Thursday, November 11, 2010

Election Day, etc.

In the early afternoon we had lunch with Stelios and Anastasia. Stelios is one of Demetrios’ Old Friends from their university days, and they also happen to be near neighbors. So they walked toward our flat and we walked toward theirs, met somewhere in between, and walked together to a nearby taverna.

We wanted to be the hosts, but they said no, because this was in lieu of their son’s wedding feast, which we couldn’t attend because we were in America at the time. So we said we’ll all come back to our house afterward for dessert, but Anastasia said no, because she had already made us a special dessert.

Anastasia and Stelios are such special people, so good-hearted, so warm.

They have a knack of what psychologists call “Active Listening;” saying back to you what you just said so you know they understood. They also have a most congenial way of agreeing with whatever you say.

“…so it was all rather unfortunate,” you say.

“Very unfortunate!” they say, in unison.

“And we didn’t know what to say,” you continue.

“No, of course you didn’t,” they say.

“The book unites psychology with neurology and anatomy and anthropology…” you say.

“Ah, a synthesis of so many things,” they say.

“the first chapter was so difficult to write.”

“Very difficult! Certainly. It’s a deep subject.”

“But the rest,” you say, “should be easier.”

“Easier, of course. Once you have a good beginning, the rest follows.”

We had a good time and a good meal, the usual taverna fare, cooked over charcoal. Then we went to their house. We gave them the icon Demetrios bought at the church last night. They have virtually the same one on their wall already, but this one is fancier.

Their apartment has an open plan; the living room, family room, dining room and kitchen are all one space. The living room is divided from the family room by back-to-back sofas. The dining room is defined by an oriental rug in earth tones, but bright. The kitchen is big enough to include a breakfast table (making two tables, because the dining room has another. There are bedrooms off a hallway, but I haven’t seen them so cannot describe them. All the furniture has a walnut finish; even the refrigerator is housed in a walnut cabinet, and so is the dishwasher. The radiators, too, have walnut-colored grilles over them, on the top of which are set family photographs. There is a lot of furniture, as compared with our flat, which is sparsely furnished; and I notice the plethora of furniture makes the place look more like a home. (Of course, their space is greater than ours, so more fits in it.)

The walls are covered with Stelios’ paintings. Two of them are of subjects my father also painted; a mountain called the Vetterhorn and a church by a stream with an onion dome. Stelios, unlike Dad, uses bright colors, and warmer ones. I wish I could commission two paintings from him!

Anastasia served her homemade cherry liqueur. She took a kilo of cherries, washed them, put them in a large jar, added a cup of sugar, a stick of cinnamon, and 10 cloves, closed the jar, and set it out in the sun for a month. The she strained the contents of the jar and added brandy to the mix; I forgot to ask how much, but only a little. Anyway, the result is beautiful!

Her dessert was what the Greeks call a tourta, something like a cake, but not necessarily baked. It had layers of chocolate cookies, chestnuts, cocoa and cream. It weighted about 4 pounds, but only contained 10 milligrams of sugar, on account of Demetrios being diabetic. Somehow, you didn’t miss the sugar one bit!

So we chatted for another hour or so and them came home for a nap. On ur way out the door, though, Anastasia handed us a large, heavy bag, for a gift. It turned out to contain six saucers, 6 demi-tasse cups, and 6 coffee cups. !!!

In the evening we went out atain, this time with Kostas and Mena and Pelagia and George.

It is election day in Greece, for local offices, that is. So this was a get-together with Mena and Kostas and some other friends, Eleni and Anesti, ostensibly to watch election returns. I thought it would be a nightmare, a whole evening devoted to the discussion of Greek and international politics. It turned out to be highly amusing, though, with much shouting and gesticulating, the surest indicators that the Greeks are having a ball. I even added my two cents’ worth from time to time.

We didn’t watch much television and we broke up around midnight.


margaret said...

LOL @ not missing the sugar! I will probably dream about that cake tonight and the cherry brandy...ohhhhh... ohhhhh to live in a warm country where one can do that sort of thing.