Greek-American Stories: Getting Snowed

Four inches of snow covered New York City and surrounding neighborhoods. But our sturdy, ancient Greek-blooded customers of Dixon’s had braved the weather and gathered round their favorite table, all excepting Yiannis, whose chair was empty. “Guess the weather was too much for him,” said John, stirring his coffee. “That’s not it!” George spoke up. “Areti called my wife and said she thought it was strange that Yiannis had gone to the super of the building and asked for a shovel.”

John looked up. “Yiannis? Borrow a shovel? What for, I wonder?” Kipreos looked sympathetic and said, “maybe, he’s shoveling his way here.” John laughed. “That’s too much like working. But, he’s got something in mind, I’d bet.”

Dimos shook his head and asked, “could it be he’s thought of shoveling snow for some money?” John‘s brows came together, his face registered seriousness. “Yiannis? Work?” Dimos said, “why not? We all tell him about his weight. He may have found it an opportunity to try to work it off. The weather is perfect for it.” George looked depressed, saying, “and, I forgot my camera. What a photo that would be! Yiannis working.”

Just then the object of conversation sauntered through the double doors of Dixon’s, went for his coffee and settled in his seat. “Ah, snow! Great weather! Good to breathe and move around in it.”

Suspicious, George asked, “you? Moved around in it?” Sipping and setting his cup down, he told George, “what better weather for getting out and doing something. No sense sitting at home watching the snow fall. Only those without smarts sit home doing nothing in weather that calls for action.”

Kipreos spoke up. “At the hotel where I work the waiters were shoveling a long time getting the entrance cleared up for guests and customers. They got all rosy-faced. The boss told me to serve them tea and scones.” Nodding, Yiannis waved his arms out. “See? That’s what I mean. But some guys make a few bucks, too!”

John said, “in my neighborhood, all the men shoveled snow early this morning to get it all clear for their cars to get out. Some elderly neighbors paid someone to get that done. Someone has to do it!”

Yiannis was pleased to hear that. “That’s the spirit! You can’t let the weather prevent you from doing something that’s energetic and useful.” George narrowed his eyes, head bent towards Yiannis, saying, “don’t tell me you did something energetic and useful in this weather, Yiannis! I’d expect you to be still bundled in your comfy bed waiting for spring.” “Huh!” Huhhed, Yiannis. “As usual, that’s where you’re wrong!  Areti got up and went to work, safely, thank God! I got up real early, too, and then went out.”

Dimos reminded, “I heard you borrowed a shovel from your super. That right?” Leaning back, Yiannis assured him that was right. “He had already used it earlier. So, it was good to go.” “Go where?” asked John, curious. “To work, that’s what! And, not only did the weather invigorate me to continue for a long while, but money was made in the bargain, too!”

Kipreos asked, “a lot?” Rocking his head, he responded, “enough to give my grandsons, Timotheos and Yiannis a share.” Impressed, George said, “YOU gave your grandsons a share in money you earned shoveling snow?” Chin lifted, Yiannis responded, “After all, it’s only fair that they get something for agreeing to come with me in this weather. Hey! It’s Sunday and there’s no school, you know. Why shouldn’t they come with their Papou when he asks them?”

“Did they go sledding? Or, did they play in the snow?” asked John, trying to picture the boys playing while Yiannis shoveled but no such picture came up. “Sledding! Huh!” Yiannis explained, casually, “they can do that anytime. How many opportunities do they get getting some money with weather like this?” Dimos sat up. “Are you saying, they shoveled? And, you collected?”

“Of course! I watched that they didn’t get ripped off.” George had a half smile. “Not by strangers, anyway.”

“Right! BUT…” he reached out for the second donut. “Like I said, I gave them their share. It’s only right!”



Dear Stavroula, I have been divorced for 24 years.

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