Editor’s note: DeLand native Sally Landis Bohon recently wrote to The Beacon to compliment Bill Mancinik’s “Native Reflections” column, and she shared a story from her past that this week substitutes for Mancinik’s column.
We invite others to also share their memories of West Volusia history.
Bohon wrote, “I can scarcely express the delight so many of us are enjoying with Bill Mancinik’s ‘Native Reflections.’
“Bill, of course, is a generation behind mine; his mother, Joy, was a cherished friend and a tour de force in the Junior Welfare League.
“… Bill Mancinik, I am in your debt. You have evoked memories long dormant and I thank you.”
My father, Erskine Landis, was two generations removed from the hunting experiences of “Native Reflections” columnist Bill Mancinik, but they clearly shared a familiar bonding.
Dad belonged to that generation of hunting friends that included Dr. Hugh West, F.M. Ford, “Pug” Allen, Hamp Scovill, Francis Whitehair, Kirk Gunby, Max Acree, and others I am clearly forgetting. They shared a cabin over in the Ocala National Forest where only God knows what went on.
Some of them had packs of hunting dogs; wonderful bluetick hounds that dutifully sat in the beds of the pickups until called to duty in the field. Gorgeous dogs!
The joint ownership of this hunting cabin was likely achieved on a handshake, a not-unusual agreement back then between fellows who were lifelong buddies.
When the day rolled around when these men had all gone on to a higher calling, oh my! The headache of what to do with this cabin — with its dozens of descendants of the original owners — I think was resolved by simply deeding it over to the State of Florida.
Anyone who knew my father, knew him to be a soft-spoken man, not given to temper. Thus, it was a shock when the only time he raised his voice to me in genuine anger was a hunting incident.
I was the last of the five Landis children, and Dad had only one son, who was 12 years my senior.
When I showed an affinity for the water and the woods, I think it made Dad happy to have that one last fling at mentoring one of his children in something important to him. So, I grew up learning to fish and to shoot, to gut and to scale and to skin. If I caught it or shot it, I cleaned it, cooked it and ate it.
But one day stands out beyond the rest: the day we stumbled across a covey of quail. I had only a small, child-size .22 Remington. Dad took my rifle and slowly handed me his double-barreled shotgun, pointing to the quail on the ground.
I was so puffed up with this new experience! As I raised the huge gun to take a bead on the quail, Dad’s arm reached out and pulled the gun up as he hissed “STOP!”
He was in perfect control, and he was clearly livid. I was just a youngster, but the lesson I learned that day was well learned: You always flush quail to give them a sporting chance.
— Bohon’s grandfather, Cary D. Landis, who came from Indiana to DeLand to start a law school for Stetson University, was among the founders of the Landis Graham French law firm that still serves Volusia County today. Her father, Erskine Landis, also was a lawyer with the firm.