Monday, September 19, 2011

An AIDS Walk of Our Own

The Vancouver AIDS Walk has been an annual event on my calendar since the first one was held 26 years ago. I think I've participated in the Walk every year that I've been in town - and that's been for most of them. This year, unfortunately, I'm going to be away for the weekend; however, I still registered for the Walk to try and play my part in raising a few dollars for the deserving agencies and charities that benefit.

I'm not entirely sure how many dollars I've helped raised over the years, but I know that it's been over $10,000 in the last five years alone. Knowing that family, friends and colleagues were sponsoring me yet again, I wanted to honour their commitment and pay my respect for the cause as well. The actual Walk was taking place on the upcoming Sunday, but Boo and I completed our own private walk of the course on the Wednesday night before. We also took the opportunity to take our time and enjoy a couple of stops along the route - the first being at the AIDS Memorial at Sunset Beach.

We took the time to place a red ribbon where my brother, Ron's name had been carved into the memorial. We also opened a bottle of wine to toast his memory and the memory of other friends of mine who were lost to this terrible illness.

918. 2004 Langmeil Three Gardens (Barossa Valley - Australia)

Truth be known, Ronnie would have likely preferred to knock back a shot of premium vodka - whether neat or in a martini - over sipping a glass of wine. But, if wine was all that was available, he'd no doubt roll his eyes, give a big "harumph" and ask for the biggest glass there was.

I think even Ronnie would have approved of the wine I brought along tonight though. Langmeil has long been a favourite of mine and you'll find a number of their wines and vintages on The List. This SGM blend (Shiraz, Grenache, Mourvèdre - 48/42/10) hasn't always been my first choice for a Langmeil wine but there was a bit of Fall in the air and a nice juicy red helped to warm us through the occasion. With 7 or so kilometres to walk, we didn't plan a whole picnic and the absence of food might have made the wine a bit much for simple drinking, but the big fruit and spice coming through on the wine seemed appropriate for toasting Ron.

This year's course for the AIDS Walk followed the Seawall past English Bay and around Lost Lagoon in Stanley Park. It just so happens that our family and Ron's friends sponsored a park bench in his memory and the Walk route wandered right past the bench. It was a second natural rest point and perfect location to raise our wine glass yet again. The lighting was starting to fade though and we still had to make our way back to the start; so, with wine glass (and the remnants of our bottle) in hand, we finished our tour of Lost Lagoon and started on our way home.

As beautiful as the route and the sentiments behind the event, I would much rather that there not be a need for the AIDS Walk. I fear, however, we're still a far cry from reaching that point. I'll just try and keep playing my small part in supporting the cause. On that note, I'll send a public shout out to everyone that sponsored me, yet again, this year. As of the time of our little jaunt, I'm happy to say that my total pledges were just over $2600.

That's worth a toast in itself.

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