Lori and Mike Venturini Meeting Famous People

Owning a bed and breakfast in Jonesville, Michigan, has brought us in contact with a diverse selection of people from many walks of life. Out here, the opportunity to host someone famous is pretty slim. This is not a tourist destination with hot spots for the rich and famous to frequent. There are no amusement parks, national shrines, mountains, or lakes that would attract actors, athletes, musicians, politicians, or other notorious people. This is a quiet place to getaway and be anonymous. There is a slim chance that any paparazzi are going to be hanging out here waiting to capture the next gaff by a pop star.  I guess that makes the Munro House a great getaway spot for folks who don’t want to be bothered.

Stone Cold Steve Austin

Stone Cold Steve Austin

A few years ago, my wife was going to the video store and ran into a professional wrestling icon that was on hiatus from World Wrestling Entertainment to promote a local wrestling league. Imagine her surprise to run into Stone Cold Steve Austin outside Cavoni’s Italian Restaurant in Hillsdale, Michigan. He wasn’t staying with us, but it would have been cool if he had.

I have met a few famous people in my life and have learned that it is just not cool to barge in on them at first sight. There is a definite technique to wait for an appropriate moment to discreetly approach them and not cause a scene, or to just walk away.

Jared from Subway

Jared from Subway

Recently, we were at an airport and I told my wife, Lori, “look, over there, that’s Jared from the Subway commercials.” She doubted my observation, so I went to the check-in counter to confirm my suspicion. The counter person told us that that was in fact Jared from Subway and that he was a very nice man who traveled on that airline often and was very approachable. We scoped out an inconspicuous spot to wait for his return. The next thing I knew, there were girls squealing and cameras flashing as other people noticed who he was and made a commotion. The plane began to board and Jared was surrounded by gawkers. It just happened that he sat about 5 rows behind us on the plane. He was very cordial and talked to everyone within earshot for the entire flight. My opportunity to talk to him never came, but it was interesting to observe how well he handled his fame.

Cheech and Chong

Cheech and Chong

I had my very first encounter with a celebrity in my youth. We went to see a “Cheech and Chong” performance. At the time, Lori was just my girlfriend—we’ve been married for 31 years now. We decided to go for a walk after the show. When we returned, a beat up old car pulled up, the window rolled down, smoke poured out, and a Mexican guy asked “hey, man, can you tell me how to get to Chicago?” It was Cheech and Chong! They were driving themselves around the country. We shook their hands, said all the typical things people say, and I told them to follow me. We took them to the interstate, and that was it.

Ray Nitschke

Ray Nitschke

When we lived in Wisconsin, my company had a sponsorship with the Green Bay Packers that allowed me to meet the players every week for the TV taping of a highlight show during the Super Bowl seasons of the mid 90’s. I got to meet Santana Dotson, Eugene Robinson, LeRoy Butler, Reggie White, Gilbert Brown, Brett Favre, and many others. Sometimes, the players from the “glory years” would attend. That was the first of many times I got to meet Ray Nitschke. Ray was the guy I ran into the most often—on the show, on the street, in the stands, even on vacation. Ray was the guy who always had time to sign an autograph or shake a hand. Ray was the guy who’s address and phone number was listed in the phone book. Ray was the guy who made a personal video for my son who was having a little bit of trouble in school. Ray was “the man”.

We have had a few famous people in town that we didn’t get. Most were performing at a local venue or at the fair. Randy Travis and Mickey Rooney were 2 people whose handlers enquired, but their entourage was too big for us to handle. Hillsdale College has had many famous guest speakers including Clarence Thomas, Margaret Thatcher, Paul Harvey, and Dr. Laura. I think that entourage thing got in the way for them, too.

We had some almost famous people here. Just recently, Marilyn Munro stayed with us. She’s been having fun with her name all her life. She was christened before the actress became famous so she never saw a reason to change it.  Bill Russel was here, too–not the Boston Celtics star and NBA Hall of Famer, the tree trimmer from up north.  Michael Jordan has made several reservations with us–not the NBA icon, the man from Hillsdale College.  Joanie Mitchell has been here–the teacher, not not singer, along with Pamela Anderson–not from Baywatch, Cheryl Miller–not from the WNBA, Tina Turner–not the pop star, Kimberly Clark–not the paper company, and John Deer, not the tractor guy.

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