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Greek-American Stories: Churchly Chores

All five were present at Dixon’s that very warm Sunday afternoon. Anxious to get to the point, Dimos passed around a flyer handed him by Father Apostoli at that morning’s church service. “Looks like not many saw these flyers that were by the door on our way out of church,” he said, scanning the list of chores. “So, Father Apostoli gave this one to me, hoping to bring some attention to the matter. He was concerned about getting those jobs taken care of, voluntarily, before the vacations. I said I’d try. I volunteered to order new curtains for the office and library room.”

John glanced at the paper handed him and nodded, “oh, yeah! Penelopi got one. But, I haven’t read it yet. When we got home I was hungry for lunch.”

Kipreos looked it over, giving it a hard read and then said, “I’ll be glad to wash the cabinets in the kitchen and wash all the dishes. It’s the least I can do with my work schedule.” George, not a church attendee, read each item carefully and then offered to paint Father Apostoli’s small office. “Why not?” reasoned George, noting, “Father Apostoli’s a good man.”  Dimos smiled his thanks, checking that chore off the list. The list was passed on to Yiannis who studied each item, noticing, rug vacuuming. Nah! Too many rugs, including the aisles in the church. Dimos asked Yiannis, “think you can handle polishing the office furniture? Or, how about the window washing?” Real heavy duty stuff, Yiannis thought, shuddering and then, apologized with the excuse that his back couldn’t take the stress. “Well, what about the library room? You could put all the children’s Bible story books back on the shelves.” After some  quick thinking, Yiannis shook his head. “Some of those shelves are up high. I’d risk falling off that ladder. Think of the hospital bills and the extra work you guys would need to do then.”  Dimos nodded and looked away. Every chore was a job needed and important toward the upkeep of the church and Father Apostoli hoped he’d have the necessary assistance. Dimos placed a check next to the names of those who volunteered; George’s painting the office was a big help, John’s offer to do the vacuuming, Kipreos’ offer was most generous, too. John said, “Hey! I vacuum when Penelopi doesn’t have the time and I do that in my store after closing. So, it’s no big deal.” “Bravo, John!” Dimos responded. Kipreos raised his hand. “If I can get my cousin to help we can move the heavy plants to the back yard. I can let you know by tomorrow, Dimos. Is that alright?” “Perfect!” Dimos assured.

Small talk continued until John asked, “say, a lot is covered but what if Father Apostoli can’t get all those jobs taken care of, Dimos? What happens then?” Dimos shrugged. “Well, from how it looks right now, there are just a couple of jobs left. So, from what I understood, Father Apostoli can’t leave just some work done while other stuff doesn’t get done. So, he’d have to cancel what you guys volunteered to do. Then, the alternative is he’d get outsiders to do all the jobs. That would mean we’d have to make up the cost of what the outsiders would charge the church. And, from past experience, they don’t come cheap!” Yiannis listened, quietly, enjoying his donut and coffee. Curious, Kipreos asked, “how much will he need to charge us in that case?” Dimos, leaning back in his seat, shook his head. ”What I understood, at the last council meeting, they figured it would cost us about twenty to thirty dollars each family. And that’s not counting their luncheon meals. They don’t work cheap and they’ve got some appetite!”

Choking sounds were heard in Yiannis’ direction. Flushing red, Yiannis swallowed, paused and took a deep, restoring breath. John asked, “Are you OK, Yiannis?” “I…I’m alright, I think,” he said, his thoughts still churning with the “twenty or thirty dollars” charges, not counting the lunches. Rubbing his chin, he stretched out his hand and said, “Let me see that list again.”

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