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Greek-American Stories: Rash Decisions

Our guys were seated quite comfortably amid Dixon’s air conditioning when George was telling Dimos, Kipreos, and John about the phone call Areti made to his wife. “Yiannis has a rash that itches bad, she says. Meanwhile, their grandsons, the twins Yiannis and Timotheos, are at their apartment for the weekend because Barbara has workers at her house.”

Just then, Yiannis arrived, coffee in hand, greeting them, glumly. “Not looking so cheerful, Yiannis. What’s up?” asked Dimos. Stirring his coffee until it began to slosh, he muttered, “a lot! First, I’ve got an itch that’s driving me crazy. And, I’ve got two noisy grandsons in my house for the whole weekend. Can’t read my newspaper! It’s a war zone!”

“Aw, Yiannis. Children come from heaven,” smiled John. “Oh yeah? Well, it’s gotta be real quiet up there now.” Dimos noticed Yiannis scratching his arm and neck, repeatedly. “Mosquitoes, Yiannis?” said Dimos. “I don’t know. But, it’s been driving me nuts a few days now.”

Kipreos sympathized. “Maybe Dr. Arostakis can relieve it.” Huh! The only thing he’d relieve me of is a few bucks, not counting a prescription that will cost plenty.” Pausing, he added, “I’ll wait it out.”

Kipreos said, “what if it’s something serious like measles?” Yiannis waved his hands. “I had them when I was a kid. Besides, Areti and the kids would have it, too!”

“Maybe, it’s something you ate,” offered John. Tapping his spoon, he told them, “I think its nerves.” George agreed, “could be! I always said, you’ve got a lot of nerve.”

Dimos suggested, “why don’t you take the kids out for lunch. That way, Areti can get a rest, too and time will pass quicker.”

“That’s what you think!” Yiannis’ voice heightened. “I took them to a hamburger place yesterday. I asked them what they wanted. Yianni, the one named after me, looked at the menu and asked if he could have three hamburgers.”

“Three?” They spoke in unison. “That’s right!” Yiannis assured them. “What did you tell him?” asked John, curious. After a sip of coffee, Yiannis responded, “I told him he could have as many as he wants – if he’s paying.”

They laughed. George nodded and said, “proves that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

“Well, today is the last day for babysitting, Yiannis. So, it’ll all be over by this evening. So, I will take it easy until Barbara comes to collect them.”

Reaching out for his first donut, Yiannis said, “not soon enough!” Then, giving the matter more thought, and with a look of speculation, he thought about not going home until much later. There must be some way to manage it. He looked around. “Maybe, I could visit your house for a cup of coffee, John. Say, ‘hello’ to Penelopi.” Giving that suggestion short drift and recalling his last visit lasting until dinnertime, John told him, “sure! And, then you can help me with the weeding of the rows of tomatoes and zucchini. That’s what I’ll be doing today. There’s a jungle of weeds out there.”  Suddenly, thoughts of sweating under the hot sun and pulling stacks of weeds sounded like being sentenced to a day of hard labor. “On second thought,” Yiannis eyed Dimos. “Maybe, if I went to the diner I’d be cooler and the itch won’t be so bad. Maybe, cure me, too.”  Giving it a fair amount of thought, Dimos said, “why not! Being Sunday, the diner will be very busy. I could use you to relieve the cashier just for a while. Or, maybe, help peel some potatoes. It would take your mind off the itch. Get real relief.” But, Yiannis saw visions with him standing long hours at the register until evening, having to deal with grumpy customers. With a half smile and reaching for the second donut he thanked Dimos for the offer. “On second thought, it’ll make more sense to go to that pharmacy that’s a ways from here and get something for the itch.” That suggestion was met with full agreement. But, George, sensing that Yiannis was just stalling for time away from the grandkids and leaving that job all on Areti, said, “good idea! That drug store closes just before midnight!”

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