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Greek-American Stories: Areti’s Night Out

With the coming event of the New Year, the conversation in Dixon’s, naturally, was about the church’s event. “Last year, remember, we all enjoyed ourselves,” reminded Dimos, stirring his coffee. “You can count me in”, declared John, reaching for a donut. Kipreos, looking sad, said, “I wish I could join you. But…” he sighed. “I have to work. It’s a big event at the hotel, you know. In fact, we were very short on workers this year, so whoever works on that night will get double the hourly time.
Imagine getting almost double my salary for that one night. I couldn’t miss out on that deal. And, what a surprise! My boss was happy I found someone who offered to work that night, too.” George looked across at Yiannis, wondering about his plans, and asked, nonchalantly. “What about you, Yiannis?” Recalling Yiannis’ attendances in previous years, they wondered what scheme Yiannis will try to think up on that evening to make a little money, remembering his bar attendance and picking up the tips, coat room attendance and picking up the tips, opening car doors outside and picking up the tips. Dimos, quickly, informed him, “there’s something you have to know, Yiannis. Father Apostoli has every position filled this year. So, you and Areti will come and sit with us as a paying guest this time.” Yiannis asked how much is the ticket this year.

John responded, “Four dollars per person, which means eight dollars a couple. That includes the snacks and noise makers. It’s a bargain when you think that the hotel where Kipreos works charges fifteen dollars each person. That’s thirty dollars!” Yiannis reached out for a donut. “Well, that’s too expensive, I think. But, I hate to disappoint Areti. She looks forward to being with you guys and your wives.” John picked up on that, quickly. “And, we look forward to seeing her, Yiannis. So, you’ll just have to shell out the eight bucks for her sake.” Yiannis hesitated before responding. Kipreos wanted to tell them more about the help he found but was interrupted. Yiannis said, “I’m not thinking about myself, you know. It’s about Areti!”

John, confused, shrugged and asked, “What about Areti? There’s no doubt she will be there with you.” Looking forlorn, Yiannis said, “Suppose… just suppose I can’t make it. Say something came up. I’d like to know that she’d be with you guys in any case.” He looked up, observing their expressions, carefully. Dimos smiled, glad to hear that he was really sensitive and caring for the good, kindly, loving, hard working wife. Waving his hands, he told him, “no problem, Yiannis! In that case, we’d be glad to bring her and take her home afterwards. We’d be glad to have her with us. Don’t even think about it, Yiannis. But, there’s no reason to think you’ll not be there with her, is there?”

Yiannis shook his head. “Well, there is. In fact, something has come up. A matter has come up. I felt I had to help out – that I’d help out because there was a great need. I couldn’t turn away from it! It isn’t often that such a need comes up. I was asked and I understood the great need. So, like the good friend I try to be, I said I would sacrifice my own celebration and help out.”
George grew suspicious. Yiannis? Sacrifice? Help someone in great need? Somehow, it just didn’t sound like ‘Yiannis’. “Are you saying you want us to bring Areti to the church’s celebration and take her home because someone needs your help?” Dimos, curious, asked, “Is that right, Yiannis?” Lowering his head, Yiannis, looking helpless, shrugged and nodded. Watching him, they all pondered Yiannis’ generous offer to help someone in need. Dimos made his approval known. “So, you’re going to sacrifice your own night for celebrating to help someone out?”

Looking pleadingly, Yiannis nodded. “I’d be most grateful!” Dimos, looked at the noble Yiannis and assured him, saying, “Consider it done!” Smiling broadly, that’s when Kipreos told them, “It’s settled, then! That’s what I was about to tell you! The person who offered to work that night with me is – Yiannis!”

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