On our first morning there, the tables in the continental breakfast room were full so we went poolside with our plates.
As IÂ moseyed through the food line, I had noticed lots of people dishing up biscuits and gravy. None of that for me thank you. Iâ€™ll have more to say about biscuits and gravy in a minute.
I had just sat down in a chair by the water to enjoy a hardboiled egg and raspberry yogurt when I nearly came up out of it again. From pure pleasure! Itâ€™s rare, if ever, you hear Christian music playing over a motelâ€™s sound system.
But there they were, the Newsboys singing:Â ItÂ is you we adore, it is You praises are for, only You the heavens declare, it is You it is You. And holy holy is our God almighty, and holy holy is His name alone, yeah. And holy holy is our God almighty, and holy holy is His name alone. It is You we adore, it is You only You.
What a beautiful way to begin a day in Branson, Mo., a popular vacation spot for people from absolutely everywhere.
We have just returned from Branson. It was ourÂ fourth time down there but our first stay at the motel I want to tell you about.Â WeÂ metÂ Grand Forks friends, Joe and LaVonne Hootman there as theÂ guys like Bransonâ€™s golf courses and we gals like to shop — theÂ outlet malls as well asÂ Branson Landing, a retail and entertainment area on the banks of the beautiful Taneycomo River.
I was so impressed withÂ the Best Western Center Pointe Inn where we stayed. The minute I walked in our room I spotted an open Bible on the table â€“ open to Psalm 23 through 27. The Gideonâ€™s supply Bibles to motels, but usually they are tucked away in a drawer. Not here.
And beside the Bible was a sign which read:
To Our Guests â€“ â€œIn ancient times there was a prayer for â€˜The Stranger within Our Gates.â€™ Because we care about our guests, we pray that God will grant you peace and rest while you are under our roof. May this room and hotel be your â€œsecondâ€ home and may those you love be near you in your thoughts and dreams. May your stay with us be an enjoyable one and may you feel as comfortable as if you were in your own home.â€
I was so comfortable I slept better than I do at home.
After hearing Christian music (which I love) playing in the lobby, the breakfast room, around the pool and in theÂ gift shop, I had to ask questions. Iâ€™m a former reporter you know.
Team members fondly spoke of the owners, the Myer family, who haveÂ been in the hotel business for 40 years. They now have six hotels in Branson. One team member pointed out a large andÂ beautiful family portraitÂ hanging in the lobby. It’s a three generation photo. I was also told that onÂ paydays, a Scripture verse is included with the checks.
It all began with the mom and dad, Carroll and Janice Myer. According to a story in the American Family Association Journal by Randall Murphree, Carroll and Janice left their Iowa farm in 1967 to buy a motel in Nebraska that had 21 rooms. Each rented for $6 a night. After being in the hotel business in Nebraska, Colorado, Missouri and Arkansas, Carroll and Janice settled in Branson in 1983. During their 27 years in the Branson lodging industry Myer Hotels has received 87 national awards and honors.
The Myersâ€™ son, Chris, is vice president of marketing, and their son, Gail, is vice president of operations. I met Chris when he stopped in at our hotel. He told me the family considers theirÂ business â€œa ministry. Weâ€™re serving people and helping them have a wonderful time,â€ he said.
For the Myer family, the idea of true service is profoundly ingrained in their Christian faith. On their website: www.myerhotels.com, their mission statement reads: Christian values and ethics guide all the decisions and efforts.
Chris Myer also was among organizers of CleanHotels (www.cleanhotels.com) a network of lodging facilities that do not offer in-room â€œadultâ€ pay-per-view movies. In the American Family Association Journal story by Murphree, Chris is quoted as saying, â€œHospitality is not inviting people into your house and putting in pornography. We developed this Web site to have a place where people can go to find hotels that donâ€™t offer adult porn. And we have hotels coming to the site all the time and saying, â€œAdd us to the site.â€
From now on, we will stay at a Myer hotel when we visit Branson. Being there just feels right.Â
Now, about those biscuits and gravy. They are all the rage these days and motels are serving them as part of their continental breakfast. We found that to be true in South Dakota as well. I know people love biscuits and gravy, and I do, too, but not together and not for breakfast for goodness sake!Â Biscuits were made for honeyÂ and gravy is for mashed potatoes at suppertime.
More about Branson — the people we met — the shows we saw — is forthcoming.