The Omelet Shoppe. It’s a magical place where the craziest things can happen after 2am. During the college years, the Omelet Shoppe was the place to go if you were hungry in the middle of the night. Mostly because, in our tiny college town at the turn of the millennium, the sidewalks rolled up at 9pm. Getting to the Omelet Shoppe was roughly a 20 minute drive from campus, but it’s worth it at 3 in the morning when Ramen just won’t cut it. Now, you may never have experienced the late night/early morning Omelet Shoppe visit. But it’s possible you get the same experience from a Waffle House, or, to a lesser extent, the Huddle House. Don’t try to get the same experience from IHOP or Denny’s. Those places are way too classy to get legendary after 2am.
All through those many visits to the Omelet Shoppe, I was under the impression that a trip to that fabled restaurant just wasn’t the fuel you used to get there unless you came away with a legendary story to tell. I’m happy to say I have a few of those legendary stories to share.
The first of those stories is an introduction to an angel of a woman. Her name was Gertie. If I could personally introduce you to her, I would do so. If you ever find yourself in Princeton, West Virginia between 11pm and 7am, you should stop in to the Omelet Stop (formerly the Omelet Shoppe) and sit in her section. I’m pretty sure she still works there. You could do a lot worse than an egg sandwich and some hot chocolate.
Gertie’s a sweet old German gal that could have probably been a linebacker in the NFL in her younger years. I’m fairly certain she saved my life once, but that’s a deeper story for another time. For now, just let me paint a picture of how special this lady was to the students of Bluefield College.
A couple paragraphs up, I said that it wasn’t a good trip to the Omelet Shoppe unless you came away with a story. It was equally disappointing if we showed up on a night when Gertie had the night off. For four years, Gertie became a part of our lives a little more with every visit. She grew to mean so much to us that a group of us even named our flag football team after her. Actually, I wasn’t allowed to play, because I’m a dropper. But I did cheer for the Gerties, who had a pretty good run during the intramural season. Thanks, I’m sure, in part to the fact that I was not allowed to play.
Back in 2003, when a lot of us were graduating, we invited her to commencement. Unfortunately, she had to work the night before, making a day at Bluefield College next to impossible. But I hope that we were able to make some kind of impression on her, because she sure left an impression on us.