Saturday, July 27, 2013

Life in Greece is All About Balance

“Jeffrey, where are you?”

“At my place, about to drive into town to pick up more books from my publisher.”

“Right now?”

“Yes, they’re expecting me.”

“But I have a flat tire.  Can’t you go later?”

“If you need me.”

“Sure do.”

Where are you?”

“By that little taverna on the road to Paradise, just off the Airport road.”

“The one we went to last year out by Kremmides’ farm?”

“Yes, that’s it.  Come, I’m waiting.”

I must admit that something about the call gave me pause, because although the caller was my best friend, he had a sense of humor that followed his sense of life:  Enjoy the moment, for it shall soon be past.

When I told my girlfriend our trip to town was off because of my friend’s flat tire, she just smiled and did not offer to join me on my mission of mercy.  I took that to mean she was pleased to get back to her painting.  Though on reflection she probably realized better than I that any call for “help” from my buddy around tsipouro time—ouzo without the anise, favored at around eleven in the morning by men who’ve been working hard since dawn—was suspect.

But off I went, in search of a flat tire.

I was greeted by chickens.

I parked under a fig tree.

I stared around for a flat tire.

But found only a gathering of Mykonian friends escaping from their island’s high season madness. 



Bakers and tradesman.

In a throwback to old, non-glitzy places.

Filled with memories of other times.

And those who made them happen for so many.

Zorba would have loved it here.

I sure do.

As for the original misrepresentation that lured me to Karteri (the name of the place), all is forgiven for there I found inspiration for this post.  But, good buddy, I suggest you re-read a certain ancient Greek’s fable about the guy who cried “flat tire” once too often—even if for a fun-for-all purpose. :)



  1. A flat tire on the road to paradise! If ever there was a phrase that sums up existence......

    1. I congratulate you, Maestro Caro, that perfectly put point never crossed my mind...

      [Memo to self: No mo tsipouro]

  2. Note to self: thou must not envy thy friends; thou must not envy thy friends; thou MUST not; thou must NOT........

    I hate you, Jeff.

  3. This was fun. I spent several happy weeks in Greece many years ago, just after the takeover of those military guys... in spite of them I got the magic of the land! Thelma Straw in Manhattan

    1. You were probably among the few enjoying those days, Thelma:)). But you're right about the magic of the land, it transcends the politics of the people.

  4. Loving the humor as much as I love u! No wonder the Barbs in your life are so important! Still waiting for an authentic Greek cookbook so I can take you back home to the paradise of love & beauty! xo..always and a day!

  5. Yep, cuz, quite a few Barbs in my life. :) As for a Greek cookbook, if you can find it, the best I know of is the Periyali Cookbook published by the restaurant of the same name in Manhattan. It's based on recipes originally developed on the island of Patmos at a restaurant called the Patmian House which brought Greek cuisine to an entirely new level.

  6. How wonderful, your friends sound delightful--and they like you, they really like you! It is nice to get a picture of what Greece is like beyond the turmoil. Thank you for that picture.

    1. That's a truer picture of island or island Greece than the promoted version, certainly beyond the tourist season, Lil. Think of tourist season as a tsunami, where locals abandon the touristic parts to the force of nature, and once it recedes, return to resume their day to day lives.

  7. Thanks for the 15,000+ words, Jeff! (Reference equation describing the Law of Visual Literature that specifies the ratio of words to pictures...) Especially the case in point: the fisherman wearing Crocs, one pink and one fire-engine yellow-green. Those Greeks are one CRAZY bunch!

    1. Since I've never seen a photo of your tootsies, Everett, I don't feel qualified to comment, but as the fellow wearing the trend setting pink/yellow combination (which I'm impressed that you noticed) is known as the strongest man on Mykonos I leave it to you--not I--to question his fashion sense.

      By the way, in Greece these days the value of pictures to words has greatly increased due to a sharp decline in the straight talk market.

  8. I'm very sad to say that we at Murder is Everywhere just learned that our colleague, friend, and inspiration, LEIGHTON GAGE, has passed away. This message was posted on Facebook seven (7) hours ago by his daughter, Melina Gage Ratcliffe:

    "My mother, my sisters and I are devastated to announce the passing of our father, Leighton Gage. Thank you friends and family for all the love and support.
    A message from Eide Gage:
    'My Dearest Friends,
    The light of my life was extinguished last night.
    Leight passed to eternity peacefully in his sleep.
    Should we cry because he died or smile because he lived?'"

    Our thoughts and prayers are with Leighton, his wife, Eide, his children and grandchildren. There has never been another like him.

    Obaat, mate.

    1. So very, VERY sorry to hear this. Thanks for letting us know, Jeff.

  9. Your post and then the sad news about Leighton Gage's passing, makes for such a poignant reminder to live life and enjoy its special - particularly, the spontaneous - moments as they happen. I suspect Zorba was there with you in the taverna - at least in spirit. Our thoughts go out to the Gage family~