Greek-American Stories: Yiannis’ Victory – or, Maybe Not

June 10, 2018
Phyllis “Kiki” Sembos

Usually, Yiannis appeared much later at Dixon’s, with the hope that the donuts were already on the table, and he wouldn’t be obliged to buy them.After all, he didn’t work. So, it shouldn’t be expected that he pay for them. He looked a little unsettled as he approached the table, coffee in hand. Dimos asked if anything was wrong. “No, no. Everything’s fine,” Yiannis told him, taking his seat, eyeing the donuts. “Well, maybe, there is something that’s bugging me.”  They all listened as he told them about a letter that he receivedabout the sudden meeting his society, The Marousanakislaki Society, was holdingtomorrow evening.

“What‘s it about?” John asked. “Well, it mentioned that our president has retired so it might be about electing a new one. I don’t know,” he explained, sipping his coffee.George, his brows meeting over his nose, said, “What’s that got to do with you? You don’t go to the meetings anymore, do you?” Shrugging, he said, “That’s another matter, a misunderstanding. But, I’d like to propose thatI be considered for a position and to vote, but…” George grinned. “But, you haven’t paid your dues, Yiannis. Let’s see! You owe about three years. Right? You can’t vote for anything. You’re, probably, not in the club anymore.”

“Not true!According to the rules of the club, I still have voting privileges being born in Marousanakislaki.Besides! They think I don’t attend meetings because I’ve been,‘under the weather’.” George laughed. “Under the covers, you mean.” Ignoring him, Yiannis addressed the others. “I’d like to go but…well, I’d liketo be elected as someone important – anything. I’d consider being chosen vice president or secretary, treasurer or committee chairman – anything. If I have an important position like that in the club I’d never miss a meeting.” After a pause, he added, “Even pay all my dues and next year’s, too. I promise!” Kipreos asked, “What do you want us to do?”

“I want you all to go to the meeting and place my name on the ballot as someone who wants to be an important part of the Marousanakislaki Society and then give your vote for me as…ahh…” he waved his hand. “Whatever!” Dimos laughed. “Not president, I hope.” Yiannis looked perturbed. “Why not –if I can get the majority of the votes?” Puzzled, John said, “I don’t think we can vote for you, Yiannis. We’re not members and you’re in poor standing. What’re you thinking?”

“Not true! A fellow in the club, Panos, was elected as advisory and he wasn’t there. His brother and mother voted for him in absentia and he won the position.” Believing it was impossible for Yiannis to be elected to any position in the Society, they kicked the idea around until, seeing how Yiannis was earnestly desirous of being once more a member in good standing and deciding to humor him, they told him they’d go. “But, don’t be sore if you’re not elected to anything, Yiannis,” John reminded. Already sensing his victory as an elected official in some way, Yiannis, thanked them, reaching for another donut. He said he’d, not only pay his past dues but he’d (a choking sound emanated from his throat.) buy the next tray of donuts as a victory gift next time around.

The four attended the meeting, announcing that they represented Yiannis in absentia as the meeting opened. Lasting over two hours, they went away well pleased with their results. Anxiously awaiting them, Yiannis, first at the table in Dixon’s that Sunday, asked, “Well? How did it go?” Dimos, taking in a sustaining breath, announced, “We have good news and bad news, Yiannis.”

Yiannis ‘expression froze. “Give me the good news first. I’ll deal with the bad news later.”  Dimos began. “The position of president was filled. Sorry! So were most of the other positions. But, you’ve been electedCouncil administrator.” Yiannis brightened, his face reflecting his newly achieved success. “Wow! That’s wonderful! I told you I could do it. Now, what’s the bad news?” Dimos advised him that the position required some responsibility. “Do you think you’re up to it, Yiannis?”  “Of course!” he told him, excitedly.

Suppressing a laugh, John, seriously, told him, “You’re now responsible for collecting dues from every negligent or irresponsible member, immediately, beginning with you.” Yiannis, his expression changing from glad to glum, pictured dollars sprouting wings and heading out the door.“That Is bad news!”

“Also, dues were raised five dollars,” informed George, adding, “So! We’re waiting for the donuts you promised to buy when you’ve won.”  Looking very overwhelmed, Yiannis muttered, “I think I’ll be Council Administrator in – absentia.”


In less than two weeks, the 47th Clergy-Laity Congress of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America will convene in the city of San Diego, CA, an event that has the opportunity to be characterized as a significant milestone for the life and progress of our Church and Community – but we are not holding our breath.

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