The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

We Made It

Posted on | May 20, 2020 | 2 Comments

(Click photo to see full-size)

When we got to Hedgesville, we turned right and the GPS on Kirby’s phone said, “Continue west on West Virginia 9 for four miles.”

“Four miles!” my brother exclaimed.

What the heck had gotten into my head, to bring us so far out into the boondocks of Berkeley County, W.Va.? I blame Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner, who reported this week that the Longbranch Saloon and Grill in Hedgesville was actually serving beer. Sitting down in a bar and ordering a beer isn’t something you would normally think of as a special experience, but these are not normal times. After two months of COVID-19 lockdown, I was craving it. As soon as I saw Tim’s article, I resolved to follow up on his scoop and, also, do my part to help stimulate the economy. It was my duty as a patriotic American.

So I rattled the tip jar and we hit the road, Kirby driving because he is, after all, a professional driver. We got off I-81 at the Spring Mills exit and turned right, headed toward Hedgesville. I had glanced briefly at Google Maps and had a general idea that the Longbranch was out in the sticks, but how far out in the sticks it was didn’t fully register until we made that right turn at Hedgesville. “Four miles!”

Kirby began humming “Dueling Banjos” and making Deliverance jokes, which is very unkind, promoting harmful stereotypes of the Appalachian-American community. But the SPLC has never objected to hillbilly jokes, so I suppose it’s OK. Westward we rolled, and Kirby said, “Now I don’t want to hear your bitching about not having a signal.” But my phone still showed a connection until, after the appointed four miles, we turned left onto Baxter Road, at which point Kirby’s phone said, “GPS signal lost.”

Fortunately, it was only another mile to the Longbranch, and after a few winding curves, there it was on the right side of the road. So I got out of the car, walked up to the front door and . . . locked.

What? Had Tim lied to me? Then I remembered what Ace had said about Carney being one of those spineless #NeverTrump cucks, and I was just about ready to believe it. We’d driven a long way for this, however, and I wasn’t giving up so easy. So I walked around to the side of the building and heard voices coming from inside. Grabbing the knob on the side door, I turned and . . . open!

Looking inside, I saw this was the back of the kitchen, not an entrance for customers. “Hello? Anybody home?”

No answer. But I headed around back, trying to see if there was anyone around, and was just about to give up when a guy came out of the kitchen.

“Can I help you?”


+ – + – + – + – +

Wanted to give readers the first half of the story, because you hit the freaking tip jar, but right now I’m on deadline for a column tomorrow for The American Spectator, a column that has nothing to do with taverns in West Virginia, so in the morning, I’ll pick this up where I left off.

UPDATE: Click here for Part Two of the story.



2 Responses to “We Made It”

  1. Dining at the Longbranch : The Other McCain
    May 21st, 2020 @ 10:48 am

    […] (This is the second of two parts. Click here to read first part.) […]

  2. West Virginia’s COVID-19 ‘Hot Spot’ : The Other McCain
    May 23rd, 2020 @ 7:58 am

    […] our trip to the Longbranch Saloon in Hedgesville, W.Va., I discovered that we had actually been in more danger than I […]