Greek Notes (Part Two)
Feature by Willard Manus

(Drawn from notes made during the course of research for my Greek island memoir, THIS WAY TO PARADISE--DANCING ON THE TABLES)

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This bit of factual information turned up too late to be incorporated into the book's chapter on The Jews of Rhodes. When the Nazis occupied Rhodes in 1944 and rounded up the 4000 members of the historic Sephardic Jewish community and shipped them to Auschwitz, many Greek Christians grabbed whatever Jewish property they could, without permission or due process. On discovering a safe in his newly seized home, one of the Greeks even went so far as to arrange for a notorious safecracker to be brought to the premises direct from an Athens prison!

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Speaking of wily Greeks, there was a young fisherman in Lindos who caught a large grouper and sold it by its weight to a local taverna-owner. When the latter was cleaning the fish, he found some rocks in it. Upon being confronted, the fisherman said irately, "How am I supposed to know what the fish had for breakfast?"

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My wife Mavis ran into the Mayor's wife one day, in front of her grocery store. When Mavis asked where her husband was, the woman gestured at a nearby coffee-house where he was playing backgammon. "He said he couldn't mind the store because has a sore heart today." Then she shouted at him and pointed at Mavis, "Hey, Nikos--here's a doctor for your ills!"

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Mavis was once approached by two tourists at the foot of the pathway leading up to the Lindos acropolis. "Anything worth seeing up there?" one of them asked.

"Yes, of course. You might say the view is remarkable."

"But the acropolis is very old, isn't it?"

"Yes, quite."

"There's no roof on it, though."

"No, no roof."

"In America when something gets old and has no roof, we pull it down--isn't that right, mother?"

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A Greek saying: Fikia ya katokides (seaweed for silk).

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Here's a poem that Steve Mindel, a member of Lindos' expat colony, wrote for Mavis on the occasion of her birthday, May 25, 1969:



when he nudges me

late at night like that

for sex

I just wish I had a donut to stick on it"