I spent the afternoon with “Theo” Pete, affectionately referred to by his extended family as the “Godfather”. Peter turns 90 this year….He is one of the sweetest gentlemen that I have had the pleasure of meeting. He was born in Greece. He is the oldest son of a very large family. If you can believe it…..there were 12 of them. He fought in wars, survived the great Depression…..the list goes on. When he was 32 years old, he left Greece by ship and immigrated to Canada in hopes of a better life. He married and had two daughters. He spent much of his life in the kitchen. Working tirelessly as a cook for many years. He told me that it was “hard work, very hard work Lora moo”(my Lora). I must admit, I was absolutely fascinated with Theo Pete. Watching his facial expressions and hand gestures. I could have sat there all day. Listening to him tell stories about his life in Greeklish……learning about his struggles, and his triumphs.
When I look ahead to my future, I can only wish to be fortunate enough to brag about being 90. And to do so with such authenticity, charisma, and kindness.The afternoon started off with his family. When I was thinking about this photo shoot, I had a dream. Theo Pete is a fun loving man. Always very charming, affectionate and gracious. My dream involved Theo Pete sitting at a playground. When I mentioned it to him, he was more than willing to accommodate me. That’s the kind of man he is.
While he was chatting with his guests, I over heard them reliving many stories about how he helped so many people in whatever way he could. Today, I was no exception. He put on his jacket and he headed to the park. On our walk, we talked about life….about taking things slow….appreciating the little things in life. Gentle reminders to enjoy the ride and not be in such a hurry to get to the finish line.I just loved his sunglasses.Each day Theo Pete goes to the local coffee shop (cafen ee o) and plays backgammon with his friends. This particular afternoon, he played on his veranda. But I overheard as I was leaving that he had plans to head down to the “cafen ee o” and play with his buddies later that day.It is quite common to see Greek men with their komboloi (worry beads). They are used for relaxation, enjoyment and for generally just passing the time. I have to admit, they are quite irresistible once you get a set in your hands. Each person has their unique technique. Theo Pete tends to move them from one side of the chain to the other. While I tend to flip them over the top of my hand.And then came coffee and cake. It is customary in Greek households to always sit down to eat when someone comes over. Today was no exception. There is a Greek custom called reading the coffee…very similar to fortune telling. Some are very well versed in reading of the coffee. During my time with Theo Pete, I decided to try to read his coffee……I saw a huge heart on the side of cup and predicted love and romance in his future. He reminisced about his late wife. All the while, his feline companion sat nearby overlooking the activities.We laughed………Thank you Theo Pete for welcoming me into your home. For reminding me about the important things in life, and for letting me record just a glimpse of your remarkable life. xo