~ An interview with somebody I know or want to know. ~
This time: Kami
Her blog: Defeat Garden
Her chair shot:
Guest author (in case you could not tell that the prose is not mine): Her cousin AKA my husband AKA Flathead AKA Ben
Nestled along the banks of the Nemaha River in Eastern Nebraska is the village of Firth. Proximity to rich farmland and a busy railroad made this village a busy place for shipping both grain and livestock in the late 19th Century. Over the years, Firth has been a bustling community with a flour mill, lumberyard, and a brick schoolhouse. In the 21st Century, Firth is a quiet bedroom community for Lincoln and Beatrice, home to about 600 people. Gone are the mills and lumberyards. Today, the area is known for a good school district, Prairieland Dairy, and an overall high quality of life. Firth is a great place to be!
Living in this town is our cousin, and today’s profile subject, Kamilla. Most people call her Kami. Today, Kami is married and has two kids, but Zeb remembers her as a quiet girl, often seen with her nose in a book. “We didn’t see each other that often,” Zeb recalls. “It was usually at Grandma Lamp’s house for her annual Christmas dinner. I do remember stopping at their house in Bradshaw a few times. If we were passing through on Highway 34, Dad would always pull in for fuel and to chat with Uncle Dave (Kami’s father).”
Kami’s family owned and operated a business in Bradshaw, Nebraska.
“Yup,” says Kami. “My Dad ran a service station/car dealership right off of the Highway. It was really pretty cool to be there growing up. We had this huge awesome house, and my Dad was always close by if I needed him. He’d just pop into the house and random and say hi to us, or we’d cook a snack for him and his employees and walk out the kitchen door to deliver it. I actually see some of the guys that used to work for him every once in a while, and they always say how they remember me as a little kid with a plate full of cookies 🙂 Dad worked a lot when we were growing up, but it didn’t seem like it. I think it was because we’d see him throughout the day, and he’d always make an effort to say hi. I remember him walking into the kitchen just to give my Mom a kiss. And we’d all wash the cars together on the weekends. Sounds like cheap labor, but I loved doing it. We’ve also got pictures of the four of us going up on the hoist, smiling and waving, and I remember Dad having me ride up in the hoist to help him with brake lines sometimes. When I got older, he would pay me commission if I’d drive a car and somebody would buy it because they saw me driving it 🙂 I also remember pumping gas during school breaks when he still sold gas. Mom stayed home for most of my childhood, so we got to go swimming during the summer, and we always had friends around the house.”
It sounds like a small town. What was it like growing up there?
“Oh yeah, it was a tiny town – 300 people. You know, I never realized that it was a small town, though. I always felt like everybody knew me (which, of course they did), but that was the way it was supposed to be. The repair shop was the only one, but one of my uncles had a repair shop in another small town close by, and another of my uncles (did I mention that I have lots of uncles and aunts?) had a repair shop in the nearest larger town. I guess I just thought that’s what Dads did. Not only that, but another of my uncles ran the bar & grill in my town. Between Dad’s shop and my Uncle’s bar, that was pretty much all there was. There was also one church, a post office, and the bank.”
Kami’s family had a tradition of vacationing in lakes country, up north in Minnesota.
“We did for the longest time. I don’t really know how it started, but I think it was that some of my parent’s friends from church had a summer job running a resort, and one year they called them when they had an open week. We never used to go during the same week, it was just that we’d get a phone call and then we’d pack up and go the next week! It was the best place to go, too. We stayed in these little two bedroom cabins that didn’t have air conditioning or heat (just a little heater and a ceiling fan!) and play games all week, play in the sand, go swimming as much as we wanted to, go fishing, and play with whatever other kids were there that week. It’s always been the six of us (my parents, Adam, Dustin, me, and Nicky), and often we would bring along another family member. I remember my Dad’s younger sister Sharon came with us a few times, or we’d have one of our older cousins and when we got older, we were allowed to bring our friends along. My best friend growing up, Elizabeth, came with us a few times. Those weeks were awesome – it was like a week-long sleepover! I think Mom & Dad started going before I was born, or shortly after. We went every year until 2002 (so about 20 years!), and then we stopped going. Mom and Dad went again for the first time in a while last summer, and they took Adam, Dusting and Nicky, but Kevin & I already had a vacation planned last summer with his family in Wisconsin and I didn’t have enough time off at work to take another week (I just started my job last March). However, Kevin and me and the kids are going again this summer! I’m really excited to take my kids and have them play in the sand and the water for a week. I’m sure we’ll go get some homemade ice cream at a store in Battle Lake, too, that was one of the things we always did at least once during the week.”
Kami’s family even visited Zeb’s family, not long after they moved up there in the summer of 1989.
“I actually do remember that. I remember that they had what seemed like a huge house, and we camped in their front yard. I think my Aunt Sharon was with us that summer. I remember that my Dad (and I don’t know if it was here or somewhere else) told us that there was a bear outside of the tent, so I was scared to death. I was talking to him about that a few months ago, and he’s pretty sure that night there really was something outside the tent. He said he was pretty scared! I don’t remember much about Canada, but I remember a big store that we went to.”
Zeb says that he remembers the border crossing well. “The border guard asked Uncle Dave (who was driving) if he was carrying any firearms or drugs in the vehicle. That would have flustered me, but it didn’t seem to faze Uncle Dave. I think we had lunch at a Canadian McDonald’s in Fort Frances. The food didn’t taste the same as what was found in the American restaurants.”
Kami is passionate about the local foods movement and community-supported agriculture. You might say it has changed her life. She has learned the health benefits of eating whole foods.
“After I got used to it (and used to the idea that I can actually cook – I was a horrible horrible cook 5-10 years ago…seriously, I wouldn’t want to ever go back to that!) it was a lot easier. I think what really did it for me was oranges. That first year we started changing our diet in October, right after our anniversary. By the time December rolled around, I had really gotten used to the new way of eating. It’s amazing how much I was actually enjoying my food, too. We hadn’t had oranges for a while, because we were trying to eat mostly the foods that were in season, and really there aren’t many fruits in season that time of year. But, that first orange that year was absolutely amazing. I had been eating so much less processed foods and sugars that my taste buds had adjusted (I had stopped eating doughnuts by this time, too!) and wow! I can’t even begin to explain how good an orange tastes when you’ve trained yourself to recognize and savor natural flavors. Hmm…I think I might be drooling right now just thinking about it. I’m already sad, because the oranges aren’t all that good right now 😦 But now it’s not hard at all. Now it’s just what feels right to me.
I do still eat junk food sometimes. After about a year, I felt like I was really able to listen to my body and realize when I could splurge. It helps that when I do splurge, almost without fail, I feel really crappy the next day. So, yes, I do eat junk food, but I’m much more selective about what kinds of junk food. My favorite is ice cream – specifically, my Dad’s homemade ice cream – yum!
We eat at restaurants a lot, too. But it’s a lot easier to do that than it is to go to someone’s home and eat there. At a restaurant, if nothing else, I can always get a salad or just a piece of meat with some steamed vegetables – people don’t look at you too weird if you order that! When I go to someone’s home, I feel like I have to eat what they’ve made. Otherwise I just feel horrible – but I’ve learned that I don’t always have to eat all of it, or even as much as everybody else. I still almost always pass on bread. Probably because now I know that I’ll regret it about 2 hours later! As for coffee, I never really liked it.”
What’s next for Kami and her family? Hopefully, Kami will comment on this post and tell us!
As for the rest of you, check out Kami’s family recipe for Tuna Goop. How do you like them goop?