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Greek-American Stories: NO B.S.

The guys at Dixon’s were gathered, as usual, at their table that Sunday afternoon.  John spoke first. “Father Apostoli went to a conference last Sunday and wasn’t able to conduct the usual Bible Study class. He asked if someone would make a sign informing everyone. He was annoyed at the sign he found at the door when he returned this morning.”  Dimos, shrugging, said, “I heard something about it! What was wrong with it?”

John told him, shrugging, “I didn’t see it. But, it wasn’t very well written, he told me. He gave out a piece of cardboard and asked who’d write the sign. No one responded. But, someone took the cardboard.” George, a non church goer, continued drinking his coffee so no one gave him notice. Kipreos looked around and wondered what the fuss was about. He asked, “Was the spelling wrong?”  John shook his head. “I don’t know. Maybe!” 

“Was the information wrong, do you think?” asked Dimos. Again, John shook his head sending his head towards Yiannis who looked completely at ease, drinking his coffee and eyeing the sprinkled donut. As the sole non respondent, Dimos asked him, “know anything about it, Yiannis?”  Setting down his coffee, Yiannis looked up and after a brief pause, said, “Hey! Father Apostoli needed at sign and when he asked around and no one answered, I took the cardboard home. First place, it was a very small sized cardboard. So, I had to be as brief as possible. Considering the size, I think I did a good job.”

“So?” demanded Dimos, annoyed at his delayed response. “So, I was the only one that accepted the responsibility. I deserve some credit! I never get any credit when I try to do something for the church.”

“All he wanted was a sign that said he’d not be conducting the Bible Study class after services that after noon, that’s all! What was so hard about that?” Shrugged John.

“Not hard! First, like I said, the cardboard was too small. I either had to abbreviate Father Apostoli’s name, which wouldn’t look right, or, I had to write as few words as possible. I first wrote, “Father Apostoli is going away after services next Sunday. Don’t expect him around.” But that had thirteen words. Didn’t fit! Then, I decided to abbreviate Sunday and his name. I wrote, ‘Next Sun. Father A. is not doing Bible Study. So, go home!” That was twelve words. Less words but it didn’t sound too … aah, friendly.”

All awaited the outcome. But, Yiannis remained silent for a long while until John, growing annoyed, asked, “WHAT did you, finally, write?”  Yiannis continued, reluctantly. “Then, I thought a while and decided to write it a little more direct with more abbreviations. I thought about, “Next Sun., a con. will be taking Father A. away and won’t be around for Bible Study.” But, that was seventeen words even with the abbreviations.”

George told him, “If you couldn’t think of anything why didn’t you let someone else do it? Someone who knows better English!” That riled Yiannis. His cup making a thud on the table, Yiannis told him, “Nothing’s up with my English, George!  It wasn’t the English that was hard; it was the size of the cardboard. In fact, it took a long while but I finally designed a sign that fit fewer words on that small cardboard and then lost no time. I went straight to the church and pinned it up on the bulletin board where everyone can see it.”

Thumping his fingers on the table’s edge, John demanded to know what exactly did he finally, write. A proud grin on his face, Yiannis set his coffee cup down, reached out for the sprinkled donut just as Kipreos was about to snatch it up and told them, “it took a while. Then, I realized, hey, everyone is familiar with what Father Apostoli does after services. So, there was no need to be so wordy. I simply wrote, “Father A. will not B.S. this Sunday.’” Leaning back, he shrugged, “can’t say it plainer than that!”

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