Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Little Town, Big Personality
May 14: I woke around dawn bent on getting to Little Orleans and a bed for the night before the rains came again. We packed up our temporary homes and left without disturbing a homeless man who had shown up during the night on a bicycle, coming from who knows where. The poor fellow had slept underneath the picnic table whilst the rain fell.
We quickly ate up 7.1 miles of ground and arrived in Little Orleans. I've never been to Orleans, France, but they certainly got the Little part right. There are only three buildings of note in the village. The first we visited was Bill's Place, where Swagman and I relaxed with a beer and lunch. Bill is ninety and suffering from lung cancer, but he is still clearly the man in charge. His sense of humor is everywhere, from the can labeled deer ass holes behind the bar to the sign in front of the kitchen reading quityerbitchin.
We paid up and moseyed down to the Old Schoolhouse, now run as a hostel under the name Little Orleans Lodge. There I met Steve who, Swagman had warned me, was quite a character. The 75 year old did not disappoint, constantly cracking jokes, many of them directed at his son Jay, who gave back as good as he got. They reminded me a bit of Archie Bunker and Meathead from "All in the Family."
Steve was a more than gracious host, driving us to a picturesque scenic overview nearby where the Union had held an artillery position above a horseshoe bend in the Potomac. On our way down we passed by St Patrick's Church, the third building of import in L.O. The churchyard there holds the graves of soldiers from the Civil War and WW I, plus victims of the influenza epidemic of 1919.
Later on in the evening, Steve and Jay took us down the National Pike and across the Mason-Dixon Line (one of their original surveyor stones still lies beside the road) into Pennsylvania. Our destination was the Roadkill Cafe in Artemas, motto: you kill it, we grill it. I was a bit of a wimp, settling for the chicken that didn't cross the road. The Smear of Deer and Awesome Possum are local favorites and the bold can play "Guess that Mess." Those canny enough to figure out what they are eating earn a free meal.
7 miles/249 total miles