Phillips County News - One Nation, Under God

By Parker Heinlein
Outdoors Columnist 

An island of our own making


A lot of folks up here in north-central Montana seem to think we live on an island, that the threat posed by the pandemic doesn’t concern us.

Although I don’t share those thoughts, my wife and I have been living on an island of our own making. Since the middle of March we’ve been staying home, social distancing, avoiding crowds.

It’s been harder on Barb than on me. I’m pretty much a hermit anyway, but she sorely misses lunches with her friends, bingo, and author conferences.

We’re fortunate to be able to travel back and forth between our place in Malta and our cabin on Fort Peck Lake, but except for a couple of close friends we fish with, it’s just been the two of us.

Then last weekend my younger daughter and her family came up from Livingston for a visit at the lake.

Barb and I had decided that if we were going to end our self-imposed isolation, it would be for family. We hadn’t seen our grandchildren since Christmas and missed them terribly.

We had a wonderful time, getting reacquainted with Leslie and Elder’s two little boys, fishing and swimming, and sharing meals on the patio.

This week my older daughter and her family are coming for a visit. We couldn’t be more thrilled.

It doesn’t mean we think the threat is over. We simply didn’t want to watch the kids grow up online any longer. I hardly recognized a picture of one of my grandsons that was recently posted on Facebook, he’d changed so much since I last saw him.

Unlike many Americans, I’ve had no trouble living without salons, tattoo parlors and bowling alleys. Living without family, however, has been difficult. And as charming as I think I am, Barb seems to need more company than just mine.

Hopefully this fix of children and grandchildren will last us a while. Much to the dismay of grandparents everywhere, summer sports camps have returned to steal our grandkids away from us.

As much as I try to convince them that fishing is a far better pastime than basketball, soccer or gymnastics, they’re not yet convinced.

A few more visits to grandpa’s island, however, and I think I can win them over. It’s certainly worth the risk.

Parker Heinlein is at [email protected]


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