Vol. 20, No. 29; Thursday, March 26, 2020

Mar 26, 2020 | Parker's Midweek Update | 3 comments

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There’s nothing funny about the coronavirus sweeping across the country. Whether you are following advice and keeping yourself isolated and socially distant from others or ignoring suggestions, assuming it couldn’t happen to you and thus threatening the lives of the rest of us, a little humor doesn’t hurt. Here are some things we’ve picked up from various people’s Facebook posts in the past week:

  • Toilet paper hoarding explained: Some people will be eating their own cooking for the first time in years.
  • Day 4 of social distancing: Struck up a conversation with a spider today. Seems nice. He’s a web designer.
  • Day 5 of the quarantine: I was bored so I started checking all of your profiles. I want to let you know that three of you have the same boyfriend.
  • Hymns not recommended in church right now:
    “Precious Lord, Take My Hand”
    “Just a Closer Walk With Thee”
  • Much preferred hymn right now:
    “I Come to the Garden Alone”
  • Handwashing instruction for older women: Wash your hands the way you would wash Sam Elliott.
  • There’s no coronavirus problem if you ever test for it!
  • I used to spin that toilet paper roll like I was on “Wheel of Fortune.” Now I turn it like I’m cracking a safe.
  • Before you complain about your current situation, just remember someone is quarantined with your ex.
  • Houston Police Department report for the last 24 hours: Robbery 0, vehicle accidents 0, crimes 0, fights between couples 89,546.
  • This is the greatest game of hide ‘n’ seek ever played.
  • For those whose weddings have been postponed during this lockdown, God is giving you a second chance to think about it.
  • Thoughts and prayers to all the married men who’ve spent months telling their wives, “I’ll do that when I get time.”
  • Having trouble forcing yourself to stay indoors? Shave off your eyebrows.
  • If you see my kids locked outside today, mind your business. We’re having a fire drill.
  • Saw my neighbor out early this morning, scraping the ‘My Kid Is A Terrific Student’ sticker off her minivan. Guess that first week of homeschooling didn’t go well?
  • I’ve now been alive in six decades—the 1980s, the 1990s, the 2000s, the 2010s, the 2020s, and March.


Wrestling: Governor wrestlers named to the ESD Conference all-conference team are Blake Judson, sophomore, 106 pounds; Deegan Houska, freshman, 126 pounds; Cade Hinkle, senior, 145 pounds; Jack Van Camp, senior, 152 pounds; Regan Bollweg, junior, 195 pounds.

Spring sports: With schools now remaining closed through May 3, the SDHSAA has decreed that spring sports will have no practices or competitions until at least after that date, which pretty much takes care of the track season, if not tennis and golf.


Basketball: The Yellowstone Trail Conference’s all-conference basketball teams included six Charger athletes. On the boys’ team Nick Wittler and Jett Lamb were first-team all-conference, Grant Johnson on the second team and Quinn Jordre honorable mention. On the girls’ team Kendra Kleven was first-team all-conference and Allyson Wittler on the second team.


“This virus is exposing two fundamental flaws in our society—that children’s nutrition is tied to public schools and that healthcare is tied to employment.”

— Chevara Orrin


Thursday: blue mood.
Friday-Sunday: blackberry.
Monday-Tuesday: kiwi.


The high school baseball season was originally scheduled to open at the end of next week on April 3-4-5. So far we have heard no further update on whether the season will eventually open or be canceled totally.


6 days: U.S. Census Day (April 1).
19 days: Fort Pierre city election (April 14).
22 days: Absentee voting for primary election begins (April 17).
29 days: State History Conference (April 24-25).
53 days: Voter registration deadline for June primary election (May 18).
61 days: Pierre Trappers season opener (May 26).
68 days: South Dakota primary election; Pierre city/school elections (June 2).
82 days: State high school rodeo, Fort Pierre (June 16-20).
84 days: Oahe Days (June 18-20).


Augustana wrestling (Jebben Keyes): Jebben earned a spot on the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference’s all-academic honor list for the winter sports seasons.

Northern women’s track/field (Rachel Guthmiller): Rachel earned a spot on the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference’s all-academic honor list for the winter sports seasons.

South Dakota State swimming (Ashley Theobald): Ashley was named to the Summit League’s academic all-conference team for winter sports. She is a senior political science/agriculture education major at SDSU.

South Dakota women’s basketball (Ciara Duffy): Ciara was named to the honorable mention list of the national Division I All-America team.


Oahe Capitals: Senior defenseman Spencer Wedin was named to the South Dakota Amateur Hockey Association’s All-State first team. Wedin had 17 goals and 30 assists for the season and 74 goals and 83 assists for his career. He also was a recipient of the Hobey Baker Character Award. Four Capitals earned the Toshiba Award, which goes to players who competed in hockey for at least three seasons and accumulated a grade-point average in school of at least 3.30. They are Caden Davis, Kian Paul, Cole Nelson and Clay Ambach.


Beware! Two other viruses are spreading at 100 times the rate of COVID-19. They are called greed and stupidity.


Thursday, March 26:
Tyler Nold, Molle Holden, Roger Easland, Nadia Rasmussen, Connie Colwill, Craig Rilling, Chad Eschmeyer, Bonnie Korkow, Elissa Rislov, Audra (Meyer) Cardwell, Corey Ramsey, Jason Monroe, Terah Bollinger, Chas Olson, Pat Adams, Dalton Decker.

Friday, March 27:
Casey Ortbahn, Penny Unruh, Wyatt Gran, Quinn Eschmeyer, Marcia Murphey.

Saturday, March 28:
Christopher Roberts, Allen Uecker, Carol McKee, David Forney, Eileen Herrin, Larry Lundeen, Sarah (Winter) Sonnenschein, Susan Flottmeyer, Angela (Di Benedetto) Smith, Kathy (Adam) Bykowski, Janelle (Kvislen) Carda.

Sunday, March 29:
Aaron Bumann, Michael Bumann, Peggy (Marshall) Engstrom, Derek Gustafson, Jace Jerome, Nancee Johnson, Connor Barnes, Graden Barnes, Sydney Hackett, Joseph Kean.
— 6th anniversary, Clay/Katelynn (Lamb) Pottorff.

Monday, March 30:
Jack Magee, Grey Zabel, Nathan Mikkelsen, Nicole (Mikkelsen) Schwinler, Emily (Goeden) Decker, Eric Harris, Mary Hove, Patrick Snyder, Lindsey (Brown) Osterkamp, Liz Stewart, Doug Smith, Abel Haas, Patty Williams.
— Anniversary, Craig/Charlene Keller.

Tuesday, March 31:
Jenny (Ness) Hofer, Chad Gusso, Gable Uhrig, Annie (Fuller) BonneCarrere, Jennifer Merkwan, Brandon Heckenlaible, Brady Goff, Brittany Mehlhaff, Mia Ellefson, Linda Brooks.
— 3rd anniversary, Scott/Katrina (Reimnitz) Hesla.

Wednesday, April. 1:
Paul Williams, Caden Blair, Theodora Boolin, Reagan Haefner, Andrew Murphy, Justine Berven, LIndsey (Suedkamp) Griffith, Meghann (O’Day) Kjolsrud, Mildred Adams, John Knox, Steve Maciejewski, Bronson Blow, Justin Gilmore, Shelley (Marone) Locken.
— We fondly remember Tate Senftner on his birthday.

Thursday, April 2:
Aaron Rumpca, Dalila Deal, Aria Bollinger, Dustin James, Olivia Deffenbaugh, Greta Deffenbaugh, Stephanie Wells, Brandon Kucker, Laurie Kelley, Krista (Schmidt) Sarvis, Sandra Peterson, Mary Hiller, Joni Lingle, Sasha (Kean) Bishop, Susanne Harmon, Reece Mohlman, Emerson Mohlman, Joyce Koistinen.


  • There’s no guarantee yet that the Black Hills Playhouse will be able to have a season, considering how confined their theater is. But if they do, here are some dates for you: June 12-28, “The Odd Couple”; July 3-19, “Something Rotten”; July 24-Aug. 9, “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”; Aug. 14-23, “Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.”
  • The Midweek Update will continue one week at a time. You can help by corresponding with me. How are you coping? Any news from your family and friends? Maybe some weeks we will send it out earlier than Thursdays. Just watch for it!


“The virus doesn’t move. People move it. We stop moving; the virus stops moving; the virus dies. It’s that simple.”


Candy Sowers is retiring after 23 years at American Bank & Trust in Pierre. Open-house celebrations are out of the question right now, but friends and customers can send her greetings in care of the bank at 700 E. Sioux Ave., Pierre SD 57501.

Craig Johnson, 77, Renner, died March 18 at home under hospice care. A native of Flandreau, he graduated from Dakota State College. He worked as band director at Scotland from 1970 to 1979. In 1979 he came to Pierre to work for Governor Janklow as a cabinet secretary for the Department of Commerce and Regulations and later the Department of Labor. After leaving state government he was executive director of Northern Hills Development for the Black Hills Special Services Cooperative. He is survived by two daughters, Lisa Bondy and her husband Brian of Pierre and Traci Arens and her husband Todd of Stillwater, Minn., and five grandchildren, including Chris and Anna Bondy. Private services have been held, but a celebration of Mr. Johnson’s life will be held at a later date.

The Fort Pierre/Stanley County High School all-school reunion, scheduled for this June, has been postponed for a year until June 25-27, 2021. The new theme for the event will be “Fun in ’21.”

Pierre native Dr. Stephen Bollinger is a resident physician at University of Missouri Health Care in Columbia. Last Thursday, March 19, he posted the following: “Yesterday MU Health Care saw the first death from COVID-19 in Missouri. In the last 24 hours I have seen my hospital change from a place of healing to something resembling a warzone. Every interaction I have is another potential link in a chain of events that can lead to the death of someone’s beloved family member. . . . . To all my fellow healthcare workers out there sacrificing everything for the lives of others, thank you. All of the countless hours spent pouring over books, notes and slides have prepared you for this. If you are sitting at home today, please take a moment to pray for the people in our lives who are out on the front lines and for their families at home wishing their mothers, fathers and spouses could be anywhere but caught up in the middle of this pandemic.”

Ann (Schroyer) Schwartz of Pierre added a bit of levity to the situation in her post: “I mostly cleaned my house this weekend. First time it’s been clean for the more than three weeks since my cleaning lady quit. I’m going to count that as a win.”

In Sachse, Texas, in the suburbs of Dallas Katie (Lakner) and Brent Dill’s children got to see their teachers and principals from Cox Elementary School parade by their house in cars. The Cox staff went through every street in the school’s neighborhood. We see that similar parades have taken place here in South Dakota in the Harrisburg district and in the Sioux Valley district at Volga.

In New Orleans Kyle Englehart commented on the school closings: “I said for a week now that my kids aren’t going back this year. Not that I want to homeschool for two months. It is the right thing to do to help slow the spread.”

Nic and Lacey (Boehmer) Hogan of Sioux Falls have a second son in their family. Nash Nicolas Hogan was born March 8, weighing 9 pounds, 3 ounces. He joins brother Cooper, 4, in the Hogan family.

The performance dates for “Native Gardens,” the next Pierre Players show, have been delayed to May 8-10 and 14-16.

Alice Unkenholz, 94, Breckenridge, Minn., passed away March 21 at St. Catherine’s Living Center across the river in Wahpeton, N.D. Private funeral services were held Tuesday at Valley Christian Church in Breckenridge. Alice married Grant Unkenholz in 1946, and they lived all of their married life in Breckenridge. She is survived by her husband; son Dennis Unkenholz and his wife Jeanne of Pierre; daughters Gwen Mikkelson and her husband Bruce of Bismarck, Wanda Nowlin and her husband Wade of Bartlett, Tenn., and Kathy Wiertzema and her husband Del of Breckenridge; eight grandchildren, including Eric Unkenholz of Rapid City, Sarah Malone of Corson and Karin Hansen of Rapid City, and 13 great-grandchildren.

Our sympathy also to Parker and Maddy (Keeler) McKittrick of Fargo who revealed on Facebook this week that they had to say hello and goodbye to their twin boys too soon. The boys, who were named James and Charles, were born and passed away March 18.

Congratulations to Pierre native Katherine Van Gerpen and William Cedeno Torres. They revealed on Facebook this week that they were married Feb. 8 in an intimate ceremony in Sioux Falls. William is principal flutist with the South Dakota Symphony.

Former Pierre resident Carol (Nelson) Heiden of Nurnberg, Germany, corresponded with your Update editor this week. (Her mom was the late Polly Nelson Donaldson.) “Most everything is shut down here. Grocery stores, banks and pharmacies are open, and a few other small, necessary businesses. This is horrible everywhere, but I feel well and well taken care of. Just have to keep washing my hands.” Carol’s sister here in South Dakota always plans a July 4 party, an event which originally was an annual get-together on Polly’s behalf. The tradition continues, and Carol has airplane tickets to come to Rapid City at the end of May. She hopes she can make it.


What to do today, whatever day it is

When one is intentionally house-bound, secluded, isolated and socially distant from most of the rest of the community and advised by his children not to go anywhere for fear of contracting something, he finds it puzzling, if not downright difficult, to figure out what to do to pass the time.

I am that he, and I refuse to switch on to Netflix, so don’t suggest that. I am not about to binge-watch TV shows that were filmed 30 years ago. Not even “M*A*S*H,” “Friends” or “Seinfeld,” though you say they are classics.

So it’s a new day—Thursday, I think, but I’m not sure—and time to do something. Anything. Here are some possibilities for me:

  • Prepare this hour’s snack.
  • Clean my glasses.
  • Look across the street again to see if that neighbor is mowing his lawn yet or still shoveling snow.
  • Glance at the muted TV again to see if Trump’s daily campaign briefing is over yet.
  • Wonder why they call it a briefing when it always lasts more than an hour.
  • Sanitize the door knobs, refrigerator handles, faucets, light switches, remote control do-thingy, toilet handles, keyboard again.
  • Clean the car’s windshield.
  • Send a birthday greeting to each person who Facebook says is having a birthday today, even if I don’t know him and wonder why he is my Facebook friend.
  • Look out to the street to see if the mailman’s vehicle is coming yet.
  • Check the major-league baseball schedule to see who would have been whom today.
  • Change the cover photo on my Facebook page again.
  • Scour the neighborhood for a walking route I haven’t yet taken.
  • Check the waste baskets again to see if there finally is something I can carry out to the dumpster.
  • Clean the backyard for dog poop again.
  • Count the number of times the KELO-TV weather guy says “Kelo-land” in one half-hour newscast.
  • Rearrange the shirts in my T-shirt drawer into piles by color.
  • Clean out the cat’s litter box again and sweep up the littler left by the dogs when they ate the cat’s poop.
  • Check the calendar again to remind myself what day of the week it is.
  • Replay last week’s “Sunday Morning” TV program again.
  • Ponder which business offering takeout service I would patronize today if I left the house.
  • Scratch each of the three dogs’ tummies.
  • Wash my hands again after scratching the three dogs’ tummies.
  • Replay Neil Diamond’s revised “Sweet Caroline” video and sing along. (“Touching me, touching you?” I don’t think so. More like “Hands . . . washing hands . . .”)
  • Write a letter to my friend undergoing cancer treatments on the other side of the state.
  • Shake the rugs.
  • Shave off the whiskers that have grown on my face since I first shaved an hour ago.
  • Write a birthday card to somebody whose birthday is in May just to stay ahead.
  • Check the laundry basket to see if, by magic, enough clothes have arrived there to create a full load for the washer.
  • Play another game of Solitaire.
  • Go through files of stuff I’ve kept for years again and throw away a little bit more.
  • Rearrange the bedroom furniture.
  • Play the “Les Miserables in Concert” TV special again.
  • Hook up the garden hose, water the trees we planted last year, then unhook the hose so it doesn’t freeze up overnight.
  • Make another snack.
  • Make another pot of coffee.
  • Check my e-mails again.
  • Straighten the ties on my tie rack.
  • Scroll Facebook again.
  • Crack open the closet window in order to hear the wind chimes.

Well, great! That all took a couple hours, and it’s almost lunch time. What shall I do this afternoon?


  1. Mary Potter

    Much to read in this week’s issue, Parker. I especially liked the first and last sections. Thanks for your faithful publication. It helps us all to keep in touch.

  2. Juanita McKeever

    Thank you for the humor & connection to SD! Healthy & “hunkered down” here in Anoka too. College grandson Sean home from Loyola for remainder of the year following a soccer service trip up Peru in early Feb. Thankful for their safe return shortly before college shut down put into place. Won’t be a high school graduation ceremony in Las Vegas for eldest grandson there Patrick. As with most families, milestone events cancelled; but, grateful for health for all & continue to pray for so many working to serve us during this unprecedented time. ( healthcare; food services; teachers working from home; cleaning services; emergency responders) Yes, so many hero’s among us. Prayers for all’

  3. Janice Russell (former Pierre Resident)

    I am also self-imprisoned here in Elkhorn (suburb of Omaha, NE). It’s interesting to see a city of the size of Omaha virtually incapacitated. I ventured out to the local Walmart this morning (complete with mask and gloves) for the first time since March 10th. Very few people were in the store at 8am, and the shelves were the emptiest I’ve ever seen them. Again, no toilet paper (what are people doing? Eating it??) Since I’m considered “old” and liable to catch this virus, I have stayed home faithfully, watched church via computer hookup, baked, sewn (made 60 masks this week), talked to all my friends on the phone, cleaned the apartment and watched TV way too much, and the hours have passed quickly by, as have the weeks. I think women can always find something to do. There is an outpouring of assistance to many needy people here in Omaha. Children and parents are being fed regularly; bars/restaurants, and all manner of other businesses closed. I am impressed by the number of people who just step up and help others at a time like this, without regard to their own health and welfare. It’s going to take a long time to recover from this but with all the good will being handed out here we will recover. Thank you for your column, and take care, Parker.


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