November 20, 2010

November 20, 2010
Pensacola Walk for Hope

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Saturday and I hope you are having a safe and great weekend so far. Our Pensacola AIDS Walk was today.

I had to be up early this morning at 5:30 am so I could shower and be ready to leave for the walk by 7am. After finding Legion field I parked the vehicle and unloaded the Dab the AIDS Bears for the table. The Department of Parks and Recreation Services was still setting up the bleachers and the tables so I took some time to speak with the people from the Escambia County Department of Health and AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

The walkers started registration at 8am and we ended up with a couple of hundred people for their first walk. They also had face painting and inflatable jumping pens for the kids set up. Around 9am, the started the Opening Ceremonies with a local television personality and then it was my time to speak. I told them about being one of the first Americans diagnosed with HIV, my work, Dab the AIDS Bear and our Teddy Bear Touchdowns for children with HIV and AIDS. They were all very nice and gave me a standing ovation after the speech.

Then they started a warm up routine before the walk started followed by the walk. I made it about half the way before my legs started bothering me so it was time to go back to the table. Local friends Scott, Darrin and Mark also showed up for the walk and helped with the table which was greatly appreciated. After the walk, we had a lot of people walk up to get their Dab the AIDS Bear and have their picture taken in support of people living with HIV and AIDS.

By the end of the walk, I was worn out and ready to head back to the house. I ended up stopping by the Coffee Cup restaurant and having a quick lunch. I grew up going to the Coffee Cup with my grandparents and parents and it was like stepping back in time. The place had not changed at all. Make me think about my Mom and Grandmother as I was sitting there eating my cheese burger and fries.

After getting back to the house, I started a load of clothes and then climbed into bed for a much needed four hour nap. When I got into bed, I noticed my left leg was swollen from being on my feet so much the past couple of days. Luckily, the swelling was down when I got up from my nap.

Dad and I sat around and talked for over an hour. Having this time to spend with him has meant so much to me. Dad has always been one of my best supporters. Not that might not sound like a big deal to some people. But my gay friends will realize how big it is. Many of my friends have been disowned by their parents for being gay and/or HIV positive. But my Dad has always told me he loves me no matter what.

Then it was time to take a shower and get ready to meet at Dick and Ike's restaurant in downtown Pensacola on Palafox. It took awhile to find a parking place because downtown was hopping with events at Seville Quarter and the Saenger. I was really impressed with the service and food at Dick and Ike's. The filet mignon was cooked to perfection and served with steamed green beas and a potato gratin dish. Our server, Caitland, did a great job and was a fantastic waitress. After dinner, we enjoyed our time talking about Pensacola, issues with the HIV/AIDS community and life in general.

Then it was time to head home and get a good night sleep. So doing my blog and then hitting the bed. Looking forward to spending my last day here with my Dad.

Hope you have a great rest of your weekend. Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab