We had a great time last night at the Greek Islands Restaurant in Chicago, Illinois. It was the eve of my wife’s birthday, and I had told her I wanted to take her out for a birthday dinner date. So about 6:30 PM she and our daughter got in the car with me and we drove downtown, and parked in a lot near Greektown. We walked a couple blocks toward the restaurant, and as we came to the entrance, a van pulled up at the curb, and a whole bunch of people popped out of it and yelled HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
It was our good friends from Grand Rapids, the Van Poolen family, plus our good friends the Bardwell’s. Of course I KNEW about this… but my wife didn’t! She was totally surprised and immediately engaged in greeting all our friends.
Our waiter was named Sotiris, which in Greek means “Savior.” (For an interesting connection between this name (root: Soter) and the Christian “fish (ichthus)” symbol, read this blog post). He was great! We ordered wine, saganaki (flaming cheese), calamari, plus all kinds of fresh seafood and traditional Greek dishes. He picked up that this was a special occasion for us, and really made us feel that way. After dinner, he also brought cake to my wife and sang the traditional “happy birthday” song from Greece to her – after asking my permission! He had a great voice!
At another point, after witnessing a tender moment between my wife and I, Sotiris came to me and asked how long we have been married, to which I replied, “this is our 29th year.” He told me that he had been married about a year, and congratulated me on our long marriage. He said his parents were married 53 years before his Mom passed, and that he hoped to do the same. He said, “you look very happy!” I replied… “That’s because I am!”
We also played our traditional “Birthday Game” where 10 or more questions about the birthday person are asked of the entire table. Each person writes down their guess as to how the birthday person will answer the same question. Then we go back over the questions and hear the birthday persons answers, scoring ourselves as to how well we matched. The winner was a Van Poolen, who scored a 10.5 out of 11 questions! My score was 8.5.
We had a great time! There is no better place outside of home to celebrate family, life, friendship and all good things than in a great Greek restaurant!