Who knew Gyro was pronounced somewhere in between Zero and Hero?
Finding ourselves starving after checking into our hotel, we ran through the rain, looking for a restaurant. We stumbled upon Alexander the Great. We should have known we were in for a dining treat when we were greeted by a sign at the door that said "at your service since 1974" and then handed a menu with cheerful food descriptions. When Josephine, our waitress came to the table with the same enthusiasm as the menu - we knew we picked well.
Well leave it to Athens' friendliest waitress or maybe the sweetest person I have ever met in my very long hospitality lifetime to give me a few lessons in pronouncing Greek food names. Apparently my entire life I have been saying the word Gyro wrong!!! Who knew???
She strongly recommended a feta dish that was so incredibly good. After two weeks in Greece, we had our fill of feta so were happily surprised when the cast iron skillet landed on our table and it tasted like a gift from the Greek cheese gods. A complimentary carafe of ouzo followed. OPA! I love this place.
Above the din of diners, laughter and conversation, clinking glasses, sounds of a busy kitchen, music hard to discern but we all agreed that it was some sort of vocal jazz. The atmosphere in this sweet little spot was eclectic, comfortable and friendly with the warm candlelight balancing out the rain that came down outside. It was just so nice.
While I waited for my daughter, Isabella outside of the restroom, I noticed a few photos on the wall. A cruise ship, a maitre d', the wait staff of a cruise line - I assumed while standing there that this must be the owner of the restaurant. Could that be the older heavy set gentleman that was greeting every guest like he knew them his entire life? Seeing these photos I became nostalgic, like seeing someone's life play out. The fact that these photos were hanging on the wall so prominently in the restaurant means that this man and his family are so proud of his career on the cruise ship. That his years away were probably hard on the family but probably afforded them a certain luxury that allowed them to save an open this restaurant.
Then I turned as Isabella opened the hallway door and noticed someone in a wheelchair coming through. It was Josephine backing someone out of the restroom. She cheerfully made her way through the tight dining room and brought this woman to the kitchen.
I don't know what happened to me. I was overwhelmed with emotion. I immediately choked back the tears. This woman must be her grandmother. In a matter of seconds, this family operation made me put everything into perspective - my own family, my own career, my own life. Then I burst into tears at the table trying to explain this to everyone. Seeing Josephine interact with her grandmother reminded me of my grandmother, how important she was to me and how my grandparents passed down their legacy to us. It also brought home the sense that our lives move so quickly. In the blink of an eye your life moves through milestones. Take nothing for granted and live life to the fullest. Hug everyone you love and never go to bed without saying I love you.
I can't explain why I was so overcome with emotion but somehow everything happening in this restaurant was chaotic perfection. Reminding me of everything that is important in life.