“As a child, I had the desire to understand all things. It was my curiosity that led me to level my ears into conversations of the elders who had gathered in my father’s taverna. Time and again, words of wisdom were spoken by the crowd who frequented the taverna. They told stories about brave people, sang songs about life and love, and seemed content with the simplicity of their lifestyle. Amidst the laughter, songs and folktales about heroic deeds and mythical characters, there was my father’s smile and my mother’s luminous face.
The taverna was where my parents worked.
My mother was the ruler of our home. My father was the dominant figure in the taverna.
My mother was also the adopted mother of all our friends. Our friends loved to come to our home, to be spoiled by mother’s sweets and to talk to her. She could reach out and advise them about their young life’s concerns. Often, they would say to me, “Your mom is witty and so wise.” I would shrivel up my shoulders and say, “really?” I didn’t see what they saw in her; she was my mom whose heart was an ocean of love. My father’s powerful energy and my mother’s tender strength created an astounding balance in my young life…
As I am writing, my mind goes back to the last summer I spent in Kiato with my dad. It was the end of the summer of sixty-nine. We drove to Kiato with a group of our friends, ten or twelve I believe, to celebrate my release from the military. My father was delighted to see us. Anytime we visited Kiato with friends, no matter how many, my dad always opened his welcoming arms. We all gathered in the taverna and dad cooked for us. He made sure that we had everything we needed to have a good time. All my friends loved my father, and they often talked about his strength, wisdom, and kindness. To me, he was just my father, the one that I’ve always respected. However, that summer, after my friends pointed out his compassion and wisdom, I noticed something special that towered in front of me. There was a model of a man, one that never gave up despite the many challenges. The few weeks that I spent with him in the summer of sixty-nine was the most memorable times of my life. It was as if I wanted to absorb every fiber of my father’s persona. All my life’s emotions have concealed in that time-frame and perched at the edge of my consciousness; a feeling that remains a blissful sentiment. It is an emotion that emerges in my dark moments to remind me of the magnificence of the human soul. That was the last summer I spent with my father. The last time I saw him alive…
There was another stop to make before coming back to America. My hometown of Kiato was a bit different than I remembered it, yet everything was so familiar…
In Kiato, I felt my mother’s affectionate silence and my father’s strict eyes. It is entirely impossible for me to escape the roots of my life’s journey. It was there where I recognized joys and sorrows; it was there where I identified my responsibilities.
It was there that the ground and the sea spoke to me…
For me, it was in that little city that the first seeds of my duty were planted, and it was there that, I unconsciously understood that I must move my pen with clarity, to write whatever I felt in my heart. If it was about human suffering and soulful celebrations, let it be. If what I wrote wasn’t intellectually brilliant or linguistically correct, then let it be.
My wish was to write my truth about emotional subjects – of this I was certain; of this, and nothing else…
I walked by the seaport and felt an inexplicable joy. I looked at the sea, its waves lifting gently, gleaming under the sunlight. I felt my heart following their rhythm and I became the sea. I was reminded of my endless voyages full of adventures. After a global journey, I have arrived here, where it all began – my beloved blue waters of Greece. It is from those waters that I had initially boarded a ship and departed. Where to? Who knew?
It was the winds of life that blew on my back and showed me the routes.
It was in this little town that my forefathers taught me one of the most important conviction: Don’t be afraid to love the world.
The time came for me to go, to head back to America, where my children and grandchildren awaited me.
My mother’s silent tenderness and my father’s strict eyes followed me there, again, as they will till the end of time.
About the author:
Award winning author, Nikos Ligidakis, writes with clarity and passion in an ardent voice, not to just recount adventures, but with an expression of feelings, to encourage the reader to think, to find hope in the eternal struggle for the meaning of life and the awareness of harmony.
Today Nikos devotes his life to coaching new authors encouraging and assisting them to write and publish their books.
Nikos has founded several charitable organizations with the most notable his Thanksgiving Project to Feed the Hungry, a program that provided food to tens of thousands during its 21-year run. His selfless work with people has earned him several humanitarian awards over the years.
“As a writer, my aspiration has always been to share my perspective on what it means to be a human being, in all its complexities. I wanted to tell a story that reflects a comparative importance of political structures, religions and histories of the past. My books represent a lifelong dream of putting into narrative form, my many observations of the brilliance and kindness of the human spirit: people at their worst and people at their best. It is my intention to engage the reader in the process of observing history in both times past and in current day happenings for the sole purpose of gaining greater clarity in the shaping of one’s own approach to life and the deepening of individual insight.”