Rural Missouri - December 2017 - 40

RM

| NEIGHBORS

Left: This fall, owner Jerry Ann Lash celebrates
19 years of operating the Christmas House at
Rainbow's End. The store offers seasonal decor
and gifts from 20 crafters in southern Missouri.
Below: Jerry Ann creates a new resident for
Rainbow's End every year. Characters such
as Humpty Dumpty and his wall require yearround maintenance to keep their colors bright.

Where the rainbow ends
Tecumseh's Christmas House
celebrates the season

by Zach Smith | zsmith@ruralmissouri.coop

O

utside the Christmas House at Rainbow's End is a sign
that owner and artist Jerry Ann Lash says describes her
perfectly: "When someone told me I live in a fantasy land,
I nearly fell off my unicorn." It's easy to see why. A visit to
the store Jerry Ann and her husband, Jerry, own in Tecumseh is
quite like stepping into the pages of a fairy tale. And what better place
for an artist to shape her fantasies than at the end of a rainbow?
"There were two rainbows out here," Jerry Ann says, remembering a
rainy day not long after the couple moved from Pine, Arizona, to their
new home in 1994. "I thought, 'Well, that's it. This is Rainbow's End.' "
To mark the occasion, Jerry Ann wanted a year-round rainbow in the
yard. For that, she turned to her husband, who restored their more than
100-year-old farmhouse and also helped bring the Christmas House to life.
"She said, 'We've got to have a rainbow,' and I said, 'There's only
two people who can make a rainbow - one of them's God and the
other one's Nature,' " the retired heavy equipment operator recalls.
Above left: In addition to the outdoor sculptures Jerry Ann also crafts some of the items in the
Still, he was able to accommodate Jerry Ann's wish with a little bit of store, such as this Santa made from polymer clay. Above right: Jerry Ann uses wire mesh, resin and
PVC pipe, cloth and resin. "Like she says, this is supposed to be fun." cloth for most sculptures, but added natural objects such as moss and seashells for Tiana the mermaid.
This fall marks the 19th year the Lashes have celebrated Christmas
Amid grinning jack-o'-lanterns and grapevine wreaths lurk some of the more
at their store in the hills of eastern Ozark County. Although the unique
sculptures such as the permanent rainbow appeal to Jerry
fantastical denizens of Rainbow's End: fairies, elves and "laafs" - portly
Ann's whimsical side, from mid-October to mid-December
creatures who wouldn't look out of place serving tea at the Mad Hatter's
their focus is on the holiday season. The Christmas House is a
table. Outside the Christmas House, other creations from Jerry Ann's
imagination abound. Plaster gnomes appear to bustle about a humanthrowback to the couple's days living in Arizona, where Jerry Ann
ran a seasonal craft store. The Howell-Oregon Electric Cooperative
sized teapot house made from native stone under the watchful eye of
"Boo-La Duke," a 6-foot-tall troll. Tiana, a mermaid adorned with mossy
members say it only took a few years for the tradition to follow them.
hair and dress made from seashells, reclines by the frog pond. High
"I'd go down there on opening day to build a fire and warm it
on a plaster wall, beaming and oval-faced, sits Humpty Dumpty.
up some, and people would be waiting in line," says Jerry of the
Tecumseh
From Tole painting to concrete mixing to metal cutting -
Arizona business. On chilly days, he still stokes the wood stove in
sometimes with her husband's help - Jerry Ann likes to try
the 60-foot doublewide trailer that holds the Christmas House. A few
her hand at something new at least once a year. What doesn't
steps inside and shoppers are welcomed into a warm wonderland
show up for sale in the shop usually finds a place in the outdoor
of autumnal decor and gifts. Every nook and cranny is packed with
gallery. In the face of weather and time, keeping the collection
crafts made by Jerry Ann and around 20 other crafters from south central
of colorful characters looking bright and cheery every year means near
Missouri and northern Arkansas. As the Christmas House caught on with local
constant maintenance, but it's a labor of love for Jerry and Jerry Ann.
crafters, the single trailer expanded into four other additions and buildings.
"He's been a real encouragement to me," Jerry Ann says of her husband's
Handmade jewelry, stuffed snowmen and clay Santa Clauses festoon
resourceful nature, especially when it comes to taking care of the Christmas
Amish-built cabinets. Christmas trees dotted with ornaments sit alongside
House and keeping up with her imagination. Joking, she adds: "A friend will
other pieces of art and antique furniture. One rustic-themed room houses
start to say, 'Jerry Ann, I've got an...' and he'll say, 'Don't give her any ideas!' "
a large wooden rocking horse sporting a hand-tooled leather saddle.
And where did she arrive at the inspiration for all these projects?
On one wall next to a shelf full of kachina dolls is an intricate piece of
"Don't ask me," the self-taught sculptress says with a bright smile and a
intarsia - a mosaic painting made from different pieces of carved wood.
shake of her head. "I don't have any idea, but I wouldn't have it any other way."
"At first it was just going to be crafts but we've had a lot of luck with
antiques and collectables," Jerry Ann says, adding recent customers have
For more information on Christmas House at Rainbow's End and days and
sought out older furnishings such as mantelpieces and potbelly stoves in
hours of operation, call Jerry Ann Lash at 417-284-3727 or visit Rainbow's End
addition to push lawnmowers and farriers' carts. "It just depends on who
comes in. The people that aren't afraid to come off the road have kept us going." online at www.facebook.com/rainbowsendlash.

40

RURAL MISSOURI | DECEMBER 2017


http://www.facebook.com/rainbowsendlash

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - December 2017

Contents
Rural Missouri - December 2017 - Intro
Rural Missouri - December 2017 - Cover1
Rural Missouri - December 2017 - Cover2
Rural Missouri - December 2017 - Contents
Rural Missouri - December 2017 - 4
Rural Missouri - December 2017 - 5
Rural Missouri - December 2017 - 6
Rural Missouri - December 2017 - 7
Rural Missouri - December 2017 - 8
Rural Missouri - December 2017 - 9
Rural Missouri - December 2017 - 10
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Rural Missouri - December 2017 - 41
Rural Missouri - December 2017 - 42
Rural Missouri - December 2017 - Cover3
Rural Missouri - December 2017 - Cover4
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