Thursday, February 25, 2010
Hospitality has been a topic of discussion the past few weeks during our basketball road trips.
Webster’s defines it as “treating guests with warmth and generosity.”
It goes a long way in bringing people back – again and again.
It goes a long way in having travelers talk well about your town and spread the good news.
Such as – “They were so nice. I’d visit there again.”
Then on the other side – one bad experience can keep folks away.
For the most part, our road travels were great. It made us aware of things to see right here in our home state and once again assured us that Mississippi’s Southern hospitality is the best.
This past weekend, the tournament was in Indianola but we stayed in Greenwood for a couple of reasons – first, no available rooms in Indianola when we tried to book one; second, Emma was driving up from Hattiesburg to join us and we knew it would be a bit closer for her.
I’d been through Greenwood many times but never stayed overnight.
The folks behind the hotel front desk were some of the best. They smiled, were very kind and rolled out the welcome mat.
Just 10 minutes after we had checked into our room, they called, “Mr. Burleson, is everything OK? Do you need anything?”
A few minutes later we had to call them back. There was a problem with the TV. We could not control the volume, and it was very loud.
In about five minutes this time, they had a very nice maintenance man in our room – taking out that TV and then bringing us another one.
That hospitality at the Best Western on Highway 82 continued throughout the weekend.
And Erin, our 8-year-old, always enjoys an indoor swimming pool.
Saturday, I drove about a mile to a convenience store for some drinks and snacks. Again, there was a smiling lady behind the counter who wanted to make sure my brief visit was enjoyable. We struck up a conversation about the weather and such.
And of course, she said, “Thanks and come back” – simple words that mean so much.
We ate out a couple of times. Both turned out to be good experiences.
At one restaurant late Friday night, the manager brought all of our orders, except for Pam’s. He went back to check. The waitress came and apologized. It took awhile, but in the end, the manager gave us a discount on our bill and again was very apologetic.
We had similar good experiences on the road at Indianola and Madden (we stayed in Philadelphia).
We also toured the Jim Henson Museum housed at the Leland Chamber of Commerce building (our second visit there in three years).
We visited the historic Williams Brothers Store in Philadelphia. It was founded in 1907. It was featured in National Geographic in 1939 as a source of anything from “needles to horse collars.” You can still purchase about anything you want there today – from groceries to clothing. Their butchers cut slabs of bacon for you right there in the front of the very busy store.
Mississippi is a great state – largely because of its special places to visit and its true Southern hospitality.
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