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Greek-American Stories: Special Delivery

Yiannis woke up to a rainy day that morning, rubbed his head, and groaned. Looking at the calendar, he couldn’t help but notice that tomorrow was Valentine’s Day. He sat up, doing some serious thinking. “If I don’t do something for Areti, I’ll never hear the end of it from George!” Nodding, his thoughts tried to find ways to dodge their inquiries. “Then, I’ll be hearing from the others what they’ll do for their wives. And, they’re not cheap about it.” Getting up, he struggled to get dressed; all while his brain did some serious thinking, too: What to do for Areti.

It was Sunday. The guys will all be at Dixon’s this afternoon, rain or shine, waiting to discuss how they’ll gift their wives for the holiday. So, taking his wallet out from under his pillow, he had a brain wave. I know! I’ll go late!” he decided, heading for the kitchen where he made his coffee, scrambled eggs and toast. Flowers? “Nah! It’s raining. Too far to John’s florist.”

Meanwhile, George, sensitive to Yiannis’ frugality when it came to Yiannis’ devoted, uncomplaining wife, Areti, felt obliged to make this Valentine Day special for the woman who was, also, his wife’s very good friend. So, with the agreement from the others, he ordered flowers from John’s florist, a special card that included the names, George, Dimos, John, and Kipreos and made sure the special card was included in the bouquet and then, had it delivered, along with a box of chocolate candies, to Yiannis’ daughter, Barbara’s house, requesting that they all be delivered to her mother. “But,” he reiterated, “it’s from all us trying to make up for your father’s lack of appreciation of your good mother, Barbara.” Delighted, Barbara understood and thanked him, sincerely. Carefully gathering the gifts in a plastic bag, her own included, she made sure they were all delivered to her mother’s apartment on the special day by the twins, her sons, Yiannis and Timotheos.

Valentine’s Day arrived and went, and on the following Sunday the five guys were seated at their regular table, each describing what they’d done for their wives on that holiday. John began, “Penelope sent her brother to work the store while I sat in my favorite sofa chair and enjoyed a sumptuous dinner that she made just for me.” Dimos, smiling, told them how his wife had gifted him with a pair of her hand-knitted socks and a new fishing rod and reel. “Come April or May, rod and reel will be busy by Long Island’s shores, bringing home the flounders.”

George reported how he’d bought his wife her favorite perfume. “And, it wasn’t cheap, either. Then, we went out for a nice dinner.” They turned towards Kipreos who had been too shy and overly cautious when it came to dealing with his girlfriend, Stella, who was getting tired of waiting for him to make a romantic move.

Looking shy, he told them, “I wanted to make Stella’s Valentine Day special, too, but I never got to do anything. When I telephoned her to ask her out, she told me, she had to hang up. She was waiting for some guy to call her. Guess I telephoned her too late.”

George, anxious to hear about how Areti’s Valentine Day was, asked him. Yiannis, tapping the grains of sugar off his fingers from the donut he’d just devoured, said, “I have to tell you that Areti said it was the best Valentine’s Day she’d ever had.” George, grinning, slyly, asked, “was she surprised?” Leaning back, Yiannis said, “Well, Areti had just come from work when the doorbell rang. My grandkids jumped in, loaded with a plastic bag, they handed me a big bouquet of flowers and a box of chocolate candy. Areti was still busy hugging and kissing the kids when I noticed that the card inside it was signed by you guys.” Laughing, Yiannis said, “I guess I wasn’t around when you guys signed it. So, I added just my name to it. She was so surprised!”

Not as surprised as the others.

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