NEW RICHLAND-HARTLAND-ELLENDALE-GENEVA AREA

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On Sunday, March 13, after church, Genie and I loaded our red HHR Chevrolet, set the cruise at 75 mph as we got on I35 and headed south for Harrison, Arkansas.

After crossing into Missouri, we pulled into the first rest stop. The temperature was 71, making all the nearby frogs sing their get-together spring song. An interesting sight was an Indian brave on his horse herding five huge buffalo near the rest stop.

A few miles later, we pulled into the Comfort Inn at Bethany, Missouri. We ate a very good evening meal at the “Toot, Toot Restaurant” there.

We took Missouri Highway 13 south off of I35 at Bethany to Highway 65 at Springfield, Missouri. Thus, we missed going through Kansas City, and it was about 20 miles shorter.

In a small town along 13 south at a church where the letters on the outside board are changed by hand was a great Easter message: “Easter is more than something to dye for.”

On our spring break to visit relatives Sandy and Frank Meng in Harrison, Arkansas, we stayed at the Quality Inn in Harrison. We walked in and were welcomed back by employees Janie and Carrie. Sandy and Frank took us on tours of the countryside outside of Harrison. We enjoyed lunch with Joe and Susan at their hobby farm (even a creek with a waterfall).

We had lunch at the Cliff House Inn and Restaurant overlooking the Grand Canyon of Arkansas.

Tonya, the town character, took us to the DQ for an ice cream cone while saying the treat was on her (I later found out it was free DQ cone day all across the U.S.).

Genie and I think all customer-related personnel should take a two-week training session with the Harrison Quality Inn employees to recognize how to get repeat customers. A prime example of seizing the moment to please the customer was when employees Tammy, Stacy, Katrina, Lucinda, April, Shaunna, Janie, Thomas, Tyler, Carrie, Jan, Bobby and Clancy all wore green on St. Patrick’s Day. They even served green tea at the motel guests’ free breakfast.

As we leave for home on Friday morning, Janie checks us out of the Quality Inn while giving her slow Southern drawl of a comeback, “You’re always welcome.”

We stayed at the Comfort Inn in Bethany on our way home and ate the evening meal at the “Toot, Toot Restaurant” with the same waitress as before. She remembered us, and asked if we would like the same meal as before. Genie and I looked at each other and said, “Sure.”

Madi, your rating on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the best waitress, is 12. Yes, readers, Madi remembered what we ate before and brought us exactly the same meal. When we walked into the restaurant, the hostess asked if it was O.K. if we sat at a table for six with two other people as the place was very busy and that way we wouldn’t have to wait to be seated. We gave the hostess our O.K., and she checked with the other party and they said O.K, too.

We introduced ourselves. A fourth-grade young lady and her mom from Princeton, Missouri, were most impressive. Her name was Gracie and she decided to keep Mom company while her three sisters were at their farm with Dad. Gracie, you were the highlight of our Bethany, Missouri experience.

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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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