Howard and Faythe Landis don’t operate a bed and breakfast, but they are hospitality hosts extraordinaire nonetheless. We discovered their great hearts and open arms on our recent trip to Springfield, Missouri in mid-July.
Before we ever boarded the plane, Howard, my second cousin, sent us this schedule for July 12-21. “To keep everybody on the same page!” he said with a chuckle.
Howard and wife Faythe are seasoned travelers, serving 3-4 stints in China as teachers of English as a Second Language at Harbin Normal University. And, yes, they have been tour group hosts. Now they visit friends they have met in their travels. Family, too!
The Landis’ home interior reflects their love for Asian items, here Howard showcasing a gilt door that he salvaged in the 1990s when China was ditching the old in favor of new things.
Their home decor blends two cultures harmoniously: heirlooms from the Martin side of the family along with Chinese artifacts from their travels.
Howard cranked out old-timey sound from a nickelodeon inherited from the estate of Harry Horst, one of our Great-Grandma Martin’s brothers, who owned a hook and ladder shop in Philadelphia.
Howard and Faythe’s Chef’s Kitchen is set up for short-order cooking, which husband Cliff, a foodie, took full advantage. Breakfast often included duck eggs.
We arrived in Springfield late Monday. Howard and Faythe chauffeured us from the airport to a delicious home-made dinner of chicken kabobs with succulent corn and tomatoes from Faythe’s home state, Iowa.
Tuesday was Bass Pro Shops day with three floors of wildlife exhibits, museums, and of course items for sale for the sportsman or woman. We spent at least three hours in the expansive buildings.
We were introduced to the Alligator Garr fish, a 7-foot long freshwater fish of the Midwest.
Amish and Mennonite Country Stores: Amish and Mennonites, attracted by fertile land west of south-central Missouri offer meats, fresh fruits, vegetables, and baked goods at rural markets.
Many of the markets sold dried strawberries, bananas, apricots, and apples, just like my Grandma Fannie used to prepare for the winter.
Lead Mine CountryStore and Restaurant was our final stop for the day, where we observed a swarm of hummingbirds, a working ice cream maker antique on the porch, and a hearty lunch.
Big Day in Branson, Lost Canyon Cave and Nature Trail and Show at the Clay Cooper Theatre, showcasing The popular Haygoods
Golf carts helped us navigate the cave, bridges, and falls on this scenic trail.
An awesome museum of natural history showcased the fine handiwork of various Indian tribes in the region.
Before the show, we skipped the ferris wheel but enjoyed ice cream cones at Andy’s Frozen Custard.
The Haygoods, Branson’s most popular show entertained us for two hours that evening at the Clay Cooper Theatre. Dancers’ choreography wowed us in the pre-show.
Then the Haygoods appeared: Five brothers and one sister performed on 20+ instruments. The show began with an impressive light show, pyrotechnics, followed by musical arrangements from the Sixties-contemporary.
On Saturday, we met attorney Russ Wood and therapist-artist Karen Wood who would accompany us on a kayak trip Monday on Jack’s Fork River.
Jack’s Fork River is part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverway system. Its waters are crystal clear with a pebbled bottom.
Six of us, three couples–the Landis’s, the Woods’ and the Beamans’– drove two hours to Eminence, MO, the site of Harvey’s Alley Canoe and Kayak rental. Armed with hats, lunches in zippered vinyl, and sunscreen, we set out. Some of us opted to wear life jackets; some did not.
The ride looks serene, and so it was much of the 7-mile 4-hour trip, but there was
Drama. . .
- One couple tumbled over twice, the kayak having gotten caught in a tangle of roots from a fallen log, overturning them in the swift current.
- Another tumbled out of his vessel, upset by sudden contact with a fallen branch.
- Unattached life jackets and untied lunch bags sailed by, retrieved by the more adroit paddlers.
You’ll have to take my word for it; I didn’t bring my cellphone, anxious it may be ripped from my fanny pack or meet its demise in the chilly deep.
Quirks and a Quarrel
Faythe, an easy-going planner, loves essential oils. She treated my indigestion with Doterra products, DigestZen and Peppermint. Bless her heart! We drove to downtown Springfield to get some reinforcements.
Howard, a “trip” himself and typically a jolly good fellow, apparently has feet of clay like the rest of us. He admitted to poor judgment at least once several years ago. Unfortunately, he opted to visit his parents in another state, a good idea except that it conflicted with a wedding anniversary, which Faythe, of course, noted. Howard visited his parents in spite of her protests and ended up doing penance. Very expensive penance in the form of a complete set of Prince Albert Old Country Rose china.
The china was lovingly displayed for a dinner of Salmon Oriental and Chinese fried rice on our final night when I met his sister Sandi for the first time.
Howard and I are second cousins. Our grandparents, my Grandma Fannie and his Grandpa Joe Martin, are brother and sister. I’ve written about our family connection in this blog post when they visited our home in December 2019. Now we have plans to meet up again when they come to Florida for the winter. This time we will be hosting.
We have noticed some similarities beyond family heritage:
- We are both educators and love teaching..
- We both make lists, like schedules.
- We put a high priority on family and other relationships.
The list could go on, but one thing is for sure. Howard has heaps more energy than I!
1 Peter 4:9 Use hospitality one to another without grudging.
Coming next: Mary: Face to Face with a Memoir Character
Good morning, Marian! I’m glad you had such a good time, and you definitely saw many interesting things. I love the Nickelodeon and the beaver!
Thanks for picking out two YouTube items. I’m just getting used to my channel, so thanks for noticing, Merril. 🙂
It really didn’t have anything to do with YouTube–I just thought they were both interesting. 😀
Great, thank you!
Your kayak drama made me laugh! On a canoe paddle near Pittsburgh a number of years ago, I did take my cell phone. When a large rock appeared, I said left, John said right and in we went! Many months later, my phone started acting up and I took it to Verizon. The tech said “This cell phone has been wet” and I said, “This cell phone has NEVER been wet!” At that, I wanted to take that bubble back in my mouth! Oops! Yes it had been wet, I confessed! Now, when we kayak, we each take a single kayak.
Sounds like you had a wonderful trip and what great hosts!
Carol Hall Reighter
Thanks for the story, Carol! You had to “fess up” ha! 🙂
I have heard that if you put a wet cellphone into dry rice, it may be salvaged, but you have to do it right away, of course.
It’s always good to hear from you again, reminiscing. And it certainly was interesting to “discover” the hospitality talents of my second cousin and wife. The BEST in the business!
No doubt you had to come home to rest up from your vacation, Marian. I’m glad you had a nice time. Thanks for taking us along!
Yes, it took about a week to recuperate, not just from the activities but from the flights to and from. Yet it was definitely worth it though. Thanks for your insight, Jill. 🙂
Thank you for sharing your vacation with us, Marian! I derived great vicarious enjoyment from it.
Vicarious trips require fewer dollars and definitely less energy. I’m glad you enjoyed all of it, Liz. 🙂
And no airplanes! 😀
I feel like I’ve been on vacation while sipping my morning coffee! Howard’s nickelodeon is amazing and the YouTube videos are such a nice touch. Love those hummingbirds!
I’m glad you could escape to another setting while enjoying your morning coffee. Yes, I had never ever seen so many hummingbirds at one feeder. Amazingly, they congregated on the porch at a country store and restaurant where people were coming and going. It didn’t seem to bother them. Thanks, Lynn. 🙂
I had no idea what a Nickelodeon looked like. Huh. I learned something new! Great post with lots of fun stuff, You must have needed to sleep for a week after all that.
As I mentioned to Jill, it did take a while to recuperate. But now we have photos, videos, and pleasant memories to savor. As for the Nickelodeon, I had no idea what it looked like either. I just remember the silly song: Put Another Nickel in, in the Nickelodeon: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BVxKln-YYa8&ab_channel=QiuLan
Thanks for stopping by again this week, Arlene! 🙂
My daughter (and I, too) like to make vacation schedules like that, as I wrote recently, a gift my grandson has also picked up. 🙂 Awesome schedule and food for sure! And my SIL has the same china, though her husband happily got it for her as a Christmas surprise one year. Nice to see this post!
Well, Melodie, I hope your schedule has had built-in breathers. We did skip the garage sales on Saturday, and Faythe and I stayed home when Howard and Cliff took another hike.
Thanks too for mentioning Your sister-in-law’s china gift, not a peace offering as in Howard’s case. 😀
Yes, built in breathers, for sure. Smart.
Marian — It’s clear that a GREAT time was had by all. That Nickelodeon is so cool. And the DROVES of hummingbirds. I’ve never seen that many congregate simultaneously at a feeder — two at the most. Wow! And kayaking. Like you, I wouldn’t have taken my cell phone unless it had been in a waterproof case. Smart cookie, you.
I’m glad you enjoyed the antiques and the birdies. I’m just trying to coax one or two hummies to my new feeder. As for cell phones in a boat, very chancy. Thanks, Laurie! 😉
Looks like a glorious time was had by all! I have friends who love going to the Bass Pro Shop whenever their parents visit. You had so many fun excursions and some great food.
I had not heard of the Bass Pro Shop until I went to Springfield, but I think Johnny Morris and company have shops and lodges all over the US and Canada. Yes, we had fun excursions, good food, and best of all I got to know my second cousin much better, L. Marie. 🙂
I was transported into another world viewing all your fabulous photos and videos. Our cousin and wife are hosts extraordinaire. I’m just settling into my new home in the country, one of many taking advantage of the great housing market.
Jean, your commenting here must mean you have time at last to sit in the easy chair and view the meadow and mountains through the picture window. Congratulations! 🙂
What fun! I spent most of my childhood in the Missouri Ozarks. The area has definitely changed.
The Ozark mountains and hiking trails are still beautiful. I’m glad you got to experience them as a child, Linda Lee. 🙂
I like all your photos. It’s refreshing to see somewhere new to me through the eyes of someone else. [That made sense?] The pic of Prince Albert Old Country Rose china immediately reminded me of a high school friend whose mother collected it, all of it. Glad you had a good time despite tummy woes.
You think like a writer, Ally! Of course your opening comment makes sense. I wonder if it’s possible to have too much Old Country Rose china. I’d have to wonder where to store it all. Yes, the tummy woes subsided when I got home–maybe the change back to a routine and a less spicy diet, not sure.
Thanks for swinging by again. 🙂
Thanks, Marian, for inviting us along on your busy Missouri tour. We lived in Trenton , a small town in north central MO and I used to love going to Jamesport, an Amish community outside of town It was a step back in time.I’ve also been to the Ozarks—another interesting adventure. Your friends certainly kept you going and no doubt you needed a vacation from your vacation!
Well, Kathy, I’ve learned something new about you today. I didn’t remember that you lived in Missouri.
Howard mentioned there are several Amish communities in the state, attracted to the fertile land. Yes, it took a while to catch up after we returned, but I’m happy the share the trip via photos, less taxing for sure. ;-D
Wonderful wanderings, Marian! Thanks for sharing.
You’re welcome, Bette!
Sounds like a wonderful visit, Marian, with exceptional hosts! You noted that Howard has more energy than you do. Are you the same age or is he younger? At our age, a couple of years can make a big difference! We hosted family yesterday and today (haven’t been able to do much of that since Covid) and I notice that I tire more easily than I did two years ago!
Energy Level: That’s a topic in itself, Elfrieda. Yes, Howard is 10 years younger; he’s entering a decade that I’m leaving.
Hosting a meal takes time and effort. When I know I’ll be entertaining with a meal, I try to make a dish or two in advance. You probably do that too, Elfrieda! 🙂
This is a lovely post, Marion, and I enjoyed your pictures and videos. I inherited my husband’s grandmother’s china which is also lovely. I don’t use it though. We have our own set that we use that isn’t vintage. I just love hummingbirds, we don’t have them here.
Thanks for reading and commenting here, Robbie. About the china: I seldom use our wedding china either. The set we use every day has dings and chips, which is all right by me.
Even though you don’t have hummingbirds in South Africa, I’m sure you have other exotic birds we don’t see in North America. 🙂
What fun going on vacation with you. Such beautiful things and places. Tell Howard and faythe I want my kitchen back. Oh my would I have a great time cooking and hosting with that kitchen. Keep up the great fun of traveling enjoying friends and family.
Howard and Faythe will chuckle when they read this. As a chef and restaurant owner yourself, you understand the value of a well-equipped kitchen.
I’m glad you joined in on our vacation which took place about a month ago. Thanks, Gloria! 🙂
Looks like a great time. Howard and Faythe were the perfect hosts. It´s funny how family similarities show up. When I met a cousin 50 years after he had been adopted out as a baby, we found we had many things in common!
I’m glad you picked up on the comparisons, Darlene. I could have added that we both like to “inhale” books. When Cliff gave Howard a copy of one of his children’s books, he began reading it on the spot — ha!
Loved everything that you shared with us. The nickelodean and the China was special. Looks like a wonderful trip.
Several readers picked out the nickelodeon too. I know the song (linked above on my reply to Arlene), but I don’t ever remember seeing the instrument itself. I believe it belonged to Uncle Harry, Howard’s grandpa’s uncle, who owned a hook and ladder company in Philadelphia many years ago. Thank you, Bonnie!
Ah, Bonnie, Howard has corrected the origin of his nickelodeon in a comment below. 🙂
Marian, Such a great report of your time with us. One minor adjustment…the Nickelodeon was bought by my grandfather at an auction when I was a small boy. It rested in the front hallway of their home, near Hoernerstown Pennsylvania, until I moved it to our former home in California about 17 years ago. Thanks for including our BnB story in your vacation writing. We’re looking forward to seeing you both in Florida this coming winter.
Absolutely, Howard! We will make more memories this winter in Florida. I may even blog about it – hahaha! 🙂
What a fabulous experience! I think it’s great that Howard and Faythe planned so many marvelous activities—something for everyone at just about any speed. I’m not a hunter or fisherman, but I’ve been in a Bass Pro Shop before. I can see how someone could spend three hours there. This whole experience looks like our speed.
I like your variations on the theme of speed, Pete. Slipping into high or low gear was easy with Howard and Faythe. About Bass Pro Shops. Neither a hunter or a fisherwoman, I expected to be bored, but I was entertained the whole 3 hours. 🙂
I loved going along for the ride, Marian, to a part of the country I know very little about. It’s amazing how many beautiful places exist in this country, and I am glad you had the chance to experience so many of them concentrated in and around the Ozarks. The gift of being in each other’s homes is one to enjoy, hopefully for many more years. You have an eye for beauty, and a lovely way to share.
Although Branson has been on our bucket list, I doubt we would have actually gone to Missouri without Howard and Faythe to goad us.
I’m glad you enjoyed the vicarious visit. It’s easy to notice beautiful things, especially in an unfamiliar setting: new vistas, fresh vision. Thank you, Shirley! 🙂
Thank you Ms MennoD for putting together these snapshots of our MO trip with Howard and Faythe’s. Indeed it was a great experience.
At the Lead Mine Country Store they had THREE hummingbird feeders, just as busy as your video.
Before the trip I would have bet (if there were a casino in Jacksonville) that I, a non-fisherman nor much of a hunter, would be spending two-three hours in a Bass Pro Shop in Springfield! It was more than just a fishing lure; they had lots of history in there as well.
Thanks Howard for such great experiences with hostess Faythe…and besides Marian and I didn’t dump over TWICE as our fearless leaders did ! 🙂
We did SO much, it really takes two heads to reconstruct the fast-paced events. As to the hummingbird feeders, I do see a second one to the left of the video, so it’s possible there were three, total. I don’t know what the intense attraction was: I doubt there was whiskey-laced nectar in the feeders. 😀
I guess Howard won’t mind your spilling the beans on the canoe “casualties,” Nothing fatal. . . so that’s a plus–haha!
clearly a great time was had by all, Marian! I’m away right now, frootling hither and thither, and it always takes a while to settle in once home. Lovely short videos – gorgeous photos!
I’m honored that you are taking time to stop by here even with a busy schedule. And I’m glad you enjoyed the visual souvenirs of our trip. Thanks, Susan! 🙂
What a lovely trip and vacation, Marian! Your hosts were very generous and accommodating – just like the two of you. Having that schedule made it much easier to enjoy the activities. I like it when someone is in charge – in a small group – and puts together an itinerary. It takes the stress out of making decisions among multiple people who are “fine with anything.” And, I’m just lazy by nature. I find that if someone else takes control, I see and do much more than when Mark and I follow our own “path,” which is pretty much: wander around and see what happens. Maybe look something up online to find one highlight of the city/area and attempt to do that! 🙂
I’m so glad you had a good time. I love that grandfather clock (with your reflection). Have a wonderful day.
You are right, Liesbet! Schedules allow for a certain ease because the group knows what comes next. I raised an eyebrow when you described yourself as being lazy. Maybe you meant you and Mark like being happy wanderers. I like the notion of looking something up online to find one highlight of the city/area and attempt to do that!
Ah, you noticed the reflection. When I see the Grandfather clock photo, I’ll always remember what I wore that day. ;-D
Ozarks is beautiful . I lived there almost two years. First, I was an English Teacher at Waynesville, Missouri’s high school for one year. Then, I worked as a freelancer for the Waynesville Newspaper. I had the opportunitiy to visit Springfield. I was also in Rolle (I think that is spelled correctly, but not sure) That is where I did most of my shopping.
It is nice to know that your cousin traveled in the Asian countries and also actually got to know the culture. That is indeed a blessing. You see life different when you have learned about other cultures.
You amaze me, Pat. You’ve lived in so many places on our planet. I wonder if you’ve considered writing a memoir. You have had unique experiences in many cultures, beginning in Georgia. Hmmm . . .
Blessings and “Shalom” back to you! 😀
It sounds like you you had both a FUN, FASCINATING and YUMMY trip!
You covered all the bases, Joan, and indeed we did! Thanks for joining the journey here.
Wow, Marion! That’s a big and busy vacation. I feel overwhelmed just reading about it, but I’m a Missouri kid and loved remembering family excursions to the beautiful Ozarks. It doesn’t appear that anyone was masked indoors, but I’m still sticking close to home and we’re masking in NY State unless outdoors–and even social distancing outdoors in close situations. The dishes remind me of my Missouri Grandma’s China and I love those dried fruits. It looks like you had a wonderful time, and I’m glad.
Yes, Elaine, we were glad to go and glad to come home to rest. I’m glad you too enjoyed the Missouri travelogue and picked out the china and dried fruits as very relatable.
Fully vaccinated, we traveled in July when it appeared we were coming out of the pandemic, and before the variants seemed a threat. We did wear masks in airports and during the flight and other places required in Missouri. Now, back home we have been masking up to go shopping and doing other errands. Better safe than sorry, which I’m sure you will agree. 😀
Looks like you guys had a blast. I loved all the photos, and the market wares. You were well looked after and now the fun will return again soon! Good for you. Hugs x
I’ve just been reviewing some of your posts about the theme of grief and your love for George. I’m pleased you are making plans to travel soon. Your “beloved Puppy” would want you to do that. Of this I have no doubt.
I’m glad you enjoyed the photos and “stuff,” and happy to share them with you. Hugs! 😀
Thank you my Lovely. Hugs to you! <3
How wonderful, Marian…stunning images…Looks like so much fun and some shopping…Thank you for sharing The Ozarks look just beautiful 🙂 x
Yes, we had not visited the Ozarks before and Howard’s invitation gave us a good reason to go, lodging included. Thanks for joining in with a comment, Carol!
Thank you for taking us along on your journey! What an adventure that kayak trip was for you! My kayaking is strictly lake kayaking due to easier navigating than river rapids!
You’re welcome, Lynn. And thank you for stopping in today to join the chat. Taking a cue from your book title, we scarcely had time to “breathe,” but when we did it was fresh air. The river we navigated was mostly serene, but when it became rapids, we woke up. Lake kayaking seems a little safer. 🙂
It looks like an amazing holiday, Marian, with plenty of variety to keep everyone busy and happy. Beautiful pictures too! 👍
I’m glad you enjoyed our ambitious journey, Fatima. Thank you! 🙂
How completely wonderful. What an amazing holiday with such delightful friends . Are you not exhausted my lovely friend? You will now need a holiday to get over it . So lovely that life is getting back to normality …what say you ?
We had a lovely time with cousin Howard and their friends, but YES we were exhausted. It took at least a week to “rest up.”
You mention life getting back to normality, and I hope that means that son and bride will actually be able to have a wedding ceremony, You’ll tell me about it–Yes?
We have spikes in Covid-19 infections in Florida lately, but I hope we’ll see a decline soon. In the meantime, we wear masks in public though we’ve been vaccinated.
All good wishes for a great day, Cherry. Thanks for joining in! oxo
Thank you for sharing your lovely vacation with us! 🙂
You’re welcome, Jenn! 🙂
By the way, vacations usually imply “rest,” This one was more of an excursion, as you can guess!