Monday, April 29, 2013

A Simple Twist of Fate

By Pascal Dennis

My Aussie cousin, Chris, and I have lived parallel lives.

Our heritage is Greek - and the lovely Roman town of Kastoria, in Greece's lake district.

We're roughly the same age, and each have three children (two girls & a boy).

We had a splendid dinner together during my Aussie-Kiwi visit last February.

Then we went back to Chris' house to meet the family.


My Aussie kin brought out their old photo albums -- which had an uncanny similarity to my family's old photo albums.

Weddings, baptisms, holidays -- the Stavridis men in white shirts and thin black neck ties, the women in the styles of the day.

Grandmothers chasing after kids running wild during the dancing. The same delicious spanakopita & meze, the same faces & grins.

Our maternal grandfathers, Nick and Stavros, respectively, were brothers.

One brother went east, down through the Suez Canal, across the Indian & Pacific oceans to Adelaide and Melbourne.

The other brother, my grandad Stavros, went west to America, landing at Ellis Island in 1916, and settling for a time in Boston.

Like so many enterprising people the past century, they sought their fortunes in lands far away, and altered the fate of all their descendants.

"How did our grandfathers decide which direction to take?" I asked Chris.

"I think they flipped a coin, mate!" he replied.

Sounds about right.

But for a simple twist of fate, I would've been born and raised in Melbourne, and Chris might be a Canuck.

Thanks for dinner, cousin, and Happy Easter.

Best,

Pascal

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