This picture is a portrait of my Pappou Ilias, or how I call him “Kolokotronis”. He represents all that is beautiful about Greece. Originally from Demati, a small village in Northern Greece, he grew up on potatoes and sheep’s milk. His frail body and minimal opportunities however didn’t stop him. He made it to the United States and became a cardiologist at Temple University. Beating the odds, ain’t that a Greek truth?
Pappou is 96 years old. If you wake up early enough you’ll hear him doing his morning exercise routine to the AM radio blasting kalamatiana and zonaradika. “Nους υγιής εν σώματι υγιή” he’ll tell you. He loves his dance and he loves his ouzo. In so many words, he loves life.
The question has been raised recently – what does it mean to be Greek? If I’ve learned anything from Kolokotronis it’s that being Greek is found within one’s own spirit. If you look closely at the photo, it’s that something you can immediately see in his eyes; the endless curiosity, marveling of the unknown and respect for the human potential. Do you see it?
All that, from one’s own living room, one summer day.