Hint from Helen: When your husband tells you that for his name day, “We’ll just invite Mena and Christos, and maybe Phideas will also come,” be aware that this delusion is a result of his having lived too long away from Greece. In Greece, your friends visit you on your name day, period, no invitation needed.
Despite our traumatic morning (see previous post) upon which I do not even wish to elaborate, and despite the fact that I had cooked a meal for six when it ought to have been for 16, the evening was smashing. It’s a good thing we live across the street from a very good taverna; Christos and Demetrios ducked out and came back 15 minutes later with shopping bags full of food: octopus, mussels, squid, beet salad, eggplant salad, vegetable dishes, to supplement my lamb, roasted potatoes, salad, and Greek green beans. And various visitors brought desserts to supplement our one cake and 8 Greek pastries. Mena brought profiterole, something like chocolate pudding with whipped cream and cherries on the top, remembering it’s a favorite of mine.
Ioannis, the theologian, came with his Mena and brought a book of spiritual counsel of Fr. Paisios, our local saint-to-be, in English, which was thoughtful. Ioannis recognized another guest, Stelios, a high school classmate of Demetrios’, because they had worked together at the bank for many years. Stelios’ wife, Anastasia, brought me a small, silver icon of Mother and Child. Zisis, our downstairs neighbor and Thomai’s husband, recognized George (Pelagia’s husband) because they had taught together in the same school for many years. So even the people we didn’t think knew each other all turned out to be very good friends, and that is what made the evening so wonderful: the great love circulating among all, the joy of seeing one another and of being all together.
Manolis came, the lawyer, who by the way spearheaded a blood drive on Kostas’ behalf at the bar association. His wife, Vasilea, was sick in bed with a stomach virus. I missed her sorely, as she is one of the people I admire most in this world.
Rena and Theodosius, who were going to take us to Florina and Kastoria this weekend, assured us we will still go once Kostas is a bit better. I used to think Rena (short for Irena) was the most beautiful woman in Greece. That was before I had met her daughter, Katerina. Can’t take my eyes off her, or her handsome husband, or their baby boy, with the most startlingly blue eyes, huge eyes, you ever saw. I told Rena, “Now I understand that you are the second most beautiful woman in Greece.”
Today I puttered around, cleaning up gradually, and in the late afternoon we went to a kafenion for coffee (hot chocolate for me), and from there to the hospital to visit Kostas. Kostas was moved this morning out of intensive care, at last, into a regular room. He is still pretty well sedated, but he smiled when he saw us, and told the nurse who was spoon-feeding him puree, “I have to go now; I have a special mission in Washington. Bush is waiting for me.”
The nurse probably thought he was having delusions, but it was a joke. Demetrios is always teasing Kostas, “If you’ll come visit us in America, I’ll get you a date with Condaleeza.”
Demetrios told him his surgery had gone very well, and he would be much better in a few days.
We didn’t stay long.
Saturday, October 27, 2007