I remember Sam in conversation: talks in Berkeley, Madison, and DC, in cars, on streets, over spicy meals or afternoon tea or morning coffee. Talks about tactics that never lost sight of the big picture, talks about family and friends (though I'm young enough to be his daughter, I share a similar background, including a father the same age as his). He had a surprising faith in me, a faith that is still changing my life.
I see Sam, superbly organized, "eyeball to eyeball," as he put it, with Congressional staffers, initiating me into the joys of lobbying.
Thanks to him, I'm inching my way towards civil disobedience.
I hear him speaking before groups awed by his command of the facts, his putting everything together, his eloquence, his humor, his humanity, his brilliance coupled with humility and common sense. Always honest, always open to fresh ideas, uncompromising when it mattered, ever true to himself, Sam embodied clear-headed hope no matter how grim things were.
What I cherish most of all is Sam's immense joy and love of life, his personal concern for all those around him, his unabashed enjoyment of good food and wine (when I had to hang up to cook supper, he would ask me what was cooking and usually approve).
His presence as the voice of the US Campaign to Free Mordechai Vanunu gave so many of us a great sense of security; in my selfishness, I felt he would always be there, dispensing wisdom and encouragement. And what a voice he had: strong and warm, punctuated by laughter.
Perhaps he is laughing now, laughing kindly at my assumption of his immortality. "You thought I'd last forever? I know you'll all do fine. Just keep plugging along."
We'll keep plugging along, Sam, but we'll miss you terribly. You touched so many lives. Rest in peace.
Bay Area Campaign to Free Vanunu