Roadtrippin’ to Champaign, Illinois for a Bottle Rockets show at the swanky High Dive last week with Heidi, our first stop was Cumberland, Maryland, where we were mighty tempted by the Slumberland. Wordplay does so lend itself to motels, taverns and beauty parlors. Locally owned motels summon me. Just how many shades of tile will be interlocked in the shower? And tell me, what is a CDNT DIS and do I qualify? Maryland Masala, we will miss you.
Wheeling, Double U Vee Ay, Coleman’s at Centre Market, was our intended stop for lunch. LUNCH!?! We squeaked in one hour before closing on Friday evening, after sitting, ignition quieted, for two hours, reasons unknown, in western Maryland. A nail biter for the tour director, me. Eeeeek.
Heavily overcast skies blanketed Wheeling’s small town, down-at-the-heels somberness. A dozen classic cars and hot rods lined a sloping street, while that-side-of-middle-age admirers slouched about or hunched over the PA. Beige folding tables, a handful of plastic chairs. One size fits all tees and wisping white bits or boinging grey pincurls emerging from unisex ballcaps.
Inside, Coleman’s at Centre Market hopped. Not a sock hop.
Built in 1853, the Upper Market House is the only cast iron columned market house in the country. The building has 54 hollow Roman Doric columns cast in Wheeling, Virginia. Every other column innovatively acted as a downspout for the roof. The building was constructed as an open market, but was enclosed in 1886. This market house has been in continuous operation since the mid-nineteenth century.
A popular notion, Friday evening Fishwiches, in Wheeling, come to find out. Busyness prevailed. A hatted, hair-netted lady up to her elbows in SBP (standard breading procedure) kindly directed our snapshotting to the ordained below-sign, outdoor location. Getouttahere, she smiled, between the lines.
Heidi was on a bit of a slaw jag, even going so far as to state, “I love cabbage.” Quite bold of her. Dang those fries are perky, but we were unswayed as we had already payed, and the potato cheer squad was situated beyond the cash register.
The meal was sand cheap, so to speak. I hadda regular. Separate line for the deluxe and I would have suffered separation anxiety from Heidi who was feeling her irregularly regular self. Chowda. Did they mean that?
That girl Heidi, my partner in dishdemeanors takes such elegant photos. She ate chicken of the earth. Shhhhhhh. Regularly irregular.
I conformed. Fishwich, chowdA, (they were all outta oyster stew, which I have craved since), and oyster crackers, or, er, um, clam crackAs. Tartar, tA tA!