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A listing of gratitude
Should we stop talking politics and instead talk about what we’re grateful for as we enter 2017?
I’m grateful—knock on wood—and my late mother would spit to ward off the evil eye—for my health and hope that it can continue long enough to let me see my children start their own families and the careers of their choice and be happy in them. And be happy with the people they meet. People who need people are the happiest people in the world.
I’m grateful, as I sit here, and only a little melancholy because I miss them, that I had the parents and grandparents that I had—whose stories I love to tell over and over again. How my Papou Michalakis had humor so dry that people never suspected he was teasing them: he once told me that the ice cream we were eating was so hot that it burned his tongue—and I believed him. And my Giagia Michalakis who raised me when I was an infant and was a surrogate mother to me.
I’m grateful for my father, who was a complicated man, but a man of brilliance and huge achievement. He left his village and went on to a PhD at Columbia—after surviving five years on the front lines of a brutal civil war. And my mother was by his side the whole time and I will always remember her – with little education – trying in her stoic way to teach herself English by going to classes at night at the local high school in Chicago.
I’ll always be grateful for a sister who has a heart as big as the world. She seems to endure for everybody.
I will eternally be grateful to my wife, who put up with me, while I practically grew up—and with her help hope to continue the process. And who has always been a model for me of grace under pressure and eternal beauty.
I’m always grateful for the stalwart heroics of my compatriots in this magazine: Dimitri Rhompotis who fights like Ajax in the trenches and wields a big panama hat and cigar in lieu of Ajax’s big shield. And Kyprianos Bazenikas, our Diomedes, who looks the best of us in a suit.
I am grateful that Greece is still there, and still beautiful, despite all it has gone through in its history, and all it will endure, I’m sure in the near future. It is eternally beautiful and its shimmering mirrors its shimmering soul.
And I am grateful to this country which I immigrated to when I was a kid, like many of us, and which took me in, and my parents, and many of my family, and did elect a black man for president, twice—so this country is not racist in its core, it has a bedrock of decent people. And somehow, I hope, all our political differences will be sifted out and we will find our way out of this wilderness. America was, and must continue to be, the great hope of the world.
Happy New Year.