Greek-American Stories: Calling Cards

Yiannis happened not to be with the guys that Sunday at Dixon’s where the five of them sat, discussing the same topic of conversation. “Did you know Yiannis used calling cards?” said Dimos, “I happened to be out for a while and I saw one that was left with my cashier a couple of days ago.” John looked up; a smile lit his face. “Yeah! I didn’t know that, either. He left one with the saleslady that’s in the florist when I go to the market. She handed me the card with Yiannis’ name on it. I was surprised.” Reaching out for a donut, Kipreos nodded and informed them that he, too, found a calling card from him. “I was downstairs getting more aprons. He must have come then.” George nodded and laughed. “My wife got a call from Areti about that. She said, he came home last week with a stack of calling cards with his name on them and wanted to know what they’re about.” Dimos asked, “what did your wife tell her?” George shrugged. “They’re for informing someone they’d just come by. That’s all!” Rubbing his chin, John said, “it’s not like Yiannis to spend money on anything unnecessary. I wonder where he got them from.” George knew. “From that stationary store a few blocks from here. I know because that’s where he buys envelopes for paying his bills.”

After a short while, Dimos suggested they go to that store and inquire about it. “You’re right, George! He wouldn’t order something frivolous like calling cards. They’re expensive! Especially the ones he left. They have floral prints on each corner. And, just enough room for his name. Something’s up! Let’s go and ask the store owner. I know him. That’s where I order my business cards.” John agreed. “Right! In fact, I was supposed to pick up my own order days ago. I’ll go with you.” Kipreos asked why Yiannis wasn’t there with them today. George said, “Areti told my wife that he went to pick up a box of cookies that Father Apostoli ordered for this Wednesday’s coffee time for the women who gather to discuss making woolen scarves and socks for the poor.”

John snapped his fingers. “That’s right! I forgot! That’s why my wife was baking cookies. She wondered who was going to deliver them to church.” George laughed. “Hah!  Wrong delivery man! Count on a few cookies missing. He’ll say he had to approve the results.” When they had all finished their coffees, Dimos and John got up. “Let’s go to the stationary store now.”

It was a short walk to the store where the proprietor greeted them with a smile. “Come to pick up your order, Mr. John?” John nodded as Dimos greeted him as well. “A question, please!” began Dimos. “Did a Mr. Yiannis Pappas order calling cards from you, lately?” Pausing to think, the store owner nodded. “One gentleman came in to buy the regular envelopes a few days ago. You might know him. “WE DO!” said Dimos and John together. The store owner laughed. “He saw some cards on that table there…” he pointed to a stand near the door. “…where I place worn birthday cards and stuff that won’t sell. He picked up a stack of cards that were not accepted by the man who ordered them. He didn’t like the flowery corners and the type of print. Mr. Pappas asked if he could take them as they had no name printed. I told him he can have them. And, he took them.” Dimos looked back at John. “So, he decided to print his name on them.” John nodded in agreement. “But,” shrugged the store owner. “He didn’t mind the slogan written on the back of the card.” “On the back?” questioned John. Dimos confessed he hadn’t turned the card over and asked, “What was written on the back?” The store owner told them, “HOME, AT LAST!”  Dimos scratched his head. “Doesn’t make much sense for Yiannis, does it?” John asked, “what business uses that slogan?” The store owner smiled and pointed out the window. “That Funeral Parlor down the avenue.”





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