A Perfect Day in August

As told by John Mark Shaver

man in green shirt adding mustard to a hot dog in a restaurant kitchen

It’s a new month and that means it’s time for another Perfect Day in Marion

If you haven’t been following along, every month of 2019 I’ve made an itinerary of what a Perfect Day could look like in Marion. This month, I’ve handed the metaphorical reigns to someone who grew up here and who’s active here.

This Perfect August Day is brought to you by John Mark Shaver, editor of The Fairmont News and a lifelong West Sider.  

His Perfect August Day in Marion is on whatever Saturday you prefer. So pick your Saturday and go to… 

inside diner that has a 50's theme

John Mark’s Perfect Day starts with a classic country breakfast at DJ’s, The Classic Combo: country fried steak with country gravy (duh), eggs and home fries. (It’s not country unless there are home fries.)

“They always bring the bacon like I want them to,” John Mark said before reminiscing. “I was there when we all thought Hawaii was going to be bombed. Remember that? They accidentally sent out an emergency alert. I was eating breakfast at DJ’s Diner, and it was on the tv. Good times.”

  • The Walk. 

“This is a thing I used to do a lot as a kid in middle school and high school. If this is a perfect day, we’re gonna do that again. The boys are in tow. We are going to go on The Walk.”

He considered going to Morris Park with “the boys” and playing some Pokemon Go, but he changed his mind. “Scratch out Morris Park. We’re not doin’ Morris Park. Can’t do more than one walk.”

The Walk, as he and “the boys” have christened it, is in Barrackville and begins at John Mark’s best friend’s grandpa’s house. For simplicity’s sake, however, just note that The Walk begins at Buffalo Creek. 

“It didn’t start out as The Walk. We had our little area out by the creek in the woods, and one day we just said ‘Let’s keep walking.’ And we kept walking, and we found the train tracks, and we said ‘Let’s cross the train tracks and see where we end up.’ And we ended up at the Barrackville Covered Bridge, except for that one time we ended up in Belleview.”

In a quick rundown of the route, he said to walk to the train tracks, cross the train tracks, loop back around and you’re at the Covered Bridge. However, if you’re not so sure about finding this amorphous trail, you’ve got some other options of wild, wonderful woodland walks Rail Trails, Valley Falls and Curtisville Lake, to name a few.

After such an epic adventure, his perfect lunch on a Perfect Day is hotdogs. I asked him why. His response: “Why do you breathe air? Why do you like that? Yeah, because they’re hotdogs. You get the medium sauce, cheese, and onions: a classic West Virginia treat. People want to say it’s pepperoni rolls, but they’re wrong.” 

As you might be imagining, he said this with the conviction of someone who’s already had this fight … a few times.

comic book store front

He said he’s not big on shopping, but he does go to Comic Paradise Plus for obvious reasons: comics. 

As I pried into his life, asking questions about his comic shopping habits, he stated, “You know absolutely nothing about comic books.” And that’s true, so thank goodness he decided to explain it because – drum roll please – he doesn’t actually buy comic books.

“There are the books that come out every month that are like $3. … I don’t care about those. I like to pay like $20 or $25, and it’s more of a book. It’s like a paperback collection of 20 different issues. Those are called trades. And I like shopping for trades.”

“Take me up for a double feature at Tygart Valley Cinema!” is what he decided he’d do next.

In August, two John-Mark-approved movies are coming out: Ready or Not and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark based on his favorite children’s horror stories series.

Why Tygart Valley? 

“It’s less expensive. It’s closer. I like the atmosphere… It’s home. It’s not some big AMC or Cinemark comin’ in and gettin’ all flashy with me. It’s Tygart Valley, you know what I mean?” 

I do indeed know what he means. 

a plate of nachos topped with pork and jalapeño peppers

“Yeah, go to The Root with the boys, have some beers and have some pork nachos.”

Founders Rubaeus (when it’s on draft) is his beer of choice at The Root. He said the food is some of the best, with the aforementioned nachos a prime example of the perfect combination of nachos, beer cheese and veggies. 

For John Mark and many like-minded humans, this is nothing short of a Perfect August Day in Marion. It’s not my typical Saturday – and that kind of makes it better! – so this is an itinerary I’ll have to follow!

When I said this to John Mark, his response was, “I do do stuff, that’s right!… Marion County’s great; come visit it! What a time it is!”

What’s your idea of a perfect day in Marion County?


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