Greek-American Stories: Yiannis’ Apples and Pizza

The guys in Dixon’s that Sunday, were all ears as Yiannis explained to them how anxious he was about his grandson, six-year-old Yiannis, named after him. Curious, John said, “you told us he takes after you in being smart, whereas Timotheos is exactly like Areti and his other Papou, Timotheos!” Yiannis nodded. “It’s true! Timotheos wouldn’t pull what Yiannis pulled on me a few days ago.” Yiannis stirred his coffee with vigor, thinking about that one day when little Yiannis proved smarter than him. Dimos asked him to explain.

“Well, every once in a while, I thought I’d test his, ‘smarts’. So, one day, I said, ‘Yiannis, I’ve got one dollar in one hand and two quarters in the other. Which do you want to take for keeps?” After a pause, Yiannis reported, “he reached out and chose to take the two quarters that he took and pocketed instead of the dollar.” Shrugging, he explained, “I figure, Hey! He’s only six. He’s still too young to figure that a dollar is better than two quarters. Two shiny, silver quarters looked better to him than a paper dollar, I figure. Then, after a while, say, a few days later,0 I tried it again. I held out the dollar in one hand and two quarters in the other. He waits, then gives me a big smile because he’s glad to play the game. He waits – and like the other times, he picks the two quarters, stuffing them into his pocket, again.”

Kipreos offered, “maybe, he doesn’t want to appear grabby!” Suppressing an urge to laugh, George said, “maybe, he’s trying to prove that the apple doesn’t always fall under the apple tree.” Yiannis made a face, “It’s a sure thing that he’s my Apple, George. And, he’s from my Apple tree.” Dimos asked what Timotheos would do if offered the same deal. Yiannis waved out his hands. “Oh, I tried it on him. Timotheos says to me, ‘no, thank you, Papou. I’d rather have a slice of the pizza you ordered for our lunch.’ Huh!”
Dimos asked, seriously, “are you worried Little Yiannis is not as clever as you thought he was?” Yiannis paused, giving the matter more thought. Then, shaking his head, he told him, “the trouble is it’s looking like I think he’s smarter than me!”

They all laughed and spoke in a chorus, shaking their heads: “Never! Why do you think it’s looking like he’s smarter than you?”

Leaning back, almost embarrassed to explain why he thought his grandson was more clever than him, he shrugged, and after some hesitation, explained, “well, when I explained to him that one dollar was worth four quarters and that’s better than the two quarters, he jingled the change in his pockets and told me, ‘I know that!’ I looked at him and said, ‘if you know, that why do you always take the two quarters instead of the dollar?’ He laughs and tells me, ‘because, the day I take the dollar the game’s over!’”
They all laughed. Then, John said, “he’s your apple, alright, Yiannis!”

Nodding vigorously, Yiannis added, “I know! That’s why I told him he’s paying for the pizza!”


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