Tammy grew up ‘everywhere’ then spent 30 years as nurse


By Betty Street

Tammy Snyder

Tammy Snyder

Exciting. Eventful. Changing—all these words describe the life Tammy Snyder has led, from being born in Rapid City to spending time with her grandparents on their farm at Stewart, Miss., to moving to different cities and countries as part of an Air Force family.
Tammy has been to every state in the Union except Hawaii and Alaska. The family lived in Spain for three years. While they were overseas, they visited Gibraltar—you know that huge Rock of Gibraltar you see in pictures? Well, Tammy has actually seen it, and she’s been swimming in the Mediterranean Sea as well as the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.
Tammy is retired after 30 years in the nursing profession. She worked in many nursing arenas  including intensive care, pediatrics, medical-surgical, geriatrics, home health, flight nursing for a private company and travel nursing on contract. She said no one area was her favorite, but that “all had great things and there were so many ways to go.”
Tammy spent a short time in administration, where she discovered that that she’d rather be in hands-on nursing because “I love contact with people. People are fascinating.”
Tammy has a firm faith in God, something she learned from her grandmother in Mississippi. She was baptized in the summer of 1970 at Boatman’s Pond in Stewart. “My mother was baptized with me,” she said, “and at the time the custom was to dunk them until they bubbled.”
Tammy has great memories of time spent on the farm. For example, her grandparents didn’t have indoor plumbing until the 1960s. Tammy recalls both the outhouse and the outdoor shower with its rain barrel shower, meaning there was never any hot water for summertime cleansing. She said she preferred to shower with her grandmother, who was a large-chested woman. Tammy said she took shelter under Granny’s shelf so the cold water would hit her grandmother first! (Bear in mind that Tammy was only four or five years old at the time.)
Tammy said they always had chores. While shelling peas, shucking corn and snapping beans, Tammy and her siblings sat in rocking chairs on her grandparents’ large front porch. When chores were finished, there was always other stuff to do.
Once Tammy’s grandchildren asked her about watching TV when she was growing up, and she told them about the three stations available on her grandparents’ farm: ABC, NBC and CBS. Her grandchildren asked where she played video games and were shocked when Tammy said there weren’t any such things back then. She said, “These kids today, I feel sorry for them. They have no idea what they’re missing.”
Tammy met husband Dan when he was on his internship as a funeral director, and each has found in the other a soul mate. They immensely enjoy working together, especially  in their extensive vegetable garden, food preservation—canning, pickling and freezing garden produce—and cooking. Tammy said Dan is an exceptional cook, but she is a better baker.
However, Tammy met defeat each time she tried to bake a pecan pie. The first attempt, she said, “needed a chainsaw to cut it.” The second time, she said she was going to “be smart and follow that recipe” to the letter.
“You needed a straw to be able to eat that second pecan pie,” she said. “Now Sam’s Club makes our pecan pies. We can’t afford to keep replacing chainsaw blades!”


Pickled Beets
7 lbs. of 2-2½-inch diameter beets
4 cups 5% vinegar
1½ tsp.  canning or pickling salt
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
12 whole cloves (sometimes I substitute ground cloves to taste)
Trim off beet tops leaving 1 inch of stem and roots to prevent bleeding of color. Wash thoroughly. Sort for size. Cover similar sizes together with boiling water and cook until tender, about 25-30 minutes. Caution: drain and discard liquid. Cool beets. Trim off roots and stems and slip off skins. Slice into ¼-inch slices. Combine vinegar, salt, sugar and fresh water. Put spices in cheesecloth bag and add to vinegar mixture. (I don’t use the cheesecloth. I prefer the richness of the spices you get when mixed directly in the liquid.) Bring to a boil. Add beets. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove spice bag, if used. Fill jars with beets and onions. Add hot vinegar solution, leaving ½-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process pints and quarts for 30 minutes (sea level-1000 feet). Variation: Pickled whole baby beets. Follow above directions, but use beets that are 1-1½-inches in diameter. Pack whole; do not slice.

Zucchini Bread
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups coarsely grated zucchini, loosely packed
2 cups flour
1 tsp. cinnamon (use 2 tsp. for added cinnamon flavor)
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat eggs until frothy. Gradually add sugar. Stir in vegetable oil and vanilla. Beat until thick and lemon-colored. Stir in zucchini. In separate medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add dry mixture to wet mixture, stirring to combine. Add chopped nuts, if desired. Grease and flour two bread-loaf pans (approx. 8”x4”x3”) or spray with cooking spray. Pour batter into pans and level off with back of a spoon. Bake for approx. 1 hour or until done. Allow loaves to cool in pan for 10 minutes, then run a knife along the sides to loosen bread. Remove loaves from pan. Cool on wire rack. Brush tops of loaf with melted butter while still warm (opt.).

(Very first recipe as a child, from Mrs. Gladys Morrison’s class in Bangor, Maine)
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
2 Tbs. melted shortening
Beat eggs in small bowl until light and frothy. Add milk, flour, salt and melted shortening. Beat until completely blended and bubbly. Using very well-greased custard cups or 3x½ -inch deep muffin pans, fill slightly less than ½ full. Bake in preheated oven at 450 degrees for 20 minutes; lower heat to 350 degrees and bake 20 minutes longer (40 minutes total).

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