Saturday, May 9th, 2015
Moundsville, West Virginia
I Sat With Sally
We walked to the river, about 20 of us, over the dirt and gravel road. The honeysuckles were tossing their fragrance. Apurva, the well-known cook who was with us, yanked out some garlic mustard for his lunch, lentil dhal soup. Pandu, who is from Pennsylvania, and was also with us, had identified this unique plant years ago, and educated me on it. Almost every year as a regular feature of spring, I would point out this plant to others, pick the leaf or flower, pinch it between my fingers, and share its fragrance with others.
Well, we made it to the river at the valley’s bottom, and then turned about face for the incremental climb. I noted places of erosion, nature’s changing face. And those erosions were not there the year before.
The bright spots of the day was this walk with comrades, men and women from as far south as Mexico and Florida, and as far north as Canada. I will not forget Jaya Adwaita Swami’s class on the need to view ourselves more as servants and less as masters. Yes, I enjoyed Apurva’s dhal of fresh local hand plucked greens. Above all, I met Sally. Yes, Sally, the lady I excerpted yesterday at my reading at picnic time.
A coincidence? Never! God does live.
Myself and three others sat down with Sally, whose surname is Agarwal. She’s now in her 80’s and she was telling us all about when Swamiji, Prabhupada, first came to America. It was she who officially sponsored the swami in 1965, and not her husband, Gopal, who himself was not an American citizen. She told us when she signed the sponsorship letter, and then sent it off, she had the feeling that nothing would ever come of it. It turns out that her assumption was wrong, Swamiji did show up at the bus terminal, came to her home and stayed in Butler, Pennsylvania for one month before embarking upon a worldwide successful mission. She said she was in tears when he left for New York.
One and a half hours with Sally passed by and we heard all about her first meeting Gopal, and Indian man, who came to white middle class America. She spoke about her four children who all became very successful. She is a darling of a lady. I feel like she’s my mother.
May the Source be with you!