Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Christos is doing somewhat better. He began taking the pills and eating the porridge Demetrios gave him. Between the two, he has had very little trouble with his alimentary tract, which encourages him to eat more, and he has put on about 4 pounds, by Demetrios’ estimate. (We bought him a bathroom scale a couple of days ago so he can keep track.) He looks and acts stronger. His complexion isn’t as gray, but is even rather pink. But the most important thing is, he seems to have regained the will to live. Demetrios had to badger his little brother at first to get out of the house every day and go do something enjoyable, if only to take a walk or to sip a cup of coffee by the sea — but now he does it. If you could see the improvement in Christos, you’d have to agree he has a very good doctor!

* * *

There’s an Englishwoman who works right across the street from us. In fact, she owns the convenience store on the corner. Her name is Lorraine, and it is fun for me to have somebody nearby to speak to in English. “Are you married to a Greek, like me?” I asked.

“Oh, yes,” she said. “In fact, he has that bar over there,” gesturing toward the next corner, on the opposite side of our building.

I put on my best fake smile and said, “You mean The Drunken Duck?”

“Yes; he’s had that about six or seven years now.”

In other words, ever since we began coming here.

Long-time readers of this blog know that the Drunken Duck (no wonder its name is in English!) has been the bane of our existence here. OOPS. No more praying for it to close!

* * *

A wolf, yes, a wolf, has been spotted in the village of Nea Sylatta, where Mena has a summer home we often visit on weekends. Most wolves in Greece have been rounded up and put into a special reserve, so it is unusual to see one on the loose. This one has taken a sheep, maybe more than one since last we heard. I realize the sheep owners are not thrilled, but I am! Pray with me for the safety of the wolf as well as the sheep and the people. How I wish somebody could find it and talk to it, the way Francis of Assisi, in the legend, talked to the wolf of Gubbio, persuading it to kill no more in exchange for being fed every day by the villagers..

* * *

There has been a lot of negative publicity about a new political party in Greece called The Golden Dawn. Most often, the party is accused of being neo-Nazi. Now then, they do use the same salute the Nazis did, but the fact is, that salute, in Greece, pre-dates the Nazis. In fact, it was used in World War II by those fighting against the fascists. The Golden Dawn people also wear black shirts, which is unsettling. I’ve heard that they use a "modified swastika" for their symbol, but in fact it isn't; it's the very ancient Greek key or meander.
Ancient Pavement
Golden Dawn Symbol

Here in Greece, I, who despise fascism, am defined as a fascist, simply because I fly the Greek flag.  So when The Golden Dawn is also called fascist, it’s hard to know whether that’s true or just a smear, just propaganda from a government that has good reason to be alarmed by this group.

The Golden Dawn did go around in Athens shooing away unlicensed street vendors who were selling pirated goods. That’s true, and yes, that's taking the law into their own hands. That’s vigilantism. But there’s another point of view, which is that somebody has to enforce the law. The government isn’t doing it.

The Golden Dawn is also accused of being xenophobic, anti-immigrant. Well, you have to understand what is happening with immigrants here in Greece. For just one example, they can come into your house and boot you out; and as the establishment wants the mushrooming immigrant vote, no official will help you. But The Golden Dawn will kick them out for you and return your home to you. They also distribute food and clothing to the needy, although only to Greeks, not to the various immigrants threatening to overwhelm Greece by their sheer numbers.

I don’t yet know what this party is. I’m watching them for myself instead of heeding the propaganda and meanwhile, I’m reserving judgment, albeit nervously. Are they more like Adolf Hitler or Robin Hood?

Robin Hood, of course, was an outlaw.

* * *

For reasons unknown, I’ve lately been humming a song my father used to sing to me, “Daddy’s Little Girl.” He played it on the piano without sheet music and sang to his own arrangement. He must have sung it to Wendy and Barbara, too, later, but that I don’t remember; I only remember him singing it to me.

In his later life, when he hadn’t sung it for years, nostalgia gripped me and I asked him to play it and sing it again. He declined. It hurt my feelings at the time.

We (his family) didn’t know he had dementia, didn’t realize he couldn’t even remember the song itself, much less how to play it.

That’s the thing, isn’t it? We seldom, if ever, really know what is going on in another person’s head, let alone his heart. How many, many things we must be misinterpreting every day! How much misery do we suffer — hurt, anger, jealousy, and such — on account of some mistake?

* * *

In the butcher shop this morning, Ia strange hunk of meat was on display. It was something with a tiny head and its body was chopped into four pieces. I was still puzzling it out when I saw the sign: Kounelli. Rabbit. Ah, sure enough, its tail, complete with fur, had been left on to show that’s what it was. (Maybe to prove is wasn’t cat or rat?)

“I don’t know how to cook kounelli,” I said to the butcher’s wife. The customer standing beside me, an older man who looked as Jewish as it is possible to look, said, “The basis of it is pearl onions and tomatoes. You add some wine…” and he went on, listing the spices and the amounts for me, all with a captivating smile. I didn’t know what all the spices were that he mentioned, and it’s a pity, because, as the butcher’s wife told me when the man had left, “He’s a chef. He has cooked all over the world.”


I know the Greek names of the spices I use, but now I am going to learn the rest of them.


GretchenJoanna said...

Wolves, politics, medicine -- so many interesting tidbits! And I really appreciate this medicine for the soul: "How many, many things we must be misinterpreting every day!"

Emily H. said...

Evelyn wants to be a wolf for Halloween. When we went out to dinner with Kh. Charlotte last night we were telling her about it. She said, "But people shoot at wolves! They eat sheep!" To which Ben replied, "So do people." :D

Maybe you can still ask St. Francis to help...