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Greek-American Stories: Just Being Yiannis

Dimos was explaining to the others about what went on in church last Sunday. “I don’t know if you knew about it, but, seems like Yiannis had mistakenly given a ten dollar bill for a one dollar when the plate was handed round,” he told them, watching the door for Yiannis’ entrance.

A wide grin on John’s face, he said, “I didn’t know that. I hope he didn’t wrestle Father Apostoli to the ground for it.” Shaking his head, Dimos said, “he made no mention of it the whole week. But, I guess you didn’t notice it, John, this morning he didn’t make any contribution. I watched as he passed the plate down. But, I noticed he put a piece of paper into the plate. I don’t know what that was about.” The conversation came to an end when they noticed the non-contributor entering, getting his coffee and approaching the table. After brief greetings, eying the donuts, he asked, “what’s new?” George, grinning, and feeling wily, decided not to let the subject fade. His expression serious, he said, “I hear you were very generous with your contribution at church last week, Yiannis. That’s really commendable!” Looking up, giving it some thought, Yiannis smugly decided why not play the generous donor. Sipping his coffee, and with a nod, he paused and said, “That’s true!” “But, I don’t think you were as generous this morning I noticed,” hinted Dimos, who didn’t appreciate the hero act. “I noticed you put a piece of paper in the tray, Yiannis. What was that about?” Setting down his cup, Yiannis shook his head.”You’re right! That’s what I did.” Kipreos, who had sat behind Yiannis at church this morning, didn’t want his friend to feel awkward, and said, “I’m sure you had a good reason for passing down the plate. Am I right?”  Brightening, Yiannis nodded. “Of course! And, like you noticed, Dimos, I did leave a note in the collection plate, however. It should explain last week’s donation.” With a broad grin, George said, “I know! It was an I.O.U. for this week. Right?” Pulling a face, he said, “WRONG! I wouldn’t do that! I know what’s right. Thinking about the ten dollars, I decided it wasn’t so bad a contribution. So…” A long pause ensued.

John, shrugging, asked, “then, can we, please, know what the note said?”  Leaning back, Yiannis told them, “I figured, I give a dollar a week, regularly, right? So, I, mistakenly, put a ten dollar bill last week instead my usual dollar. It could look like Father Apostoli to expect that to happen more often,” he shook his head vigorously. “Nooo! So, I wrote a note, explaining, ‘Season Pass’.”

A silence fell on them all. Kipreos, feeling that everyone had a fault of some kind, nodded sympathetically, and decided that Yiannis was, ‘just being Yiannis.’ Yiannis continued. “It’s not like I’m stingy, you know. But, things can get a little expensive at church, sometimes. For instance, those two lottery tickets you sold me last month, John. And I had bought two, remember.” John looked up, surprised. “Wait a minute! You won five dollars, I recall. Didn’t that make you happy?” Yiannis shrugged. “Sure! But, Areti’s ticket didn’t win anything.”  Setting down his coffee, he continued. “Then, I get complaints from her because we walked home from church that Sunday. It was a sunny day.” He nodded, “it was a sunny day. It’s only twelve blocks. And, I didn’t want to spend what I won, so, we walked home.”


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