I haven’t posted in quite a while because life has been busy and taken me on some new wondrous adventures. Until now, I haven’t been comfortable sharing this new, special part of my life. I think I wanted to keep it all to myself for a while. But I want to start writing again, so that’s going to change.
Below is an article written by my friend, Mari Hardenburg. She’s the editor of Petersburg People’s News and is close friends with my boyfriend John. (That’s the new special part I’ve been keeping to myself)
I’ve known John since I was 14. We reconnected last September, yes, via Facebook (gag). But this spring life took a u-turn for both of us and now John is moving to Franklin, TN. All the stuff in between September and now, I will share later, or maybe not :).
As I have spent quite a bit of time in VA over the last 6 months I’ve learned that John is friends with many, many folks from Petersburg. But that’s not a surprise to me because everyone who meets John loves him. It’s been that way since we were kids.
The reason for sharing this article with you is to introduce you to John as people see him today in his community. Not through my ooey-gooey, love fogged, rose colored glasses, but from their perspective, not that it’s much less biased. Ha!
Ladies and gentleman, I have the great pleasure of introducing you to John Marler.
The day before Java Mio was scheduled to open I had just about given up. There was no way all the work could be done and we could open on time. My fatalist Capricorn nature kicked in and there was no convincing me otherwise.
Enter John Marler, aka Johnny Dollar. By 3 AM, construction of the stage hadn’t even commenced. The place was in complete disarray – the bookshelves weren’t positioned or stocked, inventory was strewn all over the floor, the bathrooms hadn’t been outfitted, and half the art and menu boards were still on the ground.
For those of you who don’t know him, John Marler is a Petersburg institution. For nearly a decade John has served drinks at the Brickhouse Run. Whether in the capacity of bartender, tour guide, or citizen extraordinaire, this man has given to Petersburg and brought us together as a community. My husband and I owe the achievement of Java Mio’s grand opening to two people, stage designer and builder Todd Davis and pillar of the community John Marler.
In the wee hours of the morning, I felt exhausted and defeated. My last words were “There’s no way we’re opening tomorrow”. My husband and Johnny $ convinced me to go home and sleep and promised that when I arrived we would be ready to open. So I went home and tossed and turned for a few hours. When I walked in the door at dawn’s crack, Van was straightening books, Todd was hammering the last nails into the stage, and John was vacuuming up sawdust. I was speechless.
As I counted money into the register and began brewing coffee all I could say was “Thank you”. The sacrifice John made that night by staying up around the clock to help us meet the deadline exemplifies his character. John has been the most popular bartender here in recent memory. He has given his time, his labor, and his attention to all of us. Petersburg is losing a devoted friend with an unparalleled ability to listen – a critical skill for a bartender that John mastered like no other.
Tonight is John Marler’s last night as bartender at The Brickhouse Run. It is a bittersweet moment as I watch him making drinks and serving friends. I’m happy for him, but sad for us. We’ll miss your warm welcome, your genuine smile, and your undying love for Petersburg. Farewell friend.