Sunday, January 16, 2011
Rochester A Tourist Mecca?
I listened in on the conversation of a couple of public-spirited Rochesterites were having recently. It seems, they agreed, that every town in the country has some sort of a tourist attraction going for them. Tourists are hungry for anything. So what does Rochester have?
A few years ago, I paid out good money up North to have the kids watch some chickens hatch. Last year in Sudbury, Ontario, we shelled out several bucks a head to take an elevator down 70 feet to a mock nickel mine. Rochester’s history, though interesting, never handed us any real exciting moments. Oh, there was the day on August 19, 1939 when the 183-foot-high Detroit Urban Railway powerhouse chimney was toppled as a huge throng watched. And there was that big day in 1872 that the first train came pulling into town. .
So far, the only suggestion I’ve heard at this point involves Joe Pinkerton, local druggist who two weeks ago was held up by a gunman who escaped with $503. You might be surprised at the tourist attraction Joe could build up if he staged a re-enactment of the “Big Hold Up of 1967” every hour on the hour over at his store. Would you pay out three bucks a head to see that?
Sorry Joe… there’s gotta something better than that.
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SPEAKING OF HOLD-UPS, last week I had my very first encounter with the Internal Revenue Service. I lost.
For weeks I’ve been waiting for my 1966 tax refund. A brown envelope finally arrived two weeks ago. Instead of a check, it turned out to be a mandatory invitation from the Pontiac IRS office to appear last week. Seems that instead of worrying about my 1966 refund, they were still concerned about my 1965 figures.
For a week I hustled through boxes and envelopes, pulling together fragments of my 1965 return. Having moved twice since then didn’t help. Figuring I had everything well organized and substantiated, I calmly entered the Federal Building in Pontiac and took a seat. A pleasant young lady approached and asked for my letter. From then on, it was sheer panic. I fumbled through pocket after pocket and couldn’t find the letter. She found my file without it. Then we sat down.
On her desk was a portable radio playing music, presumably to calm the nerves of customers. It didn’t work. I fumbled through an assortment of checks and receipts to substantiate my donations. Then came a large assortment of checks and receipts to pursue a complicated claim for medical deductions. My well-rehearsed presentation drew a blank several times. It really fell apart, however, when it came to my claim for a deduction I made for a rental property. Forty-five minutes later, I signed a documents that showed I owed another $89.12. That more than cancelled my 1965 refund claim!
Returning to my car, I reached for my car keys and from a pocket pulled out the letter I had been looking for. And still today, there’s no sign of the 1966 refund. In fact, I almost wish they would keep it all and just forget about little old me.