Recently, I was at the local Greek clubhouse for dinner with some friends. The meal was great, like always, including horiatiki salata, beefsteki and souvlakia, hand-cut French fries pantzaria, toursi, and some toasted hard-crusted bread. And a couple of cold beers. Hmmm… delicious. The atmosphere was great too… old bouzouki music playing in the background and a few “manges” (in a good sense) in the corner, sipping their Scotch, smoking a cigarette, and talking politics… just like the old days. And to top it off, Greek coffee.

As I finished that delectable beverage with an aroma that just melts the senses, I instinctively turned the demi glass upside down and left it there. One of our friends was quick to ask, “Do you want your flitzani read?” I laughed. I hadn’t had my fortune read from a Greek coffee cup in years. I remember as a kid or young adult, the old ladies at family gatherings would read the grounds from the Greek coffee. It was an art, but we always laughed about it.

But I started to think about it more. Can you read the future from some coffee grounds? From bones? Tea leaves? Gizzards? Palms? Didn’t the old gypsy lady, Maleva, from the Wolf Man movie read Larry Talbot’s palm and predicting he would turn into a Wolf Man… and he did? Maybe there is something to reading the future from coffee grounds.

Now back in the day, when I was a strapping young boy, Yiayia would read the coffee grounds and would always see the standard symbols. A “gramma” (letter), and she would tell me, “You will receive important news. Are you waiting for news from a college? News of a new job?” No kidding Yiayia… I’m 19, of course I’m waiting for that news! She would then see a “dromo” (road) and ask, “Are you taking a trip?” If you answered yes, she would say, “I see two other people with you”. She would then point to two forms in the cup which could have been interpreted as anything, but she made me believe it’s two people. Of course, it helped that she knew my two cousins, Bill and Nick, were my closest friends and we went everywhere together.

She would also see a “stavro” (cross). That was a good sign. “O Christos is with you”. She would say. She would see money, which meant you were going to receive… what else, money. Yiayia knew I was working. Since I was single she pointed out a heart and next to the heart, the head of a female. “See,” she would state with confidence, pointing to a blob in the cup, “see her hair flowing. See the outline of her face, the nose, her lips. She is very pretty. This is the girl you will marry”. I was now getting into it and shook my head yes. I see it, hallelujah! That blob was a beautiful girl and that was my wife-to-be! Well years have passed and I never met that blob.

Reading someone’s future is as old as time, but shouldn’t the old ladies reading your flitzani have to update… modernize? Instead of seeing a “gramma,” it should be “e-mail”. She would say, “I see you have mail. You will receive news”. Probably all of those junk e-mails to buy things. The “Internet Highway” would replace the “dromo”. You are going on a virtual trip! She would then see all those sites you have been on… the good and the ones you don’t want anyone to know about! As for your future wife, she should see the letter “E” for E-Harmony, the on-line dating service site and then, of course, the blob next to the letter would be your future wife… she how pretty she looks. I love those blobs.

I am told that where symbols appear on the cup have significance. Top of the cup is the future, middle the present, and bottom is the past. Unfortunately for me, a lot of the coffee grounds (the mud) stick to the bottom of my flitzani. I guess I’m living in the past!

Back to the present and my friend reading my cup. Before she read mine, she read another friend’s cup. She said, “You’re chasing someone… someone owes you money”. Oh, oh. My friend told me afterwards that someone borrowed a significant amount of money and was slow in paying, but paid him off that day! Maybe this flitzani thing has some merit to it.

For me, she saw a blond woman and who is surrounded by a lot of money, who is interested in me! Now that’s what I want to hear. She saw an eagle, whatever that means and she saw a symbol that meant I would lose money or I was giving money away. Uh oh. Unfortunately, I realized I just came from the bank and the female teller had blond hair (she is surrounded by money). The teller also asked me for my ID to cash a check. I guess that means she was interested in me. What about the eagle? I guess it helped that the song playing in the background was “O Aetos,” by Notis Sfakianakis. Finally, I paid the bill at the end of the night! Oh well, she was right, but not the future I was looking for.

Next time your fortune is read, make sure it’s not by an old Gypsy lady named, Maleva. She may just see something and you may have an urging to howl.

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