This is how conversations with her go:
“Have you seen Yianni yet?”
“Your cousin Dimitris son. He works at the bar next to the chemist owned by Fragisko’s daughter.”
“No. I haven’t had a chance to see him yet.”
“The poor thing. He’s suffered so much these last few years.”
“No, Fragisko. His daughter got married and divorced and her aunt got sick and now they’re all living out of town. But he’s lost all his money you know.”
“No. His aunt’s son.”
(names have been changed to protect the innoncent)
How on earth am I supposed to follow an entire conversation with the woman?
Firstly, she knows everyone on Paros. Secondly, she’s related to half of them by blood and the other half through marriage or divorce or proximity. Which means I’m related to them all and therefore I should not only know them all, remember them all, but care about what they’re doing, what their children and grandchildren and cousins and neighbours are doing.
Sigh. My father had his own way of dealing with it. When out with mom and she’d start her extensive explanations:
“Did you see that guy over in the corner with the blue cap on? That’s Anna’s husband. You remember Anna, she brought us some figs last week. They live on the same street as Marina, opposite Vassili and Filio, you know, the big house with the blue windows and the palm tree in their yard. Well… Strati, Anna’s husband had heart surgery last year and he was forced to retire. Now he spends his days fishing. He gave Artemisia the biggest fish to cook for dinner last night. You remember Artemisia, she’s the one you met when we got married, of course she was only a girl then, now she’s got grandkids. Two of them are studying in university now. I think one is studying to be a lawyer, like his father. Artemisia’s oldest son. He’s the one that helped my brother Nicko with his troubles with the land he owned. The land on St Peter’s, next door to the area where my 2nd cousin Stellios grows olives. And they’re such great olives! I must remember to ask his daughter Maritsa for some. She works at the bakery on the top road. The one next door to Babi’s shop…. you know the one…
Dad would say “may god be with him” before mom could get too far into her ramblings and cut her off. Yeah, rude, but I think I get it…
I swear I can’t keep track of the people and its impossible to follow cause she jumps from one subject to another, from one person to another without warning.
I’ve always been able to talk “woman”. That’s when you get together with girlfriends and you talk incessantly, changing subjects back and forth as you go. No problem. But even I can’t keep up with mom.
But… she IS my mother and I love her. And she makes me fried red peppers, which I love, and she bought me the best home made cottage cheese (mizithra) in the world. I really wish she hadn’t. I just ate a ton of it on Elite rusks (a greek brand) with honey. I’m so full…
And another thing. Its been 5 years since my last trip, and 8 since the one before. My blog from that first trip has disappeared cause it was with Shine and I wasn’t able to save it. But there was a whole section on that about the clothes being on the line.
Mom loves to remind me about things. Like the clothes I washed and left on the line to dry. She’ll tell me to put them on the line. Then she’ll tell me to take them off the line later. At least 5 times.
“Don’t forget to take the clothes off the line” must be one of her favourite sentences in the world. Well, at least it was 8 years ago.
I’m happy to report that its still her favourite sentence. I washed one load of washing yesterday and heard the sentence at least three times.
Good to see mom is still in fine form!