Greek-American Stories: Embarrassing Moments

Everyone has experienced an embarrassing moment. Don’t try and tell me you never did because I won’t believe you. Anyway, I’ve had a few – just a few. And, to show you what a good sport I am, I will mention some. It was a drizzly day.But, I had to go food shopping, so I drove across the wide avenue to the super market, met a neighbor, talked a bit and moved on. Outside, I looked up at a blue sky and huge, billowy clouds racing overhead. My thoughts were on taking the stuff home and going for a long walk – starting now.

The walk home was pleasant. But, the next day, I froze when I realized that my car wasn’t in the drive-way. I asked Vasili (Bill to you) if he moved my car. He said an emphatic “no.” What else could I do but call the police. They came and asked me a lot of questions. I described the car and they radioed it in. It wasn’t long before they told me the car was found. What a relief!  It was found, he informed me, across the street in the super market parking lot. Oh, Gee! I forgot! I had walked home yesterday. I smiled and asked him, weakly, “Would you like a lemonade – or something?”

My friend, Dottie, and I decided to pass the time on the patio where, for fun and with a pack of playing cards, she spread them out and began reading my fortune. The doorbell rang and Bill got it while she delved into cards that foretold I was going to be the subject of“loyia” – criticisms – and soon. That’s when we both looked up and saw, in the doorway, the bell ringer was none other than Father Apostoli who had come to bless our house. I forgot about that. Looking down at the display he frowned darkly when he saw what we were doing. I guess the reading was correct –criticism was a-comin’, – and soon!

The telephone woke me up. It was my friend who was supposed to drive us to St. John’s Church because we had things for the coming bazaar. It was late and I jumped into my jeans and sneakers,grabbed the t-shirt on the chair and waited for Dottie. She arrived, and we, breathlessly, piled all the stuff in the car and drove off. When I went into the office, I looked up and noticed that the secretary and Father Apostoli were staring at me. After polite salutations, I looked down and saw that I was wearing a t-shirt that read, ‘Hot Babe’. It was a discard of my granddaughter’s. Gee! Not good references.

At the Greek Parade, my friend and I meandered up Fifth Avenue looking for a good viewing space when I saw, coming toward us, a couple we knew from our old neighborhood. They came up to us and, happily greeted us with hugs and questions about the husband and kids.My mind became a little excited and flusteredand I couldn’t remember their names. It was something like Simitisakis or Samiotiakis. Not wanting to delay my addresses to them I blurted out, “how nice to see both of you, again. How are you Mrs. Snnnzzz ita kis.”  I swallowed, realizing how I must have sounded. I lost my speech. But, Dottie came to my rescue. “I told you not toeat those salty pretzels, Kiki.So nice to see you both, Mr. and Mrs. Soumiliotis. Hope you enjoy the parade.” We slid away, gracefully.But, my face adjusted to a more normal color only when the sound of a band was heard.

Kiria Vasso had the reputation of being very talkative on the phone. Being a widow with ailments, a phone call from her meant forty minutes, or more, listening to lamenting for her late husband and hearing a detailed account of her medicines and ailments. Yawn!One day, just when I least wished to be engaged in one of her lengthy conversations, I told her, “Oh, Kiria Vasso, my husband just walked in. He doesn’t like his lunch late. And, I have to give him his pills on time. So, I have to…” I hardly finished when she said, “How could he be there when he just this minute is passing my house?”  I can’t think of a moral to it all. Should I tell you about my experience at a funeral parlor? Nah!


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