Charity. (n) the voluntary giving of help, typically in the form of money, to those in need.
This weekend was the MS walk in Fort Worth, Texas. We have been trying to sign up for at least 1 walk per year, as we are rather dedicated to the cause. So I made sure I was off work, we got my parents to watch baby Munkey, and we found a group of friends that wanted to be there, and created a team, Team Shoutouts.
We all met at the world famous Fort Worth Stock Yards, the site for this years walk. Unfortunately Mrs. Ninjamunkey has been battling a stomach virus all night the night before, and I was battling the effects of several rounds of beer from the neighbor’s birthday party. Hey it was an ice cold keg, what was I to do?
Mrs. Ninjamunkey had checked her blood pressure at Wal-Mart that afternoon, as we were picking up a knee brace for old man Ninjamunkey’s knee, and really did not do too hot. She was light headed and weak, and generally not feeling well. We pressed on.
Meeting James in the parking lot, and finding Robert and Rachel in the sign in line, our team was assembled, and it was time to go looking for swag. You see there are about 900 billion drug and drug like companies that want to get their name out there, so they hand out everything from M&M candies to sunblock. We walked the gauntlet of tables, getting shirts, notepads, water, koozies, and other refinements. I belive at one point, I joked “this is the coolest disease ever”
We started spotting teams warming up, looking like they were about to run a 50K, not a 5k. They had on matching T-Shirts, hats, headbands, and other essentials. Essential if you were to look like a goober. We had a look to our team too. I would like to call it Sandlot baseball uniform. Shorts, T-shirts, and ball caps. Nothing that remotely matched.
After a rousing rendition of the Star Spangled Banner by some chicka, we were told to go.
As we started walking toward this huge archway made of multicolored balloons, Mrs. Ninjamunkey looked at an ambulance nearby, and remarked “maybe I should get my BP checked again, I am not feeling so hot.”
So we interrupt two medics sitting on the ambulance, looking like they were about to doze off, and tell them to check her out. They look at us crazy, so I assume they were there to get swag and drink the free beer later. Her BP was low still, but fairly normal, so they say she is ok. As I help her out of the back of the truck, she begins to look green. She hurries to a port-a-Pot, and its there praying to the seals, she realizes she should not go forward with the 5k. We all agree, and say instead, we will walk for her, since well, we were walking for her anyway. She being the trooper she normally is, I knew she was not feeling well, especially if she did not put up a fight. So the remaining 4 Shoutouts head out.
The first part of the walk is through the actual stock yards themselves, past the loading area that was used for sheep and hogs. As we hike over the uneven bricks, the darkness of our combined humor starts to show its face. We comment on the fact that wheel chairs and scooters would be screwed 2 seconds into the walk. As an old man in a right yellow shirt and duck shaped hat comes back the other way with his cane, I am glad I have the knee brace.
We turn wide, and head down one of the main streets in downtown Fort Worth, I think its called Main street. People are walking past us with huge beers, large barbecue sandwiches, and novelty hats, so clearly this is going to be one hell of a cool walk. We see motorcycles sharing the same road with cowboys on horseback, which I think is how John Wayne and God intended it to be.
So as we stroll down the brick and cobblestone road, we start to joke that soon, we are going to call Mrs. Ninjamunkey back at basecamp and explain that while the walk was interesting, we were going to spend some time in the bars along the way. Drinking our way to a cure. We never did.
We made it through downtown and around behind the stockyards. The change in scenery was abrupt, as soon as we crossed a set of railroad tracks, we turned a slight corner and voila, we were walking past the abandoned swift Amour rendering plant and slaughterhouse. It was like a scene out of a war movie, only the buildings were bombed with grafitti artists as well. I even witnessed some tagging near the top of one building that said “Bagel Hoes!!!” in 10-foot letters. Not quite sure what that means, but I guess someone did.
Everyone on the team, all 4 of us, started commenting on how the buildings and surrounding areas looked like a location used for a horror picture. You know the long haired guy, the social outcast, the girl and the jock all heading into the “haunted” slaughter house, picked off one by one by a guy wearing a pig mask. Yeah, good think it was daylight, cause well I would not want to get picked off today. Not in the mood.
You wanna know the worst part about starting late in the walk? We were behind 4 VERY large women pushing strollers. They were all wearing tie-dyed shirts, and kept stopping to bend over and pick up stuff the kids in the strollers were tossing on the ground, so we kept getting hit with Super fat butt shots the whole way. That makes the walking worse. If I could have gotten away with walking backwards, I would have, but then I would have tripped and had to rely on my team to carry me, then explain to the people who lapped us why I fell. And that would be bad.
So we pressed on, rounding a corner and coming to an area that looked like industrial buildings 50 years ago. The weeds were growing so tall and think that I believe a Sci-Fi person could start the description with “and the alien rock from planet Weedmax fell to the earth, causing the dandelions to reach out with human like faces…” As we passed an old ironworks sort of place, we saw the “pick and pull” auto salvage places. Aaah history. Across from the auto lots, there was an emptyish field. I say empty, because every 4 feet was another piece of medical waste. Seriously. Catheters, Syringes, and who knows what else. Since the relief stations were giving cold water every few hundred yards, I could understand the need for a catheter, but seriously, how would you put one of those bad boys in while walking? We pressed on down the road. Another 75-100 feet or so, we found a half empty, mostly torn trash bag full of store bought saurdough dinner rolls. Apparently this area has one hell of a party when the sun goes down.
As we rounded a corner, passing a group of cheering volunteers, offering more damn water, god I have to pee, we smelled two smells back to back. The first of which was pot smoke. Seriously. Since most every person that lived in the area was on the porch, and since the primary language in that area was a combo hip-hop and spanish, I did not spend too much energy looking for the smoker, but from the smellI would say it was a industrial sized chimney. Shortly after commenting in hushed voices, Rachel pointed out the area smelled “like cum”. Now granted being a guy, I am not sure what the unmistakable smell is, but my nose has been burned by too many locker rooms filled with greenish fungus on the socks and jocks, but she swears by it. So to recap, we have cum, weed, catheters, sourdough, and autoparts. See told you it was a party.
The end was near, well for our walk anyway. We left the barrio, and started smelling horse turds and beer again. The volunteers that were out cheering the teams on had already started packing up by the time we got passed them, and could only offer a half-hearted “woo”. That was ok, we were tired too. And I still needed to pee. As we crossed the final intersection, and made it into the dirt of the stockyards, we realized that we, -all in our 30ishness, unhealthy, can I have extra cheese on that cheese, hand me another beer before this one gets hot, grab my smokes while your there picture of unhealthy- had just walked a 5k without loosing a limb. Mrs. Ninjamunkey met us at the finish line, and announced pizza and beer in the basecamp. I went to find a bathroom.