Saturday, October 29, 2005

Giving Blood

I give blood every couple of months. Normally I take a
book with me, as watching the bag fill up gets old after a
few seconds. This time I brought Parting the Waters. It's
kind of obnoxiously large, advertising to the world "Look at
me! Look how smart I am for reading such an obnoxiously large book!"
But, nevertheless, I brought it. The young woman who was
stabbing me with the needle looked at me like I was crazy.
"You're reading that?" I just nodded and said it's a really
interesting history of the Civil Rights Movement. Her eyes
got bright, and she related a fascinating story of how she
and her high school history teacher went on an organized
"Civil Rights Tour" all throughout the South. She was in
King's home and churches, his hotel in Memphis where he was
assassinated. She met Rosa Parks (!) and was in Ebenezer
church when MLK's wife was in the basement in a meeting (but
they didn't get to meet.) She told of the memorials she'd
seen along the way, really beautiful stuff. I'd like to
go on the tour this summer with my mom. She doesn't know
about it yet though, and she doesn't read my blog, so I'll
have to tell her eventually.

My dad has a bunch of great
stories from the era. One about a public swimming pool in
Florida that was forced to be segregated. The local
government chose to fill in the pool with dirt rather than
to allow blacks to swim in it. This world is crazy... but
hey, if they're sending high school girls from Pittsburgh on
Civil Rights tours, maybe we're going somewhere.

Unfortunately, I won't be able to give blood for an entire
year after being in India this winter. Malaria. The woman
explained the disease this way, "Imagine a really bad
flu... times 10. This is a mild case." Yikes!

Rosa Parks passed away this week.

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