When we here at the Dallas Voice first started talking about forming a team to participate in this year’s Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS, I didn’t speak up right away. I wasn’t sure if or how I would be able to participate.
See, I have a knee injury that dates back to a stupid human trick some years ago, and I have arthritis in both knee joints. And oh yeah, I smoke like a chimney, and I am seriously lazy.
The lazy part I was pretty sure I could overcome. I might even be able to at least cut back on the cigarettes. But the injury and the arthritis — well, I didn’t see either of those going away any time soon.
The thing is, I really wanted to participate in some way. I wanted to contribute. AIDS has taken a lot of people away from me — family and friends and coworkers — and I wanted to do something to honor them.
On top of that, in the 21 years since I first started working with Dallas Voice, I have seen — so clearly and so often — just how invaluable is the work that our AIDS service organizations do. And I know that times are hard for them; they need every penny they can get.
So I sent an e-mail to my partner at work, telling her about the discussion. I knew she would help me figure it all out, and I knew she would be honest with me about what I could and couldn’t do.
She sent me a note back right away: "I’ll do it. I know you can’t ride that far, so I’ll ride for you. I’ll represent you on the team."
I told her if she would ride, I would be in charge of raising the money she would need to participate. I told her I would support her in any way I could; I’d be her roadie.
And so it began.
I helped her find a good road bike that we could afford to buy. I bought her riding gloves and a helmet, convinced her we should invest in the special shoes and pedals that serious road bikers use.
In the evenings after work, I would load the bike into the minivan and go to the park with her to lend moral support. While she pedaled up and down the miles of concrete pathways, I wandered around with my camera, taking photos of whatever caught my eye.
But what about the fundraising part?
I sent out a few e-mails to family and friends; got commitments from people who said they would donate. But I haven’t been doing a very good job on that, which is certainly one of the most important parts of participating in the Lone Star Ride.
And then, I was struck by a flash of brilliance.
My partner is always teasing me that I spend at least half my time with a camera stuck to my face, taking photos of flowers and bugs and weird-looking clouds. She doesn’t really understand my fascination with photography, but she does indulge me (at least, most of the time).
So, I thought, since I spent so much time taking photos, why not put that to good use in my fundraising efforts?
So that’s what I am trying to do. It’s not as easy at it might sound. But thanks to James, the owner of Enchanted Forest metaphysical gift shop in Fort Worth, I have a way to do it.
I am going to print up some of my best photos — mostly landscape, floral and animal shots — and put them on note cards. And James has agreed to let me put those cards in his shop on a donation basis. I don’t expect to break any records, but every little bit helps.
I hope to have the cards in the shop in about a week or so, so if you’re over in Fort Worth, head down Lancaster to Halbert Street and stop in the Enchanted Forest to pick one up. Or you could go online to Flickr.com/tdnash, check out my photos and maybe choose one you really like. I can make you some cards, or even just a print to hang on the wall.
I know I’m no Ansel Adams. But remember, it’s for a good cause.
And maybe you want to do more than just donate a couple of bucks. If so, then sign up yourself and participate — as either a rider or a crew member. We’ve always got room for more on Team Dallas Voice!
The Lone Star Ride Journal will appear weekly in Dallas Voice through Sept. 25, the Friday preceding the Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS on Sept. 26-27.
For more information on Lone Star Ride Fighting AIDS, or to donate to Team Dallas Voice, a Team Dallas Voice member or any other rider or team, go online to LoneStarRide.org.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 17, 2009.