From Sin to Splendor By Jana Kemp “Don’t leave Chinden Boulevard,” my Caldwell and Boise friends said in 1994, when they provided me with directions to car repair shops in Garden City. “It’s too sketchy to go off the main … Continue reading →
Author Archives: Jana Kemp
About Jana KempJana Kemp is a twenty-year Garden City resident who loves living, working, learning, recreating, and creating in her town. Find Jana at JanaKemp.com
Mom, this strawberry tastes awful,” my eight-year-old girl said one September. I tasted it and, sure enough, she was right. She didn’t know that strawberry season was over, but her taste buds had detected the fact. I soon discovered that this child, whose taste buds are significantly more refined than my own, could tell when things were “wrong” with apples, too.
Taste buds, located on our tongues, work differently for everyone. For some of us, these little clusters of bulbous nerve-endings in our mouths communicate little to nothing to our brains. For others, they can communicate a nuanced range of flavors, from happy to disgusting. For those who have highly refined taste bud communication centers, individual ingredients can be sensed and in-season flavors ascertained. Continue reading →
Furniture, stationery, books, and boats feed my soul, for they hold in common the fibers of a tree.
Why am I drawn to trees and their products? All I know is that when I was in a Boise consignment shop and first saw the pattern of sixteen book leaves on the wooden table that’s now in my living room, it called to me, “Take me home.” Maybe my decades of sending and receiving letters is what hooked me on paper, which is most often born of wood. Maybe the touch of book pages on my fingertips imprinted a need in me to feel the foundational fibers of wood.
As for boats, I suppose my passion for rowing a skull drew me to them. It could also partly be a family influence, from my uncle’s stories of World War II training in wooden boats at Farragut Naval Training Station (see “Boot Camp by the Lake,” IDAHO magazine, March 2014). Could junior high wood shop classes be responsible for spawning my love of wood? Nope, that wasn’t it. But maybe, just maybe, I was conceived under a tree, and my soul remembers the safety, comfort, and joy of that original moment.
In any case, a clarion call awakened me during the 2013 “Man Show” in Spokane, when I encountered a wooden boat made in northern Idaho. As I walked along talking with the person who had invited me to the show, I stopped in my tracks and interrupted the conversation with, “I’m sorry, I can’t hear you. I am completely distracted by this boat.”
Continue reading →
“Farragut State Park is one of the places we visited this year,” I said to my uncle, Robert Kemp, on our way to a family reunion in rural Minnesota in the late 1990s. To my surprise he replied, “I trained there.”
This sparked animated praise from me about how impressed I was that such a huge naval facility (more than seven hundred buildings, plus roads and training grounds) at Bayview on the southern tip of Lake Pend Oreille could be built in eleven months to train more than 290,000 men over a four-year period, after which nearly everything was torn down. I said it was particularly impressive considering that with today’s modern engineering skills and equipment, we can’t even seem to get one road built in less than three to five years.
I didn’t learn much more that day about my uncle’s experiences at Farragut Naval Training Station (FNTS), an inland Navy boot camp from 1942 to 1946, because we were nearly to our destination, and because he’s a man of few words. But recently, it struck me that as a friend of Idaho’s state parks, it was high time I got more of the story. With some prodding and much laughter between my uncle and me, this winter he shared more information about his time at Farragut, which I’ve supplemented with further research. Continue reading →