Mason County News
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The Unfairmont
Wednesday, June 25, 2008 • Posted June 25, 2008

As soon as my wife and I pulled up in front of the Fairmont Hotel in Dallas, we were attacked by a gang of thugs. One tried to open my door, one went for my wife’s door, and another tried to get into the back of the car to grab our luggage.

Luckily, all the doors were locked, but these guys just stood there and waited. Like I was going to open my door with them hulking out there like a bunch of buzzards. I started to open my cell phone to call 911, but my wife stopped me. She said, “It’s OK, it’s just the valets. They’re supposed to do that.”

Last year, for my wife’s anniversary, I took her to what I thought was a really nice place. We stayed in a sort of treehouse built on a bluff overlooking the torpid San Saba River, which provided the only running water available. Until a storm almost washed us off the bluff, that is. There was electricity, more or less, but no bathroom or shower, and the trail we had to use to get to the treehouse was steep enough that a rope would have been handy, if there’d been a rope. There wasn’t.

This year Jocelynn indicated a step up would not be out of line. For some reason she’s opposed to mosquitoes and the threat of drowning. Plus, she prefers her water somewhat clear, and in both hot and cold denominations. And she doesn’t care to have to carry it in jugs down the side of a cliff.

So I did a little snooping and found what I thought must be a condo sales agency in downtown Dallas. Judging by the prices they posted on the internet, I figured the rooms must be for sale. Come to find out, the prices were just for one night’s rent. But I was determined to take Jocelynn to a nice place, so I made a reservation.

Once I found out the valets were not your average, garden-variety robbers, but a different kind of thieves who expect enormous tips just for doing their jobs, I unlocked the car and got out. By the time I got to the back of the car one of them was already pulling our bags out. I acted like I knew karate or something, and told him I would carry my own bags, thanks all the same. He looked at me as if I had handed him a fresh cow patty, but he backed off.

Before I could get anywhere another thug asked for my keys. I told him I could park the car myself, but he said they didn’t allow that. He wanted to put it in their garage to keep the other thieves away from it. It’s like a protection racket, which I thought was illegal, but there you go.

When I went inside to see about our room, I found out they intended to charge me $21 to park the car in their garage overnight. I said, “But I’m staying in the hotel.” They didn’t care.

Our room, or suite of rooms, was, without question, fantastic. There was a living room with a couch and some chairs and a huge plasma television, and the room was big enough to sight in a rifle, if I’d brought one. The bedroom was almost as large, with another big plasma TV, and our hosts had thoughtfully provided a bottle of water on each nightstand beside the bed. I started to open one but Jocelynn stopped me. She was reading a piece of paper she found on the bed, and it said they were happy to leave the water for us, and if we opened it we would only have to pay them eight bucks. For each bottle. The thieves were not all on the outside of the hotel.

Since we figured it would be a bad idea to risk death and dismemberment by driving any more than necessary in Dallas, we went to the restaurant in the hotel for supper. One fellow, in a tux, seated us, although there were about twenty tables and only two were occupied. Then our waiter came over, called us by name, and started trying to push the house wine, probably raspberry ripple. We ordered tea, but then the waiter left and another guy came and tried again to talk us into the wine. They must have had a bunch of it that wasn’t moving.

Finally we got hold of a menu by threatening to eat the silverware. The cheapest thing on the menu was a hamburger, and it cost $28. Granted, it had bacon, but still. The prices on the rest of the menu took care of our appetites.

The Dallas Fairmont is a really wonderful place to stay, especially if you’ve just robbed a bank. As my dad used to say in situations like this – I cannot recommend it too highly.

What I can recommend too highly is last year’s treehouse . . .

Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist and public speaker who would like to invite Jose, the manager of the Dallas Fairmont, to come to Mason for a visit. Write to him at PO Box 1600, Mason, Tx 76856 or

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