By Alkali Springs Correspondent
Will it ever end? Are they just trying to wear us down or what? Maybe it is working, too, because we feel ourselves getting a tad more mellow on the subject. But then we had had enough!
It is the name of our beautiful mountains we are talking about. A few days ago a girl from Great Falls Tribune called us and asked us if it should be Bear Paw Mountains or Bear's Paw Mountains. (You don't know how it pained us to write that dratted word!)
We said the Tribune had done a comprehensive story on the name several years ago and decided it should be Bear Paw Mountains from then on So why are you bringing it up again we wanted to know?
We will give them this much. Once thousands of years ago when the mountains were named by Mount Centennial was an evil Bear spirit and Box Elder Butte was the paw tied to it, and an Indian came down the trail and the bear raised its paw to block passage and a lightning bolt split the paw from the bear and sent that paw hurling out onto the prairie, maybe, just maybe, way back then, they could have started out with the Bear's Paw Mountains.
But lets live in the present! (more or less) Could ten thousand grandmothers and grandfathers be wrong when they all referred to them as the Bear Paw Mountains?
Could Chinook folks be wrong by getting the government to change the name of the Bear's Paw Battlefield to the Bear Paw Battlefield?
What about the Felton family who founded the town of Bear Paw. Are they not to be counted at all?
Look in the phone book. We see fifteen entries using the name Bear Paw and absolutely none saying Bear's Paw! Are Bear Paw Development and Bear Paw Credit Union wrong?
Out in Beaver Creek Park the sign says Bear Paw Lake. Shouldn't that be what it is? Now, we notice that some folks not wanting to cause any controversy call it the Middle Lake but Bear Paw Lake it is and Bear Paw Lake it will always be.
And there is the confusion about the plural of Bear Paw Mountains. Once again, every so often, common sense should rear its ugly head. We hear folks saying every so often that they are going out to visit the Bear Paw today.
Give us a break! Are they going to visit the Rocky today? Or the Highwood? Of course not. They are just going to the Rockies, the Highwoods and, yes, it is just fine to say that you are going to spend the weekend in the Bear Paws!
What got us going was not so much the girl from the Tribune calling but just a couple of days ago we went to a meeting where the Beaver Creek fence project was being discussed and there on this huge map were the words Bear's Paw Lake and Bear's Paw Dam. Immediately we thought how much credibility can we ever give these bureaucrats if they cannot even look at signs in the park and get them right on the map?
We used to say that only folks who would refer to the mountains as Bear's Paw were new comers who didn't know any better or people trying to appear better than the rest of us. We have found no reason to change that conclusion all these many years later!
And, by the way, would someone just a tad taller than we are go out and spray over the S on the three road signs mentioning the Bear Paws! We will gladly buy the paint! Not even the state can get it right in this neck of the woods. But gentle readers, come to think of it, when have they gotten it right up here?