Not birthday, Booty day. Today is the day that I ride my ever-lovin' ass off. The generosity of my friends has resulted in a hair over $1500 in donations to the 24 Hours of Booty ride (not too late, you can still go to my fundraising page and give), which is far more than I ever expected when I started this quest.
Yes, I know that equates to 30 laps, or 90 miles to ride.
No, I don't expect to actually be able to ride 90 miles in one day and survive.
But I'll ride as much as I can until I drop. I expect to get 10 laps pretty easily, and I'm gonna shoot for 15 laps, which will be 45 miles. I'll take some pictures, and I've got the laptop charging so that I can update the blog as the evening goes along (assuming I can find some free wifi around a college campus, shouldn't be a problem).
Our office has raised more than $13,000 for this cause, nearly 10x what we raised last year, and even though I don't think I have a snowball's chance in hell of riding all the miles you guys have paid for, I'm gonna have a good time, and I appreciate the hell outta you folks digging deep into your pockets to make often hammer-shaped donations to this cause. I'll do it again next year, and hopefully by then there will be a lot less of me to drag around on these laps, and I can actually ride 90 miles without crippling myself.
So thanks to all who donated, and to all who pimped my cause on your blogs, I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart. I'm dedicating this ride to my friends and family who I've lost to cancer, and my friends that are survivors. Here's a little about them.
Joe Stewart - I was 11 when I first saw my father cry. Joe was my best friend Suzanne's dad, and at that age we'd never heard of leukemia, but we got a first-hand look at the effects as this friendly, gregarious man withered to nothing. This was more than 20 years ago, so he had to be flown cross-country for a new experimental procedure called a bone marrow transplant. When Suzanne would go visit her dad in the hospital, she packed Cheerwine to take cross-country to him since he couldn't get any in California. The bone marrow transplant didn't work, and we lost Joe after a year of fighting. That was the first time I remember seeing my dad cry, which shook my world at 11.
Debbie Cowan Moore - I never met my mother-in-law, and it's because of her breast cancer that I have the wife I now adore. Suzy dropped out of college after her sophomore year to move back to Charlotte when her mom was diagnosed. It took her almost two years to die, and Suzy lived with her for the last few months. Less than a year after her mom passed, she started school at Winthrop, and that's how we met. So a rose blooms in the snow sometimes after all.
Dennis Kay - I've written about Dennis a couple of times, how his approach to Shakespeare made the Bard more appealing to me, and how he didn't care if I only had a dozen lines of so in the whole play, my understanding of them was at least as important as the lead's. He helped me love Shakespeare's words, and did a lot to demystify the work for me.
Caroline Crawford - I owe most of my career to Caroline. She demystified lighting for the stage for me, and made me love it. We only worked on a couple of shows together, but I learned a lot about design, a lot about faking design, and a lot about having a good time doing theatre from her. We lost her to a resurgence of breast cancer right after I graduated, and it sucked because we thought she had beaten it. Every time I get a paycheck, I should think of her, and I remember her all too seldom as the years pass.
Blair Beasley - of all these people, I miss Blair the most. He was my mentor, my professor, my directing teacher and my friend. I can hear him telling stories in rehearsal, hear him criticizing some of my directing choices, and hear him helping me clean up my blocking. He's missed by not just me, O'Neill feels it every bit as strongly as I do, as do so many other folks that went through the Winthrop theatre department.
Ed Chapin - he's a friend's father-in-law, and even as cancer ravages him, he still manages to be a better poker player than I am. We had the saddest and most fulfilling poker game I've ever been part of a couple of weeks ago at his house, me, T, Warbucks, Special K, Ed and his son Chip. K wrote it up better than I ever could. Go read his story.
Shelley Jiles - Shelley was our Kate in the first run of Shrew, and she was diagnosed with cancer a little less than a year ago. Right after we opened Shrew, she was pronounced cancer-free for six months, and it's a testament to her fighting spirit that she beat this fucker.
Nate Frankel - Crazy Nate is a home-game regular and a cancer survivor. He's a calling-station, a pot-stealer and the guy most likely to call you down on every street with an underpair, but he fought cancer a lot harder than he plays poker, and he's also one of the most valuable volunteers the Charlotte theatre scene has ever met. He's always working at some theatre or the other, building sets, organizing ushers, running box office, or generally being around to help out. He made our summer at Theatre Charlotte more of a success than we could have hoped for, and he's a helluva guy.
That's a lot of people to carry on a bike, and some of them can ride on their own, but the ones that have gone on will be riding with me. If you're in town, come on out and watch us cruise.