If you’re Greek or hang around a Greek long enough you’ll come to find out that once in a while a Nameday comes along and it is a pretty big deal. Namedays are the days in which the Patron Saint that you are named after is celebrated. Today happens to be feast of the Exhaltation of the Holy Cross which is also know as του Σταυρου. It is the Nameday for Σταυρο (Stavro or Steve) και Σταυρουλα (Stavroula). Today is a day to reflect on the importance of the Cross as a symbol in our faith. For more information on today you can read a great post here. I use it as a day to reflect on the importance of faith in our daily lives. You can wear a cross day in and day out around your neck and drape your arm with cross bracelets but it is how you live your life that matters. Are you giving to others? Are you compassionate? What are you instilling and teaching the next generation?
Today as we celebrate του Σταυρου, I remember Γιαγια Σταυρουλα (Grandma Stavroula). She was an amazing woman who touched the lives of so many. She was not my grandmother but rather a surrogate grandmother of sorts. She used to live down the street with her husband and then ended up moving into the apartment below me for where she and her husband lived for many years. She was full of life and was always on the go. She was the woman who would go out and find horta and share them with me. She would always cook for an army and her door was always open. As a typical Greek woman of that generation her job was to feed you and make sure you left when you weren’t just full but ready to explode. The πιτες, τουλουμβες, τιγανιτες, that came from her hands were second to none. What eighty something year old woman do you know who would roll out her own fillo dough for spanakopita? She was baking her own bread up until the end of her life and I don’t believe she ever purchased a loaf. As I was growing up it was wonderful to see her interact with her grandchildren and I like to think she saw me as one of them. She always used to say Roula when are you going to get married? Και να ειναι με ενα καλο παιδι, αυτο σου ευχομαι. Her wish was that it was always with a nice man. Every trip I make back to Boston I go visit her and pappou at the cemetery. I bring a candle to light and spend some time visiting with them. I always reassure her that I found my καλο παιδι and am very happy. There are days that I wish she was around to see it for herself. So today Γιαγια Σταυρουλα, σου ευχομαι να χερεσε το ονομα σου και το τραπεζι σου να ειναι γεματο.