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Greek-American Stories: Settling a Romantic Holiday

Yiannis awoke earlier that Saturday morning. Scratching his head he looked around, remembering that Areti was staying at Barbara’s house to help her with the church’s tea party baking. Then, he glanced at the calendar. “Oh, geez! Tuesday is Valentine’s Day.” His thoughts went to the guys at Dixon’s. Shaking his head he muttered, “first thing they’ll ask is what I am doing for Areti for the holiday. What do I say?” He got up and mulled over the situation as he made his coffee. Tomorrow is Sunday. They’d all meet after church at Dixon’s. They’re sure to ask. They always do.
Gotta think of something. I could go to John’s florist for another pretty bouquet like I did last year. Yeah!  Charges me half price. Then, he thought of going to Dimos’ diner like he did other years. But, he recalled, Dimos hinted. ‘I’m not supposed to treat your wife, you know. You pay!” “But, I leave a hefty tip for the waitress.” Sighing, he muttered, “Can’t hit on…ah, do that again. Not this year.”

Dressed, he went outside his door to where his neighbor’s newspaper was laying, as usual. He picked it up, read it over with his coffee and then replaced it once again. “What do I do?” he asked himself. Shrugging, he admitted that he’s in for it. “Gotta go out and think of something.”

He strolled the length of the sidewalk heading for the busy business district, Woolworth, the pharmacy, a thrift shop… But, nothing practical materialized. Then, walking towards the main street he looked up and saw the hotel where Kipreos worked. Rubbing his chin he got an idea as he pushed the swinging door and crossed the lobby to where Kipreos was situated, the baked goods and coffee corner. “Good morning, Kipreos.” Kipreos looked up, smiling. “What a surprise! Good morning, Yiannis. How are you this cold day?” “Fine! Just fine, Kipreos. I came by to ask you what you’re going to do for Stella for Valentine’s Day. I need ideas.” Looking up, surprised, Kipreos said, “Oh, yeah! Good thing you mentioned it. I gotta do something, too.” Yiannis smiled. “But, you have it easy, Kipreos. You can bring her here where it’s cozy – have coffee and she can choose anything she wants. The cakes and pastries here are beautiful I’ll bet she’d be really pleased.” Kipreos thought about it. Maybe not. That could lead to expecting romantic conversation, something he wasn’t very good at – ideas of a closer relationship, something that being in a hotel could suggest. Yiannis noticed his hesitation. Kipreos is a very shy guy.

Picking up on it, Yiannis suggested, “I think Stella would like to have some company on that day. What do you think?” Looking up, Kipreos asked, “like who?” Sipping his coffee with some hesitation, Yiannis replied, “Well, you know how women like to meet people, make new friends, gossip a little and share different ideas – exchange recipes, opinions on people they know – that sort of thing.” The idea began to sound kinda …well, less confining.  “Who can join us on that day?”  Leaning back, Yiannis said, “I’d bet she’d like to meet Areti. She’s very social, knows lots of recipes, and loves to meet other Greek women. It’s Valentine’s Day and that means spreading love, y’know. I’d bet they’d become friends.” Brightening, the idea jelled in Kipreos’ mind, not having to wrack his brain for an appropriate gift and alleviate the pressure of making romantic conversation sounded good. Stella is too recent an acquaintance in his life. “You know? I think you’re right. And…” he continued. “Friends celebrating Valentine’s Day all together sounds wonderful!” Leaning back, a wide, satisfied grin spread Yiannis’ mouth; he nodded with the success he’d maneuvered. Then, he thought about the expense. Was he expected to foot the bill? “It’s settled! We’ll celebrate Valentine’s Day with the women we love and…” he bent closer to Kipreos’ ear, “…it’ll be a lot less expensive, too. Right?” That’s when Kipreos  realized that Yiannis expected a free ride. What the hell! He shrugged. “Ahhh, right!”

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