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Posts Tagged ‘Adam’s Morgan’

Before I get to today’s recipient, I need your help to find two things.  First, I need a couple of people who are out of work who would be willing to take the same challenge that I have done this year for a week or two.  In other words to go out and give $10 away every day and then blog about it on the Year of Giving.  If you or someone you know wants to do this, please email me.

The other thing is that the Year of Giving is expanding!  We need a part-time intern for next year.  Someone who is a little web savvy and can dedicate about 10 hours a week to the project.  It doesn’t need to be for the entire year, but at least a 6 month commitment.  It will be an amazing experience, trust me.  Any interested people should get in touch with me ASAP and tell me why you should be chosen.

This is not good.

Now…on to today’s recipient.  This is really embarrassing yet it was bound to happen at some point.  I opened my journal up to the page marked Day 335 and there was nothing written there except the name Paul.  I had no idea who Paul was or where I met him.  How is this possible?  Then I went to look at my photos and figured out the photos immediately after Tyler were probably of Paul.  Bingo!  I was right.  I remember him now, he was a bike messenger I met on Columbia Road in Adams Morgan late one Sunday evening.  But where are all the notes about Paul?  How old is he?  What is his email?  What the heck did he do with the $10?  Hmmmm…I don’t know.  I know I wrote them down some place but I didn’t have my trusty Moleskine on me apparently.  I do have a video though…although it doesn’t tell too much either.

Paul powering up on some beverages at CVS.

I ran into Paul in front of the CVS that is next to the Safeway.  He was getting some beverages to take down to a restaurant down there street where his brother was waiting for him.  He had heard of the Year of Giving and was very friendly.  I told him about my losing my mother and he shared that his father had passed around this summer.  He talks about his dad and their relationship in this clip.  It’s clear that this was not easy for him to talk about.

Other than that, I can’t recall much.  The last couple weeks have been a complete blur.  I think he is in a band or DJs or something…who knows.  Hopefully I will find the little piece of paper where I jotted all the notes down.  And if anybody knows Paul…tell him to get in touch!

UPDATE: Jan 7, 2011

So I was doing some new year cleaning and found the paper where I wrote down the info on Paul!

When I met him he told me, “I’m coming back from a show that I didn’t go to.”  That kind of perplexed me, but then he explained that he went to a show where the band didn’t play.  “I ended up buying some CDs of the band,” he said referring to the metal band that calls themself Body Cop.

Paul is no stranger to music.  He plays bass and drums and even does some producing.  I asked him about musical influences.  “I’ve been inspired by so many but Brian Wilson, Myles Davis and Frank Zappa for sure.”   He has a website where you can listen to some of his work.

“I’m going to use the money for food,” he told me.  “I’ve been trying to conserve money lately.”  He said that he was lucky to have a job and enjoyed the flexibility of being a courier.

When we parted he said to me with so much enthusiasm, “It was really cool running into you.”  The feeling was mutual.

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I was walking down Columbia Road toward Adams Morgan when I ran into Yab from Day 231.  He was doing well and seemed in good spirits.

The bus stop where I met Ronnie at 18th and Columbia Rd. (photo: Reed)

A few blocks north, I came to the intersection of 18th Street.  This is the heart of the lively Adams Morgan district.  I spotted a man in a wheel chair wearing a black and white checkered hat who was waiting for the bus and thought I would go over and give him my ten bucks. 

Ronnie was extremely suspicious of my offer to give him $10.  In the end he accepted it but he was reluctant to tell me much about himself much less allow me to take a photograph.  When I reached him, I noticed that he was missing his right hand.  He used his left hand to control his motorized chair.

Currently unemployed, Ronnie says that he will use the money for food.  He said he was very involved with his church and sings in the choir.  “I’ve been singing all my life,” the 50-year-old DC native told me.  

Ronnie's bus pulls away into the night. (photo: Reed)

I heard the growl of the 92 bus bound for Congress Heights as it barreled through the intersection toward our stop.  “That’s my bus,” Ronnie said.  Three others got on the bus and I went to the driver and asked him to lower the ramp so that Ronnie could get on.  All in all it took about four minutes to get Ronnie on board and get the door closed.  The bus pulled away and headed south down 18th Street.

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Last night I stayed up to watch the first few miners get rescued from the Chilean mine where they have been trapped 629 meters below ground for almost 70 days!

That is such a long time!  I try to keep that in mind when I remember that there are only about 70 days, less actually, to go until the end of my year-long journey.  Time has gone by so fast!  I am still interviewing potential venue locations for the year-end celebration.  It is exciting…there are so many creative possibilities for the culmination of this amazing year.  I will keep you posted!

Team Rockstar Lifestyle trying to get out of a tough inning. That's Johnny from WAKA in the bottom left hand corner of the photo. (photo: Reed)

It was beautiful the other night and I decided to go for a long walk and find someone to give my $10 to.  I came across a sports field called Marie Reed Park.  Good name!  There were people gathering and I knew something was going to happen.  It seemed that I was the only one not wearing a uniform of some sort.  I grabbed a little real estate on the bleachers and waited to see what unfolded.

It turns out I was at a kickball game.  I was literally the only one who was not playing…except for two guys with some red jerseys who were talking with a woman in a white blouse.  More about those guys later.

"Your not going to believe this, but I was just thinking about you two days ago!" Eric told me when I introduced myself. (photo: Reed)

I finally got the courage to go over to a guy who was sitting an inning out.  I didn’t want to bother someone while they were trying to win a game, but I forced myself to go meet someone.  His name was Eric.  As soon as I explained what I was doing he told me that he had heard about the Year of Giving!  “You’re not going to believe this but I was just thinking about you two days ago!” he told me.   That’s pretty cool….the word is spreading thanks to all of you!

This is Eric’s second season playing kickball in Washington’s chapter of the World Adult Kickball League (WAKA).  In fact, he plays on two teams.  The night I met him he was playing for a team called the Rockstar Lifestyle who was playing against the Ball Busters.  The cool thing about kickball is that just about everyone can play.  Having said that, it was clear that many of the players meant business.

Eric used his $10 to buy a pitcher of beer for him and his team to celebrate their victory. (photo: Reed)

Eric tells me that although he likes kickball, his true passion is in running marathons.  The 28-year-old has run nine marathons already!  He’s preparing for his next one right now which will be the New York City Marathon in just 25 days.  He says that he has seen some crazy things while running.  “One time I was running a marathon with my sister in LA and we saw people selling drugs along the side of the road.”

Eric took care of things in left field to help his team win. (photo: Reed)

The game was close and the coach tapped Eric to hit the field.  Before heading out to left field, Eric told me that if I wanted to know more about the entire WAKA league that one of the founders of the organization was standing to my right wearing a red jersey.  While Eric tried to help the Rockstars edge out the Ballbusters I went over to introduce myself to Johnny LeHane.  He helped found the kickball league back in 1998 in hopes to create a social activity that everyone could participate in.  “We wanted something that would have an almost fraternity feel,” Johnny told me.  I actually think I met Johnny back in 1998 at Kelly’s Irish Times, an Irish pub that was the first sponsor of WAKA.  I say that because Johnny worked at AOL and so did my brother and a bunch of friends back then and I recall that I went to a kickball happy hour in 1998 or 1999.  I keep forgetting to ask my brother who he knew from WAKA back then, maybe he remembers.  Anyway, in case you are shrugging your shoulders at the idea of organized kickball, be advised that they currently over 3,000 teams in over 300 leagues nation wide and employ a staff of 30.  It was cool to meet Johnny, who was in town from NYC where he lives and continues to work as part of the management team for WAKA.

Rockstar Lifestyle won 5-4! (photo: Reed)

Eric trotted back in to join his team as they had one last opportunity to win the game.  It was close, but he and his team managed to pull out a 5-4 win over the Ball Busters!  I was great to watch him and his team celebrate the victory.  He said they were going to a bar called Town where he would buy a pitcher of beer for the team with the $10.  Cheers!

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Charlie (foreground) plays harmonica while Kevin handles the guitar (Photo: Reed)

On Day 195 I thought about heading over to the Adams Morgan neighborhood to find someone interesting to give my $10 to.

I walked north along 18th Street, dodging the bar-goers coming in and out of the various bars and clubs that hug the road until I reached Columbia Road.  As I stood on the corner, I noticed two musicians starting to play on the corner across the street.  I decided to head over and listen to them for a while. 

As it turns out I decide to give them my $10.  Kevin plays guitar and Charlie plays harmonica, percussion and sings.  I approached them and told them what I was doing.  They agreed to participate.  Charlie didn’t say much to me but gave me a business card that says, “The Legendary Charlie Sayles” and has his contact information.   “You can read all about me on the website,” Charlie says.

Photo: Reed

Kevin tells me that they often play there at the corner of 18th and Columbia Road in front of the Sun Trust Bank and also at Dupont Circle Metro near the Krispy Kreme.  “Charlie’s in the Who’s Who in Harmonica Players and has something like three blues albums.” 

As for the $10, Kevin says they will use the money to get some food.

As they got ready to start up playing again, Kevin shared that he was looking for a job.  I didn’t get any more details on what exactly he was looking for, but once I do I will post it on the Lend a Hand section…maybe someone out there can help him out!

Charlie starts to make his harmonica sing and they continue playing.  They play mostly blues numbers.  The melody seems to naturally dance back and forth between Charlie’s harmonica, Kevin’s guitar licks and Charlies vocals.  Here is a short taste of their performance.

When I got home, I did take a look at Charlie’s website.   The 62-year-old has an extensive musical career that followed an upbringing in various foster homes and a three-year tour of duty in Vietnam.  You can find out more about Charlie here or take a listen to his music on his MySpace page.

Jay, me and Lumumba

While I was photographing these two talented musicians, a man named Jay from Atlanta came over to me and inquired about what kind of camera I was shooting with.  We began talking and I found out that they were here putting on a large trade show and conference.  When he and his colleague, Lumumba, heard about what I was doing, they got excited.  “We’re going to give you $10 each man!” said Jay.  They insisted.  Thank you guys so much! 

Pretty cool that they felt so inspired to do that.  I used $5 to buy a sandwich for Carl, a homeless guy that I met the next day in Dupont Circle.  I donated $5 of it to the family of Javier Lopez-Cruz, a 26-year-old from Oaxaca, Mexico who was killed in an auto accident.  They are trying to raise enough money to send his remains back to Mexico.  The last $10 I donated toward those who are out of work in the Gulf region.  If you would like to help me in these efforts, you can send $10 of your own by clicking here!

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You might have noticed that I have skipped over Day 101.  I am still doing a little research for the write up and hope to get that posted soon.

By the way, for those of you who want to vote to determine who will join me at Clyde’s Restaurant, make sure you go to Day 88 before Friday.  I will then tally the votes and contact those who have the most votes and schedule a time to go to Clyde’s!  It’s going to be fun.

Last Friday evening I was on my way to see my friend Michael in Man of La Mancha at the Greenbelt Arts Center.  Michael plays the lead role of Don Quixote, and he is awesome.  He sings the most beautiful version of The Impossible Dream that I have ever heard.  There are still performances for the next two weekends if you are in the DC area and would like to see it.

As I was waiting for my friend Jeff to pick me up, I found Gloria waiting at the bus stop.  A few buses came and went and I noticed she wasn’t getting on them, so I decided to say hello.  

Gloria, originally from El Salvador, has lived in Washington, DC for eight years.  We spoke in Spanish which gave me the opportunity to practice my language skills a little.  She told me that she was waiting for her ride to pick her up. 

I asked her what she liked about living here in DC and she said, “the snow!”  She commented on how beautiful she thought it was.  It makes sense.  It’s just something you are never going to see living in El Salvador.  “We couldn’t even leave our home for a couple of days because of the snow, but that didn’t bother us…it was beautiful!” she remarked.

I asked her what she was going to do with the $10 and she said she was going to use it to help pay her phone bill.

Right as we were speaking her ride pulled up and she hurried on her way.  I didn’t get her contact information so I am hoping that she reads this and reaches out to me.

Gloria, si Ud. lee esto, por favor éntrese en contacto conmigo.  Me gustaría seguir en contacto con Ud. y invitarla a la celebración que voy a hacer al final del año.  Adjunto hay un mensaje de vídeo para ti!

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