Wednesday, June 19, 2019

View From The Bridge 6-19-19

View From The Bridge
By Muncie

The Summer Celebration shirts are fabulous. I have mine hanging in the living room so that I can admire it all day long. The shirts are in colors of blue, red, and charcoal. They are all beautiful. I know the celebration is a week plus two days away but you can purchase your shirt at the Missouri River Lumber Co. If you purchase it early you would have a better choice of colors and you would be able to wear it the starting day on Friday the 28th.

Every detail of the celebration is in order and a good time will be had by all.

A new addition to the Shonkin reunion has been added. There will be a Shonkin Shopping Store added to the schedule. I’ll provide more info next week. Be sure to check it out and shop until you drop. (Not really! Just enjoy the whole time with family and friends.

Postcards asking for donations for the fireworks display at Summer Celebration were mailed recently. It is sponsored by the Lions Club and they would like to thank you for your generosity of donations to this event. It is the highlight of the celebration. I believe that there is not one single older or younger person who does not love the fireworks show. Yes, I know. The dogs do not like it but after all it is only once a year. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

Did you remember to tell your family and friends about the “TRICK RIDERS” who will be performing at the rodeo. I saw them on a smart phone and it took my breath away. (I wonder how many hours they put in practicing.)

My three sons came to visit me last Friday. Perhaps you saw us around town in their look alike t-shirts. My oldest son Johnny and his wife Jane came from Ohio near Cleveland. My second son Jeff and his wife Barbara came from Suwanee, GA near Atlanta. I think you all know my daughter Jennifer and her fiancĂ© Mike live in Great Falls. Last but not least was Jerry who traveled alone because wife Sherry could not make the trip. He came from Redford, MI. near Detroit. They all met at the Denver airport and arrived in Great Falls around noon on Friday. 

We had a very special weekend together. Johnny, Jane, and Jerry left on Monday morning. Jeff and Barbara stayed until Wednesday. They both love history and checked Fort Benton out to every last detail. They loved our museums and Old Fort Benton. They returned several times on their two day pass. Barbara had never been to Montana before and Jeff was here before but for a very short time. He did not do any sight-seeing at that time.

So again, a good time was had by all I’ll have more to add to this story at another time.



Tuesday, June 11, 2019

View From The Bridge 6/12/19

View From The Bridge
By Muncie

Summer Celebration begins wo weeks from this Friday. It usually brings in 5,000 to 7,000 visitors. It is the most fun time of the summer. All of the volunteers, craft vendors, food vendors, parade participants, and the fireworks company, are in place. The schedule will be in next week’s River Press. You can also pick up a copy at all of the businesses. Check it over carefully so that you do not miss anything. The t-shirts are on their way and you are going to love them. See you there!

Last week Wednesday two of my friends came from Great Falls to visit me. I talk to Sue often and had told her that I needed a bigger flower pot for my tomatoes. She is planning to move and said that she had a pot about the size that I wanted and she would bring it with her from Great Falls.

She did that and we placed it in front of the garage door that faces the street, with the other two pots of tomatoes. The other friend had never seen Decision Point and so we took a ride to Loma. We also stopped into Ma’s because it was pizza day.

When we returned to the apartment the pot was gone. So now I have a situation that says, “Who took the flower pot?” I have “WHO” was decorates the hollow tree and now I have “WHO” took the pot?

If anyone has a clue or saw the pot being removed, please let me know. My number is in the book.

I do not know how many of you knew Hal Webster. There were not very many people who knew about falconry. Wally and I were good friends of his because he visited us often. He and Wally had long discussions about WWII. Hal was in the U.S. Navy and Wall was a Marine. I enjoyed his visits and the conversations.         

Hal lived out on the Romain place that was our last stop when we did the rural mail route. He fell and broke his hip and he then moved into the Sunrise Bluffs. He was pretty much a loner but really loved Fort Benton.

To those of you who have lost loved ones I would like it if I knew them. I can only write about those that I know. Even at that, do I really know all about them. I didn’t know them as children or when they married and started a family. I only know people briefly and then they are gone. I really only know them when I read their obituaries. Please tell me about your loved ones that have passed. I would love to listen.

What a great time you “Shonkinites” will be having on June 30th for your reunion. The time is 2:00 p.m. until whenever you are ready to call it a day. There is a more detailed article in the River Press this Wednesday. Everyone is invited and there will be great reunions for all but especially for those who are returning home. Memories will be the main discussion all around. You may find yourself in the pictures on display. So, come on over and make more memories. See you there!

Have you walked along the Walking Trail yet this year? What a beautiful sight. The Missouri is calm and a beautiful color. The trees are all in bloom. The swimming pool is open and you can hear the screams of delight. The park is the most beautiful in the area. Take a lunch soon to the park and enjoy the peace and quiet. What you can hear are the birds chirping. There is nothing like a small town and don’t you love living here? I have lived here for 26 years this month. I envy those of you who were born and raised in this area. I love “farm talk,” and I learn so much from those talks.

I was a city girl and what do I know about pinching growth on tomato plants? I used to plant marigolds behind my house. I had never been to a greenhouse to behold the variety and colors. I had never seen wildflowers as I have here. I can’t imagine living in a big city ever again. I am so happy that I got was granted a second chance at this peaceful live.


Tuesday, June 4, 2019

View From The Bridge 6/5/19

View from the Bridge
By Muncie

This moon was universal to the Algonquin tribe. However, in Europe they called it the Rose Moon. Also, because the relatively short season for harvesting strawberries comes every year during the month of June . . . so the Full Moon that occurs during that month was christened for the strawberry.

The full moon this month is on Monday the 17th.

You can sign up for the Summer Celebration Fun Run now. Go to I have been told that it is very simple to do. However . . . there are many seniors that do not have a computer. Please try to have someone help you. It saves a lot of time on the day of the Fun Run because they have to put it into a computer at that time.

There are also forms all over town for you to sign up but there again it has to be typed up into the computer when you get to the sign up location.

I hope that you are spreading the word about Summer Celebration to all of your family, friends, and neighbors. I know that the t-shirts are awesome this year.

I saw some video this past week of the trick riders that will be at the rodeo. I know that the fireworks will be the best ever. Everything has been planned for your entertainment from Friday evening to Sunday at closing time.

Another attraction is the talent show on Sunday afternoon. It was a huge success last year and will be even better this year. I promise so see you there.


I would like to send my very best wishes to the 22 graduates from Fort Benton High School and those from Geraldine and Highwood. I have not forgotten the 1 graduation from Loma. I hope that all of you are going to college and then the whole world opens up for you. One of you may be President of the United States, or go to the moon, or find a cure for cancer. Make the most of what you learn to make the world a better place to live in.

What a year Fort Benton has had for setting records and taking 1st place in many events. I didn’t have the advantage of sports when back when. The boys had football and basketball but the girls had none. How I would have loved basketball and track and field events. I think that your strength and stamina will carry you into a life a lot longer than we seniors have today. So, keep up your active lives and enjoy every minute of every day.

As it has always been, the performances last Friday night were special. There is so much talent that it is breathtaking to watch. I cannot imagine how many hours it took to put on a show like that. It was all perfection in every movement. To those who manage the dance studio . . . you are the best. You must have the patience of the dancing Angels. Thank You.

I could not stay long because of the 85 temperature but I did have a great time for the time I was there. I had lunch and the hot dogs were well roasted and hot. The whole set-up was so organized and I hope it went very well for the Shiners. I know that the work you do is one that the country cannot get along without it. Volunteering is difficult to find but is much appreciated. See you next year.

One more gardener signed up this past week and that leaves two high planters and two low ones. It isn’t too late to get plants planted for early picking. Starting from seed takes longer but I think more fun. To see a plant grow from a seed is so rewarding but no matter how you do it....just do it.

The community bus/van trips around Fort Benton will continue through June. Participation has been slow and so the decision has to be made to discontinue during the summer months. Perhaps it is the warm weather and people can get around more. Perhaps the trips to Great Falls could be once or twice a month.

The two drivers for the trips to Great Falls and the one driver for the Fort Benton trips are volunteers.  The Tuesday trips consist of seven hours travel time and the Friday trips are four hours. This does not include getting to the bus/van and checking, like gas, to see if all is in order.

We have a lot to be thankful for these volunteers. They are driver Angels. Let them know how much you appreciate them.

Get together items you would like to donate to the Lions Garage Sale in September.

Three weeks from Friday will be Summer Celebration. A good time will be had by all.

Buy an American Flag to hang by the 4th of July. JUST DO IT.

Put on your smiley faces for the Visitors that come to visit Fort Benton. Many of them are from out of state and foreign countries. If they look as though they are looking for something do not be bashful. Ask if you can help them in any way. Your attention to them means a lot.

Pick up a copy of the Fort Benton Visitors Guide. Read it through. You can always learn something new about your town. If you did not get a copy in the mail you can find them in most businesses.


Wednesday, May 29, 2019

View From The Bridge 5/29/19

VIEW from the BRIDGE
By Muncie

It is now late Saturday evening and I have just watched the National Memorial Day Concert on PBS. It was the 30th year and was 1 ½ hours long. I think I have watched it all of those 30 years. It really makes Memorial Day a special time.

I hope that you were able to watch it and feel the pain as each war was honored. There were millions of our young men and women who gave their lives for our country.

Did you thank a Veteran today? In fact, you can do that every day of the year. Actually, if you did that a hundred times a day it would never be enough. They are the reason you are comfy, dozy, warm, and able to sit and watch your TV every might. God Bless America.

This day is so meaningful here in Fort Benton. I am sure it is because it is a small rural community. I never had any connection when I lived in another state because it was a huge metropolitan area and I did not know any Veterans.

The ceremony at the Old Fort Benton Bridge is so beautiful with the throwing of the wreath into the Missouri. It is a time to remember all Veterans, and those who gave up their lives for our country.

It is also an awesome sight to follow the crowd to the Riverside Cemetery. To see all the American flags on all the Veterans graves. It makes me feel so grateful that we had these brave men and women who loved their country as much as I do.

I am so proud to be an American and show it by flying an American Flag every day that there is not inclement weather. Please wear red on Fridays and the shirt that says Support Our Troops. I started with a green light on my porch but had to give it up because it did not give enough light.

I am merely giving a reminder to show love of your country in small ways. It takes such a little effort and in today’s world we need all the support we can get or give. JUST DO IT.

It is now Monday afternoon and I have returned from the Memorial ceremonies at the Old Fort Benton Bridge and the Riverside Cemetery. I noted that there was a good turn-out, with many children, considering the chilly weather.

What I enjoyed the most was the singing of GOD BLESS AMERICA. Everyone joined in with their hands on their hearts. I had the strong feeling that our Veterans loved ones were there with us.

I asked Randy to take me for a ride to count the American Flags that were hanging on porches. We did not cover the entire town as Mary Zanto and I had always done but we did cover perhaps half the streets. Randy counted 63 Flags up with one yard that had 9 small ones along his entrance sidewalk. That averages out to be on the generous side about 20% of the homes.

I know that I am hung up on this subject but please make an effort to purchase a flag and get it installed before the 4th of July. Even better would be if they were up by Summer Celebration. JUST DO IT please.

I have a personal story about Vietnam that I would like to share with you. I tried to find out more information to verify my story on the internet but could not find any.

There was a contest for painters to send in pictures of the Vietnam wall. My Uncle Charlie’s next door neighbor was an artist and sent in her picture. It won first place and $50,000.00. I found the picture on the internet but nothing more. I cannot remember her name but I do remember meeting her in Livonia, MI. She invited me into her home to show me other work she had painted.

The strange part of this story is that she was not encouraged to spend time on the talent she loved so much. Much support came after she won that national contest.

So, you artists out there, live your dream. You live in a world of scenes, colors, and how you see the world. I saw a program on PBS not long ago that told how the Art World is disappearing. This includes music, literature, and painting. The arts in Montana are experiencing cuts in appropriations every year. I learned this from attending the Performing Arts Consortiums each year.
So, artists of all kinds hang in there and continue to bring your beautiful talents into the world.

I checked with Rita this morning and she said that last weeks mention in the View with her phone number brought in 2 more gardeners. That leaves 2 more high planting boxes and 3 more low ones that are not filled.

Good show you hard working gardeners. I love seeing you across the street every day working on your gardens.

I got my tomatoes planted this past week. Connie found some rolling things to put my pots on. I attached a bungee cord to pull them in and out of the garage in the morning and at night. It saves wear and tear on the back. Now I just have to wait a couple of months before I can sit on my front porch steps and eat Sweet One Hundreds right off the vine. Yummy!

I am enjoying watching the many birds that have at last discovered my one feeder. It is located in front of my living room window. I have four feeders off the deck in the back but I no longer fill them. It is because the larger birds seemed to have taken them over and chase the small birds away. I suppose they have to eat too but I do not enjoy watching them as much as the wrens and sparrows.

I have no idea where their nests are as they always seem to fly away to the east and there is only one tree nearby. To the west there are many trees so because I do not see well, I cannot follow them to their nests. Well whatever. It doesn’t really matter as long as they hang out nearby so I can enjoy them.

Since you had not shown up and it is Memorial Day, I took it upon myself to decorate the hollow tree. Nancy was working in the Community Garden and I asked her if she would help me decorate. I really wasn’t much help but I did provide the decorations. At a silent auction I got a Red, White, and Blue basket filled with patriotic decorations.

I hope that you don’t mind. You must be away and I wish there were a way we could communicate. I would actually leave the hollow tree as it is until Labor Day. By time you should be ready to do fall decorations. Please contact in some matter so I will still not know who you are.

Nancy is storing you summer decorations. Let her know when you want them back.


Tuesday, May 21, 2019

View From The Bridge 5/22/19

By Muncie

Every other year the Lions Club has a garage sale. It will be sometime in September and the Club requests that you start saving your “great stuff” now.  If you have “stuff” and you may be gone when the collection begins, please give me a call, (I’m in the book.) I will make arrangements to have it picked up.

I am a Lioness and this fund raiser is the most fun of those we do along with Fair Parking. I love to check out what people know are treasurers. Although I am trying to downsize, I always manage to find something I cannot live without. So, check out your basements, garages, sheds, and barns to see what you can live without. Get it out of you way now if it is large and put it into a special corner if it is small.

All the proceeds from this sale and from the parking collections go for scholarships. That includes high schools in Geraldine, Highwood, and Fort Benton. The amounts on those scholarships were raised because of the success of the garage sale and fair parking. See you there.

It is that time of year when the Lions Club is also thinking about raising money for the Summer Celebration Fire Works Display. It is just about six weeks away. You will be receiving soon a request for a donation for the fireworks. You have always been so generous and the Lions thank you for that.  This year the theme for the Summer Celebration is “All one under the light of the stars and stripes”. When you see the t-shirts you will agree they are the best ever and awesome. They will be keepers for many years.

It is soon time for me to start wearing a year by year Summer Celebration shirt every day. I have shirts from 1994 as I gave up 1993 for the quilts we raffled a few years ago. By my calculations I have 25 shirts and will begin wearing them on the 2nd of June.

When you see me out and about let us talk about the celebration of the year I have the shirt on. Is there anyone else out there who has all the shirts? Let’s meet sometime for lunch. Call me. My number is in the book.

I am so sorry that I missed the torch run that came through Fort Benton. Mondays are usually busy for me as I work on the View from the Bridge and have it to the River Press by 3::00 p.m.

If I had known (or if I did, I forgot) I would love to have been at my favorite Old Fort Benton Bridge. I have a special interest in the Special Olympics as my daughter, Jennifer, coaches the women’s swim team for quite a few years. I mention this because I want to thank the many volunteers that take part in the program.

To watch those special people, trying so hard at their sport is an inspiration. They are such positive people and they do their best. Do I? Do you?

Isn’t it wonderful to see green everywhere and leaves on the trees. The only sad thing is that we won’t have any lilacs this year. That one night that it went below 30 degrees did them in. I will miss them and the smell of their blossoms that reached all over town.

I just think about the year that my son-in-law, Mark Pyrec, took me for an airplane ride on Mother’s Day. All you could see from up there was white and all shades of purple lilacs covering Fort Benton. It was a Mother’s Day gift I will never forget. Thanks Mark for a beautiful memory.

For many years Bob Hankins has volunteered to put up the flags at the Lewis and Clark Memorial bronze. The flags have to be replaced often because they are not taken down each day. They have a spotlight on them and can be flying all the time.

I never knew until this past week that Bob replaced the flags. He is one of many unknown volunteers around town who volunteer their time and are not known. You are volunteer Angels and you are the ones who keep Fort Benton looking like the beautiful place that it is.

The Community Garden has always been a popular spot in town. This year because of the cooler weather there are several beds that need a garden. If you are interested please call Rita Braun and she will be happy to give you a prime spot. (Actually they are all prime spots.) The cost is $10.00 and you get $5.00 back in the fall if you clean up your garden. What a deal. You also have the advantage of water and a fenced in area to protect from rabbits and deer.

I have to drag my pots of tomatoes into the garage at night and out to the driveway in the morning. I only have tomatoes but the deer like to nibble on those. My neighbor, Norma, has an array of flowers and they are also very attractive to the deer.

The question is, “Why don’t we use the community garden?” I cannot answer that question but perhaps after this year I may consider that option since it is across the street from me.

I watch those gardens all summer long and they are something to behold. It is also interesting to watch those devoted gardeners going about their work. I know they love every minute because there is something about playing in the dirt, or should we call it soil?

Come on over and I’ll give you lemonade, iced tea, or just water for a little break as we watch your garden grow.

On Friday May 30th there will be a celebration of Arlene’s life. She was a longtime resident of Fort Benton and a wonderful friend to everyone. She did a lot of sewing for me and I so enjoyed my visits with her. She had wonderful stories and how I wish I had written all of them down.

I called Arlene at Christmas to see how she was doing. She said that she was coming back to Fort Benton in April. Little did she know how that would play out.

So long dear friend and you are very much missed. 


Tuesday, May 14, 2019

View From The Bridge 5/15/19

By Muncie

I didn’t have time last week to report on the annual Elementary School luncheon. I was enjoying the yearly appreciation luncheon at the Mountain View location when two women who sat across from us mentioned that the Elementary School Senior luncheon was at 1:00. There was no way I would miss this event so I got on my go-go and headed for the school. Since I did not call in a reservation, I found that I did not have a name tag. I was seated to wait for a cancelation that came very quickly. I choose a seat at a front table so I could hear and enjoy the program.

Lunch was the usual wonderful turkey dinner and dessert was ice cream or strawberries. I choose the strawberries and they were yummy. I really enjoy the way the youngsters were around the room constantly to fill water, lemonade, and coffee cups. They are so serious and grown-up.

I love this Senior Luncheon because of the entertainment. Each grade does their own thing and they were the greatest lead by Eric Lenington. (This is when I found out that Eric will be leaving Fort Benton. He will be sorely missed but we sent the best of everything for him. I am sure he will be back often to visit because he is a Fort Benton boy.)

So, on with the show. In other years the students went in the audience to find their grandparents. The final item on the agenda is for them to dance. This year it was the best ever because they played YMCA. Karen Lippert and her grandson were standing in front of me and by observing them I finally learned how to do YMCA. I previously had to think about each letter. From now on I am a devoted YMCA advocate.

Thank you to everyone at the Elementary School for this appreciation day. I know that all the Seniors and Grandparents look forward to this special day. You all put so much effort into the food and the decorations. Only in a small town do you find this kind of event. Thanks again from the bottom of our hearts.

It is so hard to believe that May is half over. Memorial Day is less than 2 weeks away. That means that I am on my mission to ask everyone to fly an American Flag on their front porch. I know that you are all proud to be Americans so show it by flying a flag. You readers have plenty of time to purchase a flag and get it up. My dream is that every residence in Fort Benton flies our precious flag. Please help my dream come true and make Fort Benton the Flag City of Montana.     

I am working on this article on Sunday, Mother’s Day. It is 3:00 in the afternoon and the temperature on my weather station is 84 degrees. On the Fort Benton web the temperature is 85 degrees. What a beautiful day and I am sure that this will help the trees bud out. I know that the cottonwoods are a bit slower but all others should now have a good start.

I believe that son Randy said two years ago he took pictures of the lilac trees in full bloom on April 15th. Are any of your lilac trees in bloom? There are not any lilac trees along the walking trail for me to check them out.

A lovely 80th birthday party was held last Saturday at the Club House for Pat Wutschke. It was a great party and I was able to GoGo to the Club House because of the early time of the party, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Pat agreed with me when we talked about how the older you get the faster the time goes. I also thanked her again for always providing me with the date of the Loma Flea Market. I do not have many people who call me with stories. The only other person who would often call me was Joan Albers. There have also been several callers who let me know the arrival of robins and meadowlarks. I really appreciate those calls.

The question about why perms are called permanents when they are not was not my observation. It belonged to son Randy so I am sorry to tell him that no one called me with a better name. I came up with swirl curl and temp curl but I did not get any support to the several people I talked to. (I wish that were all I had to spend time on or rather waste time on. I do it because it is fun.)

You know it is spring when The Freeze opens. Most years when the scholarship program day is on the calendar we go to the Freeze afterward to celebrate. Not this year as the Freeze opened on Friday. We did however make a trip on Friday for one of their great pork chop sandwiches, tater tots and hot fudge sundae’s. It was a bit chilly so we sat inside. It was so good to see Lauri and Murray again with their friendly smiles and greetings. I have to add that all of our business owners do the same. They are always happy to see you and that you shop locally. I do hope that you do that because this shopping on line and have it delivered to your home is proving to be very difficult for small business owners. (I heard this on the TV news.)

Now that we do not have to wear heavy winter coats or jackets, please wear your “Support Our Troops” t-shirt on Friday. Any red shirt is acceptable - just do it. Our Troops need lots of support. Our Troops do the job because they love our country and are willing to give their lives for it. Would you be willing to do that? Thank you to those of you who did do that in the last century. We love you and will be honoring you in a couple of weeks when Memorial Day will be upon us. See you there!

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

View From The Bridge 5/8/19

By Muncie

This is the FULL FLOWER MOON. In most areas there are abundant everywhere during this time. Other names are the Full Corn Planting Moon or the Full Milk Moon.

The full moon this moon is Saturday the 18th. Enjoy!

Dear Readers, I am almost back to normal. I feel as though I can type today but only time will tell how much. I was out and about this week and it was so good to get outside with all the fresh air.

Tuesday evening, son Randy took me to the Ag Center for the program about the mid-wife Mary Kassmeier. Who knew about her and her most interesting life? Many of her descendants were in attendance and there was a grand reunion amongst the families of today.

The biggest attraction was the scrape book that Mary put together. She did not accept any money for her services and asked only for a picture of the baby.

Randy had known ahead of time that his dad, Wally Morger, had his picture in the book.  He was born in 1923 and was in the hospital at the same time with Lorene Stranahan and Kenny Morrow. Randy also found a picture of Wally’s first cousin Ernie Good. Ernie was about 3 years old and he was holding a basketball. He turned out to be one of the best basketball players in Fort Benton sports history. This is a personal story of our family and those other close friends. The attendance was very crowded and many learned much about their genealogy.

Because many of the baby pictures were unidentified, Women’s Reproductive History Alliance would like to hear from you if you had grandparents or great grandparents born from 1915 through the 1920’s.

For more on this story read Connlee Gray’s article in last week’s River Press. If you need to get in touch with Professor Jennifer Hill go to her website to see if you can identify any baby pictures and add stories. If you do not do the computer thing, then contact Ken Robison at the Museums Library and Archives located in the Montana Agricultural Center on Tuesdays.

I really enjoyed this program and all the historic information it brought to light. These wonderful women not only delivered the babies but they stayed around the family for several weeks doing “the woman thing” like caring for the baby and other children, cooking cleaning, laundry and in general everything that needed to be done. God bless these women because I never could have done what they did. 

In this day and age I would like to commend the Army of Nurses and everyone who works at the hospital. In my one day stay there, I received the best of care from these devoted women who knew exactly what they were doing. I met many women I had never met before and many I had not seen for a long time. I did see one man, Stan, who came to check on me. Otherwise, it was all women and I consider them the Mary Kassmeier’s of today. God bless them too.

I had an appointment to get what is called a perm or permanent. All you ladies know what that is. The question is, if it is a permanent, why doesn’t it last longer?

So I ask you to rename this procedure. I will have a prize for the best name. I know that many of you have very clever minds and will come up with great suggestions. Call me. I expect that my phone will be ringing constantly.

I think I have had enough for now. I start P.T. on Tuesday. Things are looking up and it is supposed to be in the 70’s this coming weekend. I can hardly wait.


Wednesday, May 1, 2019

View From The Bridge 5/1/19

View from the Bridge
By Muncie

Dear Readers,

I think it will be a couple of weeks before my wrist will be strong enough to type and of course Bethany is helping me again, typing my dictation. Actually, I didn’t go anywhere all week long until Sunday when I went to the Piatigorsky Concert at the Grand Union, which was absolutely out of this world.

I’m feeling much better. My wrist is healing. I’m going to the Ag Center tonight (Tuesday) to listen to the presentation by Dr. Jennifer Hill about the midwife, Mary Kassmeier.

Take care of yourselves. Walk – try not to fall, because once you start going down, you can’t stop it!


Wednesday, April 17, 2019

View From The Bridge 4/17/19

By Muncie

I hope that you all have family and friends to spend Easter Sunday with. I am so fortunate to have several of my extended family living in Fort Benton. An Easter egg hunt and dinner are planned.

I have a story about an Easter Egg hunt at the old house years ago. Val bought a bunny suit and Wally, wearing the suit, hid in the shed until the little ones came into the yard.

When Wally came out of the shed the little ones began to scream and cry. They were so frightened. We still talk about that Easter often.

Thursday is the regular monthly meeting in the basement of the First Bank of Montana at noon. For those who have not been able to attend a meeting in a while bring your lunch.

It is going to be a fun afternoon because that is when we stuff the eggs for the Easter Egg Hunt being held on Saturday at the Old Fort Benton Park. (You can have all the candy you want to munch on.) Check the River Press Community Calendar for times.

The more that come to help the more quickly the job is done. The Easter Egg Hunt has always been a very successful project for the Lions and I am sure that the Kiddos love it. So, set aside Thursday afternoon and join the Lions to get the job done quickly. You do not have to bring anything. Eggs and candy are waiting.

AH SPRING!       
April showers bring May flowers. It has been a dreary month when the sun is hiding out somewhere but just think about May. I have gotten reports that tulips and crocus are poking through the ground.

April is half over and Easter is upon us. It seems to me that time is going faster and faster. If I could only do one thing a day to catch up I would be happier. I get started on a forgotten project when something else comes up to distract me. Are you having the same problem?

I am looking forward to May when the flowers are in bloom and there are leaves on the trees. Fort Benton is so beautiful in the spring and summer. Enjoy every minute of every day.

Since the Wake Cup Coffee Shop is no longer at the Mini-Mall, you may not know that the waterfall/cascade has been repaired. It is running full speed ahead and I saw it for the first-time last Friday. I knew it was being repaired because for several weeks the center rocks were removed. Parts had to be ordered and all of this is due to Steve Johnson who is the husband of Jean, his wife, who opened her shop, the Rustic Mercantile, in the Mini-Mall last year.

Steve and Roger were  also responsible for Christmas decorating the Mini-Mall. They also had a lot of help from what Jean called the Girls. They won first place for decorations of a business.

Thank you Steve and Jean for choosing Fort Benton as your home town.

The waterfall/cascade was always a huge attraction for visitors as well as locals. Additionally Steve also put a fire pit behind the waterfall/cascade with chairs around it. It will be a great place to meet friends for coffee and conversation on warm summer evenings. See you there.

Do you like my name for the complex across from the Lewis and Clark bronze? I have always called it the Mini-Mall and pointed it out by   that name when I was at the Information Center.

Have all of you Upper and Lower Shonkin folks put June 30th on your calendars for the reunion? It will be held at the Shonkin Community Center. Come early, 3:00 p.m., and stay late, 8:00 p.m. That will give you lots of time to visit and renew friendships.

If you have any questions please contact Joan Koethoff Burrey. She is a longtime resident and can give you all the answers.


Tuesday, April 9, 2019

View From The Bridge 4/10/19

By Muncie

Hello “Who”. You did a terrific job decorating the hollow tree for Easter. Now, if you are the same “Who”, who was the “Who” last year who decorated the hollow tree last year, than I want to tell you I put your rabbit and metal carrot in the tree. When it is time to decorate for Memorial Day, please take your rabbit and carrot back to your home. I have been storing it but can no longer do that. It is so adorable and I enjoyed looking at it for a year. Thank you “Who” for all you do with that hollow tree. I am the one who enjoys it the most because I am just across the street from it. Happy Easter to you and I am all “who-ed” out.

Kind Kate called and offered me a ride so I could attend the luncheon in Geraldine. We had a wonderful time and it saddens me to realize that there is only one more luncheon left and if you did not remember it was on Wednesday the 10th, then you missed it.

We had a delicious salad luncheon that complimented the arrival of spring. These luncheons are very inspiring and thank you to all who put together the luncheons and to those who attended. I believe that we have the best cooks in the world.

My daughter, Jennifer, and I had an absolute great time at the Flea Market. We found too many, treasures that we just could not live without.

Many friends came up to tell me who they were and to say hello. The vendors were anxious to show off their wares and handiwork. They come from far and near and just to set up seems like an impossible chore. I know that they work all year for the flea markets and I am looking forward to next year.

This annual event is just around the corner and as I am a member of the Lions Club I know they have been working on it for several months.

Look for all details in the River Press and let us hope for good weather. We would like to order sunshine, warmth, and a  possible rainbow without rain. Wouldn’t that make Easter special?

So, Happy Easter egg hunt and see you there.

“Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.” There is such a beautiful story that the above phrase came from. It was in a Chicken Soup for the Soul book many years ago.

I have mentioned it many times in the years gone by because it brings to mind the many kind things that have been given or said on me. Just a smile and a cherry good morning is what makes my day. Try it…one good deed a day is all you need to feel fantastic.

Susanna Solomon arrived in Fort Benton on Sunday morning after having a book reading at Barnes and Noble on Saturday. Her book is about Fort Benton and the Missouri River.

We had dinner at the Sunrise Bluffs on Sunday to hear the Accordion Band. (More on the Band  below.)

Susanna is from CA so she enjoyed the small town approach to entertainment. Afterward we took a ride to Loma and she climbed the hill at Decision Point in the wind. Then we checked out the Buffalo field. We also took the short ride to check out the Blue Heron nesting place. Susanna counted about 10 nests but did not see any birds. They were probably deep in the nests with their eggs.

On Monday we had lunch at noon and then a hop, skip, and few jumps to the Elementary School for the outreach program of the O Sole Trio. Then a bit later to the Library for her first book reading at 4:30 p.m. and then I was off to the CCPA performance at 7:00 p.m.

I had a great weekend and the weather cooperated very nicely. It is so wonderful to be able to get out and about and especially without a heavy jacket, coat, hat, and gloves.

This was the best turnout ever to spend a delightful couple of hours listening to old time songs. There were over 20 people there and 6 couples dancing. Also dancing was the Danrather Gramma with three of her grandchildren. The girls kept us entertained with their dancing. The leader of the Band asked for requests and I raised my hand. I asked for “God Bless American” and everyone stood and sang. It was the most heartwarming few minutes of the whole day. Thank you to the Accordion Band and thank you to all of you who showed up.

On my way home last Friday on my GoGo I was just in front of the Little Museum on the new River Road that was recently redone. (It is so nice and smooth with no gravel or rocks to give me a bumpy ride.)
I talked to a man who had just come from walking his dogs up on the hill and he mentioned he saw a Meadowlark. My limited knowledge of these birds is that they do not hang out in town. It was not actually in town but close enough. I cannot remember the man’s name but I want to say hello to his wife, Agnes, who reads the View and told him about me wanting to know who spots the first Meadowlark. Thanks a millon!


Tuesday, April 2, 2019

View From The Bridge 4/3/19

By Muncie

This is the Full Pink Moon. The name came from the herb moss pink or wild ground phlox which is one of the earliest widespread flowers of the spring. Other names for this month’s celestial body include the Full Sprouting Grass Moon, the Full Egg Moon, and among the tribes The Full Fish (or Shad) Moon because this was the time that the shad swam upstream to spawn. (I personally like the Full Pink Moon. I’ll bet that all those who fish like the Full Fish Moon best.) The full moon is on Friday the 19th.

I hope that you saw the most beautiful full moon last month. It was a beautiful clear night when I received a phone call about 7:00 p.m. that the moon had just come up. I did not see it until 11:00 p.m. because it has to work its way over the bluffs and homes that block an early view.

It has been exactly 10 years since I began writing the VIEW every week. Previously I wrote only when the Visitors Center opened in May until it closed in September.

My friends Connie Jenkins and Sharalee Smith with step-son Randy Morger attended the Governor’s Conference on Tourism. They met with Arnie Fishbaugh who was the Executive Director of The Montana Arts Council. They wanted in some way to spread the “Joys of Fort Benton” to the world. They decided that I should write every week and Sharalee put me on the Fort Benton website. I cannot believe that was 10 years ago. There were several times that I took a “time out.” Some of those times were when I returned to Michigan to be with my sister during her battle with cancer, family illnesses, and when I had my knee replacement. Some day when I have some spare time, I will check back to see just how many weeks I had under my belt.

In June I will have another mark on my calendar because it will be 20 years since I began the View with a small paragraph in the River Press announcing it.

So, the years have flown by and there is so much water under the bridge. They have been wonderful and happy years for me. I am so thankful that circumstances brought me to Montana which I know is the best place on earth.

The Upper and Lower Shonkin Class/Friends/Everybody Reunion is being held on Sunday June 30th from 4:00 p.m. to 8:0o p.m. or later.

Meat dishes and drinks will be provided. Pot luck dishes are welcome.

More information will be coming in the weeks ahead that will include R.S.V.P. phone numbers and questions. Put this on your calendar now to plan for this event.

I took a ride around the Fort Benton route on the Community Bus   a couple of weeks ago on a Friday. I had an appointment at 11:30 and was on time for that. I was picked up an hour later and taken to the MRMC to visit a friend who was in the hospital. I was again picked up an hour later and arrived back at my apartment a happy camper. It is such a nice feeling to have someone else do the driving. If ever I become very rich, the first thing I will do is hire a personal driver. To me that would be ultimate luxury. It was also a blessing not to ride on my GoGo. Those rides are absolutely too bumpy except for the newly redone portion on River Drive between the circle and the Sunrise Bluffs. It is so smooth and easy to travel.

I would like here to thank all the drivers in town who are so considerate of me and my scooter. At corners you let me pass and you always wave to me. Please remember that I cannot often see who you are as you go by me. It is so wonderful to be able to get around town on my GoGo and know that you are all watching out for me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I am so grateful for this Fort Benton and Great Falls Community Bus ride. A lot of work went into getting this project started and my sincere thank you to all those who worked on it. You deserve Angel medals and you are angels for the volunteering that you do.

So, to all of you who were voicing requests that Fort Benton needs bus service…take advantage of these trips. Do not let it go away because of empty buses. 

Please make an effort to come to Sunrise Bluffs on Sunday, April 7th to spend a pleasant few hours listening to the Accordion Band that are coming from Great Falls to entertain us.

Be at the Bluffs shortly before 1:00 p.m. There will be snacks and something to drink for your pleasure. Perhaps you would like to have dinner with the band. Please call in a reservation if you would like to do that. They will have a place all set up for you and it is a reasonable price. (Ladies the bonus is no cooking or having to do dishes. That sure sounds good to me.) For those of you who like to dance, be our guests. We love watching you. See you there.

This performance will be next Monday the 8th at 7:00 p.m. at the Elementary School. The O Sole Trio from New York City has taken the world by storm. They have been together since 2012 when they got together from all parts of the country.

We loved them at Consortium that was held in Fort Benton in January of 2018 and all that attended that event said they must return for a full show.

They will be here next Monday so be sure that you are too. I know there is a conflict of events that evening so please make O Sole Trio. 

Susanna will be visiting Fort Benton again with her book that has now been published. She was here several years ago and she has kept in touch with me by e-mail.

Please read the article about her by Connelly in this weeks River Press. She will be at the Chouteau County Library at 4:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. next Monday evening for a book reading.

I am looking forward to seeing Susanna again and we are having lunch at the Club House at noon if you would like to join us.

I enjoy writer’s company because I would like some of their talent to rub off on me. I never had the desire to write a book because I do not have the imagination they must have. Make your plans to attend.

I’ll see you on Saturday April 6th in our sister city, Loma, for the 48th Annual Flea Market. It begins at 9:00 a.m. and runs until 4:00 p.m.

I have not heard from anyone about the history of the market or if anyone is still around that was here 47 years ago. It must have been a success because it is still around.

Come on up to Loma to support our friends there. I am sure that there will always be something there to add to your furnishings or collections. Enjoy a wonderful lunch. I look forward to those Indian Tacos that Chandee provides for us. So, see you there!


Tuesday, March 26, 2019

View from The Bridge 3/27/19

By Muncie

Judy from Loma called a few weeks ago to report she had spotted robins in her yard. From the reports I received this past week it must have taken the robins some time to get to Fort Benton. Toots Hayden told me last Thursday that she had two robins in her yard. Saturday, Gladys Perez called to report that her son saw at least a dozen robins, at the same time, in her yard. They must have come in on a tour because they did not stay long.

No matter what the sightings or the conditions the robins are here to stay for the spring and summer. I am thrilled about that.

How did you get through the piles of snow around the hollow tree to decorate for St. Patty’s day? I actually did not see it until last week when I was able to get out and about on my GoGo for the first time.

Now I have to discuss Easter with you. As you must know, it is time to decorate for that holiday. I have the rabbit and large metal carrot that you did not pick up last year, in my garage. I will gladly put them in the tree if you would pick up your green shamrocks.

Now everyone is asking if you were the one who put the flower on the levee? I heard conversation at the Senior Center that it must have been Nancy Lachepelle? I asked Nancy and she said that the flower is crocheted and she does not crochet. So now the question is it the same WHO, who does the hollow tree decorations or is it a new WHO?

O.K. so what else do we have to pass the time? I know that you will never tell but that is great. I would not if I were you. Too many people would then ask your advice for decorating. I just want to thank you for what you are doing to keep us guessing as to WHO you are?

Jill Zeren from Humana Insurance will be in Fort Benton next Friday the 29th from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Golden Age Senior Center. (Several of her trips to Fort Benton from Great Falls were cancelled because of the weather.) She will be answering all the questions you have to ask about your insurance coverage.

The COMMUNITY BUS will be making an extra trip that day to pick up those people who need a ride to the Senior Center. If you call Nancy at 868-6210, she will pick up at your home.


A week from next Monday, the 8th of April, will be the next to the last Chouteau County Performing Arts program. Please do not miss this show featuring the O Sole Trio. They were a huge success at the Consortium that was held in Fort Benton in January of 2018. Everyone who attended that event asked that the Trio came back to Fort Benton. The two Guys and a Gal are from New York City and their performance is outstanding.

Please remember my dream to fill the auditorium at the Elementary School with 400 people. (I know that the weather had much to do with the attendance at the last couple of C.C.P.A. shows but 130 people just does not do it.)

It may be raining but I promise that the snow will be gone. (I am really going out on a limb with this one.) So, see you there. Bring your friends and neighbors. They will love you for it.

Just a reminder that Loma Flea Market will be on Saturday April the 6th starting at 9:00 a.m. and ending at 4:00 p.m.

Can you Old Timers believe that this is the 48th anniversary of this event? I would love to hear from anyone who went to that first Flea Market and what was it called then? I am in the phone book. This is my 25th year of attending. I look forward to it every year. See you there!

I was able to get out and about this past week. The Fort Benton Chamber of Commerce had their annual meeting called Spring Thaw last Saturday night.

Five different eating establishments furnished the buffet tables. The choices were all so delicious. I cannot name them for you because there were too many that I cannot remember. I do remember chicken kabobs, meatballs, pasties, and cheesecake for dessert. I am sorry for those who furnished us with food whose names I cannot come up with.

There was a live and silent auction with fantastic items that were donated. There was a band called Exit 53 who had couples dancing and singing along. (I was never able to find out why the name Exit 53? Where is Exit 53? I will check into that.)

It was a fun evening and got me out of the apartment on a day in March I have sad memories of. I loved the name of your event. It was certainly a Spring Thaw.

I was able to get out and about again on Sunday. The Spring Art Fest was held at the Ag Center. It was very exciting to watch local artists start their particular art work and have it finished in an hour or so. Then the pieces were auctioned off and there was so much fun to watch.

Most of the artists are involved in the Prairie Rose store. I enjoyed the way the auctioneer told stories about when the autist began painting and how they developed in the art world.

It was noted that the crowd was larger than last year. The word is getting around and that is the best way to get more of an audience.


Wednesday, March 20, 2019

View From The Bridge 3/20/19

By Muncie

Looks like it is here at last. This week it has been so much warmer and the snow is melting quickly. I hope we have seen the last of it for a long time to come. I will soon be able to GoGo around town to do my errands and that will be a wonderful break from not being able to leave the apartment. It seems like such a long time ago that I was able to get out and about. Actually it has only been since the end of January but it seems like a lifetime.  So, see you out and about.

Judy Beloate from Loma called me last Wednesday to be the first person to report sighting two robins. Thank you for the call Judy. It made my day to know that sign of spring was here at last.

I am still waiting to hear from the country folks about the meadowlarks. They are surely back in the area by now. I remember, on the mail route, seeing a meadowlark on a certain fence pole between the Romain brother’s farms. It was always in March.

It is difficult to believe that Wally and I retired from the mail route 20 years ago in June. How time flew by and it is hard to realize that it has been that long. I loved that mail route but only have the memories now. The thing I remember the most was the beauty of the route.  We traveled through the Chalk Bluffs and crossed the Missouri River several times. I loved having grilled cheese sandwiches every Friday in Loma and driving around to see the buffalo. We watched the Teton and Marias fill with water in the spring. We went a little out of the way to see the Blue Heron’s nests just outside of Loma. (I still am able to check out those nests every year.)

It was a wonderful time in my life and spring always brings back more memories of the beauty of Montana.

Every Wednesday from now to Easter there will be Lenten luncheons at a different Church each week. The menu consists of four or five different kinds of soup, rolls, and a great variety of cookies.

Please try to support these events. It is a good will donation and I know that you will enjoy the company of friends and neighbors. Check your River Press Community calendar for time and place. See you there.

On Sunday, April 7th at 1:00pm, The Accordion Band will be at the Sunrise Bluffs. Get your dancing shoes on and come on over for a pleasant afternoon of dancing and songs you know and can understand the words to.

This band comes to Fort Benton once a year and they are all volunteers. They entertain senior centers, nursing homes, and hospitals almost every Sunday of the year.

Please come on over to the Bluffs even if it is just to listen to the music. Let’s get a crowd together to show the Band that Fort Benton appreciates what they are doing. Bring along your family members, neighbors, and friends. They will thank you for a lovely, relaxing, and pleasant afternoon.

May I suggest that you call in your reservation to Karla at 622-5443 (or whoever answers the phone) and have dinner at 1:00 p.m. with the regulars and the Band. You can take a day off from cooking.

See you there!

A source told me that on March 12th she passed away in PA. She was 93 years old. She was a longtime teacher in the Fort Benton school district and was loved by everyone.

My memory fails me, but I seem to remember that I wrote about Mrs. Sorkness for her birthday some years ago. Can it possibly be that it was 13 years ago when she turned 80 years old? I asked that former students and her friends send her a birthday card. It was a huge success. We were in touch for a while. However, as time goes by, I have found that we drift apart when distance separates us. I did not know Mrs. Sorkness personally but heard dozens of wonderful stories about her as a teacher.

I just obtained her son, Tom’s e-mail address and will contact him this evening to find more details. I’ll let you know next week.

I am sorry for the loss of her and wish I had known her. I so admire teachers and nurses. I never felt I had the patience to be a teacher. Perhaps in a one (1) room schoolhouse in Montana I may have been successful.

So long Jo Sorkness and may your memory live on in this community.


Tuesday, March 12, 2019

View From The Bridge 3/13/19

By Muncie

It will be March 20th, the 1st day of Spring, by the time you get next week’s River Press. I would like to pass along a couple of sayings that were given to me by a friend.

“In Spring at the end of the day, you should smell dirt” and “Spring is nature’s way of saying, “LETS PARTY.” Just do it!

I admire the way that the Irish through the years have continued to honor St. Patrick. I remember the story of how he rid Ireland of snakes and that is why islands today have no snakes. (If that is a true story, I would like St. Patrick to come to Montana to help us out with just the rattler problems.)

Whatever the case, we all become Irish on St. Patty’s Day and enjoy the corned beef and cabbage to our hearts content. Amy at the Square Butte County Club does such a tremendous job of doing so much to celebrate. Thanks Amy and I miss seeing you for many reasons the first of all is I’m not driving any longer. I think it would take me most of the day to GoGo from Fort Benton to Square Butte.

Have a great day Folks and wear green on that day.

What a terrific performance it was last week when Professor Steven Hesla brought his classical show to Fort Benton. This is at a time when classical music is dying out as I learned from a PBS TV show. With all the variety of music that has developed over the years since Chopin and Beethoven it is no wonder that the basics of music would be fading out.

It would be a tragedy if that would happen but after the performance last week, I do not think it will happen. Young and old people loved the show saying that they had never thought much about classical music.

Professor Hesla has taught music for forty years at the University of Montana. He began Pianos along the Missouri to promote classical music. Lori Benjamin and Amanda Robertson worked diligently to bring this program to Fort Benton. Amanda is the music teacher in Big Sandy and played a duet with the Professor.

There were four brave young women who were part of the program. Emmy Carrier, Halley LaBuda, Lexi Bahnmiller, and Sienna Stone are all musical artists. (I wonder how many hours of practice went into those performances.)

I know that there are many more piano students and want all of them to know that they are all keeping the piano and classical music alive.

Professor Hesla also brought a violinist and a cellist as part of the journey along the Missouri. Margaret Nichols on violin and Adam Collins on cello played several pieces. (People often say in conversation that they wished they had studied piano or violin. I am now adding the cello. What a great sound comes out of that large instrument.)

Whatever you felt about classical music before, I hope that you now love it thanks to Professor Hesla. He is a charming and humorous gentleman that added to the show.

There will be NO BINGO GAME on next Monday, March 18th. There is something going on at the Club House called the Calcutta, whatever that is. Just joking.

I was not able to verify this with the VFW but I did get the news from the Club House. See the addicted players on Monday, April 1st, Fools Day, and I am not kidding about the date.

The agent, Jill, has made arrangements to come to Fort Benton on Friday the 29th with the monthly birthday cake. She will have a table at the Senior Center from 11:00 a.m. to about 2:00 p.m. to answer questions about insurance. Her last two visits were not held because of the weather. (So what else is new?)

It is also cinnamon roll day at lunch that day so plan on lunch along with your visit with Jill. The cake is for the last Sunday of the month when the Seniors celebrate birthdays and anniversaries of the month. See you there.

On Friday evening, about 5:30 p.m., I was watching the world news when I heard a strange sound. I cannot describe it. I had the front door open all day because the sun was so warm. It travels from east to west in front of our duplex apartment building.

Soon after hearing that noise, there was what I called an avalanche. The snow that was piled high on the roof came down onto the driveway and trapped Norma and I in our apartments. I later tried to measure how deep it was but it had fallen hard as a rock. I could not put the yardstick into it. I judged it was from 2 ft. to 3 ft. deep.

The maintenance man, Mike May, only works until noon. I was able to get in touch with him through Connie and Tonya. He came to evaluate the situation in his vehicle. He retrieved the snow blower from Sunrise Bluffs and began working on clearing this lengthy snow pack but because it had fallen so hard it was like a glacier. I asked him to just clear enough so that Norma and I could get out of our apartments in case of an emergency. He did that but it was a difficult effort.

If anyone else had an experience such as ours, please tell me your story. (I’m in the phone book.) I see that snow falling off the roof over and over again. It was surreal. I am so grateful that no one was in the driveway because I would have hated trying to dig them out with my bare hands. (Can you picture that?)

Hopefully we do not have any more accumulation of snow this year. I think we have had enough to last for a while.   

Now all we have to contend with is flooding. Where can all that snow melt go? It will be interesting to watch the next few weeks.


Tuesday, March 5, 2019

View From The Bridge 3/6/19

By Muncie

It is called the Full Worm Moon. As the weather begins to warm and the ground begins to thaw the earthworm casts appear, heralding the return of robins.

The more northern tribes knew this as the Crow Moon. The crows begin cawing and it signaled the end of winter.

It is also called the Full Crust Moon because the snow cover becomes crusted from thawing during the day and freezing at night.

Another name is the Full Sap Moon marking the time of tapping maple trees.

To the settlers it was known as the Lenten Moon and considered the last Full Moon of winter.

The full moon is on Thursday the 21st, the day after spring begins. 

I know that many people have been asking about trips around town. Last weeks River Press had an article from Kellie Butler advising that Nancy Lachapelle has volunteered to do that route. The every half hour route will be convenient for most folks and now they can plan ahead for appointments.

If you have no need to use the Fort Benton bus service, show your support by waving when they drive  by. Someday you may have to use the service. Donations also show your support for those who have worked very hard to get this project off the ground.

Is there life after basketball? I did not know what to do with myself on Friday evening. The only good thing was that it was too cold to go anywhere. I do watch the State Meets on the news and that helps a little. There certainly are many great natural players that are great to watch. Fort Benton also has many and it will be interesting to see what colleges they will be recruited by.

I did it again. I reported that Loma Day would be Sunday the 6th. NOT! The 6th is Saturday and Loma Days are always on Saturdays. I hope that I didn’t mess your calendar up. So, it is just a month away and please Father Winter let go of your tough grip. We need to get out and about. See you there.

Spoke with Patty Paulsen over the weekend and she wanted me to tell all of her friends that she is doing well. Her Aunt is still with her as there is not much Patty can do. She can put a little pressure on her legs but not too much. She hopes to be back to normal by the time the temperature raises to at least 50 degrees. Then she can get out and about. At this date it is not too difficult to be confined to the house.

We will never know why bad things happen to good people but Patty is one of the bravest women I have ever known.

I also called Miriam Bramlette to see how she was doing. She said to tell all of her friends that she is getting better and better each day. She is no longer in P.T. and the situation is the same as Patty’s. She doesn’t mind not getting out when the temperatures are as they are.

We hope to see you too, Miriam, out and about and back to normal.

I wanted to mention here that a long time back I found on my computer that 1,200 pedestrians were hit by vehicles in parking lots each year. (I can understand that as many parking lots are not well lit.)

Last week on the world news I saw a report that 5,000 pedestrians are killed in the United States each year.

The Bramlette’s accident happened as they were crossing the street. The first car stopped, but the second car came around the stopped car and hit both her and Bruce. Miriam was on the inside and she and Bruce were holding hands. She was injured the most. That accident happened last fall in Missoula after a football game. (All good people go to football games.)

It was so good to chat with Miriam and hear that she was doing better. We would like to see you out and about soon.

I didn’t talk with Tim but I did with Cindy. Tim is doing well and waiting for his prosthesis. That will require more P.T. and hopefully that comes along with the nicer weather.   The reason I am writing these notes is because many readers ask me about Patty, Miriam, and Tim. Since there isn’t much happening these days I thought I would check with them and get questions answered. You are all V.I.P’s and thought about often. If there is anything that you need help with please let me know. I will arrange what I can as long as it isn’t anything to do with Windows 10. (My joke of the week.)

A little tidbit of news is while talking to Cindy I asked about the Gun Fight entertainment that she and her group do during Summer Celebration. They are planning on doing two shows this year. One will be at the Old Fort Park and the other at the Old Bridge.

That was great news for me as I sat by The Old Bridge last year waiting for the show when I found out it was at the Old Fort Park. I hurried down in my GoGo and got there just in time for the show. I really enjoy that show and so do the many others that are in attendance.

Ruth was a cousin by marriage to the Morger family. She was married to Wally’s 1st cousin Ernie. She passed away on February 21st.

I do not know much of Ruth’s history but I do know that she lived in Fort Benton at one time. The Willett Electrical Shop burned in the fire of 1949. I do not know when she moved to Great Falls but it was sometime after her husband passed away. She met Ernie Good at an Elks dance and they were married for quite a few years.

The reason I mention this story about Ruth is because I have found that many people remember Ruth and would never have known that she passed. Ruth was 99 and1/2 years old. She would have been 100 in July. Her family planned a graveside funeral last Friday but it was cancelled because of the snow. It is now planned for Wednesday the 6th. I do not have any details and hope to find out more at the funeral. You can call me if you want to know more. (I’m in the book.)


Tuesday, February 26, 2019

View From The Bridge 2/17/19

By Muncie

Only one more day and this second coldest month in history will be over. We made it my readers and now it is only a memory to be hashed over and over through the years. I, frankly, had a difficult time with it having to be house-bound, and that did not set well with me. The few days I escaped last week were to attend one basketball game last Wednesday in Great Falls, played Bingo on Thursday, and went to Shirley Peterson’s funeral on Friday. On the other days I felt like I was the last person left on earth while looking out the window as more and more snow fell. It was actually beautiful but I felt compassion for those of you who had to drive distances to work. I heard some horror stories about driving and I am content with not having to do that.

On our way home from Great Falls we saw an ambulance, then a police car parked alongside the highway and a car that slid off the road but it did not look as though it had turned over. If it was someone from this area please call me and let me know if you are alright.

Hopefully it begins to warm up a bit in March since it is only three weeks to spring. Isn’t that a wonderful thought? Daylight Savings Time begins on March 10th. That means it will not get dark until around 7:00 p.m. (I heard on the grapevine that the bill to eliminate Daylight Savings Time did not pass. This is a subject of much discussion.)

I have not been able to get near the hollow tree to see if the Valentine decorations are still there. With St. Patrick’s Day coming up on the 17th it doesn’t leave much time to decorate it. Do you have decorations? If you do or do not, I have a few but it would not hurt if we both decorated. You are such a wonderful decorator so keep up the good work and thank you for cheering up my days. I truly love that old hollow tree as I know the background story about it. I learned from the Hazen’s who lived in this apartment when the incident happened. It still looks in fairly good condition considering what it went through and may be there for many years to come.

I have always enjoyed going to the Loma Flea Market. I have been to many of them and intend to find out when they began way back when.

My source in Loma, (thank you Pat) told me that this year’s date is Sunday, April 6th. I hope that you can attend to support our neighboring town in this once a year event. See you there.

Even though our Fort Benton Longhorn Girls and Boys did not come out #1 at Divisional, you are certainly #1 in our hearts. We are looking forward to next season and want you to know how much pleasure you gave us at each game. Your 18 and 16 wins during the season were exciting. To top it off for the Girls, they won over Box Elder for the second year in a row to take the District Championship. WOW! It doesn’t get any better than that.

Next week, Tuesday the 5th of March, will feature “Pianos Along the Missouri Festival Concert Finale” featuring Professor Steven Hesla from the University of Montana. Please plan to attend this program. You will not only enjoy wonderful piano music but will support local talent.

There will be Master classes here in Fort Benton on Monday, March 4th from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. There are seven people signed up from Fort Benton for these classes. It is not too late to sign up. You can do so by calling Lori Benjamin. There will also be Master classes in Great Falls on March 3rd if that would be more convenient for you. Again, contact Lori.

The Professor will be in our area from Sunday until Wednesday morning. Give him a Fort Benton welcome if you see him around town.


Tuesday, February 19, 2019

View From The Bridge 2/20/19

By Muncie

I am sure the whole town of Fort Benton, as well as I am, is on a high after last Friday night with the win over Box Elder. Not only did you win the district championship but for the second year in a row.

You have always been #1 and now everyone knows it. I have attended every home game and planned to go to Havre. I am really upset with Father Winter for dumping on us while the District Tournaments were going on. (On the local newscasts they refer to Father Winter instead of Mother Nature.) This was my excuse for not traveling to Havre and I truly regret it. I learned of the win on the 10:00 p.m. news and I am sure the entire neighborhood heard me yelling. I was expected the team to return from Havre late, but would still blow the horns of the bus and vehicles that were able to watch the game. I don’t think it happened because you did not want to wake those who were already in bed. Please do it another time this week.

I am looking forward to the games in Great Falls and better road conditions. Know that we love you no matter what the outcome.

Father Winter also kept the audience for the Chouteau County Performing Arts event from attending the best show ever last week Tuesday. (This evaluation was public opinion.)

The Spectrum singers from Las Vegas were spectacular and I felt as though I was in Las Vegas. Spectrum was totally professional. They came out for the first half dressed in white tux coats. At break time they changed to red sequined jackets. They sang songs from the 60’s and 70’s Motown. They danced as they sang as the audience sang along with them.

It was a totally wonderful evening and the Performing Arts Board will certainly have them back again. We are so sorry if you missed the show but happy for those of you who braved the cold to attend.

Keep in mind that the next CCPA performance is just a few weeks away on Tuesday, March 5th, same time, same place. It is “Pianos Along the Missouri.”

Professor Steven Hesla, piano professor at the University of Montana, inaugurates the new piano festival in Fort Benton with a lively show incorporating local pianists from Chouteau and Cascade Counties and well as his own interpretations of Gershwin, Joplin, and classical. Sounds wonderful to me and I’ll see you there.

A message to Jo Alice Juedeman…You easily could be Hollywood’s #1 screen writer. You are truly the best. I do not know how you come up with those great stories and then put them into plays. But NO! You prefer to stay in Geraldine, Montana. You are a small town person and I am sure that Hollywood’s bright lights do not have the slightest interest for you. All the better for us and know that we love you very much. Thank you for everything.

I do not want to forget Lila Armstrong. Hers is the most difficult job as director. Her untrained cast must be trying at times because of their nonsense. But then again, it is worth the laughs and we should all laugh every day. It is good for your health.

So, thank you too for your undying love of theater and the hours that you spend getting the cast into shape. We love you too.

And last but not least, I want to tell the actors and actresses how much they contributed to a very entertaining evening. You are the greatest. Thank you for all your time and this also goes for all those who helped to get everything in the right place at the right time.

The Fund Raiser that was held a few weeks ago was a success. It was for Donna who worked at the Club House. She has many friends there and the Club House was filled to capacity.   

There were many silent auction baskets and other items to be bid on. I bid on a red, white, and blue basket that was made just for me. What I mean is that I love all things that are patriotic. I got the bid and was so thrilled when I got home and unpacked it. There were 19 red, white, and blue items. My apartment will be well decorated from Memorial Day until Labor Day. One of the items is a hanging banner that has “GOD BLESS AMERICA’ on it. Two of my other favorites are lanterns that light up.

Thank you to all that were at the auction and to the 60 to 70 people and businesses that donated. Only in a small town, as the saying does.


Tuesday, February 5, 2019

View From The Bridge 2/6/19

By Muncie

It was called the Full Snow Moon by the tribes in the north and east because it is the month with the most snow. (It is holding true this year.) It is also called the Full Hunger Moon because hunting conditions were difficult.

The next full moon will be Tuesday the 19th.   

In the last few years the phone calls to me about the first sighting of robins and meadowlarks have fallen by the wayside. The calls I did get were too late for first sightings. Please call me when you see these welcome beautiful birds.

It was reported to me that there are some robins that stay the entire winter. True? Keep me posted.

The last weeks have been filled with music, and I have loved every minute of it. The previous weekend was the Consortium in Great Falls. That was a great start for the following week. On Wednesday the Sound Exchange performed at the Missouri River Medical Center at 10:30a.m., and I was able to attend. They also performed at the Elementary School at 1:00 p.m. and I was not able to attend as I usually have. Randy and I had dentist appointments in Great Falls. Why are there always two events at the same time?

We heard a story about a 6th grader who immediately called her mother after the performance to tell her she must attend the show that evening. She told her mother that it was the best CCPA ever. 

You may have heard at the show that evening that the group drove from Minneapolis where the temperature was freezing. I was able to talk with several members of the Sound Exchange and just one of them was not at the Consortium here in Fort Benton last year. I told him that I would have like it if he could see our beautiful town in the summer time.

The show that evening was a smashing success. I walked up and down the hallway at intermission and asked everyone if they liked the show. It was an overwhelming “YES”. The other great thing was that the count was 200 in the audience. The word had gotten around about how good the concert would be and it was.

The next music time was on Saturday evening. I was taken to see “The Wizard of Oz” in Great Falls. I am still over the rainbow about that show. Yes, it was good to get back to where “there is no place like home.” It began snowing in Great Falls as the show ended, but by the time we reached Carter it was doing a good job of covering the highway.

On Saturday of this week, the 9th, we have tickets for the Geraldine play at noon. We always look forward to these wonderful shows every year and if you have ever attended one, just do it.

Another performance added to our entertainment schedule is on Tuesday the 12th. There will be another CCPA presentation, Spectrum, and it has been reported that this will also be a spectacular performance. Don’t miss it. That will end almost two weeks of music, music, and more music. See you there!

On Sunday the 3rd there was an Open House at the newly built facility on Front Street. Our count of visitors to view the new facility numbered about 35 to 40 people while we were there for about an hour.

It is a great addition to our community and I have several friends who now reside there. Check it out if you have someone close to you that can no longer take care of themselves or a loved one you have been taking care of but can no longer continue doing so. Living there is a great option because the atmosphere is like family.

 It is spacious in what I would call the family room. A large TV and comfy furniture also make it like home.

I know how difficult it is to leave a home that you have lived in for years. You raised your family there and the memories never end. However, there comes a time when a decision has to be made and wouldn’t you rather make it then have your family do it?

Giving up a home that I lived in for 25 years was my decision. It was difficult, but not as giving up driving. At Assisted Living you have everything at your fingertips. You do not lose your independence. You do not need to drive. You are able to shop and do errands in Fort Benton once a week. You can go to Great Falls once a month. What more can you ask?

You still have the Community Bus available every week and you could be picked up at the door. Life becomes a little easier and you can begin to see those “Golden Years.”

Now that I have given you my take on assisted living, think about your choices and options. Think of todays’ world and not about how it used to be. Think about all of this now while you are still in fairly good health and able to think for yourself. You just need a little help so go for it.

I know this must sound like a commercial for assisted living. Visiting there on Sunday makes one stop and think about what would be best for me. I do a lot of thinking these wintery days when I work on my cabin fever. Let’s talk about it.

I have already written too long and I will write about the Heritage meeting next week. It bears talking about.



Wednesday, January 30, 2019

View From The Bridge 1/30/19

By Muncie

What is Consortium? With new families moving into Fort Benton, I thought they would wonder what I am writing about. I will try to explain.

A little history of the Montana Performing Arts Consortium (MPAC) was incorporated in 1982 and became tax exempt the following year. During its first quarter of a century MPAC averaged over 300 hours of performing arts events. MPAC has developed from 1982 to 2019 to what we have today. Performing Arts in cities across Montana joining together for cost and schedules have may it what we have today.

Having a Consortium each year brings together the Performing Arts Boards to see the showcases and talk directly with the artists. They also can discuss doing “group” bookings instead of singles. Group bookings can save them money.

I hope that this explains the exciting weekend and be sure to purchase your seasons tickets for the artists the CCPA Board will be choosing for the 2019/2020 season.

The CCPA Board will be very busy contacting ad booking the artists they will choose. The next step is to get the booklet put together with advertising and schedules. Posters will be available with a schedule on it.

Please thank the board members for all their work. I know they would appreciate it.

The Chouteau County Performing Arts Board had the best weather/driving conditions last Friday and Saturday as this was the year for it to be held in Great Falls.

Friday at 3:00 p.m. began the registration ad set up tables for the artists. There was a lot of time for visiting artists who have been to MPAC previously and others who have never been. (Several have never been to Montana before.

There was actually a group of three brothers and one cousin who call themselves “Stringfever.” Yes they are called Stringfever because they play violins. They came from London, England to do a showcase. I hope that I see them again here in Fort Benton for one of our CCPA evenings.

I remember getting back to Fort Benton about 9:30 p.m. to pack up for a long day on Saturday. I had a wake-up call at 6:30 (wow…it is still dark out) and was picked up by Randy at 7:30. The first showcase began at 9:00 a.m. but since Randy is the MC we had to be there early for him to go over the program if there were any changes.

I wondered around the room taking in all the wonders of the set-up. Almost all the artists had large screen computers set up with ear phones with volume control. I had a great time listening to all that I could before it was time to get to the auditorium.

I never saw two hours go by so quickly. We enjoyed six showcases. It was then time for visiting with those artists who had performed.
Lunch time was catered by our favorite caterer, Chandee from Loma. It was special, of course, serving two kinds of soup and wrapped sandwiches. Yummy!

After lunch, it was back to the auditorium for the second showcase at 12:30 p.m. I am so jealous of these artists talent. Such talent is only given to a few and all the rest of us can do is enjoy! Those artists that I spoke with told me that they began as a child. (I do not remember being a child any more. What happened to those eight years that I took piano lessons?)

After the second session there was a little time to talk to those artists. As I headed back to the auditorium, I had a surprise. I have a good friend In Great Falls, Sue, whom I met years ago through the Marine Corps League. I invited her to come to the Civic Center and she showed up for the third showcases. It was arranged for her to have dinner with us. She had a wonderful time and was exposed to what I have been talking about for years. She especially enjoyed the silent auction items and she read to me all the contents of the baskets. The results of the auction were announced after dinner and she was very impressed with the whole event.

I know that Sandy and Gary spent Saturday at Consortium. They are faithful supporters of CCPA. Thank you!

It was a happy ending to another consortium and I’m looking forward to next year when all this excitement takes place in Fort Benton.

On our way home on Friday evening from Great Falls we were able to listen to the Fort Benton basketball game. I would like to thank Chris Halko for sponsoring that program. It was very enjoyable to hear the play by play. (It really helped keep my neck from aching because I did not have to look from right to left and left to right. Thanks again Chris.

I hope that you remembered and put on your calendars that Wednesday evening is the next performing arts program. The Sound Exchange is one that I have been looking forward to. I saw them last year at the consortium here I Fort Benton.

The next CCPA night will be on February 12th featuring “Spectrum.” Please put it on your calendar and invite all your family, friends, and neighbors. I wish is to fill the auditorium to impress the entertainers, who have traveled the world, that small town America is something special.

If you find that you have a conflict and cannot attend, give your ticket to someone else to use. Just be sure to get it back again because there are three more shows coming in the next few months.

Remember, children are free when they come with their parents.

On February 3rd 1:00 p.m. to 3 p.m. an open House will be held. Take a ride to the north end of town to check out the Assisted Living building and other things taking place.

Actually, the Assisted Living building has the proper name of Front Range Assisted Living. See you there!

The annual play, presented by local actors and actresses, will take place on Friday the 8th ad Saturday the 9th of February. Check your River Press for times and don’t miss this hilarious evening. It is a dinner theatre and a Saturday luncheon. The food is delicious and the play is Academy Award winning. Trust me! You will have a great time ad see you there!



Tuesday, January 22, 2019

View From The Bridge 1/23/18

By Muncie

This Saturday the annual Montana Performing Arts Consortium showcase will be at the Civic Center in Great Falls. The showcases begin at 9:00 a.m. and last all day. It is an amazing time of music and the best part is that it is FREE.

You will see acts that may be chosen to appear at the CCPA here in Fort Benton.  So, take the day off, enjoy the showcases, have lunch at the many choices you can find there, and go home humming many of your favorite songs. See you there!

On the 30th of January, The Sound Exchange, will be at the Elementary School. Please make an effort to be there. You will love this group and their performance. They are dazzling. When they were here in Fort Benton for Consortium in 2018 our local audiences gave them rave reviews. They insisted the CCPA Board invite them back.

Well, they will be here a week from Wednesday. See you there!

Last Friday’s basketball game with Big Sandy was a flurry of pink shirts. It was a fund raiser for the Cancer Support Group. That was the reason for the pink.

The same fun time was on at the Fort Benton vs. Big Sandy at Big Sandy a few weeks ago. Next year’s plans are to spread the word about the pink.

There are pink shirts for sale every other year and this was not the year. Hopefully the shirts are for sale a few weeks ahead so they can be worn to the “PINK” game.

You know the saying, “Location, location, location,” is important In real estate. Well, “Advertising, advertising, advertising,” is important in the every-day world. We will try to work a little harder to get information to get the word to you. However, you the readers must cooperate with the events that you are planning. It is more fun when many people are in on the project. I had one of the pink shirts but in my moving to the Sunset apartments, I cannot find it. I found an old Michigan pink shirt and so I turned it inside out. (No one even noticed.

Next Thursday the 24th from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Community Bible Center will be another fundraiser.  Allie Wallace excels in the Track program and is raising money to go to compete in Australia

She and her Mom, Kellie, found a recipe for Sconcos and with many volunteers will work for hours to prepare these treats. They are delicious and you can either eat them at the Center or take a bag full home. They reheat very well, ask for direction, and enjoy. Also have Allie tell you her story. She is a delightful young woman and we are so proud of her and have a right to brag about her accomplishments. We wish her good luck and look forward to seeing how well she does competing with “Trackers” from all over the world.

On Saturday, the 19th, the Salvation Nation Band from Havre, was at Sunrise Bluffs to entertain everyone in Fort Benton. I wish more people, other than just the people who live at the Bluffs, had enjoyed their performance. I realize that the weather was not as pleasant as it has been. These bands that come to Fort Benton from Havre and Great Falls make an effort to visit us once a year. It is a great effort to pack up all their equipment and drive the 70 miles from Havre. But then again, you know how I feel about filling the auditorium for CCPA.

The Salvation Nation played songs that we could recognize and the “Leader of the Band” played a game with us. He gave us clues, with a free trip to Chester, if we could guess what the group would play next. Most songs were from movies and no one got the free trip to Chester. It was a fun afternoon and perhaps the next time they are here in Fort Benton, with a little more advertising, we will have a larger crowd.

Tuesday evenings, during the summer, in Havre, the Salvation Nation plays at the local park. We were invited to attend if we are in Havre next summer. What a wonderful idea. Do you suppose that Fort Benton could come up with a program like that?

I asked the leader of the band where they got their name. His answer was just what I thought it would be. Our Nation needs salvation especially today. It all ends up with the same old, same old, “Love Thy Neighbor.” Think about that. I have thought long and hard about what I can do to light one little candle. Can you do one small act of kindness every day? It may be the answer.

As a young boy said to me when I had to ask for a ride home from the Bluffs. When I got out of the vehicle, he said, “It sure makes you feel good when you can do something to help someone.”

Since some of us in Fort Benton have been shuffled around with insurance companies in the last several years, it is difficult to know in which direction to go. As far as I could find out the reason, it was because we are rural communities and we did not give them enough business. During this time my auto insurance company also cancelled me for the same reason.     

All this leads to an invitation from a young woman, named Jill, who will be at the Golden Age Senior Center on on Friday February 15th from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm to answer your questions. She will have treats and again begin bringing a birthday/anniversary cake for the Golden Age Senior Center the last Sunday of the month.

You are all invited so come on over ad enjoy a little time relaxing and visiting with friends and neighbors who may have the same questions that you have.

I will remind you again as the time gets closer but in the meanwhile put the date on your calendar.

I did not know Diane Walker as a personal friend but as one of the women I visited at the MRMC during all the holidays.

I loved visiting with her as she took me all over the world with her stories about her travels. I have done a little traveling myself but nothing as exciting as hers.

She said that she enjoyed my visits ad would call me often to ask how I was doing. I did not visit her for Thanksgiving or Christmas because it was a little too chilly to “GoGo” to the hospital. I did however get there the day before Diane passed away. She was in a very sound sleep and did not hear me. I knew it was not long for her. I was happy about the time I spent with her and wish she could tell me about her final journey.