there was life after basketball but find that my schedule is filling up quickly. There are many events to look forward to.  Next month is Pub Night for the CCPA, Loma Days on the 7th of April (thank you Pat for that information,), a final Bingo game at the VFW for the season, and multiple meetings and events.  There is always something going on in Fort Benton. Our snowbirds will be returning to enjoy spring in Montana and a get-a-way from the heat in the south. I would like to hear from them. I have to live world travel through their adventures and I enjoy that. (Thank you to Kelly in AZ for remembering that March is a difficult month for me.)

Easter approaches so quickly and it will be here after 3 more Lenten Luncheons. Before you read this, there will have been a luncheon at the Community Bible Church. The next two weeks the participants will travel to Geraldine to share the soup and bread lunch. I am so envious of those wonderful women who make such a variety of soup receipts.

More than anything, I enjoy the company of these devoted souls who are the kindest people I know. Fort Benton is blessed to have them.


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

View From The Bridge 2/21/18

VIEW from the BRIDGE
By Muncie

It is late Saturday afternoon and I just got the word that the Longhorn Girls Basketball Team won the district championship over Box Elder 52 to 51. It is not good luck but hard determination on the part of the team.  I am upset that I wasn’t there and blame it on the weather. I know there were fans that drove to Havre for three days, but when I heard on the news to stay off the roads unless it was an emergency, I stayed home.

I can picture in my mind over and over, that hard fought game and that very last basket that won the game. Actually, I do not know how I could have handled those few moments at my age. I have seen many basketball games over the years and many were thrilling. However, that final game last Saturday takes all.

Congratulations Fort Benton Longhorn Girls and we love you for what you have done for our town. You made the possible happen and it has inspired all of your fans. Now on to Divisional this coming week in Great Falls. There is no more snow forecast and it will just be extremely cold. See you there.

The sad part about last Tuesdays Chouteau County Performing Arts program was that more people could not be there because of the snow storm. It was, without a doubt, the best show that has ever been presented. The Phat Pack, pronounced Fat Pack, a name I will explain later, was a Las Vegas show. You would have paid big bucks to see them there. If you had a CCPA seasons ticket the cost was just a tad over $5.00.

The pianist, Philip Fortenberry, has appeared in Fort Benton several times. One appearance was just his piano playing. In Vegas, he teamed up with the three singers and the group was formed. Every song they sang and every story they told made you feel that you wanted them to go on and on. They were awesome.

Because the name of their Las Vegas show is “Phantom: Las Vegas Spectacular,” they chose the Ph and at to mimic Frank Sinatra’s gang the Rat Pack. Do you remember that group?

They sang Broadway tunes and a favorite song from the Phantom of the Opera. Since I get a ride to the Elementary School early, I was sitting in my seat 45 minutes early. Philip was practicing and I asked him to play “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” for me. He did and it was a tear jerker. It will always be a treasured memory.

I was also able to attend the students show at 1:30 p.m. The Phat Pack sang a song about “Dreams” and told about their dreams and how they became what they are today. They all came from small rural towns and ended up in big cities like Vegas and New York because they followed their dreams. They encouraged the audience to follow their dreams no matter what. Most of the show was questions and answers about the dreams of the students.

I hope that the Phat Pack return someday when our town is not covered with snow. I would love them to see the Missouri flowing quietly, green grass, leaves on the trees, our beautiful park, our historic buildings open, and our wonderful walking trail. (I think we would all like to see that right now. Oh well, just think, winter is half over.)

Isn’t it amazing to watch the weather patterns? I have been here for 25 years and have never see this much snow in Fort Benton. The most I remember is about 8 in. Randy tells me that on the 24th of this month, we will not have seen ground for 2 months. It began snowing on December 24th and has not stopped since.  What I feel bad about is that I am missing the basketball district tournaments in Havre.  I know some brave souls have gone the last couple of days but we were asked on TV to stay off the roads.

Many of the old timers who have lived there all of their lives can tell some very interesting stories about weather here when they were kids.  One that Wally, (my late husband,) told me was when the temperature dropped 80 degrees in a few hours. The Missouri drove so smooth that they could ice skate on it. What fun that must have been.

I wonder what ever happened to the ice skating rink that was here when I moved to town. If there is a rink, would someone let me know?

By popular demand there will be another Pinhole card party at the Sunrise Bluffs. On Monday the 5th of March at 1:00 p.m. the festivities will begin. This card party has grown into a very popular event. The organizers are inviting you a couple of weeks ahead of time so put it on your calendars. The weather should have broken by then and it will be wonderful to get out doing a little socializing. I have heard from many that they are tired of being cooped up and have cabin fever.

On Friday, the 23rd, the Humana Insurance man, Bill Thompson, will be there to bring a birthday cake for the Senior Citizens to celebrate their birthdays and anniversaries on Sunday the 25th. His company is giving the Golden Age the cake.

He also will answer any of your questions and will listen to your comments or concerns.

Try to make it on Friday and return on Sunday to enjoy February birthdays and anniversaries. Our Golden Age Senior Center is so special. It is the only one in the area that serves dinner every day of the week. If you are not a member and new in town, please join us. You will be most welcome. (Just mention my name because the more members I get the better chance I have to win the trip to Hawaii.  (just kidding!)

There is always an event going on and you can relax and enjoy yourself. There is always a puzzle being worked on, a card game often, a great dinner at a reasonable price, coffee in the morning, mostly breakfast at noon on Saturdays with fresh baked cinnamon rolls once a month, a piano you can play, and a TV you can watch. What more can you ask?


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

By Muncie

Happy Valentine’s Day. What a happy day it is with all that love being spread around. Cards are everywhere and back in my day some of them were not signed. Kids didn’t want you to know that they liked you. Today it is quite different especially those who do not like you. They want you to know.

So this is my opportunity to let all of you know that I like you. You are a very caring and loving community and I would not want to be anywhere else in the world. Well maybe I have thought about being someplace warmer and with less snow. It is just a thought. I would not miss the basketball season for anything. I’ll just keep thinking about how hot our summers have become. I’ll also think about how exciting it is to watch the Missouri and the huge ice chunks along both sides. Everything looks so white and clean. I am not to the point of making “ice angels” yet, but I have been tempted when I see them in a movie on TV. I forget about it when I realize that they are not making those “angels in real snow. Brrrrr!

Next Saturday, the 17th, is “RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS DAY.’ It is probably not on your calendar but it is a good start for the rest of the year and beyond.

Years ago I read a: Chicken Soup for the Soul” book that had a story about “Practice Random Acts of Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty.” Someone saw it written on a wall like graffiti and took it to heart. It spread all over the world.     

Here are some suggestions.
1.  Be Kind
2.  Be thoughtful
3.  Use your manners as a form of kindness
4.  Give compliments generously
5.  Think about people who quietly make a difference in your community. Thank them. 

If everyone would practice one act of kindness and one act of beauty each day, what a wonderful world this would be.

Of course, you cannot tell anyone what you have done. So, give it a try and see what happens. Just start small and let it grow. You will feel better just knowing that you are trying.

How exciting that this week brings on the district tournaments. They are in Havre and hopefully the roads are clear by then so the fans will be able to get there.

After the last two weeks of games, the Boys and Girls teams are in good position for the games. They need good hearty support with loud cheering and loud singing of the school song.

What about those Cheerleaders!  Did you see their performance in preparation for the tournaments? Did you ever hear of the Radio City Rockettes? Well, our Cheerleaders are even better than those dancers. Go Cheerleaders!

I am looking forward to the schedule in the River Press and watching some great basketball games. See you there.

Our biggest supporter for this program passed away last Friday. It was Madeline Ragland whose granddaughter gave me a $500.00 grant for the program.

Madeline worked with me and I accounted to her where I spent the money. Most of it went for picture frames and finally for the picture rails. The photos are a bright spot in the hallway at Sunrise Bluffs and if you have not seen the new arrangement…you should.  With Memorial Day coming up in May, it would be a good time to check it out. You young people might have grandfathers and great grandfathers whose pictures are hanging there. They are in alphabetical order and should be easy to locate. Be sure to sign the guest book and thank Karla, the manager of the Bluffs, for the space to put the photos.

I would love to visit this creative little town more often but once a year for the Geraldine’s Action Committee Dinner Theatre is a once a year must.

Last Saturday 7 friends and I enjoyed a splendid afternoon feasting on a great dinner and being amazed at the actors, actresses, costumes, and the storyline of the play. Jo Alice is outstanding in her writing. All the twists and turns in the story line had us all guessing as to” who done it.”

I like the way the program is set up with a break in the play to feed the hungry crowd. It was a wonderful time and I hope that you were one of the theatre goers. Thank you to Jo Alice, Lila, the actors and actresses, the behind the scenes workers, the chefs, and the server for making the play a success. I am sorry if I missed anyone. I am looking forward to next year for another great dinner theatre.


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

VIEW from the BRIDGE
By Muncie

No response from the clever person who is putting appropriate items in the hollow tree across the street from my apartment.

I have my spies in place and perhaps we will know soon who done it. I promised a reward for any information and a “pinkie finger” promise not to tell. This did not interest “who done it” at all. 

Sneaky people seem to be the norm these days but all would be forgiven if only I knew who you are.
You (whoever you are) are the talk of the town and I hope that makes your day. I cannot say “see you there” because I cannot see you. You must came in the middle of the night and I may never know “who done it.” Bye for now.

I do not do Facebook but would someone who does please put Saturday, the 27th of January, on their page for Fort Benton’s Consortium performances all day long starting at 9:00 in the morning.

It is FREE to the public and if you love music you will enjoy that day. The prospective artists have 12 minutes to showcase. Members of all the towns and cities that have performing arts programs will be able to choose the performers to entertain in their town.

It is a delightful day so I hope that you take advantage of this Arts program. You will have a break for lunch and return to the Elementary auditorium for the afternoon showcases.

I have seen several news reports on the evening news that had events put on Facebook and they were overwhelmed with the response.

 For instance, one report told about a boy scout event that included fathers of the scouts. Some of the scouts did not have fathers that could attend with them. After being put on Facebook, 600 men showed up to be pretend fathers.

Another example was about a story that I wrote about in November 11th Veterans Day. An 11 year old boy visited his grandfather’s grave and found it did not have an American Flag. He went to work doing odd jobs and bought enough flags for the entire cemetery. He went on to other cemeteries and when finished had purchased and placed about 24,000 flags. This was all due to a Facebook entry.

So will someone please do a Facebook story to promote the Consortium Saturday and also the CCPA performances? My dream is to have all 400 seats filled and everyone have a marvelous time.
Please call me if you would do what I ask, (My number is in the book.) Please make me happy and I will see you there.

Please let me know what your organizations are doing. You probably put something into the River Press but it does not hurt to have dates and times in two places.

Even the die-hard winter people have had enough already. I have been in Fort Benton for 25 years and I have never seen so much snow. The most I remember is about 8 inches. Am I wrong? If I am, please let me know. Perhaps I just do not remember or just want to forget it.

I do remember that the 6 years I helped Wally with the mail route, we did not miss a day of delivering the mail.  One day on the east route we could not go through Chalk Bluffs. If you are familiar with the area, you would know that it is very hilly. The drifts were 5 ft. high.

We returned to town having only done half the route. We proceeded to Loma and did the back side.
We did actually have one day we did not deliver because the post office cold us not to go.  Do any of you remember that incident?

So hang in there and we now only have 2 more months to go through. Just think SPRING and it will be here before you know it.


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

View From The Bridge 1/10/18

By Muncie

It has been 8 weeks since my fall and it is time that I stop doing nothing and get back to being out and about again.

My problem now is how to express my appreciation for all that has been done for me. I have so many Angels to thank that it seems impossible. The many phone calls, dozens of cards, drivers who took me to appointments, the man who turned the hubs on my truck wheels so I could drive in 4-wheel, and the attendant at the gas station who filled my empty tank. 

The first 2 ½ weeks were the most difficult. My arm was in a sling, I could not do any normal daily things. Once the sling came off, life seemed much easier, although I still could not use my left hand and arm.

As I begin this View my arm is doing well and I am off like a herd of turtles.

There are so many stories to tell you that this may drag into spring. I will go back as far as I can remember. As you know I can only write about what I experience and it is usually after the fact. Here goes!

Who replaced the pumpkin in the hollow tree across the street from my apartment with a Santa? I noticed just the other day that Santa had been replaced with a Snowman. I would really like to know who this clever person is and I am willing to give a reward for any information about the person who “who done it?”

If that person does not want to be known, I “pinkie finger” promise that I will not tell. I wish that I had thought of the prank because there are so many more possibilities. Whoever you are…thank you for cheering up the holidays

First of all I have to tell you that my favorite Christmas song is “Mary’s Boy Chile.” I have the music and have given copies to at least six musicians but have never heard any of them play and sing it for me.

Trust me when I say that I do all my shopping locally. I have not driven to Great Falls for 3 ½ years. However, I needed some warm pants to match the 4 pair that I already have so I was driven to Walmart.

I found an African American woman to help me and she was very knowledgeable about the stock in her department. When she was measuring me, she began to hum and then sing softly. I asked her if she sang in a choir and she said “No.” I said that she should because she had a beautiful voice. Then I asked her if she know “Mary’s Boy Chile.” She sang the whole song to me. It did more for my Christmas spirit than any Hallmark Christmas movies. As I walked away she was still singing.
When I returned several weeks later (to return the pants) I could not find her. One of my friends, Suzie, said that she must have been an Angel. That is the way I will always remember her as my Christmas Angel.

I was very disappointed in the attendance for the Christmas Concert at the Elementary School on Sunday afternoon after the Chouteau County Country Christmas.

I know how much work goes into putting on that Concert especially when one group opted out and a replacement had to be found.

The attendance in 2016 was approximately 250 people and even that does not fill the auditorium that accommodates 400.

There were about half of that figure at the 2017 concert. I know that everyone is busy with work and projects BUT…the work is always there. The concert is only once a year.

I have no patience with those kinds of excuses especially when I know how much work goes into it. The only excuse I can accept is illness, a terrible cold or the flu as legitimate excuses. I also realize that many Fort Benton residents go south for the winter…(lucky people.)

Are you not interested in the Arts? The appropriations for the Arts, Museums, and Libraries are being cut every year. I would not like to see all of those go by the wayside because of lack of funds. Only you can change that by supporting the above and contacting your representatives and senators. Make a difference.

While on the subject, on January 7th, Chouteau County Performing Arts will present Jenn Bostic, out of Nashville who is a Country and Christian singer. Let’s hope that it warms up a bit.

The games, sponsored by the VFW, begin at the Club House on Monday the 22nd. The game on the 8th  was cancelled because of a previous commitment. It will be great to see old friends again.

I did not have a chance to wish you all a Merry Christmas and so I hope that it was all wonderful for all of you.

I don’t think it is too late for Happy New Year and I know that most of you just stayed at home to celebrate. In fact…most told me they did not even watch the ball go down.

Have a wonderful New Year and be careful so that you do not fall.