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Thanks to the Stavaris Family

AndrosThanks to the Stavaris Family

In the fall of 2004 Dean and I—well, OK, I—ran out of gas on the interminable back road up and above the island’s east coast. The views down to deserted beaches, and into deserted-for-the-winter towns, were dramatic but, by the time we reached the village of Arni, it was growing dark, and we were biting our nails: no gas stations to be seen, anywhere. No living beings, in fact, to be seen either. On fumes, we entered Arni and, after a bit of shouting and calling up and down the tiny village road, we learned that a local farmer, a merchant seaman returned from the sea, might have some gas for us.Thus, we came to the farm of John and Kyriaki Stavaris, who took us in, served us ouzo and sweet kourabiethes, and saved our skins by siphoning petrol from one of their vehicles into our rental car. When I attempted to pay John for the gas, he said to me, “Wouldn’t you help out a stranger in need, yourself? Just pass the gift along sometime.” And we were on our way. Thank you John and Kyriaki, for surely you represent the kindly, generous and hospitable side of Janus-faced Andros, an island many visitors dismiss as just one thing, or the other, when it is a complex and subtle mixture of many qualities, indeed.

Roadside saviors, the Stavaris Family, Arni

The Stavaris family's guard turkey