Blood, football, and a funeral

This keeps happening, so I shouldn’t be surprised, yet I often am anyway: I meet some older persons, generally at church, and get along with them well. Yet, when they die, and I read the obituaries and/or go to the funerals, I realize how little I really knew them.

Such was the case with Carolyn Garvin, a member of my church, whose funeral my wife attended this weekend. She was the nice old lady who always commented on how well the choir, of which I was a member, performed. She always was a very good conversational listener as well.

The things I DIDN’T know about her, though, were staggering. For one thing, she graduated from Binghamton Central High School, my alma mater, in 1947, though she was valedictorian. She was an elementary school teacher, which didn’t shock me, but was later the co-director of a migrant labor camp, which did. She was very active in the Civil Rights movement, and was executive director of Planned Parenthood of Albany. She went back to school and eventually spent several years as the director of the Kairos Center for Care and Counseling in Albany, and had other responsible positions.

I was familiar with her gardening, love of pets, enjoyment of nature, and dedication to her church. I didn’t know that she had three adopted kids, one of whom died in a car accident.

I also wonder if some people also might have perhaps not take her seriously, or been impatient with her, in the latter days because she was suffering from what I’ve since discovered were signs of Alzheimer’s disease.

In any case, a learning, or relearning, experience.
Something else I did Saturday: I gave a blood donation by apheresis. I had donated blood via the more traditional method over 145 times. The Red Cross had been bugging me to donate plasma for some time, but I hadn’t been able to carve out the time. The process takes a couple hours, including 74 minutes hooked to the machine. Got to sit around and watch part of some JEOPARDY! video someone gave me for Christmas a couple years ago.

The strange thing about it is that it makes one rather chilled. It wasn’t that bad at the time, but I continued to feel cold even a day later.

I ended up watching all four NFL football games over the weekend, none of them in real time. Well, one was a blowout and I gave up on that match. I discovered that one can watch a 60-minute game, that usually takes three hours or more in real time, in 75 minutes or so. One key for me is to stay away from social media so I don’t learn the scores; once I learn the outcome, then the enjoyment of watching is greatly diminished.

2 thoughts on “Blood, football, and a funeral”

  1. The Red Cross stalks me regularly because I’m their favorite flavor (0 negative). I’ve not done the apheresis yet. Maybe sometime in the summer!


  2. Like you, I’ve discovered that there is always more to people than what we know, even the ones we live and work with every day. I think one of the keys to discovering the essential in a person is learning how to ask the right questions and (often harder) to be patient as we listen to and watch for the answers. It sounds like you knew a remarkable lady. How wonderful that as part of the choir you were able to bring her joy!


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