ATHENS – As the songs goes, “there’s no place like home for the holidays” but when one is far from home, the age-old hospitality of Greece makes it the place to be, as was proved at the annual Thanksgiving dinner of Republicans Abroad – Greece in the Center of Athens the day after Thanksgiving.
KaterinaPapathanassiou, president of the group, welcomed guests to the delightful affair she and her dedicated committee, including its secretary Kathy Cambas, pulled out all the stops for, bringing the warmth of the great American holiday to expats and friends of America.
The guests included Greek public officials and political leaders – one couple came all the way from Kerkira and Agrinio. Papathanassiou touched upon the spiritual and social significance of the holiday expressed special thanks to “the Ambassador of the American Embassy, the Chief of the Hellenic Army, the Chief of Police and the Director of Public Affairs at the Akadimia of Athens for their services to the American Community and providing an atmosphere of safety for us.”
Also singled out for thanks was Eleni Bistika, columnist for Kathimerini for more than 53 years. “She supported America on every occasion and we thank her,” Papathanassiou said.
Displaying her trademark Texas Charm – friendly but firm – Papathanassiou declared that everyone present must make new friends and ordered the guests to introduce themselves by name and occupation at their tables.
Inspired by the touching story of how she met her late husband, Greek General Periklis Papathanassiou, numerous s friendships were born.
Katherine was born in Dallas, TX to Greek parents and came to Greece to work as a public affairs specialist at the American Embassy. When she was invited to a formal affair and asked who would be her escort, statuesque at 5’ 10”she noted, “there is no single man taller than me at the Embassy.”
The person said he knew just the right man for her. She knew nothing about him but was impressed with his warmth and charm after he presented her with a hand corsage. It was love at first sight for both, whichled to 34 wonderful years together.
Always the gracious hostess,Papathanassiou acknowledged a democrat in their midst, George Malamos, originally from Pensacola, FL, who attended with members of Ahepa Hellas’s Solon chapter, of which he is president. For the Greek-Americans among them, Thanksgiving with their Ahepa brothers and their new Republican friends was a heart-warming affair.