Greek-American Stories: Yiannis’ just Desserts

January 14, 2019
Phyllis “Kiki” Sembos

The Sunday before New Year’s Eve found our group enjoying their coffee and conversations when the subject of resolutions came up. “Anyone make any resolutions, yet?” asked Dimos to no one in particular, stirring his hot coffee. John looked up, his brows snapping together. “Well, yeah! I gotta try to be a little more aggressive selling flowers at my store. Gotta think of ways to perk up business. Competition is getting tight around the neighborhood with the super markets selling flowers too.”

Dimos turned towards his right. “What about you, Kipreos?”  Kipreos, thinking deeply, responded, “I decided to be a little more attentive to my new girlfriend, Lilika.”  “What happened to Stella?” asked John, who usually supplied him with Valentine’s Day bouquets at half price. Kipreos shrugged. “I don’t know, exactly. We were doing ok going to the movies, walking in Central Park on my days off. I’d treat her to tea at the hotel. Then, she started talking different, serious like, reminding me of her birthday, that she’ll be almost thirty, how long we’d been dating, and what’s on my mind. Stuff like that.”  

Dimos asked, “What is on your mind, Kipreos? I think she wants to know where the relationship is going.” Again, Kipreos shrugged. “It was going ok if you ask me. I like her company. She liked mine. But then, she mentioned that this is a new year and we should make future plans.” Nodding seriously, Dimos reminded him that the girl was, probably, hinting that she wanted a commitment on the future, to which Kipreos replied, “I told her that it’s the same with me. I want us to continue in the new year together.”

Confused, John asked, “So, you agreed that the future will include that you and her will be getting married or engaged?” Kipreos looked up, completely surprised. “No! I didn’t mean that! Gee! Why change things that are so good the way they are! Marriage! It could ruin the whole relationship.”  John shrugged. “Looks like Stella took off because she didn’t get a commitment from you. Lilika may be going in the same direction.”  Kipreos looked concerned. He said, “Maybe you’re right. So, let’s skip the flowers on Valentine’s Day.” The subject was politely dropped.

George, who was silent all this time, turned and asked Yiannis if he’d made a New Year’s resolution. Sulking, Yiannis said, “Yes, I did!  I’m tired of you guys always telling me that I should diet; and the doctor harping at the same thing. So, I made a resolution.” “WHAT!” asked the others in unison. “Not to starve to death, that’s what.” Then added, “I resolved not to put myself in a situation that will aggravate or stress me out. Dieting is very stressful.” Grinning, George told him, “That means you have no intention of dieting in the new year, right?” “Almost right!” responded Yiannis. “You’ve all got to realize that a little donut, now and then, isn’t going to kill me.”

John responded, “Right! A little donut won’t. But, put all the donuts you eat here and at home together adds up to a giant donut, an eighteen wheeler sized tire, Yiannis.” Dimos added, “Donuts are desserts, Yiannis. Not the main course.”

Yiannis was thoughtful. “Well, there’s another way I think of it. I’m stressed! And, I’ve got to do something to alleviate stress, right? I mean stress is no good for you, worse than not dieting.”  “RIGHT!” echoed the others, although George wondered what he could find to be stressful about since he doesn’t work, his expenses are small being real cheap, his daughter is well married and his wife is the steady salary in his household. “So, I thought and thought,” continued Yiannis.  “Then, I realized something. The cure to being stressed has to be desserts.” Dimos shook his head. “How can you compare being stressed with desserts, Yiannis?”

Leaning back, reaching out for the last, sprinkled donut just before Kipreos snatched it up, he said, “Stress has to be turned around. So, if I turned my stress around I come up with desserts.”  Looking at him, puzzled, they asked him how he could rationalize being cured of being stressed with desserts.” Slowly chewing the donut, he leaned back and said, “Stressed spelled backwards is DESSERTS.”


My name is Charles Robbins, the chief correspondent of the Chicago Daily Tribune in Constantinople.

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