Thursday, November 22, 2007


Leonidas called yesterday morning, and I heard Demetrios making plans with him to go and “visit Mohammed.”

“Visit Mohammed?” I asked, when he had hung up.

“Kostas. I suppose because he is so imposing in appearance. Leonidas is going to come here in a few minutes and we’ll go together.”

“Is Ianna coming, too?”

“Just Leonidas. Ianna wants him out of the house.”

“Oh, I see. All wives feel that way sometimes, you know.”

“They do?”


“Well!” Then after a moment to digest this startling news, “This is the first time you have ever admitted that to me!”

Everybody needs some alone time, dear. And we prefer to do our housework when you aren’t here, too.

So Mena had the boys all morning and most of the afternoon.

Demetrios says the difference in Kostas, even since we last saw him Saturday night, is remarkable. Hooray and hallelujah!

Last night we decided to attend a concert. We had tried, Saturday night, see a children’s theater production, mostly because the play had been written by Manolis’ and Vasilea’s daughter, Sophia. When we got there, however, we couldn’t see a single seat left, and there were children still searching for seats, so we left and went to visit Kostas and Mena instead. Mena told us it was the same play I had seen last year, so in that sense I hadn’t missed much. Her class at the university in Florina had put it on as their final exam in children's theater, and Mena had invited me.

Last night we had better luck with the mandolinata, mandolin concert, held in the same place. We arrived twenty minutes early (which is to say, at 8:40 p.m.) and got the last two seats, up in the balcony, next to the side wall. Worse seats I’ve never sat in. They were hard and so near the floor our knees were pointing toward the ceiling. There was no foot room, either. The concert was so much fun, though, it more than made up for our horrible seats!

The ensemble consisted of probably 10 mandolins, plus one bass, one flute, and four guitars. They made a very nice sound! There were vocal soloists, too, an indifferent tenor, a good mezzo-soprano, and a weird sounding soprano. Oh, well…

They played a variety of things, Vivaldi’s Mandolin Concerto, some French and Italian songs, ten variations on Mein Hut, Er Hat Drei Ecken, much to my delight, as that’s a song I learned as a teenager in Germany. The mezzo-soprano and the tenor did a hilarious number whose words consisted of “Meow” sung and/or screeched in several dozen different ways.

But what really made the evening fun was the second half, when the ensemble began playing pop songs, especially Greek ones. Gradually I began imagining the people around me were humming along, sort of stealthily, under their breath. By the time we got to La Paloma, I was certain of it: everybody, uninvited, was singing along! Before the end of the evening they were all singing at the top of their voices, including Demetrios. On the last song, the maestro began conducting the audience as well as the ensemble, making motions to the audience when we should clap to the music, when we should sing, when to stop clapping, etc.

Only in Greece.