June 16, 2020


By Neal Shipman

Farmer Editor

It’s been four very long months since Lisa and I have been able to see our now seven-month-old grandson, Remi, thanks to COVID-19.
And as any proud grandparent will attest, we’ve missed a lot of the changes that a newborn undergoes in the first few months of their lives.
Yes, thanks to technology such as Facetime, we’ve been able to see and talk to him. But conversing through an Ipad screen just doesn’t hold a candle to the real thing of being able to wrap your arms around your grandchild, watching his face light up at seeing you or having him break out in a huge laugh when you finally find his ticklish spot.
When Remi was born on Veterans Day, it was our plan to be able to see him at least every other month. But when the coronavirus hit the United States, all of our best made plans were put on hold. We had airline tickets booked for his baptism in March. But when churches in Phoenix cancelled all services, that trip was cancelled.
And one by one each and every other trip that we considered making was put on hold as a result of travel restrictions in and out of North Dakota, COVID-19 outbreaks in Arizona, or our trips didn’t coincide with Justin and Liz’s work schedules.
But this past weekend, the stars finally aligned just enough that Justin, Liz and Remi could hop a flight from Phoenix to Rapid City to visit our other son, Jason and his girlfriend, Kalli. And that was close enough for us.
Finally, we were going to be able to have our “RemiTime!”
So how was the long weekend?  
It was the best. The weather was fantastic and the Black Hills were beautiful. Our dog, Dakota, and Jason and Kalli’s dogs, Ada and Zuri, absolutely fell in love with Remi.
And Remi, the star of the weekend, couldn’t have been better as he endured being passed from person to person, and having his normal eating, napping and sleeping schedule changed. He took it all by beaming and cooing at whomever was holding him, doling out his share of Remi hugs, and using grandpa’s and grandma’a laps as a mini trampoline.
All I can say is that as I put the finishing touches on this column, there are tears in my eyes and a pretty big lump in my throat as I patiently wait for him to wake up so that I can give him one last hug and kiss before we journey back home.
It is going to be a very long five-hour journey home.