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After church on Sunday, March 15, Genie and I got in the HHR Chevrolet and put the cruise on as we entered I-35 southbound to our Spring Break destination with Sandy and Frank Meng at their residence in Harrison, Arkansas.

Our first night’s stay was the Comfort Inn at Bethany, Missouri. At the recommendation of the desk clerk, we ate the evening meal at the Toot Toot Restaurant in Bethany. The price was right, the food was good, and the articles on the wall were most interesting, for example, the pictorial display of the first to the last Studebaker car made.

We enjoyed breakfast the next morning at the Comfort Inn with Rob Reed of Ontario, Canada and Maureen and Julian Smischney of the Keliher, Minnesota area. Rob reminded us to drive safely and “Remember, for every one mile of freeway there are two miles of ditches.” Many years ago while visiting at Keliher, I helped put in the sidewalk at their church. (Small world, isn’t it?)

Up and away the next day, we arrived at our Harrison, Arkansas destination early that evening, staying at the Quality Inn.

We noticed a major similarity between Missouri and Arkansas housing. If you lived in town, the house had a porch facing the street. If you lived in the country, you had Black Angus cattle with a man-made pond in addition to the house with a porch.

The temperature on the way to Harrison was in the 70s with sunshine.

With the nice day, many of the chairs and rockers on the porches were occupied. Every porch resident waved when I honked the horn as we went by. Once again the friendliness of the South was very evident. (Genie and I decided to sit on the porch at the Norwegian Meng residence – sure enough, the cars honked and waved as they went by.)

Also staying at the Quality Inn was the Lake Region State College baseball team from Devils Lake, North Dakota. Per the coach, the team was very consistent. One of the team members explained the consistency as meaning their trip to play Southern teams was 0-7.

While we were at the Quality Inn, the NCAA Basketball Tournament was being played. Talk was about the Elite Eight. I checked and the reference was to Carrie, Jan, Ernie, Tiffany, Tom, Tyler, Andrew and Janie (the front desk crew at the Quality Inn).

Frank and Sandy took us to Cliff House Restaurant overlooking the Arkansas Grand Canyon. Wow! They also took us to The Diner, the local persons café where the customers know the employees as well as each other by first name.

Trivia of the one-week spring break:

Tonya has the ability to eat her cocoanut cake and part of mine even though I objected.

Two maintenance employees were prom mates in high school – now they’re married mates. Mark is only a supervisor at work while April is a CEO at home. 

Newton County, Arkansas has the county seat at Jasper. Jasper County in Iowa has the county seat at Newton.

“Minnesota Nice” is an excellent definition of the housekeeping department of the Quality Inn in Harrison, Arkansas.

The Ozark Mountains are in Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.

Genie and I celebrated the first day of spring by going to the DQ!


Bob is a retired AAL (Aid Association for Lutherans) agent, currently working on his master’s degree in Volunteering. His wife, Genie, is a retired RN, currently working on her doctor’s degree in Volunteering. They have two children, Deb in North Carolina, and Dan in Vermont. Bob says if you enjoy his column, let him know. If you don’t enjoy it, keep on reading, it can get worse. Words of wisdom: There is always room for God.

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