Blessed Is This Water

We discovered a rather remote village, snugly nestled in the mountain side somewhere in the heart of Crete.

The Wintry day was overcast and the clouds hung low around the hilltops, a fine drizzle misted the windscreen as we approached the village square.  Parking was plentiful around the 2 or 3 cars already there.   We disembarked and headed for the muddy brown, painted doors of the local kafenion for a coffee.  It struck me as strange to hear a tannoy playing loudly to the completely empty village square, the orator droning away on some indeterminable subject, but judging by his earnest voice, the subject was obviously dear to his heart.

Entering the kafenion, and looking around at the handful of patrons sat hunched over their coffees, the welcome was subdued.  We took our seats and I launched into my normal survey of our new surroundings.  A shelf, high above the bar, carried a strikingly impressive collection of English tea pots.  Through the smoky haze, I saw in the far corner, a group of middle aged men, avidly spectating a game of backgammon, simultaneously, striving intently to “smoke to death” two unfortunate canaries held captive in a small cage hanging directly over their heads.

The proprietor appeared to be a young boy of around 14, but I presumed, for sure, he was older.  We ordered our Greek coffees.  In the meantime, outside, the fine drizzle turned to rain.  The local priest entered and sat down opposite the bar.  Again, greetings between proprietor and patron were checked.  With an unspoken exchange, the proprietor knew to fetch him his greek coffee and a glass of water, which he carefully placed on the table in front of the morose priest.

Noticing the accumulation of wet muddy foot prints on the floor, the boy/man proprietor grabbed a handful of kitchen roll, walked across to the priest`s table, poured water from the priest`s glass onto his hand, sprinkling it to the floor, he threw down the kitchen roll, stepped onto the paper, and with a strange, wide legged, see-saw swiping motion, lurched across the floor cleaning up the muddy foot prints.

The silent priest totally ignored the curious actions of the boy/man proprietor, whom flashed a wry glance in his direction as he went back about his business behind the bar.

Raised eyebrows was my only form of polite release as I witnessed this strange exchange, as I discretely, nudged Vagelis.