Wednesday, 17 September 2008

ABC Wednesday: I for Icon

It's ABC Wednesday again, and I is for icon.

I had the pleasure of enjoying fish and chips today – fish and chips, Greek style, that is. Mama was with me. True, it wasn’t my mama, but this mama was the same age that my own mama would have been, were she still alive today. She would also have been wearing a stocking to tighten her swollen arm filled with fluid after her lymph glands were snipped following breast cancer. Mama would have enjoyed the ride out to the fish taverna, which took us past a little church built on the side of a rock, the sacred cite dedicated to the birthday of St John the Baptist, celebrated on the 23rd of June, a place I had visited with her during the brief period we spent together in Crete.

st john baptist kasteli hania chania.

She would have asked me to stop – as I did – so that she could go into the church, make the sign of the cross and light a candle before the icons which depict Jesus, his Mother and various saints of the Greek Orthodox Church.

st john baptist kasteli hania chaniast johna kasteli hania chania

Then she would have taken her grandchildren into the church to do the same. She’d probably have washed her hands and face at the fountain with the cool running water and walked around the cave telling the children that everyone has a guardian angel looking out for them.

st john kasteli hania chania

She probably wouldn’t have wanted to walk down the underpass just next to the cave, which leads to the coolest bluest lagoon I've ever seen, the perfect place for a secluded swim away from the crowds; it's not the right kind of place for sufferers of osteoporosis.

underpass from cave to lagoon hania chanialagoon st john hania chania

She would probably have rested on one of the stone benches outside the church in the cool damp air of the cave, away from the harsh bright sunlight and the high levels of humidity, which would probably have done her more good anyway.


As we drive by the Kasteli shipyards, she might have looked out at the fishermen's boats and told to the children to watch out for pirates.

kasteli shipyard hania chaniakasteli shipyard hania chania

“We’re having fish today!” she would announce as we seat ourselves at the taverna, with probably a hint of irony in her voice as memories of the fish and chip shop would flood back to us.

fangri

We’d talk about it as if it were yesterday that we were serving our regular customers in the shop – you never forget those ones – and wonder what all the friends and relatives we left behind are doing now in Aotearoa.

calamari and chipstsikoudia grapes

After we eat our meal, she’d ask for the bill. I’d offer to pay, and she’d say, “No dear, let me get it this time.” And I’d say, “OK, thanks, mama,” just like I did today.

25 comments:

  1. I'm not sure where we get from icons to fish and chips but then I do remember all the shrines to St Nicholas everywhere in Crete and the sign of the fish is an iconic symbol of Christianity and you are now making me feel hungry!

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  2. What a lovely post. Wistful, somehow.

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  3. A moving post, Maria.
    Well illustrated.

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  4. I like how your pictures draw us into the story of both of your Mamas. Lovely tender story and a good use of the letter I.

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  5. What beautiful pictures! I miss Crete so much!

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  6. The Island of Crete is fascinating. Icons is one thing - but the FOOD!!!!!

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  7. This is a great tribute to your mum and a lovely memory of every thing she had done. You'll never forget the loved ones who passed away, will you?!

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  8. This is a moving story of both a place and of remembrance. I must say that those fish look delicious!

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  9. What a touching story of how your little trip with Mama 2 reminded you of Mama 1. I love the icons and all the other photos of your outing.

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  10. What a lovely post and beautiful pictures, thank you for sharing

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  11. Such a great place! I love all the pictures!

    My "I" picture is posted here. Happy Wednesday!

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  12. I loved the story you took me on, very moving and wonderful and the pictures were perfect..really great post for ABC.I did my first ABC post today and hope I did it right as I am new to memes.

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  13. A very INSPIRATIONAL post for ABC Wednesday. Thank you.

    Bear((( )))

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  14. fish and chips and ouzo. what else can you ask. and wonderful icons too. treasures of Greece

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  15. This pos made me think of my own mum too, very moving! We would have had fish and chips too. Lovely tribute.

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  16. that church looks amazing. :) a sweet post.

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  17. I would try to put lemon on my plate next time,haha

    fish and chips, sounds pretty nice! and I love your family story. :)

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  18. Lovely pictures, a lovely story and mmmmm Fish & Chips
    The proprietors of our local fish 'n' chip shop here in the UK are Greek and serve wonderfully crisp battered fish

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  19. I really enjoyed reading this and your pictures were a great bonus... Excellent 'I' post.

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  20. That was a lovely post to read, very interesting and informative, and the pictures of the icons were beautiful. A lovely tribute to your Mama, too!

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  21. It's not everyday I have to reach for the Kleenex when reading a blog.

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  22. I am so touched by the post. I particularly appreciate the thoughtful attention expressed in some of the commentary.

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