The Docks at Hidden Inlet.
“Hey, Fred. We have a new boat at the dock. Have you seen it? Looks weathered, but a sturdy vessel. All white and trimmed in marine blue. I couldn’t read it’s name. Just about faded away,” said Marco.
“Just saw it this morn. I was at the dock getting ready for my next trawl, then I saw him and I met him. Well, sort of. I said hello with a smile. He said opa in a grumpy sound of voice. He went on about his business washing his deck and pushing around some crates with all types of grunts. He looked a bit weathered, like his boat. Yeah, weathered, that’s what we are. We have weathered many a storm. Heard his name is Angelo. Also known as ‘ the Greek.’ The name of his boat is the ‘Athena.'”
“Describe Angelo to me, Fred.” “He is short and stocky. His hair is grayed, and so is his beard. He is very tanned and burly chested. A very robust and solid man. He wears a torn shirt, dirty baggy pants, and dark blue rubber boots. He wears a cap, it’s black with no bill, but a visor. There’s a black braid between the visor and the top of his cap. He sees with rounded spectacles. One lens is cracked. He has a distinct belly. Most of us do. And yes, he smells like fish. I said to him with a smile, ‘ You’re new here. Must know how to fish. I’m Fred, the friendly fisherman.’ He glared at me and said opa again. Not friendly at all. What did I do wrong, Marco?”
“You did nothing wrong. Fred. Just being your friendly self. So, the boat is named ‘Athena?’ That’s Greek. She was a Greek goddess. It means divine wisdom. He probably originated from the Greek islands. You know about Athens, don’t you?” said Marco. “You bet I do. Once a ‘dawgs’ fan, always a ‘dawgs’ fan. I already feel a chill in the air,” said Fred. “No Fred, you knucklehead. Athens in Georgia is named for Athens in Greece. Look at the globe. We are here and Greece is all the way around here,” said Marco. Fred replied, “Just about around the world. Learn something new every day. I just knew there had to be Bulldog fans elsewhere. Just knew it.” “This ‘Angelo the Greek’ knows something. Let’s watch him and see what catch he brings to the docks tomorrow morning. Maybe there’s more to know about him than opa,” said Marco. Both laughed.
The next morning at the docks. “Well, how’d you do, Fred?” “Well, you see it. Not too much. And you, Marco, a bounty of a catch?” said Fred. “Nope, nothing but a few crabs and some trash fish.”
Marco sees in the distance another boat coming to dock. “I think it’s ‘the Greek.’ The ‘Athena’ moves closer into the inlet. “It’s Angelo and just look at his nets. About to burst with fish on both sides. He certainly is doing something the rest of us aren’t doing. We’ve got to find out.”
“I see he has a crew with him. A young, tanned, musculared torso, and slender waisted man tending to the nets. And there is a beautiful young woman,” said Marco. “What do women know about fishing?” said Fred. “They know more than you think, Fred. Fishing with the Greeks is a family effort. It’s their livelihood. They all fish. Let’s greet them and congratulate them on their catch,” said Marco.
The well tanned young man, ties the boat to the dock. “Good Mornin, said Marco, what a catch!” “Absolutely sirs, a beautiful day. It’s an ‘opa of a day.’ You fellas going out tonight? Pappa said today is the day to drop our nets. He always knows. Gentlemen, pardon me, I’m Theo, and come on out, sis. This is Thena. My kid sister. I’m first mate and she is second mate.” Thena says playfully and with spunk, “I may be second mate, but I’m not second rate. I am a Greek woman and the best fisherman on this boat, and Pappa knows it.” All laugh. “Your names, sirs?” said Theo with a smile and his long wavy black hair blowing in the breeze. “I’m Fred. Fred Friendly.” “I’m Marco. Marco Polo.” “Oh, you really know how to navigate the seas.” “Well my ancestors did, but not me. But I am proud of my heritage.” Theo to Marco, “You should be. You’ll see how proud Pappa is of his Greek ancestry. A proud man.”
“Hey, Pappa, come around to this side at the dock. I have some gentlemen for you to meet. They are fishermen, too.” Pappa comes around to dock and eyes Fred. Pappa thinks to himself, I see the so called ‘friendly fisherman.’ I can’t believe Theo made friends with him. He’s nothin’ but a nincompoop to me. Well, I’ll try to be friendly and say another Opa!
“Pappa, these gentlemen paid us a compliment on our catch. They would, formally, like to meet you and us, ” said Thena. “Okay, your names first.” “I’m Fred Friendly.” “I’m Marco Polo.” “Nice to meet you. I’m Apollo. Actually, I’m Angelo Pappadoris. My son, who thinks he knows how to fish, is Theodoros and my daughter, Athena, ‘Thena.’ Fishing is all we are. It’s our everything. Hard work, but we are happy and we are happy family.”
“Mr. Pappadoris, may I can you Angelo?” “Yes, you may, mate.” “Me and my friend Marco are amazed with all the fish you net? What’s your secret?” “Simple. We always pray to Christos for protection, where to drop our nets, and thank him for his blessings.”
Fred to Marcos, “maybe we should pray, too.” “Next time out, we pray together. In the mean time, Thena bring these men a breakfast pita. Flat bread with scrambled eggs, lamb and topped with feta cheese. You will like. Here.”
“One last and most important question for you, Angelo. What is Opa?” said curiously by Fred. “Opa means celebrate life. Maybe yahoo to you. But it’s more than an expression, it’s about our heritage and who we are. We are fishermen and the sea is our home away from home. So, opa to you and thanks for your welcome. Once we become ‘real friends’ maybe we have a Greek feast. We will eat, we will dance, and we will all say Opa!”