Sea gulls scream, flap their wings, and glide before landing precisely where someone has dropped bread crumbs purchased at the Publix on the corner. On purpose. Someone dropped handfuls on purpose. Having scrapped for every crumb, the gulls take to the air, hover, and leave their signature all over the tables and chairs with no thought for those sitting around drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes, having a bite to eat, or like me … editing a manuscript. My job. The locals endure this abuse by the lovely gray and white creatures, for they are an important part of the sea and landscape, and their throaty squawks are like no other bird alive on planet Florida. They entertain and return for repeat performances. You can count on that.

Tarpon Springs is an interesting place. And here on this corner is my favorite shopping plaza with a TJ Maxx and a Panera Bread, two places I don’t allow myself the privilege of living without. This little coastal town is situated so that the Gulf winds blow, cooling every minute of the day and where a nice summer rain can appear out of nowhere so fast that one hardly has time to move inside.

The Greeks are here. They own this part of the Suncoast, along with the gulls! They talk fast and furious, usually over one another, each seeming to understand the other, no matter how many lips are moving simultaneously. I find myself eavesdropping. Of course I can’t understand a word they’re saying, so no harm done, right? My head moves from one face to another as I try to get it. What are they saying and why must they all talk at the same time? I don’t know why it matters to me. They speak a different language.

I’m sitting at a table, positioned in the sun with just enough shade across my feet—which are propped on a mesh iron chair—an admixture of hot sun beating across my face and the cool wind blowing on my feet and legs. Four of the Greeks have gathered around one table, under the umbrella for they already have creamy tanned bodies that need no help from the sun. Me—I’m the whitest of white! True Caucasian. Not nearly as attractive as the creamy tan. When I hear them speak, I marvel how God, on the Day of Pentecost, enabled people from all regions of the then-known globe to understand one another. The essence of another tongue. The miracle—languages—not unknown gibberish. Sounds like gibberish to me simply because I don’t speak neither do I understand the language. That puts everything into perspective.

They chatter, they clack, they repeat. I keep hearing the same words over and over again. And finally amid all the prattle I hear a phrase I understand. It is one that makes my flesh hurt in any language, and I understand every single syllable of this three-word phrase. “Oh, my God!”  The universal expression that makes me wonder—do these people really know the God of the universe. His name, that name that is above all names, gets used irreverently, loosely, by people of all nations, kindred and tongues. It is an expression that sits carelessly on the lips of humankind and is flung into the atmosphere millions of times a day. I can’t help but wonder how the God of Glory who framed the worlds with his majestic voice, who ordered the stars to fill up the galaxies and align properly, who breathed life into the man he created—what must he think as his creation tosses his name around so freely and without veneration.  I find myself wanting to shout to the top of my lungs— “Oh, Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder consider all the worlds thy hands have made …”

These lovely people surely were born in their native Greece. That beautiful country by the Sea. With one of the longest coastlines in the world, Greece is bordered by the Aegean Sea to the East, the Ionian to the West, and the Mediterranean to the South. Why are they here? In America? Was there something about this country that drew them? In this part of Florida you dare not ask that question. Tarpon belongs to the Greek. Not the Jew first—just the Greek.

Oh, I just caught another word, Starbucks! They are comparing Panera and Starbucks. I think if I stayed here a little longer I could imagine where this conversation is going. It heats as the discussion heads toward the price of a cup of coffee.

I’m supposed to be doing the last edit on this manuscript. Funny, a lot of us who operate out of the right side of our brains find some little something that needs to be tweaked, perfected. I’ve come to the conclusion if I don’t stop, my client will have to read it over again, for it will all be changed.

I just heard arrivederci, a beautiful word when accented properly. 
I love that word.
Until we see each other again.
What a lovely way to separate temporarily.
But, hey! Isn't that Italian? Yes, I believe there
is an Italian in the group.

These are beautiful people, especially the men, though they never smile, always serious. I never hear them laugh. The women sitting near me are plump. They have beautiful thick hair and full lips. I have the feeling they know how to wield a wooden spoon and make a mean baklava. I can taste the honey now.

                                Time for breakfast. Where is my Tarpon Vegas daughter?

Jane Bennett Gaddy
Just for Fun