Meher Baba copyright 1987 Charlie Mills

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40701956 TRIP TO THE WEST1956

Baba slapped her on the shoulder and chuckled, "I like you the way you are. I like your spirit!"

Agnes was so happy to have Baba come to Meher Mount after all these years, she felt silly and joked, "What kind of spirit do you like — the hard [alcoholic] kind or just the mild?"

Baba would call Agnes the "Beloved's Watchdog." Years later, she concluded that the reason she found herself surrounded by so many hypocrites was that Baba wanted her to "bark" — but not bite — and snap at their heels!

The bus arrived back at the hotel before Agnes' car, and Baba waved to his lovers before stepping into the elevator and retiring for the night.

Baba departed Los Angeles for San Francisco at 9:00 A.M., on Friday, 3 August 1956, aboard United Airlines Flight 465. The welcoming committee of Hilda Fuchs, Gladys Carr and Marguerite Poley were there to see him off, along with some of the others. Hilda had brought a tiny bouquet of red roses as a farewell offering for Baba.

Once the Douglas DC-4 airplane was in the sky, Baba walked down the aisle greeting each of those accompanying him. Later, a few came over to his seat to discuss certain things with him, as others took his picture. When Filis sneezed loudly, Baba cracked, "You will bring down the whole plane!"

Leatrice Shaw, who was not a seasoned traveler, wanted to sit by the window, but her sister Renae had already occupied that seat, and so she took an aisle seat. She thought she should be thinking of Baba but she felt completely "dry and empty." She couldn't think of him; no sweet thought came. At that moment, her mother asked her to get the camera from her father, who was sitting in front of Baba. Leatrice took this opportunity to look at Baba, and he was ready for her. "He gave me one look, and zip — my cup was running over! The cup was full, and I had no other thought but of Baba."

The group arrived in San Francisco two hours later at 11:00 A.M., and Baba was met by an enthusiastic crowd and garlanded by the children within the group. It was quite cold, and Bili Eaton gave Baba her cloak, which he wore a few moments and then gave back to her. Baba was driven to a new motel, the Holiday Lodge at 1901 Van Ness Avenue. (Nearly every other hotel was booked, because the Republican National Convention was being held at this time.) Baba had been given a duplex suite far from the central court, but he did not like it, as it was too far from his lovers and there was not a connecting room for the mandali.

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