The tavern dining experience is not particular popular around here…even in the simplest of beach towns you don’t find wobbly paper-blanketed tables with woven chairs anywhere near where the rock meets the ocean. A rustic local place where one enjoys less constructive meals with some grains of sand tucked between your toes, where your sun-kissed face cools off with a frosty beer straight from the bottle and where you unwind and surrender yourself to the food of the proud proprietor. Little plates of heaven come out one by one, a village salad with luscious right-off-the-vine August tomatoes, creamy feta, nothing like the one at the supermarket, in a dish of its own sprinkled with oregano and swimming in olive oil probably from the neighboring olive grove. And then the fruits of the sea, grilled octopus, sardines and the prized red mullet where the tale is that stray cats don’t even get to taste the head—a tasty delicacy on its own. Depending on what region you are in, glasses of the local concoction are magically presented at a continuous and uninterrupted pace. This ritual may impair your thoughts considerably…I think that is why Greeks love their tavernas—it alters their minds into a happy place and before you know it your inclination of if you have the goods to do what it takes transforms into…hell yes I have what it takes. Of course this is my perception of the lifestyle of the people near the water and since my blood runs thick with it albeit I spend summers there with the exception of one entire year, I can’t help but think this is what every sensible person wants.
To say the Greeks have an incredible history and proud of it is an understatement; they have been riding on their coat tails as far back as antiquity but they haven’t grasped onto the concept of thinking ahead. Well thought out pragmatism for the future generations is what the discussions under the influence of their raki should manifest and not the fast and furious pace they have been under since their adoption into the EU. It was nice while it lasted my fellow comrades but most of you are suffering considerably now and it pains me to think that in these peaceful times it has come to this. While I will continue to believe the best meals are the ones where you’re not sporting shoes and I truly am nostalgic for the taverna lifestyle where everything is as good as it could be, I do want to return to the land of oregano and honey and witness stability and progress to find my fellow Hellenes bursting with wealth. I don’t mean individual wealth; it’s the end of the line for privileges and fast talking charlatans. I wish for a rich country of individuals with a sense of identity and values—a whole new learning ideology which will require a humbling point and willingness from all, an incessantly proud bunch with a lot less belligerence. What happens now will ultimately have dire consequences and rewrite their istoria. The Greek word for history is the same for story, istoria.
Isn’t it ironic how we wait on the edge of our seats listening to any news like it was a story being read to us about the future of Greece. Addictive amusement I tell you, especially when one of the main characters makes statements like “I prefer to cut my arm off,” in reference to an agreement that does not include debt relief or restructuring. He in fact did choose to “ride into the sunset” than deal with any more history making for his country. I do hope for their story to end with “and they live happily ever after,” and do silently believe that Greece will never die. I can’t stop thinking about her sumptuously warm waters where I felt it to be in my heart, my home away from home. I painted these mini seats with a nostalgic Aegean blue…I swirled acrylic purple and brown with blue and grey chalk paint to come up with this nostalgic hue. I also befell upon a foamy mint-like shade similar to the waves smacking the edge of the earth and flowing back into the water. I sealed them and painted a grey wood stain over the legs since we will unwind a bit in the late afternoons outdoors with these low-to-the-ground seats, or in baby bear’s case a drum to tap onto or push. I try to interest her to sit on the ground and use them as a table, but no matter what I tempt her with on her makeshift table, she is a little bear on the move and would rather use the seat to pull herself up or to lean on. Must be the Greek in her, that preponderance to do her own thing and make her own story.