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Greek-American Stories: Saving A Dime

George was in the process of informing everyone around the table at Dixon’s about what happened at Yiannis’ house on New Year’s Day. “Areti baked a Vasilopita like she does every year. Like tradition Yiannis cut the pita, one for every member of his family. That included himself, Areti, Barbara, each twin grandson, and his son-in-law.” That’s six slices,” informed Kipreos. “That’s right. Well, they sat around while everyone waited to see who’d find the token.” John grinned. “Bet it was a dime like last year.” George nodded. “Right! You didn’t think he’d let Areti put in more and let someone else get it, do you?” They all shook their heads, “NO!”

“Well, when all the pieces were searched or eaten they looked around. No one claimed the dime. Anyway, there’s the mystery. Yiannis looked around. ‘Where’s the dime?’ He looked at his grandson, Yiannis, the one named after him.” “The chip off the ol’ block,” laughed Dimos. “But, he was off the hook,” continued George. “That dime was somewhere. A dime doesn’t just disappear like that. So, something had to be done about it.”  George paused. “Then, Yiannis remembered swallowing something kinda hard when drinking his coffee and eating his slice.” Dimos looked up. “Well, he does gulp his food.” George pointed at the entrance. “Here he comes now.” Looking pale and grim, Yiannis greeted them and then he said he needed help. “I think I may have swallowed the dime in the Vasilopita, guys. I want to know if there’s any danger in that.”  “Let’s call Dr. Arostakis and ask him,” Advised John.  He agreed. Everyone got up and followed Yiannis to the wall phone. George spoke to Dr. Arostakis, telling him briefly what’s going on with Yiannis.The doctor grew grumpy hearing his name. “You mean the ‘Yiannis’ who doesn’t pay his bills until I send collection agents? The ‘Yiannis’ who insists on free sample prescriptions?” George held back a laugh. “That’s the one, doctor.” “Humph! He’s phoning because he doesn’t want to pay for an office visit, no doubt. Well? What does he want from me now?” George explained. “He wants to know if there’s any danger to his health with a dime in his system.” The doctor paused, and said, “Maybe! We’d need an X-ray. Let me speak to him.” George handed the phone to Yiannis. The doctor asked, “what do you want, Yiannis?” Shrugging, Yiannis told him, “I want my dime back! I won it! But, how do I get it?” After a pause the doctor told him to go to the drug store and buy a strong laxative and wait. “Wait? Wait for what?” asked a disgruntled Yiannis. Annoyed, the doctor said, “you know what!”  Appalled, Yiannis said, “you mean you expect me to spend the day in the New Year, searching through…?” More annoyed, the doctor huffed, “well, I’m not!” Then, he calmed, deciding to use humor. “Not searching, let’s call it research.” “I won’t!” insisted Yiannis. “Then, don’t!  Maybe, if you wait long enough you might earn interest.” Losing patience, Yiannis asked, “all I want to know, is a piece of metal in my body dangerous?” Again, the doctor decided to humor him. “Not in your body, Yiannis. The coin is, probably, lodged comfortably in all your fat.” Hearing that, Yiannis relaxed. “You mean my fat is cushioning it?” The doctor assured him, adding, “but, if you turn greenish and your stomach swells … well then, you’ll realize that research was a better route.” He hung up the phone, looking very worried. The rest of the afternoon was anything but easy. Kipreos offered, “maybe, next time you should put an IOU in the Vasilopita.” Yiannis looked up, thinking. “Not a bad idea!” They were a long time in Dixon’s, consoling their friend. Yiannis continued queasy while the others offered to buy the laxative, giving their ideas of a cure. At that moment, the manager came to their table and asked, “who’s Yiannis?” Yiannis raised a shaky hand. “Phone call from your wife.” Everyone paraded behind Yiannis to the wall phone, anxious to hear what Areti was calling about. At first, somber, then, his expression changed. He hung up the phone. “What did she say?” asked Dimos, concerned. “Areti says she forgot to put the dime in the Vasilopita.” Elated and relieved, they congratulated him. Then, Yiannis shouted, HAH!” “What’s up with you now?” asked John. Raising his hands, Yiannis announced, “I saved a dime!”

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