My father was a master of anticipation, but would downplay it with a “God willing” or “if things work out at the office”.
There were two events he really anticipated with childlike happiness and desire: his trips to Greece and his golf days as the director of Pandenaughty’s Golfing Promotions. His diary was cleared with more fervour and regularity for the Wednesday afternoon golf day than for the trips to Greece.
The golf always lived up to anticipation. There were competitive comedy antics on the fairways of Reading Country Club and the restructuring of these at the denouement in the change room into fireside stories.. Once every few months the “boys” would get together for dinner at one of the homes. My father’s speciality was grilled prawns, which they loved. He would disappear into his kitchen and fire up the steakhouse grill fittings and produce a spicy mix of succulent prawns. I played with them once when I visited, but that was a tame day. It did not include swimming in the lakes tor retrieve balls, or losing clothes as they played, or even hitting traffic cops on the helmet with a golf ball as he directed cars at a nearby intersection. It was a bad slice that hit the target, and fortunately the traffic cop still had his helmet on. He took it off and looked at the dent, looked around, and replaced the helmet. The traffic snarled and hooted as he neglected it until he regained his composure and directed the flow again.
The prelude to a trip to Greece was different. My father was more tense in the days before as he organised the office and any other community events in his anticipated absence. He would work longer hours in the weeks before the trip and then return home at lunch time on Friday for the evening flight to Athens. My mother would have his bags ready, still open, packed from the night before and lying in a spare bedroom. He did not take much in later years as he had everything he needed at the village house. But the bag packing left the dogs depressed, as they knew they were to be abandoned. When he used to walk Kristen and later Leon, they would mope in the knowledge that their suburban walks would be curtailed for a few weeks. When my father walked in Greece he would often say to me he wished he could have his dogs with him.
That is what he anticipated: a walk in the valley, then a return up through the foothills into the village and to Keza’s Kafeneio to meet his crowd for early morning coffee, water or booze, whichever they chose. I can imagine they knew through the bush telegraph that he was arriving, but they never seemed to make a big deal of his arrival. Perhaps it was their way of saying he was one of them, and not a visitor.