We caught up with Basile recently, a standup comedian who performs various routines about growing up Greek. Here are some excerpts from his Thanksgiving act…
“In Pappou and Yiayia’s kitchen was my aunt who was crying because her sister, my other aunt, wasn’t coming to Thanksgiving dinner unless my uncle apologized for something he did while Carter was president, or something like that, you can never get the whole story! As I walk out of the kitchen to avoid the tears I bump into Pappou, who is wearing nothing more than his boxers and he’s looking for his teeth. There is screaming coming from the downstairs den from my younger cousin and a baby is crying somewhere in the house.
“For a moment I ponder and decide to go back into the kitchen of tears. Who knows, I might just find out some gossip about my one uncle! While in the kitchen I decide to take a peek at the various foods we were about to have for our Thanksgiving feast, and there it was: two roasted legs of lamb, moussaka, pastitsio, dolmades, spanakopita, tiropita, stuffed calamarakia, Kalamata olives, and feta cheese…..Oh boy! I thought to myself, just like the pilgrims!
“And then there was Yiayia, in her romba and pantofles, standing at the top of the stairs, wondering how everyone was going to fit inside her home. ‘Happy Sanksgiving! Happy Sanksgiving,’ she would say.
“DING DONG! The doorbell rang, can you believe that we actually had a family member who came LATE! I know………hard to believe such a thing!
“It was my Theia Maria, my father’s sister, who had the nerve to show up two hours late! I answered the door and saw her standing there holding a covered casserole dish. Then she started with the excuses in her Greek/English broken accent: ‘If you could have seen the traffic and then the snow, like a blizzard it came and then the rain along with the freezing ice…” I interrupted her and said, ‘But Theia, you live next door!’
“Ah, yes, growing up Greek in America. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!”