Greek-American Stories: Easy as Pie!

Only four were present in Dixon’s that Sunday. “Where’s Yiannis?” asked Kipreos, his eye at the door. Dimos looked up. “Maybe, he’s still at church where he was to hand Father Apostoli the envelope with the cash the pie and cookie sale made after Thanksgiving.”

George’s brows rose. “Yiannis was picked to bring the money to the church?” Dimos nodded, sipping his coffee. “He offered,” he explained. John asked, “Just how much do you think the sale made?” Dimos calculated, “I’m not sure. Hopefully, it should be over fifty dollars. Let’s see! I wasn’t there when the Philoptochos counted the proceeds. But, I handed in the envelope the cookies in my diner sold. All in all, it was twenty dollars.”

Kipreos smiled. “Not bad for a short sale. The pies Areti brought to the hotel didn’t sell as well. We have so many in our display case that they were overlooked, I’m sorry to say.  But, I bought the slices and paid with my own money what the church expected had they been sold. That was fifteen dollars. Yiannis came to collect the envelope and took away what I didn’t buy. They were the whole pies.” Dimos calculated. “Hmmm. That’s about thirty five dollars. Am I right, guys?” They responded that it was correct.

Looking across at John, Dimos asked, “Your wife baked cookies, too, right? She sold some to her neighbors, you said.”  John nodded. “Oh, yeah! She sold a lot of them – twenty five dollars was the total. So, if my math is right and we add to the total now, that’ll make sixty dollars.”

John, leaning back, smiled with satisfaction. “Penelopi will be so happy her cookies did so well for the church.” Dimos agreed, adding, “and, the pies Areti baked are always very special, I know. I wonder what Yiannis did with them.” Just then Yiannis entered, got his coffee and eyed the donut dish that contained his favorite. After the usual greetings, he sat down.

George asked Yiannis did Areti bake the pies. “Because if you did, you’d probably use Paper Mache instead of dough.” They laughed. Dimos said, “ah, he wouldn’t be that cheap when it comes to money for the church, would you, Yiannis?” Unconcerned at George’s remark, he assured them that Areti created the very best pies. “Of course, when I went to the hotel I saw that what wasn’t sold, Kipreos made good on. They were the slices of pie. I took the three whole pies home.” Dimos asked what he did with them. Reaching out for the sprinkled donut, Yiannis paused to collect his thoughts. “Well, Areti used up a lot of our own ingredients. She worked hard making them, you know. And,” he paused to brush the crumbs off his suit. “What Kipreos bought, naturally, went in the envelope. It was good of Kipreos to buy them up. That went into the envelope that I took to the church.” They all nodded in approval. “BUT!” Yiannis reiterated. “The pies I took home belong to me. And they cost money to make, you know.”

George narrowed his eyes. “I suppose you sold the big ones.” Calmly sipping his coffee, Yiannis began to eye the remaining one but declined. Then, he snapped. “NO, smart guy! I have my own plans! Tomorrow is the twins’ birthday. I’m taking them with me to their birthday, a little something homemade from their yiayia.” Dimos interrupted. “How much was in the envelope you delivered to Father Apostoli?” Yiannis told him, “Exactly fifty two dollars.” John looked up. “But we figured it should have been sixty dollars.” Leaning back, Yiannis explained, calmly, “it was! But, I had to deduct what wasn’t figured for the church sale. That eight dollars belongs to me. That’s how I paid for my grandson’s birthday present.”

George sighed. And nodding, said, “humph! It’s called ‘Yiannis ecumenical strategy.’  Smiling with satisfaction, Yiannis said, “it’s as easy as pie!”


To the Editor: As the year comes to a close with more prayers for things like peace and health and prosperity than usual, I think this is a good time to note the good things that happened in 2022.

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