A pair of unforgettable visitors

Editor’s note: CityView contributing columnist Claire Mullen wrote this refection in memory of Karen Gallimore Argo, who died Monday. Argo was a former youth director and longtime member of Haymount United Methodist Church and wife of longtime music minister Tony Argo. A celebration of life is planned at the church for Thursday at noon, preceded by a visitation at 10:30 a.m.

Karen Gallimore Argo texted me this photo she took of the kids and me during an impromptu visit last Christmas. On that day, Karen called and said, “Tony and I are on the way to your house to drop off a few things for the kids. I hope that’s OK.”

I momentarily panicked. My house was a wreck. The kids were in their pajamas at lunchtime because it was Christmas PJ day at school. I was recovering from a bad cold during COVID times, and I worried about getting Tony and Karen sick. I said “Sure! Come on!” anyway.

We sat and visited for about an hour. The kids pulled out their costume boxes and dressed up in just about each of them one to the delight of Tony and Karen. Sadie asked Karen if she could show her room to her. In spite of her “weak knees” as she called them, Karen trudged upstairs to gush over Sadie’s room, but not before tying Tony’s shoe and holding his hand so he could join her.

Sadie and Ace opened a few little Christmas doodads that Karen had carefully wrapped for them. She told me she’d been cleaning out her house and found several things she thought they might enjoy. Karen and Tony both truly relished this time with my family. Shortly after they left, Karen sent me all of the photos she took along with this text, “Claire, I want to thank you for the best Christmas gift ever … the gift of time with you and your precious Sadie and Ace! Talking with you and your little cuties brought me great joy and I thank you from the bottom of my heart!”

That visit was the last time I saw Karen, a woman who was like a second mama to so many young people who came through youth group at Haymount United Methodist Church. Karen went to heaven yesterday morning. All I can think is how glad I am that I decided to say, “Sure! Come on!”