The Chairs

 
The day is not yet noon and the heat has not yet set in.  Grapevines hang from rooftop to rooftop, shielding tourists from the bright Athenian sun and providing shade to shop owners as they await the next sale.  Sitting in the middle of the road, the shop owners have fashioned an island with their chairs on Pandrossou Street.

 
 
 

Eleni sits on a wooden beach chair with white covering.  It’s as if she in an endless state of peaceful bliss.  Eleni is the owner of Paradise, a souvenir T-shirt shop known for its witty tag lines.  She wears her signature look: a loose white linen top (only in the summer) with black pants, her toenails French tipped, and her platinum blonde hair pulled back taught into a braided pony-tail.  She looks like an iconic Greek woman picked from the 1960s: classy, chic, and always prim. She casually smokes a cigarette, chatting quietly with Dimitra, who owns Orhpeus next door, a religious icon and art store.
 

 

Dimitra’s chair is a simple plastic white colored beach chair.  She often dresses in rich earthy colors: an array of light tans, rich browns, deep burgandies.  She could have been the muse of one of the icon she sells, except her expression is much livelier and her speech must more candid.
 

 
Next to them, up the road sit Panos and his son Christos.  Their chairs are modern: black steel with leather cushions.  Panos is the oldest shop owner on this section of Pandrossou.  His son, Christos, now owns and runs ELIAS AND PANOS.  Panos has a regal look, peppered hair slicked back, well-defined bone structure, perfect teeth and always dressed to the nines.   

 

Further up sits Muriel from Maramenos Jewelers with her mustard yellow and forest green wicker chairs.  I imagine these chairs may have once decorated a balcony, where a family would have sat and enjoyed the pleasures of long day’s end.  These chairs add a traditional feel to the Street, that through the decades, as shops pass ownership from parents to children or new management, the Greece of the past is still alive and present. 
 

Pandrossou Street is as much a street that reflects the traditions of Greece as it is a story of families.  It is as much a street that shares the history and modern culture of Greece as it does the story of real Greek people and their everyday lives.

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