Tuesday, December 24, 2019

View From The Bridge 12/25/19

By Muncie

My wish is that you have the most wonderful Christmas ever. In another week we will be in the infamous 2020. Will it pass us by as quickly as 2019? A quick start of your resolutions and hopefully they will last for at least a couple of weeks.

My second wish is that “KINDNESS” is spread all over the world. Even Santa said he looks for children who are nice and not naughty. Being nice is what Fort Benton Rocks is all about. I am working very hard on that one as my good deed of the day. How about you? It isn’t easy especially on these dull, dreary day of what is now winter. Hang in there! As of Monday, the days begin getting longer.  Oh, how welcome spring will be in three more months.

WHO #1, WHO #2, AND WHO#3
When the snowflakes and a snowman showed up in the Hollow Tree, I phoned WHO #3 to see if she had decorated the Hollow Tree. She said she did not. WHO #2 has told me that she is not WHO #1.  Although I have not spoken with her, I am sure that she will say that she did not do the decorating.

So, as of today, Friday 12/20/19, the tree is not decorated for Christmas. I wonder what is happening with WHO #1. Has he or she gone south for the winter? Or has he or she given up because two more WHO’s showed up? Whatever the situation, will WHO #1 please come back again. It is not safe for me to cross the icy 22nd Street and besides…I do not have any decorations. I did put three (3) Angels there last year but cannot not remember where I stored them. So, please, please return to that lonely tree and give it some life. Many of us look forward to seeing the decorations. 

Actually, you have more time to decorate in the dark. Besides that, I cannot see that far and so your identity would be safe. Many people love you because you are so kind. You actually did something to beautify your community. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Several of us who asked residents to attend the concert did a good job. A guessing game came up with a total of perhaps 150 people that attended the concert. Hurray! That was very encouraging and it was a very pleasant entertaining evening. Go musical Longhorns.

What to do during Christmas vacation? Do a good deed every day. Do small chores for your Mom. Help one of your friends that may need someone to talk to. Visit your grandparents if at all possible. Visit the Missouri River Medical Center Nursing area. Talk to and listen to Seniors stories. All of their stories are historical. You will enjoy their telling of the way things used to be.
Can you imagine a world without TV, cell phones, and computers? “It’s a Wonderful Life” is a movie you should watch.

Enjoy your vacation but make it happy for someone else too.

Check your community Calendar in the River Press. There are many events going on to keep you busy. If you like to stay at home…that is fine. However, if you want to join with friends and neighbors that is fine too. Whatever makes you happy…JUST DO IT.

I saw a woman on the News who was over 100 years old. She had taken up playing Pool in her 90’s. She said she did not want to sit around and twiddle her thumbs. Good advice! All reports these days are pushing exercise to keep you in shape to help you live a long and healthy life. Perhaps you can make it a resolution and keep it.



Tuesday, December 17, 2019

View From The Bridge 12/18/19

By Muncie

On Saturday the 14th the Wreaths Across America event took place early in the morning. What a great program this is. There is no way I could purchase a wreath and take it up to the Riverside graveyard with six or more inches of snow on the ground. I am so grateful that there is a program that will help me remember my Veteran Loved One at Christmas. I can no longer buy him presents and to know that there is a wreath on top of his grave makes the season more of a blessing.

In years past the school children who interviewed the Veterans would read their essays at the cemetery. It was difficult to hear for even those who can hear well. So, the venue was changed and there now is a reception at the Sunrise Bluffs after the Wreaths have been placed. The Kiddos read their essays from several Veterans.

I talked with teacher Renee and River Press editor Bethany and there will be one Veterans story in the River Press each week. Look for it and always thank a Veteran for his or her service.

There were about 100 wreaths laid this morning and that is about average. However, there must be more than 100 Veterans buried up there. I will research that and let you know when I find a figure.

Perhaps next year the number of wreaths will increase. It is such a beautiful sight to see those wreaths lying on top of the snow. Take a ride up there some afternoon.

The other interesting thing about having the reception at the Sunrise Bluffs is to take another look at the Veterans Photo project. There are approximately 250 photos on display. They are in order by the war in which they served and alphabetically. That makes it easier to find your loved one. So, on your way to the cemetery or on your way back, visit the Bluffs and visit with your Veterans photo.

If you turned in your Loved Ones picture and you cannot find it, would you please let me know? I’m in the book.

The winter season begins on the 22nd this year. Of course, you would never know that from what has been going on since the last part of September. That longest day of the year will be agony for me but the next day I will be cheered as the days will get longer by approximately a minute a day. Hurray!

Actually, there is so much going on with the Basketball season and Consortium at the end of January. I know the days will fly by. I hope that the weather straightens itself out and we have normal Spring, Summer, and Fall seasons. Do you all feel the same? Let me know when we meet somewhere soon.

It was the merriest Christmas Concert ever with a large crowd of 230 in the audience. (That is still short of the 400 that I wished for.) Wylie did a super job of combining Christmas hymns and Cowboy old fashioned songs combined with yodeling. The singalongs were great fun and all in all a good time was had by all.

Good old Santa came in on cue and recited one of his old poems. He had gotten requests that he repeat “Santas Everywhere”. Somehow Santa managed to thank every organization and everyone in the community a tribute by calling them Santas. They truly are. Their devotion continues to make Fort Benton, MT the first best place in the last best place.

Be sure to thank the Elementary School, the sponsors, and the Chouteau County Performing Arts Board for making this holiday season so special.

May you all have the best Christmas ever.

Wayne was the perfect example of a Montanan. He was kind, considerate, caring, hardworking, and loved his community. If you did not know him it was a terrible loss for you. Of course, it you recently moved to this area and did not know Wayne, I am sorry. You missed a lot but remember him anyway or talk to those who did know him.

I can still picture him and lovely Mary Ann riding with a load of visitors driving around town doing a tour. (This was all done on his own time. He volunteered because he loved to do it.) He and Mary Ann had turned a beat up old truck into a trolley. They were in every parade and everyone loved them.

Not only was Wayne a farmer, he managed to collect and restore old automobiles. Mary Ann had also asked him to build a harp and that began another adventure in his life. Those of you who were given a gift of one of his instruments are so fortunate. What a treasure to hand down from generation to generation.

Have you seen the Hampton’s story on Backroads of Montana? It tells the whole story so watch for it on PBS. It turned out to be the most beautiful love story I have ever seen.

Wayne had to leave Fort Benton a few years ago to live in Chester where his daughter Gail resides.  This was after many years of living in Fort Benton. However, he did return to Fort Benton to be buried beside the love of his life Mary Ann at the Riverside graveyard.

So long Wayne! I and many others miss you and will long remember your goodness.

These next few days will be very busy for everyone. Last minute shopping, baking, and cooking seem to eat up time very quickly. Since it is Monday and I am supposed to have my article in by 3:00 p.m., to gives me little time to get ready for the Christmas Concert at the High School this evening.

Tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. is the Christmas Tuesday night dinner and party at the Senior Center.

The Christmas party for residents of the Sunrise Bluffs complex will be at noon. We sing, play a white elephant game, and have a really special dinner. I have been able to attend the last three years since I have lived in the Sunset apartments. It was one of the group parties where I have had the most fun. I’ll be there so you had better be there too. Hope you have called in your reservation.

I know that I talk about my activities much of the time but that is because you, Fort Benton residents, do not call me to tell me about your activities. I would love to hear about your travels because it helps shut-ins to hear about what it going on in the world. Do you go south for the winter and do you have the River Press sent there? Have you had family reunions during the holidays and in the summer? Do you have a wedding planned especially if it is on the Old Bridge? I and I know other would love to hear about it. Please keep in touch.

(I know several people who have gone over and above a good deed every day. They must have a buildup of a few years. I have been the recipient of their good deeds many times in the last few weeks.)


Tuesday, December 10, 2019

View From The Bridge 12/11/19

By Muncie

Both of these events were scheduled for the 16th of December at the same time 7:00 p.m. Many people were urging that the Fort Benton High School Concert be well attended since the fall concert was not.

At the Bingo game on Monday the 2nd of December, raised hands showed that most of the players were going to attend the High School Concert. As a result, the Bingo game was CANCELLED for the 16th. To show our new music teacher/band leader that we appreciate the hard work that he and the students in the band put in, lets fill the auditorium to capacity. Let us hope that the weather cooperates and will not keep music lovers from attending as it did with the last 2 CCPA presentations. Please make an effort to be there.

From all reports, the Chouteau County Country Christmas was a resounding success. It was an absolutely gorgeous day and that means a lot in our part of the country.

I attended Bridgeport Station to enjoy Tonya’s Taco Soup. I look forward to that every year. I also listened to the Barbershop Quartet from Havre who have favored us with great Christmas songs for about three or four years now. We welcome them back.

They said that they had added a couple of songs to their presentation and one was “I wish you a Merry Christmas”, and they sang it in Spanish. The other was from sheet music I gave them last year of my favorite Christmas song that is “Mary’s Boy Chile”. (Yes, Chile is spelled correctly.) It was a wonderful surprise and made my day.

I am sure that you found some wonderful Christmas gifts. My daughter, Jennifer, found a great blanket to buy with fish on it for her hubby who recently had surgery.  He is an avid fisherman. My other Marine Corp Detachment friend, Sue, found a huge Christmas pillow. They were both so thrilled.

Afterward we headed for Front Street. It was like my Hallmark movies with the sidewalks full of shoppers walking the length of the street. Each of the open houses had treats and they were welcome for dessert after lunch.

I truly love Chouteau County Country Christmas because of our small rural community. I would like to thank all of you readers who said hello to me and told me that you read the View. I’ll pass that on to my editor, Bethany, and perhaps she will let me keep writing another year or so.

A note to Judy. I do not have your phone number so I can call you and this is an easy way to get in touch with you. I have not been able to do what you asked me in your letter because of the weather. My street is not paved and is now a sea of mud. With snow starting in September, it was impossible with travel with my Go-Go.

So please send me your phone number and we can chat about it. Oh, by the way, Merry Christmas and I wish I had a rock to send you.

 I know I never get tired of music and at this time of the year Christmas music. The annual Christmas Concert will be Sunday at 3:00 p.m. at the Fort Benton Elementary. Wylie Gustafson, a Cowboy singer, will entertain us with both Christmas songs and also old Cowboy classics.

The Christmas Concert used to be the next day after Bridgeport but somewhere along the line it was changed. I am so happy about that because tomorrow, Sunday the 8th, it is supposed to snow. That always puts a crimp on attendance at any kind of events planned. We will meet there.

The annual Shonkin Potluck will take place on Sunday the 15th. The Shonkin residents are great people about getting together for events at their Community Hall.

The women in Shonkin have only to supply veggies, salads, and desserts. The men of the community are cooking the turkeys. Wow! Sounds like heaven to me. I was never a farm wife. I never had to cook huge dinners for hu-mong-ous families or harvest crews. Those women who have done that or still do it are ANGELS in my mind.

So, everyone in the Shonkin area enjoy your annual Potluck celebration and thank you for letting us know and that we are invited.

Fort Benton gained a great new couple a year ago. They purchased the Zanto house and this past summer Christy’s parents, Judy and Dennis, moved here from Wisconsin.

Christy and Ed like to decorate and they have exciting displays for the holidays. This season they did a wooden cutout holes for faces of Christmas children. You are invited to stop by and take pictures of your Kiddos. Many families have already done that. You are welcome at any time, day or night. Let them see you there!

 Another interesting item about this family is that Ed just joined the Guard. If you see him, please tell him how proud we all are of his service. He truly loves his United States of America.

While at Bridgeport, on Saturday, I got a report that a robin was seen the past week. I think we went through this last year too, that there are some robins that stay around all year.

Would you please let me know if any of you see robins? My number is in the book. 

I love those birds. I was concerned that every other bird feeder was providing seed and peanuts for Blue Jays. I was given a log of peanuts and put a dozen or so every day with the feed. I was so surprised when being brought home the other day that my driver saw Blue Jays at the Red Dot Diner feeder. Hurray! Welcome to breakfast.

I saw on the news a Secret Santa who gave away $100.00 bills. He said that it was a deed of kindness. It made him and would make you feel so good to be kind.

Wear red on Fridays! That is not difficult to do at Christmas time.


Wednesday, December 4, 2019

View From The Bridge 12/4/19

By Muncie

Truer words were never spoken.  Turning my thermostat up and up each day is a daily reminder. My blessing is an electric blanket.

The other name for this month is the Full Long Nights Moon. That also cannot be disputed.  Wow! Sixteen hours of dark and eight hours of light. However, the eight hours of light are only on days that the sun shines. That has not happened very often the past few weeks. Oh well, only 3 more weeks and the days start to get longer.

The full moon this month will be on Thursday the 12th. Did you see the full moon last month? It was so beautiful but I only saw it the night it was full because of overcast skies. I hope that this month will be clear because it should be a huge silver ball. Happy moon watching.

I’m writing this on Saturday, November 30th so I can get an early start on the View. I checked outdoors before I retired for the night and saw the Finger Nail Moon. It is about 1/8 the size of the Full Moon. We always watched for it about 2 weeks ahead of the full moon. It is so interesting to see it get larger and larger. 

I hope that you all are back in your homes safely. If any of you have some travel, or not travel, stories, please give me a call.

I know that many of you were not able to travel over the river and through the woods on Thanksgiving Day. Our family was minus four members because of roads that were not yet cleared or actually closed to traffic. Never the less, we had a very “family” time together. There was a lot of conversation about how things used to be. The most important “THING” discussed was the cell phone. How interesting it would have been if we had experienced some of our adventurers if we had had cell phones. I have a dozen stories and I am sure that you have too. Oh well, it is over for this year and we now look forward to Christmas and the New Year. May all your travel plans be perfect and safe.

For you readers new to the community we have a great weekend coming up on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  It will be a full day and something for everyone.

Kiddos can shop at their very own Santa’s North Pole Outlet Mall. You can purchase, for small amounts, a gift for everyone on your gift giving list. (That also includes your brothers and sisters.)

For other shoppers check your schedules and fit it to fill your entire day. You have bus transportation and Santa will be all over town. I can hardly wait and I’ll be to as many places that I can. Have fun shopping.

To our neighboring towns, you have a variety of choices. Big Sandy, Virgelle, Loma, Shonkin, and Geraldine are all in the ready. Choose all those that you can get to. Support our local artists and businesses. They service you all year long. Christmas is a wonderful time to show your appreciation.

The date is the 16th and I am asking that the Elementary School auditorium be filled to capacity. We have a new music teacher, Andrew, and since the last concert was not well attended, the community has to make it up to him. This also includes those students who are in the band. They spend many hours practicing and deserve to have a full house audience. I’ll be there and I know you will be there too.

The next game on Monday, December 16th at the usual place and time.

The monthly Tuesday night dinner will be on the 17th. Be sure to call in your reservations at 622-3601. I know that it will be an extra special dinner for the Christmas holidays. This takes place at the Golden Age Senior Center of course.

On Wednesday the 11th from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. there will be a “Cookie Walk” at the Golden Age Senior Center. This event is one of my favorite things to do. The women are all wonderful bakers and the variety is so mouthwatering and you can purchase as many as you would like. They are sold by the number, and it has always helped me to have on hand cookies and hot chocolate in case someone drops in. I did purchase Swiss Miss Chocolate and marshmallows just in case because every Hallmark movie has hot chocolate. They always have a mug in their hands and it is served frequently at tree lightings and family gatherings.

All my family and friends are laughing as they read this article because they know I am addicted to Hallmark movies. My daughter, Jennifer, bought me a t-shirt that says, “All I want is to watch Hallmark Christmas movies all day long. The problem with that is that I do not watch TV during the day. Honest! However, come evening I satisfy my addiction by watching two movies. It helps with those Full Moon Long Nights.

The comforting part of all of that is that I have several friends who are also addicted. I have people to discuss the movies with. Thank you for being my friends.

The breakfast luncheon with freshly baked cinnamon rolls will be on Friday December 27th at noon at the Golden Age Center. There was a scheduling problem last month that changed the rolls from the last Friday to the 3rd. It should not happen again that the date is changed. I missed it for the first time in a very long time because of the change. I do not know how the Senior Center expects me to act normally when I do not get my cinnamon rolls. They did promise it will not happen again.

 You do not want to miss the Chouteau County Performing Arts Christmas Concert on December 15th.  It always gets me in a great Christmas spirit. Music does that. All the hymns bring back the true meaning of Christmas. I’ll be there because I know that Santa will be showing up with his wonderful poem. I wonder what it will be about this year. I’ll be there to enjoy my favorite cowboy Wylie Gustafson.

GOD PLEASE ALSO TAKE CARE OF THOSE UNFORTUNATE PEOPLE WHO ARE HOMELESS, THOSE WHO HAVE LOST THEIR HOMES TO FIRE, HURRICANES, AND THOSE WHO ARE IN FEAR FOR THEIR LIVES AND THEIR FAMILIES LIVES. ALSO, GUIDE THOSE WHO HAVE LOST MEMBERS FROM MASS MURDERS. I cannot imagine what all of these people must go through. Imagine, saying so-long to someone in the morning and they do not come home from school or their job. Unimaginable!

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

View From The Bridge 11/27/19

By Muncie

If I could list all of the things that I am thankful for it would take up this entire page. The “Thanks” will last through the entire year unlike other holidays that only last for the moment.

I feel so sorry for those who are traveling this year. It does not look like a pleasant adventure. I just love staying here in Fort Benton and am so thankful for that.

It is only 3 ½ weeks until Christmas. There are many events to look forward to and the ones foremost in my agenda are Bridgeport and the Christmas concerts. What is on your schedule? Hope that Mother Nature doesn’t ruin your plans.

Last Tuesday, the Chouteau County Performing Arts entertainer was a most beautiful, kind and caring person to ever appear in Fort Benton. Her name is Halie Loren. I not only attended the evening performance but was able to be at the MRMC at 10:30 a.m. to enjoy Hallie’s singing. Again at 1:30 p.m. I was at the Elementary School to take in the youngster’s program.

So, this brings me to my story about Halie, Sherry, and Hank. Last week in the River Presses edition of the “Across the River in Geraldine” by Robyn Scribner, there appeared a story about Hank Armstrong. It was about people who visited last summer in Geraldine.

Hank called me to tell me that his daughter, Shelley, who lives in Oregon near Eugene where Halie is from and knew Halie from way back. Shelley attended Halie’s first concert and was the proud owner of all of Halle’s CDs.

So, Hank was at the Tuesday evening show to not only enjoy Halie’s performance but to purchase the latest CD.

Hank is always in Fort Benton on Tuesdays at the Ag Center’s Research Department. He is a historian, book writer, and he finds Fort Benton the ultimate history information area. At the research center, he has for years labeled and filed old pictures of the area. He has often asked, as have I in this column, of any old pictures that people find. Perhaps you were able to empty a home after parents or grandparents departed.

Hank’s work is a valuable tool in the history of Chouteau County and it is all volunteered. Perhaps you ask why does he do this. It is because he loves what he does and he loves history. Remember the old Native American saying “if you do not know where you came from, you cannot know where you are going”.

Have you picked up a copy of the Chouteau Country County Christmas and Bridgeport Station schedule yet? There are copies at most of the businesses. There are so many choices so try to cover as many as you can. From Fort Benton you can check out Big Sandy, Virgelle, Loma, Shonkin, and Geraldine. That ought to keep you busy. I can hardly wait to get started and to enjoy all the wonderful homemade and handmade crafts, the food, and the entertainment. See you there!

If you are planning to take a sleigh/wagon ride, (weather permitting,) take note. An advisory from a little bird in Shonkin called me this past week to tell me that the rides by the Lacey Creek Clydesdales will be scheduled from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. only. So get on out there to enjoy one of an old Christmas traditions. You and especially your children will have those memories forever. Don’t forget your cameras.

The Christmas Concert is the next on the schedule of Chouteau County Performing Arts presentations. Please put it on your calendar for Sunday afternoon December 15at 3:00 p.m. Make it a family affair. Children are free and they will love Wylie Gustafson. He is a yodeler and will be singing Christmas and Wild West songs.

Wylie has been to Fort Benton many times and enjoys our little town. We welcome him back again and see you there.

I use that phrase a lot when actually I cannot see you. It has been brought to my attention in the last few months that I have ignored several individuals. I thought, erroneously, that everyone knew that I was losing my vision. My central vision is gone and I cannot recognize who you are when you say hello to me. Most people know that they must tell me who they are. I still have my side vision but I still cannot make out faces.

So, I am sorry if I ignored You and hope this explanation clears the air. I am planning to have a program on Macular Degeneration sometime after the new year or when the weather warms up. I have worked with the Blind and Visual Services in Great Falls for 5 years now. They have been of tremendous help to me.

I know that there are many of you out there in the rural areas who have Macular Degeneration or need hearing aids. However, it is difficult to let people know. You try to hide and fake it because you may think it will go away. Well, unfortunately it will not go away. Do not be proud or stubborn. Help is out there. Just ask for it. 

Did you know that if your eye test reads 20/200 and you can no longer drive, that you are legally blind. (The upside of that is you get a break on your income tax. Check it out.)

So, to those of you who have been so helpful to me, I am so thankful this Thanksgiving for your kindness. You have helped me cross streets on my GoGo and just in general been supportive. I am able to take care of myself up to this time and hope that I do not lose my side vision.

Many people ask me how I keep writing the View from the Bridge. I am able to continue with the column because I received a grant from the Helen Keller Foundation for a new computer that has Windows 10. It enlarges everything and I am also so thankful for the computer. Although I do not like Windows 10 and it does not like me, we get well enough.

I am not looking for sympathy. I accept it and remember all the wonderful things that I love. I remember sunrises, sunsets, the Fort Park with all the leaves on the trees, the beauty of the Missouri River, and on and on. I am so lucky that I will remember colors and babies darling faces. It makes me so sad when I see a child or an older person who has been blind since birth.

I do miss reading books but enjoy listening to Talking Books. I miss driving and my Mail Truck. However, I have so many wonderful things in my life that it doesn’t matter what I see or don’t see. It is just a part of life and I have enjoyed it for 90 years now.

Now you know me and I would like to know many of you better. 



Wednesday, November 20, 2019

View From The Bridge 11/20/19

BY Muncie

I am now calling you “Who #1” because in the last few weeks I have a “Who #2,” and a “Who #3”. By contact this past week I found “Who #3”. She wanted me to pass on to you, Who #1, that she is not trying to interfere with your dedicated decorating. She just thought that because she has so many decorations, she could add a little to the hollow tree.

On my way to downtown on Friday morning I could see that all the Halloween decorations were gone. When I returned an hour later the fall decorations were back. Now I am confused. Did “Who #1”, or “Who #2”, or “Who No. 3”, redecorate the tree? I am really confused at this point but it doesn’t really matter?

I had wanted to write that if “Who #1” does not decorate for Thanksgiving this week, then I will be sure she no longer wants to volunteer. I truly hope that I have not lost you. I’ll be watching the hollow tree with great interest. Please respond somehow.

To both the football and volleyball teams I would like to say how proud the whole town is of your accomplishments. You provided Fort Benton with the most excitement about sports, than it seems, for a long time. We love you for all of your efforts, the time you spent practicing, and just in general for all you do.

I knew a week ago that it would be a tough game in Fairview. With three starters injured the week before, our chances were limited. Three players out of 8 unable to play is a great obstacle to overcome.

I was not able to listen to the game because I did not have the proper radio coverage. However, I quickly learned what was happening because of friends who have smart phones or could listen to the game.

Regardless of the outcome, I want to say again how proud we all are of the teams and we love you no matter what.

If you have been looking forward to Turkey Bingo it is a happening on SATURDAY the 23rd at the Club House at 7:00 p.m.  This has always been a very well attended event so get there early. Have dinner and then enjoy an evening of Bingo.

The next regular Bingo night will be December 2nd. The last game of this year will be 12/16/19. The next schedules will be in 2020 on January 5th and 20th. It will be here in a blink of an eye.

I am being cheered up by friends as the days continue to grow longer. That is my “Happy Day.” I long for those late warm evenings when I can take a walk along the Missouri. I love seeing the ducks and geese building their nests along the river bank and then the ducklings practicing their swimming. I love it when everything turns green and leaves appear on the trees.

I’ve saved all of those memories for this time of year. Actually, there is so much going on that I hardly have time to think about winter. They are listed below so put them on your calendar and see you there.

I know that the schedule was worked on two weekends ago. Pick up a flyer at most of the businesses. All takes place on Friday 12/6/19, Saturday 12/7/19, and Sunday 12/8/19. Pass this news along to your family, friends and neighbors.

ON Saturday December 7th, the Bridgeport Station event will be at the Agricultural Center in Fort Benton. You can do all of your Christmas shopping there and whatever you give as gifts will be treasured forever. The reason for that statement is because I have found over the years that crafted gifts are such a treasure.

Even though I’ve moved to a smaller space, I have kept my Bridgeport treasures. I know the hours that go into those hand-made gifts. You can add to your collections or start one for your children, and grandchildren.

I always think of Leone Cloepfil and her hand painted ornaments. I have the whole collection plus some extras of the old house and she did a covered bridge for me.

I miss you Leone, not only for your beautiful work but seeing your smiling face at Bridgeport.

Their rep. called me about their plans for the CCCC. It will be on Saturday the 7th at the Community Hall. There will be many vendors and huckleberry breakfast rolls (yummy). There will be a children’s space to buy gifts for a $1.00 or less.

The biggest attraction will be the sleigh ride, (weather permitting,) at the Lacey Creek Farm. They have 4 of the most beautiful Clydesdale horses and a sleigh ride is truly a Christmas tradition. If there is no snow, it will be a wagon ride instead of a sleigh.) You can find directions to the farm at the Community Hall.

Did you read the article in the River Press about the Community Bus making a run to Great Falls every week until Christmas? I checked with Kellie) and she verified that they would try to schedule that. However, there will be no trip to Great Falls on Tuesday November the 26th and December the 3rd. Please call Kellie to reserve a seat on the bus.

And remember…the drivers are all volunteers. Could you give up a Tuesday twice a month to drive the bus? Or…could you give up a Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. to drive around town? Even when I could drive, I could never have contributed what those volunteers are doing.

Thank you, Vicky, Jeff, and Nancy, for your kindness. You always do a good deed every day that you drive.

The next Chouteau County Performing Arts performance will be the Christmas Concert. It is December the 15th. It will feature Wylie Gustafson. NOTE…It will be at 3:00 p.m. on that Sunday afternoon 

Wylie is a well-known western singer around Montana. He will be singing Christmas songs and some of his own most popular Wild West songs.

 The Fort Benton High School Band and Choir will perform a Christmas Concert on December the 16th at 7:00 p.m. in the Elementary School. Please put this date on your calendar and sticky notes all over the house to remind you to attend.

The Fall Concert lacked an audience. The readers of the River Press were made aware of this from a letter to the editor.

Yes, we should be ashamed of ourselves. These young people work so hard and we need to let them know that we appreciate their efforts.

So, on Monday December 16th, I would like that auditorium to be packed with parents, grandparents, students, teachers, friends, neighbors, and tax payers. What a wonderful way to wish the community a Merry Christmas. It would take the place of many days of doing a good deed.

I did not attend the Fall Concert. I no longer drive and it would be too dark to GoGo to the school. However, I will get to the Christmas Concert if I have to crawl on my hands and knees. (Now that may be difficult because I cannot kneel down.)  I do know that after my friends read this View, I will be offered a ride. Thank whoever for being my friend. See you there!



Tuesday, November 12, 2019

View From The Bridge 11/13/19

By Muncie

It is now shortly after 9:00 a.m. on Monday 11/11. It is very cold, the temperature at 2 above zero. However, the sun is shining brightly that makes it look warmer than it is.

I am ready to be picked up at 10:45 a.m. to attend the ceremony at the Veterans Park. What is called the “Veterans Cross” is being dedicated in the park this morning.             

I am writing about this because some of our readers on the internet did not see the article in the River Press. They have told me that the View keeps them in touch with the old home town. I wish you were here to celebrate with us although the cold will keep some people at home.

I’ll get back to you when I return this afternoon. The VFW has invited those of us who attend to have lunch at the Club House.

It is now 12:30 p.m. and I just returned to the apartment after having a very moving time at the Veterans Park. Yes, it was cold but I was not cold at all. I was so engrossed with the ceremony of the Veterans Cross dedication and laying of the bricks.

It began with the school choir singing the National Anthem. There was a very good crowd because of the many youngsters who attended besides the choir. The dedication took place, the 21-gun salute, singing of Shenandoah (my favorite song) by the Choir, and Commandant Wood asked that the bricks be placed. Those who ordered bricks early found their brick and placed it on the walkway. It was done with a very proud feeling for those Vets who served but are no longer with us as well as for those that are with us now. God bless America and all of you too. We would not be free if it were not for you.

We then proceeded to the Club House where the VFW provided us with Beef Barley soup, chili, and corn bread. It was a perfect luncheon after being out in the cold. Thank you to the VFW. You are such an important part of the community as is the American Legion.

Keep the Veterans in your daily thoughts. They need all the support that you can give them. With losing 22 Vets a day to self-destruction, it is something that it is difficult to understand for those of us who are untrained. Hopefully it will be resolved quickly.

We are off again on Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. to the Golden Age Senior Center for a free dinner for Vets. What a wonderful idea and I, for many, say thank you to the seniors. Most of them are of the Greatest Generation and know the horrors of war. Keep them in your thoughts also as they slowly disappear.

By the time you get this issue of the River Press November will be almost half over. Winter should make its appearance a little over a month from now when the days begin to lengthen.

Meanwhile……we have been tolerating cold rain that turns into ice, and snow. The calendar relates to six weeks of winter already. Woe is me!
I know that I keep promising that I will not discuss the weather again BUT what else is there to talk about. I could talk about how early stores are pushing the Christmas season. But that is not a favorite subject. (Where do early shopper parents hide presents for two months? Yes, it would be that long as Christmas sales started before Halloween.
I asked the manager of a store, several years ago, why they began Christmas shopping in October. His reply was that they had to order early in the year and when it was delivered there wasn’t any place to store it. So……they put it out. (What do you think about that reasoning?)

I do not indulge in social media and I am wondering what is going on there. Are there complaints about this subject? Call me if you have any of that kind of information. (I’m in the book.)

I’m on to a more pleasant subject. The holiday is late in the month this year. That leaves three weeks until Christmas. Hopefully it will fly by.
We have so much to be thankful for. Fort Benton is such a blessing for all of us. We haven’t had a flood for many years, no horrendous fire, or losing electricity for days at a time. We have dedicated volunteers who arrange events to keep us out and about. There is always something going at be it at the Library, the Ag Center, and other gathering places.

I am mentioning this because I saw a 100- year old woman on Backroads of Montana a couple of weeks ago. She was such an inspiration because she enjoyed every minute of every day. In her late 90’s she took up “POOL.” She said she did not want to sit around twiddling her thumbs. GO 100-YEAR OLD WOMAN.
Even though our weather isn’t perfect, I know that there is no other place you would rather be. Think about it!

Awesome! What an exciting season for all of your fans including me. It has been a long time and thanks to the coaches who are doing such a fabulous job with the Youngsters who give so much time for practice. GO LONGHORNS!

CCPA coming up on Tuesday the 19th. Hallie Loren has the most beautiful voice and you should not miss this one.

Coming up in December but purchase your wreath as soon as possible. Call Nancy LaChapelle to order. There isn’t a better way to remember your loved one. You get the wreath placed at the cemetery if you cannot do it. I know that personally, would not be able to shop for a wreath and take it to the cemetery. I want to remember my loved one at Christmas and how convenient for Wreaths Across America to do it for me. JUST DO IT!

It is coming up on December 6th, 7th, and 8th. It is not too early to be making your list and checking it twice. I love this event for the entertainment, the Taco Soup and Sandwiches to take a break with. Besides shopping until you are dropping. See you there!

Next Monday night is Bingo night at the Club House by the VFW. I never thought that I would ever be playing Bingo but I love it and the night out. It is a barrel of laughs and wonderful to see old and new friends. See you there too!


Wednesday, November 6, 2019

View From The Bridge 11/6/19

By Muncie

Oops again! I forgot to put the date of the full moon in last week’s View. It is Tuesday the 12th.

The month of November means Veterans Day to me. Veterans Day is actually always the 11th of November, (do you know why?) and it will be honored by an event at the Veterans Way triangle at 11:00 a.m.

A portion of the Walkway will be in place, according to plans. However, the weather has much-to-do about those plans. Afterward there will be a luncheon at the Club House.

 I hope that you always thank a Veteran for his or her service. There will be little coverage for WWII Veterans because most of them are gone. We should see many younger Veterans from the wars since then. They deserve so much more than they get.

Those younger Vets were volunteers to the Armed Forces. They were not drafted as they were in WWII. Todays’ Vets chose to serve their country knowing what a sacrifice they were making.

If you have had a loved one in the Service of the United States of America at any time…please show up at the ceremony planned for Veterans Day.

Of course, everyone is invited to attend and it would be wonderful if the crowd was so large that it extended into the street. Make it happen this year in Fort Benton, Montana…the first best place. See you there!

Did you remember to change your clocks for Sunday morning? It was light when I woke up at 8:00 a.m. I am writing this on Sunday and late this afternoon it will be dark by 5:00 p.m. or 5:30. Since it is a dark, dreary day it may even be a bit earlier. Woe is me! My cabin fever is raging and I do not see a cure in sight. Oh well, I have Thanksgiving to look forward to.

My favorite book for a long while has been “Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follett. My oldest son, Johnny, sent me the DVD’s for my birthday and I have saved them to watch in just this kind of weather. It will take care of the 16 hours of darkness we will have for the next few months. I know that I am sounding negative but I am actually hoping to get caught up on a few things I had put off during those nice warm long summer days that I could get out and about t.

Do you remember that I said some time ago to keep the beautiful warm days in your memory? It really helps now and I promise I will not complain ever again. (Pinky finger promise!)

I would like to thank those who write letters to the editor. It takes courage to publicly put your name to a letter. You will not always get others to agree with you but you do have the right to your opinion.

I thank Cindy Lenington for writing about the Fort Benton High School concert playing to an empty audience. I did not attend but I also do not attend any football games any longer. This is the first time in 27 years that I have not attended the games. I have many excuses but will not go into that story.

Cindy, can you tell me where were all the parents, grand-parents, and great-grand-parents? Where were all the students from High School? Where was everyone that evening that in the past never missed concerts at the school?

Another letter to the editor was written by John Hankins in response to one written by the Taylor’s letter. He said that he was sorry and the Taylor’s should stop by to talk it over. What a wonderful way to settle problems. There is such a lack of communication these days all over the world. However, we are able to agree to disagree.

So, if you have a problem, try to settle it by talking it out. That is where the “KINDNESS” comes into focus. It is difficult for most of us to be able to talk things out but life is too short. Most of us were brought up to “not make waves”. However, we can change and make our small community more perfect than it already is.

Veterans Day is next Monday the 11th. We meet at the Veterans Park at 11:00 a.m.

Chouteau County Performing Arts next performance is on Tuesday the 19th at the same time and place as it always has been. You will love Halie Loren. She has a great voice and a sparkling personality. See you there.

Check the Community calendar in the River Press for other events you may want to attend. 





Tuesday, October 29, 2019

By Muncie

Hello “Who”. The hollow tree looks great. Those straw figures are the cutest ever.

My wish is that parents bring their children to see it sometime this Halloween week.  If you do not come during the day, bring a flashlight because it is dark on that corner. Boo!

Are you the same “Who” who has been decorating the tree since the beginning? Or are you a new “Who”? This has been such fun watching to see when you have decorated the tree.

 I do have a question but I do not know how you are going to answer it? If it rains hard…do you want me to put the straw figures into my garage? It would be sad for them to be ruined on by a downpour. Could you, perhaps, put a note on the tree for me? It would not be a problem for me to take care of storing them.

So, if you are the “Old Who” or a “New Who”, thank you for what you do.

Since there is only one day left in October, I thought you would like to have the November Moon information.

November is the Full Beaver Moon. This was the time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze over.  This was also the time to insure a supply of warm winter furs.  Another interpretation suggests that the name Full Beaver Moon comes from the fact that the beavers are now actively preparing for winter.

It is sometimes also referred to as the Full Frosty Moon. (I like that name better as I still am slightly upset with the beaver or beavers who chewed on one of the trees I had planted, in the Shep Park between the Grand Union and the Fire Hall.)

Don’t forget to set your clocks back for the end of Daylight Savings time before you go to bed Saturday night. If you forget you may be late for Church on Sunday morning. 

Randy, Connie and I made it out to the Shonkin Lasagna Dinner and Auction last Sunday evening. There were about six (6) lasagna choices and I heard all were excellent.

Renee was her usual funny self as the auction caller. I did find four items that I couldn’t live without. Between Connie and me, Randy said he should have brought a truck. Hey! It was all great fun.

We love our Shonkin neighbors and look forward to this event every year.

The shows get better and better each time the Chouteau County Performing Arts program takes place. Last Saturday night Dennis Stroughmatt put on a show that produced a standing ovation. It was a toe tapping and hand clapping show. When he sang “Make the World Go Away,” it made me cry. I could understand every word and Dennis has the most wonderful voice. It is unique and I wanted him to sing on and on.

Those who attended the Consortium in Great Falls last January loved him enough to get him on our Fort Benton program. We hope that he returns soon.

By the way…it was his first trip to Fort Benton although he was aware of it from a history class he took in college. His story about that was so interesting. Sorry if you missed it. The Board realized and referred to the several other events that were going on that evening. It is a popular evening just before Halloween. Boo!

A bonus that evening was the beautiful roses that were given after the show when the audience was leaving. I put mine in a vase with an aspirin so that I can enjoy it for a long while.  Actually, they also dry up so beautifully, to enjoy too.

ON YOUR CALENDAR….on Tuesday November 19th, Hallie Loren will be in town for her show. Hopefully the weather will not distract all of you from being in the Elementary School that evening. She is an Alaskan jazz singer/songwriter that our CCPA Board also enjoyed last January in Great Falls.

Put it on your calendar right now before you forget and see you there.

At the concert, a gentleman told me a story about a rattler in his garage. (I didn’t get his name for permission to use it in this story.)

He had read the View about the report of rattlesnake this past summer. I should go back and check but I am just going to say that I remember about 5 sightings from the Police Department.

He had called the Sheriff’s office to report the rattler in his garage. He trapped it by placing a cover over it and then called for help.

If you remember, I warned that snakes could be sighted on City streets and along the Levee. Actually, I remember someone telling me there was a snake in their back yard. (If it was you, please call me and remind me again.)

Well, I do not think we have to worry about any kind of snakes at this time of year but I will keep a closer check on it next year.




Wednesday, October 23, 2019

View From The Bridge 10/23/19

By Muncie

I have not had birds at my feeders for several weeks. Last week I saw a feral cat taking a walk on Front Street, and perhaps it is the reason for the lack of visits to the Red Dot Diner. This past weekend the birds were back so perhaps the cat found better eating grounds.

I am so envious of my step-daughter, Valerie, because she has 5 blue-jays at her feeders. She has pictures to prove it. I told her to tell them to come to the north end of town because I have better bird food. It has not worked yet. I am content with my finches, sparrows, and wrens. It is such a great time watching them feed. They get along so well and share. They get in a group to get rid of the bigger birds. Oh, if I could fly like a bird.

I am writing this story because in the last few weeks I have gotten cards from former Fort Benton residents. They all said that the View from the Bridge keeps them connected with Fort Benton. They enjoy hearing about the town’s activities and goings on. I thank you former residents from PA, MI, ID, WA, NV, AZ, TX, and many other states that I cannot put my finger on at the moment for reading the view.       

Last Friday was the worse wind day we have had lately. It accounted for this story about my view of the area in which I live.

When I look out of my kitchen window, I can see the Bluffs that surround our town. However, in the spring when the leaves fill the trees and all through the Summer I cannot see the Bluffs except for one small section where there are no trees blocking the view.

Last Friday the wind blew all the leaves off the trees and I again have my 180 degree view of the Bluffs. In fact, looking way to the right I can see Signal Point. In the evening when the sun is setting, I enjoy a view that I so look forward to. It looks as though the Bluffs light up with a golden hue. It is so beautiful that it takes my breath away. I do not live close enough to the Missouri to enjoy the river sights, but my view of the Bluffs makes up for it.       

Next Saturday evening is the second performance of the season at the Fort Benton Elementary School. It features Dennis Stroughmatt. (I wonder if it will be his first visit to Fort Benton.)

I really enjoy the stories these musical artists tell. How they got their starts in a musical career, where they came from, and where they have traveled around the world. For those of us who are not able to travel any longer, it keeps us abreast of what is going on here, there, and everywhere.

So, you can have a treat in music and a way to spend a weekend evening away from the TV. Be social and come to mix with family, friends, and neighbors. For those who attend all CCPA performances, bring someone, who has never been, with you. Perhaps you have company or a new neighbor that just moved in. It is a great way to welcome them to the community. O.K. we are all set for Saturday evening and see you there.

The Lasagna Dinner and Auction are on Sunday late afternoon at 5:00 p.m. This event is something I look forward to every year. I call it an adult Halloween party. You get to put on a costume, be silly, laugh a lot, and in general have a great time.

Remember that it includes an auction that is a barrel of fun and laughs with an auctioneer who is a hoot to listen to. (I’ll bet she practices all year long for that job.

I know that you are all trying to downsize but at the Shonkin auction you will surely find something you cannot live without. That is a promise. See you there.

You still have a week to prepare for the Trick or Treaters. It is a time for recollection for us “Oldsters”. We think about how we never had to worry about anything except how much candy we could collect. We knew what house gave what kind of treat. Later we gather with our brothers and sisters to trade candy. It was a night to just have fun.

I never went with my children but their generation went with their children. I am ready for Halloween again this year. (I won’t shut the lights off and eat all the Reeses myself. I am allergic to chocolate.)

I am thinking back almost 18 years when the Longhorns won the Class B championship. This is the first year since I have been living in Fort Benton that I have not attended the football games. However, I have followed the progress and this year the Longhorns have not yet lost a game. How exciting for everyone.

Just remember, all sporting teams, that we all love you to the moon and back. You make our town so proud no matter what.

Last Saturday afternoon I attended a party in the way of a High Tea at the home of Mary Meisner for her birthday. (I won’t say how old she is unlike Bethany announced my age with an ad in the River Press.)

It was by far the most enjoyable parties I have ever attended. We were treated like Queens and waited on for any need.

You have a wonderful family Mary and I know you count your blessings.




Tuesday, October 15, 2019

View From The Bridge 10/16/19

By Muncie

It was truly magical. Last Tuesday Chouteau County Performing Arts presentation was high on the list of the best shows ever. For fans of ABBA it was memory lane. Singing along to the familiar songs was part of the magic. The lyrics seem to come out of nowhere. I even saw some tears as the musical world slipped back to the ‘60’s and 70’s.

I know that the weather kept the audience from filling the auditorium but even with the snow and icy roads the count was 260 brave souls. They did not regret the trip because it was the most entertaining show on record. There was a lot of audience participation especially with the youngsters. Bracelets were given to them when they came in. Lighted sticks were thrown to them as well as fake $1.00 bills. The Kiddos had a great time even though they hardly knew who ABBA was.

Some other interesting facts were made known to me that I think will be interesting to you as it was to me. Abbacadabra went from Fort Benton to Deer Lodge the next evening. On Thursday evening they performed in Helena. The show there was sold out with 500 people at $25.00 per ticket. Those of you who have season tickets saw the same show for $5.60. Nowhere in the world can you get a bargain like that. Besides all of that you get delicious cookies, coffee and lemonade at intermission donated by our very active Fort Benton General Federation of Women’s Club. The treats are looked forward to at every CCPA performance. GO

I met a woman from Great Falls, who has purchased 2 seasons tickets for years. She likes to bring a friend with her although she was alone that evening. 

I am looking forward to seeing her again and asking more questions about why she braves the terrible road conditions. Actually, I already know from the few minutes we chatted during intermission. She loves the CCPA programs and also attends the Consortiums in Great Falls and Fort Benton. She is a music lover and I’ll have more to report on her when I see her again. (She also sat in the row of seats behind me so I know I will see her again.) She is a true supporter of CCPA.

The next show is a week from next Saturday on October 26th. Put it on your calendar now. It will feature Dennis Stroughmatt. He plays Creole music from the Missouri Ozarks.

Broaden your musical horizons by learning about other parts of our wonderful United States of America by attending this concert. Were you able to watch Ken Burn’s “Country Music” documentary? It was 16 hours of history in music. I do not know how Burn’s does all that research as the early musicians and singers are all gone to musical Heaven?

I have always loved Country Music. When I was young, years ago back in Michigan, we used to call it Hillbilly music. I love the fiddle, the guitar, and any stringed instrument. I liked it when I could understand all the words that were being sung. 

I hope that many of you readers feel the same but if you do not…that is o.k. We have a right to our opinions and that we can agree to disagree. See you there!

There are several Halloween parties happening that evening. Watch for their ads in the River Press.           

The one that I choose every Halloween is the Shonkin Lasagna Dinner party on Sunday the 27th. Although Shonkin was a thriving town at one time all that is left now is their Community Center. The residents who live in the area have been busy restoring the building and it is a pleasure to visit them and see the improvements they have made during the year. This dinner and auction are a fund raiser to make the improvements.

So, fly your brooms over to our sister city and have a barrel of fun. Wear a costume, although it isn’t necessary because they let you in no matter what, and there are prizes. There are many varieties of lasagna and great desserts. There is a donation jar somewhere around. The auction is a riot and even though I am trying to downsize, I always manage to find something to bid on that I cannot live without. See you there!

This is a good spot to say hello to a reader of the “View”. I would also like to say thank you, (and how thrilled I was,) for the birthday/Halloween card. I have not received a BOO card for a long time. Happy Halloween to you Ken Smith.

This Rock Program is about the most wonderful “Senseless Act of Beauty” that ever brought our community together. There are over 60 participants in our town joining the over 16,000 “Rockers” in the United States and around the world.

I have a newspaper article from Judy Kurth that is all about the Rock Program. I will try to get a copy of that article to your readers somehow. Another source is the internet. It has facts and figures of how this program has spread.

Tracy tells me that the Rockers will again begin painting and hiding next spring. She and I will let you know when so you can join us. I intend to become a Rocker then.

Look for information about when and where in the River Press. I will also let you know when Backroads of Montana will air the story about Olivia and the Rock Program. Will spring ever get here?         

I just saw in the Community Calendar that there is a painting of rocks at the Library on Friday the 18th at 2:00 p.m. They are going to take p9ctures to send to the Backroads of Montana. Be sure to be there if you have been involved in the program. I would really enjoy seeing your pictures on PBS TV.


  • Bingo at the VFW next Monday the 24th.  
  • CCPA performance on Saturday the 26th at 7:00 p.m. Elementary School. 
  • The Shonkin Lasagna Dinner and Auction is on Sunday the 27th.
  • Always check your Community Calendar in the River Press weekly. It is a wealth of information.





Tuesday, October 8, 2019

View From The Bridge 10/0/19

By Muncie

“I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree”. No one has ever said it better than Joyce Kilmer.

On Tuesday the 1st, Linda Benjamin brought my new glasses to me and asked if I wanted to go for a ride through town.  A patient at the Eye Clinic had told Linda that she had a lot of damage to her trees as a result of the weekends’ storm. I had not left the apartment since the Friday before and only saw a huge branch across Front St. from me that was lying across half the road. I had heard it split and fall on Sunday.

So off we went, up and down nearly every street in Fort Benton. It made me very sad because I love trees. It takes years for them to grow and seconds to be damaged. I wonder what will happen to our status of being a “Tree City?”

Years ago, I was on the Tree Board and covered the entire city inventorying every tree. So many of them are now gone. For example, the 7 cottonwoods between the Grand Union and the Fire House. Another example is the pine trees in the circle and a huge pine near the Keel Boat. I am sure that you Readers have dozens of other examples. It will take a while to get over this storm.

This is a good time to mention that planting a tree in memory or a loved one or just for any occasion of a special birthday or anniversary. Call the City Hall to make arrangements and thank you.

When I was a kid, I loved the fallen leaves. I would tromp into any pile of leaves within my sight. Last Friday the 4th, I was headed downtown on my GoGo. On the, new finished River Drive, (I always thought it was Front St.) there were many fallen leaves by the curb. They cracked as I went through them. On Tuesday when I went downtown again, they were wet and plastered together. Today, the 5th, when I went to the Post Office, the leaves were dry and the wind had blown them into piles. Again, I felt like a child, and drove through them. It brought back so many memories not only of my joy but watching my children and my grandchildren doing the very same thing when they were little.

I know it is difficult to be raking leaves over and over again, but I hope that many of you have the memories of leaves when you were a child.

Oh, I forgot, my Dad used to rake the leaves and pile them on the street next to the curb. He was allowed to burn the leaves in those days. We put baking potatoes in the fire.  Ah! Nothing ever tasted so good. Oh, happy Fall season. (I am trying to look on the bright side.)

Congrats to our Longhorns football team. You have always made us proud however this season we are bursting our buttons (an old saying,) with what is happening. You have put a lot of anticipation into the sport season. But, no matter what happens know that we love you all for what you have provided us with. GO HORNS!

I have tried for a long time to get organizations and others to write a column. It is the only way to know what is going on around town. I have always enjoyed “Over the River” and “Highwood News.” Now we have columns about Football, living healthy, the Library, Women’s Club, and other very informative articles. I am really enjoying all of it and appreciate your efforts. (If I forgot anyone…sorry.)

On Sunday the 27th at 5:00 p.m., you are welcome to the dinner and auction at the Shonkin Community Center. It is also a Halloween party so dress up and pretend you are a kid again. There are prizes.

The auction is a barrel of laughs so you will have a great evening of food and fun. It is a great get-together with our neighborhood town to help support their fundraiser. It is enjoyable to see the improvements they have accomplished to their building each year. See you there!

The next Chouteau County Performing Arts performance will be Saturday October the 26th. That will be the second show in October but please realize how difficult it is to schedule these shows when you are working with the entire state of Montana.

Hopefully this works out with your calendar because it is on a Saturday. There are usually no organization meetings on weekends.

The performance will feature Dennis Stroughmat. It will be of special interest to those of you who have roots in the Missouri Ozarks. It will also be of great interest to learn about their kind of music and stories are also of learning something new. See you there!



Wednesday, October 2, 2019

View From The Bridge 10/2/19

By Muncie

This month the moon is called Full Hunter Moon. Many moons ago, the Native Americans named the bright moon for obvious reasons. The leaves are falling from trees, the deer are fattened, and it’s time to begin storing up meat for the long winter ahead.  Because the fields were traditionally reaped in late September or early October, hunters could easily see fox or others who would come out to gleam from the fallen grains. Probably because of the threat of winter looming close, Hunter’s accorded with special honor, historically serving as an important feast day in both Western Europe and among many Native American tribes. The full moon will be Sunday the 13th.

The Lions were asked after their very successful Yard Sale, what they did with the money they raise? It has been printed many times but the following is another list about all their great work. (They have a difficult time blowing their own horn…so I am going to do it for them.)

The favorite drain on the budget is for the four High Schools in Chouteau County Scholarships. Because of the successful fund raisers, those scholarships were raised from $500.00 to $1,000.00 each.

They also collect funds for the Fireworks by sending letters to all households in Chouteau County. They also collect at the Summer Celebration Parade and in the evening by walking along the Levee. Here, I want to thank all who dropped generous donations into the buckets. You are the greatest.

The Lions also help with hearing aids and eye glasses.  They do an annual Bicycle Work Shop. They do a complete checkup on each bike that shows up like tires, lights, lightening nuts and bolts, and go over safety rules for bikes.

Another big fund raiser is the Chouteau County Fair Parking. That is the biggest fund raiser for the scholarships. There again, those attending the Fair are so generous and there were no complaints about raising the cost $1.00 last year.

All of these projects require many volunteers that are first filled by the Lions. Other organizations are then asked to help and there are always enough volunteers to cover parking at the Fairgrounds, the yard sale and for the fireworks. THANKS AGAIN!

Last Wednesday I was able to travel to Chinook with Connie and Randy. Our destination was the newspaper office to proof read the Chouteau County Performing Arts booklet. I also made this trip last year. We had lunch again at the cute little Deli place down the street a block from the Newspaper office. I managed last year to get the recipe for Cabbage Soup. This year they had Corn Chowder and I am on my own unless I find a recipe in my dozens of cookbooks that I just keep for memories.

The booklet is a wealth of information about the individual shows and performers. It also includes all the sponsors’ ads. When the booklet is handed out to you at the shows, please read it. So much work goes into putting the booklet together by the volunteers on the CCPA Board.

Please thank the businesses that advertise in the booklet when you are in their stores/offices. They deserve as many kudos as you can give them. I can hardly wait until the 8th of October for the ABBACADABRA show. On a day like today, it is Saturday September the 28th, as the temperature is 34 degrees and it is snowing as was predicted for the last few days. Possibly you need cheering up and this show will certainly do that.

So, I hope that you have already purchased your seasons tickets and I’ll see you there.

This past week was a very exciting one for me as it concerned the Fort Benton Rocks. I received a letter and a package delivered to the River Press from Judy Kurth. Judy lives in Post Falls, ID and she sent me two Idaho Rocks. She also sent a newspaper article that told the whole story of how Rocks began. All “Rockers” in Fort Benton share your hobby with 18,000 others in the United States.

Thank you, Judy. You sure made my day. Obviously, you subscribe to the River Press and I thank you for that. It is another case of people who have moved away that keep in touch with the old home town.

I am working on how to get this information to you. However, Tracy and Olivia have been side tracker with a cold and I need their input. I hope that you look forward to more information about Rocks and can share some of your Rock stories. More to come in the following weeks.

• The first of the seasons Chouteau County Performing Arts is next Tuesday.

• The Shonkin Lasagna dinner and auction is on Sunday October 27th.

• Next Monday September 7th will be the first BINGO game of the season. It is at the Club House and put on by the VFW. See you there!

• Use the Doggie Mitts to clean up after you pets. I have had phone calls saying it has become a problem.




Tuesday, September 24, 2019

View From The Bridge 9/25/19

By Muncie

By the time you read this it will be fall. The days are getting shorter, the nights are cooler, the trees are beginning to turn colors and some leaves are falling. In general we know that it is no longer summer.

It is time to wear heavier jackets, coats, possibly gloves and scarfs. However, I refuse to get my boots out of storage. I do not even want to think about that.

I have been told that the Almanac says if we thought last winter was bad, it is going to be even worse this coming season. Woe is me! There will be weeks at a time when I am confined to the apartment. Cabin fever will be at a high point.

I think all of my family and friends know that I celebrate the day in December when the days began to get longer. I am unhappiest in June when the days began getting shorter. (You can’t please everyone all the time.) Oh well, that’s what makes the world go round.

Through this time of season change there is much going on to keep you busy and amused. We have Halloween, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas to celebrate. It is only 3 months left to do your Christmas shopping.

There is also Chouteau County Performing Arts almost every month. Be sure to get your seasons tickets and do not miss the first show on October 8th. It is a tribute to Abba from the 60’s and 70’s. Even today’s kids will enjoy songs like Dancing Queen and Honey, Honey. See you there.

In addition, the annual Chouteau County Country Christmas event is being planned so save some shopping until you see what they have to offer. I love those homemade items and they make such wonderful gifts. I am really looking forward to this event. See you here, there and everywhere!

Have you seen the new roof on the Baker House? The tin roof is shiny and bright and will keep the leaks at bay inside the house. (More on this next week.)

I attended the C.I.A. (Community Improvement Association) meeting last week. It was the meeting when all applicants for the Lippard-Clawiter grants were being discussed. The applicants come to the meeting to request their grants. They relate what they need funds for, how much they need, how much they have ever been awarded before, and what they did with the money.

The results of the L & C grants will be listed in the River Press in a few months. Read it carefully because many of the requests involve every town in Chouteau County.

All the volunteer hours and hard work are little known to the residents of the county. Without these volunteers there never would be any improvements ever started or finished.

The C.I.A. has been in existence for many years. They are non-profit and most of the time are never acknowledged or thanked for their work. C.I.A. is a community organization and your support is what keeps them existing. Be supportive and pat them on the back for what they do.

I have been waiting, since I took down the red, white, and blue decorations from the Hollow Tree, for you to decorate for Halloween and the Fall season.

In the meanwhile, another “Who” (that I know,) has put up some decorations. (It was not me.) I hope this does not discourage you from adding your wonderful touches.

Please try to get it done by the end of the month or the beginning of October. The tree told me the other day that it is lonely and would really like to get dressier. (This is a true story as I do not lie. I learned early in life that you always get caught when you do not tell the truth.) However, that is too long a story to tell here since I have a story about the Hollow Tree to tell.

I was told this story from a reliable contact who lived at the corner of 21st and Franklin over 50 years ago. The tree was then alive and did already have a small hole in it. It was thought that owls made a home in it.

As the years went by the Hollow Tree grew very old and began to show its age and the hole became larger and larger. The rest of the story comes from Judy and Herb Hazen who lived in the apartment I am now in, across the street from the Tree. There was a severe rain storm one summer and the tree came crashing down all the way across 21st St. to take out a tree and bushes in front of the apartment.

That was about 10 years ago and soon there will be nothing left. If anyone out there has more to add to this story, please call me.

I love that old tree and I really enjoy seeing it decorated. End of story.

There will be a presentation on Medicare at the Sunrise Bluffs from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. by Jill from Humana. This is a great opportunity to get all your questions answered.

Friday the 27th is also Cinnamon Roll Day at the Senior Center. Lunch is always breakfast that day with two kinds of eggs, bacon, sausage, has browns, toast, and of course cinnamon rolls.

So, come on down and have lunch with family and friends. I heard from a little bird that there were many Meals on Wheels delivered last month. Frankly, I do not know how the above meal would taste warmed over but do know for sure that it is very difficult for many to get a ride downtown. Forgive me if I said something I shouldn’t have.

Last week the Chamber of Commerce had a very welcome get-together at the Center. The weather was as kind as Montana can give us and we all sat on the beautiful deck in back of the Center. We were served a very tasteful and filling food and dessert. It was a social hour and most of the volunteers showed up.

I was not able to volunteer for the first time in 20 years but was invited anyway. I enjoyed seeing people whose names were all I saw for many years because of the different schedules.

Every volunteer there talked about how much they loved the Center because of the Visitors who came in from all over the United States, Canada, and the world. We heard many great stories, and a good time was had by all. Thank you, Chamber of Commerce and especially Stacey who does a tremendous job of coordinating.

Look for the View next week when I will give a report on the Lions Club. At our meeting last week, we were asked what we did with the donations we collected. I do not have enough space left this week so be sure to tune in next week.

I and everyone else in the City of Fort Benton will miss you Skip. You are an Icon because you were here, there, and everywhere around town. The years that you gave our City were often not recognized because they were behind the scenes. Much of it was unnoticed. We hope that you enjoy your retirement fishing and playing golf, although talking with you I sense that it will be awhile.

Don’t be a stranger and Happy Retirement.

I saw on a TV newscast this past week to Love Thy Neighbor. Go knock on their door to say hello or if you have never met them say hello. Give it a try and let me know what happens.


Tuesday, September 17, 2019

View From The Bridge 9/18/19

By Muncie

Unbelievable! There were thousands of donated items that have been collected or delivered in the last few weeks. Understandably I did not work for the set-up all week long but those special Lions did a miraculous job of setting up dozens of tables and organizing each table. The whole building was filled to capacity and if you could not find a treasure somewhere there, then you did not get to the Fairgrounds last Saturday.

This every other year event was first called a yard sale obviously because it was outside. The last few years it took place inside because of the fear it may rain.

The shoppers were constant and what they liked most of all is that whatever treasure they found was paid for by donation. The Lions did not price anything and only asked that the shopper give what they thought it was worth.

It was a wonderful day seeing family, friends, and neighbors. Everyone had to time to reminisce and chat about how their summer went.

There were shoppers from Great Falls who were the first to arrive. Treasure hunters came from Havre, Big Sandy, Loma, Geraldine, Highwood, and others who were complete strangers. Several said that they looked forward to this particular sale every other year.

So, the biggest of KUDOS go to those hard working Lions who not only set up but who are there again today (Sunday) breaking it down. You are so devoted and have more energy I envy. My only job was to sit there and collect the money. I was there at 8:3o a.m. and had to beg off at 4:00 p.m. The rest of the crew had to stay until 5:30 p.m.

Actually, a good time was had by all. Hope to see you in two years from now.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about being stung while collecting for parking tickets at the Chouteau County Fair and then again while walking on the Trail. I gave you a hint that was given to me to put sanitizer on the sting and the pain would go away. I did not hear about that until 2 days after my sting but it worked.

A young woman reported to me at the sale. She had 2 children with here and she said that her little boy was strung and she remembered reading about my “household hint”. She was excited to tell me that it worked.

There were a lot of bees around us at the sale but fortunately no one was stung. I was told many years ago that bees were too busy preparing for winter to bother stinging anyone. (Ha Ha!) I was very happy because I did not have my spray bottle with me. I am wondering how many people and children get stung each year?

Yes, the Crew was here Saturday morning to start filming. Two men from Backroads were at Tracy and Olivia Larson’s house at 7:30 in the morning to film Olivia getting ready for school. They then tagged along while Tracy walked Olivia to the Fort Benton Elementary School. They filmed at the school, at the Library, and somewhat along Front St.

They wanted to interview me but I resisted. Grandma Theresa Sparks talked me into it and said they would be at my apartment at 3:30 p.m. They were not able to meet that schedule.

Tracy called me that evening and said that they would be here at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. I could not accommodate that time because of volunteering for the Lions sale. When Randy went to pick up our lunch, he saw them on the street. He suggested they come to the Fair Grounds but that never happened. Oh well! They never got the cookies I had for them.

They will let Tracy know when the show will be aired. It will be several months but wouldn’t it be nice to see it in the middle of winter?

When I got home Saturday afternoon, I watched Backroads. They aired the story about Wayne Hampton. What a great story that was. It makes me sad to know that Mary Ann is gone and Wayne is living in Chester. Those friends and neighbors who were given Wayne’s hand crafted instruments have such great treasurers. They will be passed down for generations with the story of Wayne.

These delicious rolls made by Betty are something you do not want to miss on the 27th of this month. It is always on the last Friday of the month…for your calendars. The turnout has grown the last few months since I mentioned it here in the View.

It is a breakfast luncheon with two kinds of eggs, sausage, bacon, hash browns, and toast with the cinnamon rolls. Oops! I forgot to mention good hot coffee with a bottomless pot. It is also a great social hour so come on and join those of us who are regulars. See you there and I’ll remind you again next week.

On Friday the 27th, Jill will be visiting at the Senior Center. She will be there from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and doing a presentation about Medicare. This is the time to ask all those questions you never seem to get answers for. I will remind you again next week.

I know this is well in advance but I would like you to put the date on your calendar.

Shonkin Town has a lasagna dinner party and auction every year around the end of October to raise money to make improvements on their Community Building.         

So, Friday, October 27th is the date to put on your calendar. That is close to Halloween so put on a costume and I’ll see you there. There are prizes for that effort.

There will be more info about reminders and time so keep checking because you do not want to miss out.

One other reminder from Shonkin is that their Woman’s Club meeting will be held Sunday, October 13th at 5:00 p.m. in the Community Hall.

I would like to thank all of you who wished me a happy birthday. I did not know that Bethany was going to announce it to the world. But, as I scootered downtown on Thursday and Friday I had friends shouting Happy Birthday. It also happened on Saturday at the Yard Sale.

The best part was that none of you believe that I am 90 years old. (What an ego boost that is.) You are all just too kind. My Boys came from back east along with my daughter from Great Falls, in June to celebrate. My Morger family made last weekend really special.

I did not want a party because I do not see well nor do I hear well. Most of you know that when you say hello to me you must tell me who you are as my central vision is the problem. You all have been very kind to me and I want you to know how much I love each and every one of you. You are all so special and I am in my happy place. (I have a t-shirt with that written on it.)  So again, thank for giving me another year here in Fort Benton where I want to be.




Wednesday, September 11, 2019

View From The Bridge 9/11/19

By Muncie

Come on down to the Chouteau County Fair Grounds next Saturday, the 14th from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. for biggest, best-est yard sale in the area. It is held every other year so there has been a great accumulation of goodies waiting to be taken to a loving home.

It looks as though the weather will be holding at “nice” so you can shop in comfort inside the building.

The Lions Club does so much good in the community thanks to the generosity of all of you. Our heartfelt thanks go out to you. Come on down to the sale so we can thank you one on one. See you there.

On Friday the 20th, Backroads of Montana will be filming in Fort Benton. Do you remember a few years ago when they did the “Wayne Hampton” story?

Backroads is returning to do the Fort Benton Rocks story. The Crew plans on being here on Friday and Saturday. Of course, I know that you will give them a Fort Benton welcome.

What I know at this time is that they will be at the Chouteau County   Library where there was a class for painting rocks. They will also be covering Front St. and other places where rocks were hidden. I just hope for good weather for a successful shot. (I think that is what they call it.)

There is on the internet a site called Montana Rocks. There are several other towns that are painting and hiding rocks. The purpose is to spread “KINDNESS”. It must be spreading all over the United States.

The program came to Fort Benton trough Tracy Larson and her 5-year-old Olivia. (I call her Princess Olivia.)

They were alerted to the program from the state of Virginia where they came from 7 years ago. What a bonus for us.

I’ll keep you informed as soon as I can but in the meanwhile the excitement grows.

For those of you who are new in town, there is a Hallow Tree across the street from me next to the Community Garden on 22nd St. A year ago in October there appeared a pumpkin in the tree, in November a snow man, and in December a Santa. I cannot recall what happened in January but in February for Valentine’s Day there was nothing and so I took up job of decorating. I also decorated for St. Patrick’s Day. For the Easter holiday the tree was decorated but no one would admit to doing it. I began to call this person “Who” like in who done it. To this day I still do not know who “WHO” is. End of story.

As of today, the Hollow Tree is looking very sad after I removed the red, white, and blue decorations. They have adorned the tree since Memorial Day. They remained for the 4th of July and Labor Day but now it is time for fall decorations.

Will you be around soon “Who” in the dark of night to decorate the tree? You have always done such a wonderful job and you must be a very great decorator. I will be looking forward to waking in the morning to see the tree in all its fall glory. Please do not disappoint me and everyone else who will enjoy seeing it decorated. GO WHOEVER YOU ARE!

If any of your readers have a clue, would you please let me know? I am actually willing to offer a reward. Thank you very much.

I was stung by a bee again while on my walk last week. I was in the vicinity near the swimming pool on the walking trail. Ouch! I saw it fly away and I think it was a bee. I tried every remedy I had in my medicine cabinet but nothing worked.

After a couple of days, I got a suggestion from a dear one of the family that she got from her neighbor. It was to use the disinfectant that is all over town to use on your hands to kill germs. It works. (Just thought I would pass it on in case the bees have found someone else to pick on or rather sting on.)
And, where were you Joann Streit when I needed you? Of course, it is a good distance from where you live to come spray the whole Walking Trail. I forgive you but next time I walk you will have to follow me and or stay in front of me. What do you think of that plan? I know! Just forget the whole thing.

If you remember I was stung 3 times while collecting parking tickets at the Chouteau County Fair last year. This year at Fair time, the Lions Club bought me a clip-on repellant for my safety. Also, Randy had the pipe removed that the wasps had their next in. The third caring person was Joann Streit who sprayed the area around the Front St. entrance to the Fair grounds. I am repeating this in case you missed the story a few weeks ago. Thanks again to all.

The area at that location looks dismal these days. The Freeze is closed and the pine trees in the circle have been cut down. It was been expected for a long time because the trees were dead. I know that they will be replaced but it will be a long while before they are of any size. In the meanwhile, try to remember how beautiful they were. Be grateful that they didn’t fall of their own accord and injure someone.

I love trees so much and losing those pines was like losing a friend.



Tuesday, September 3, 2019

View From The Bridge 9/4/19

By Muncie

This beautiful month’s moon is called the Full Harvest Moon or the Full Corn Moon. Its name is attributed to Native Americans because it marked when corn was supposed to be harvested. Most often, the September full moon is actually the Harvest Moon, which is the Full Moon closest to the autumn equinox. In two years out of three, the harvest moon comes in September, but in some years it is in October. At the peak of the harvest farmers can work late into the night by the light of this moon. Usually the full moon rises 50 minutes each night, but for a few nights around the Harvest Moon, the moon seems to rise at nearly the same time each night. It is 25 to 30 minutes later across the United States and only 10 to 20 minutes for much of Canada and Europe.

Corn, pumpkins, squash, beans, and wild rice, Staples for the Indians and are now ready for gathering.

The Full Moon is on Saturday the 14th. Wasn’t the Full Moon in August gorgeous? The sky was clear that night and the moon lit up the landscape. This month should be even more beautiful.

The latest count on Facebook is 202 Rockers. They did “paint and hide” a lot this past week and several people told me that they found rocks and decided to keep them. I would hide them if I found any but I am really happy with the two
I have on my porch. GO OLIVIA.

A couple of weeks ago as I was on my way to the Farmers Market, I met up with an old friend.  It was Mike Skogen who was our Police Chief when I moved here 26 years ago. He has been retired for many years and we had a nice visit.

He told me the story of just having seen a rattlesnake in the middle of Main St. and 11th St. Of course, he knew how to handle the situation but I wanted to again warn readers, and especially new residents, to immediately call 911 and let the Police Officers handle what needs to be done. DO NOT try to handle the situation yourself. Also teach children to call 911.

I usually do a report on snake sightings toward the end of summer but I decided, because of this incident, to check it out now.

I checked with the Police Department on Labor Day (sorry about disturbing you on the holiday,) and there were about five sightings reported so far this year. Be on the lookout and watch where you are walking.

Pinochle games are still being held at the Sunrise Bluffs. So, when these long, cold, and dreary days come around, spend a pleasant afternoon with friends who enjoy the same things that you do.

It is terrific exercise and offers the opportunity of enjoying an evening with friends. (We need all the friends we can get.)

On Monday the 9th Bowling will start at B Social. At a recent gathering the conversation came up about the Bowling Alley in the old days. Do you remember the days when pins were set up by boys who wanted the job? It was a fun place to be for young and old.

I bowled for many years but I know that today I could not even lift a ball much less throw it down an alley. However, the memories remain.

The Market continues on Thursday September 5th. Come on down and enjoy those harvest products and heavenly baked goods.

RECYCLE DAY         
Recycle day is Saturday, September 7th. It is a great time to recycle all that stuff you accumulated all summer. It is such a great program and especially these days when we are burying ourselves in garbage.

The Club is still collecting donated articles for their Huge Yard Sale at the Chouteau County Fair Grounds. It is September 14th and that is a week from Saturday. See the ad in the River Press for phone numbers to call for pickup.

An insider told me that they have already collected great donations and I love seeing who goes off with those treasures.

You must know what a great deal garage sales and flea markets are for young married couples and those who move into a new house. Those treasurers make it a home with items that were a part of someone’s life. They are collectables that meant so much to someone who perhaps no longer has a place to keep them. So, be sure to donate and then to come to the Fair Grounds to see what treasures you can use.

WEAR RED ON FRIDAYS to show support for our Troops.