All posts filed under: Conversations

The Best Steak at Mrs T’s

Tama Sundquist runs Mrs. T’s in Loomis, NE, a town of less than 400 people. I confess to my embarrassment that I nearly passed straight through Loomis, even though it was a scheduled stop on my four-week project. A quick drive through the town, which was indeed a quick drive, revealed few places to stop and fewer people to speak with. However, I stumbled across Mrs. T’s and encountered a vibrant personality in Tama. Exuding warm assurance, she welcomed by name all the patrons that came into her convenience store and lunch stop. I am ashamed to say that I assumed that the lunch would be mediocre and said I would stop just for coffee. Once the steak lunch special started sizzling on the grill, however, I rapidly succumbed. It was the best steak I have had for years. Tama is the kind of person that fills a room with energy and she was a highlight of this project. In this audio vignette, she touches a little on how she came to be in Loomis, …

Exhibition at Michael Phipps Gallery – Opens Jan. 8

A set of 20 images drawn from the project have been selected for exhibition at the Michael Phipps Gallery situated on the first floor of the W. Dale Clark main branch of the Omaha Public Library. Accompanying the images will be audio vignettes drawn from the conversations I had with people during the project. These audio vignettes are downloaded on MP3 players that can be checked out from the library! It is an intriguing interactive experience for exhibit attendees and I am grateful for the insightful curation of Alex Priest and the support of Omaha Public Library. The exhibition is on display from January 8 through February 28 with an opening night reception from 4 – 6pm this Friday January 8. At around 5pm I shall deliver a short presentation regarding the project. I hope to see you there!

Highway 27

Making my way from Chadron to Alliance and Scottsbluff on the western fringes of the state, I visited Tom and Aleisha at a large ranch in the middle of the Sandhills. Their ranch is along Highway 27 amid the landscape and its people famously and notoriously rendered in the writings of Mari Sandoz. Despite comprising over a quarter of Nebraska and being designated a National Natural Landmark in 1984, Tom said that many Nebraskans know little about the Sandhills. Out east, we are unaware of this vast expanse and its place in our social, economic and historic narrative. The ranch house was several miles west of the highway along a track acceptable for trucks though somewhat less comfortable in an RV. With people and animals so dispersed, I asked Tom what community means to him. He observed, “You can live in Omaha and hardly know your neighbors at all, and when you live out here there is a whole lot more opportunity to get to know and work with your neighbors. Your neighbors are miles …

KIOS Dispatches

I am collaborating with Michael Lyon the Local Anchor, Morning Edition at KIOS, Omaha’s NPR affiliate. I shall be submitting dispatches from the road which KIOS shall play on the air. The first one was broadcast this week and you can listen again on the project web page at KIOS here. Click on the Neligh post to listen.