For several years, Lana Johnson has traveled to Washington each April, usually at cherry blossom time. Her mode of travel mostly is by train, which she boards in Kansas City, changes to another train in Chicago and rides the rails on into our nation's capital.
For several years, Lana Johnson has traveled to Washington each April, usually at cherry blossom time. Her mode of travel mostly is by train, which she boards in Kansas City, changes to another train in Chicago and rides the rails on into our nation’s capital.
Johnson goes to Washington to help her daughter set up and man a booth at the Smithsonian Craft Show in the National Building Museum. This show is considered by many to be the most widely regarded juried show and sale in America.
About 120 lucky American artists are selected to participate each year. Johnson’s daughter has received one of the coveted invitations four times, allowing her to show off and sell her hand-made cowboy boots.
In the past, Johnson has gone to Washington to help and give her daughter some support.
“Generally, I only sit in the booth alone when Lisa needs a break or runs an errand,” she said.
This year, however, things were different, as Johnson’s granddaughter came along on the trip and became sick. For most of the four-day event, Lisa stayed with her daughter as Johnson ran the booth.
“I could answer questions and pass out business cards,” she said, “but I couldn’t sell boots because Lisa won’t sell boots to anyone unless she measures their feet and legs. I couldn’t do that.”
Johnson didn’t get to explore the show as she usually does, but was glad she was there to help her daughter. In fact, the daughter said her mother was a “hero” this year.
Johnson enjoys the trips to Washington, although at first she is nervous about riding on the subway.
“After a time or two going back and forth to the show from where we stay, I get more comfortable,” she said.
A native of Neosho, Johnson has lived all over the country In the end, she said, “we always come back to Neosho.”
Back in Neosho, Johnson is known for her pies and cobblers. Her favorites, coconut cream pie and blackberry cobbler, usually end up at a church social.
“Don (her husband) always picks wild blackberries out in the Crowder area,” she said. “That’s what I use for the cobblers. I make my own crust from my own special recipe.”
Another skill that Johnson has is sewing. One of her specialties is making purses.
“Lisa bought a piece of sheep skin to make some boots, but it was just too thin for cowboy boots, so she gave it to me. I made a purse, and it is very nice. The leather is soft and supple,” she said.
This week we name Lana Johnson our good neighbor because of her many skills and her dedication and help to her family.