Every year our Kiwanis Club works to support the Red Cross with a Blood Drive. Kiwanians in our area literally roll up their sleeves to line up and give blood. There is something about giving blood that makes a person feel brave and even patriotic. I remember lying on a portable couch last year, and letting someone stick a huge needle into my arm. It didn't even hurt, but I felt brave as I watched my life force warmly ooze through a plastic tube into a slowly expanding translucent bag.
"Ooh, I am so brave, my giving blood is really helping someone, gosh what a good feeling," thought I.
Last year, they gave me a little Red Cross sticker that said: "Be nice to me. I have just given blood." I got to eat cookies, I got to drink punch, I got to swap stories with other "brave people" who were also eating cookies and drinking punch. I wore the "Be nice to me" sticker home and even made a point of wearing it around town the following day. I gave blood and I really wanted to make the most of it.
That was last year. This year was a bit different. My Kiwanis club made arrangements for me to give blood at two PM.
Most of my morning was spent doing other things. A morning meeting was attended, telephone calls were answered, and I even took my wife shopping.
I grabbed several bags of groceries from my car and carried them to my front door. The door was locked. I managed to balance the bags on my left arm as I fumbled for my key with my right. I unlocked the door, walked into the house and dropped the bags on top of the kitchen table.
The telephone rang, once, twice, three times. I attempted to carry on several telephone conversations while simultaneously stacking groceries into various cupboards. I have to admit that I had one or two things on my mind.
It was close to five that evening when I telephoned a friend.
"Can't talk right now." said my friend. "I have to get over to the Armory and give blood."
"Blood!" shouted yours truly. "Oh my gosh, oh my gosh…I'm late! I gotta' go too!"
I quickly hung up the telephone, grabbed my car keys, and shouted to my wife: "I completely forgot about giving blood. I gotta' go. I'm late. I hope that I'm not too late!"
I ran out of the house and headed for the Armory, the place that the Red Cross had set up to take Blood Donations.
I jumped out of my car and ran through the door. "I hope I'm not too late." I said while huffing over to a smiling lady volunteer.
"Oh no!" Gushed the volunteer lady. "We still have plenty of time for you. Please read this and then return it to me when you are through."
She handed me a paper explaining something about the new NAT (nucleic acid testing) - gene test. I pretended to read the rest of the material and handed it back to her.