Memories of Ruci’s father, Al Ianuzzi, and Bhokta das

by Sachimata dd

It was always an interesting experience to be in the company of Al Ianuzzi, Ruci’s dad.  He was a delight to say the least.  Being of Italian heritage, and learning that I was also of Italian background gave us lots to talk about.  As it happened, our forefathers came from the same part of southern Italy, Calabria.  Of course, each and every time we met, he would hash over the same information, but never became bored with it.  He was definitely a cheerful soul, and was very witty and sharp in mental clarity.

I had the very good fortune to be invited to Thanksgiving dinner at Ruci and Sankirtan’s house this last November.  Little did I know that it would be the last time that I would have the company of Al.  We sat next to each other and I offered my condolences on the recent loss of his beloved wife, Ruth.  He thanked me, but acknowledged that it was for the best, given her end situation.  Then he just went on joking around and having a nice time.

Sankirtan offered a little prayer of thanks, which turned out to be a bit lengthy, as we all know that Sankirtan is an expert story teller.  But Al was very hungry and everyone had brought a dish, and Mother Ruci had been cooking for a couple of days, and he wanted to eat.  So he kept interjecting little comments about OK that’s great, now let’s eat, the food is getting cold, or OK, we are all thankful, now let’s eat, the food is getting cold, and I’m hungry.  Anyway, he ate heartily that day, and had a very good time.  I think he especially enjoyed talking to everyone, and getting to know his granddaughter’s new boyfriend, Justin, who had come to N.V. to share Thanksgiving with Visnu’s family. All in all, it was a wonderful day.  And like I said, little did I know it would be the last time.  I saw him.

When I left Ruci’s, I decided to head over to make a surprise visit to Bhokta.  I had heard that some devotees were discouraged from visiting him due to his serious condition, so I had decided to take my chances and do a surprise visit, and see what would happen.  Well, I am glad that I did go over.  Bhokta was in fine spirits, it was the energetic last spurt of the soul, as it prepares to depart from the body.  We shared some good stories, had some good laughs, some hugs, and then I left.  And yes, that was the last time I ever got to see my friend, Bhokta, in this life.

So I reflect upon this past Thanksgiving, 2012. I want to thank Krsna for giving me the opportunity to share some love and affection with two wonderful souls, Al and Bhokta.  And I want to encourage everyone to come out of their busy lives and make it a point to visit people, and do some random acts of kindness whenever possible, and to go that extra step, to be kind and friendly, and connect. We are all so fortunate to have a community of devotees, who are our friends, and our well wishers.  Take advantage of the great blessings we have on hand.  Also, it was so fortunate that Ruci was able to be by her dad’s side at the time of his departure, chanting the Holy Name of the Lord, Hare Krsna.

Read more about Ruci’s father by Sankirtan das Parts One and Two.

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