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Have you heard the people on the radio who go on about how they went online and found a four-star hotel room in mid-town Manhattan for 50 bucks a night?
It's not just one guy, there are dozens of them talking about how many luxury hotel rooms are out there begging to be snapped up.
I never paid much attention to those ads, but maybe I should have because the other day a tourist-type stopped and asked me to recommend a good local hotel. After I named what I thought was a likely candidate, the tourist then asked, “How many stars?”
“How many what?” I asked. “Stars? Movie stars? Whada'ya mean stars?”
The stranger then explained - slowly so I could understand - that he wanted to know how well the hotel did in its rating, and that was determined by how many stars it had - one to five.
“I have no clue,” I responded.
In Maine in summer you expect questions like: “Where's a good place to eat?” “Any good fishing places around here?” “A good place to put in a canoe, get a lobster, buy some smelts?”
But we now have people driving around Maine, driving past some of the most beautiful scenery on the planet wasting their precious vacation time worrying about how many stars their hotel has? Time was when people were just happy to visit Maine to escape the heat and high prices. Those tourists were content to rent a neat but not too gaudy cabin in the piney woods, and they were more concerned with how many stains there were on the carpet, not stars on the sign.
I might as well say right off I don't like the way Maine's heading if it's attracting this type of star-struck tourist. The roads are clogged enough already.
Speaking of star-struck, back home years ago the movie star and director Robert Montgomery and a bunch of other Hollywood-types came into the harbor in a big fancy yacht and everyone in town was talking about it. Montgomery, in case you don't go back that far, made his movie debut in 1929 in a blockbuster called, “So This is College” and was nominated for two Academy Awards in the 1930s and '40s.
Anyway, the town was abuzz. “Been down to see the yacht Robert Montgomery's on?” or “Did you know that Robert Montgomery was in the harbor last night?”
Anyway, this famous movie star went into Jordan's Market in town to get some groceries, and a lot of the locals followed him in to see what he'd buy. Mr. Jordan, however, was not impressed. Montgomery wanted to pay with a check from a California bank and Mr. Jordan asked to see an ID, just like he would have done with anyone else. Those standing around watching were shocked.
I don't know for sure, but I bet Mr. Jordan never asked how many stars a hotel had, either.
John McDonald is a humorist and storyteller who performs regularly
throughout New England. John’s e-mail address is mainestoryteller@yahoo.com.
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