Achilles Contoveros spoke with his hands

We could never ever have a delicate coffee table in our home when I was growing up. My dad – who came to America from Greece when he was only 15 – would smash his hand onto the table, breaking it in two or more pieces.

slamming fist

I always knew when Pop made a point. He’d shake or break the table!

He wasn’t a terribly violent man. He just made wild gestures with his hands and his arms. If he wanted to make a point, he’d slam his fist against the top of the table in hopes of getting you to understand what he was trying to say.

Pop never went beyond sixth grade. He was raised as a fisherman, a small boy who was taught to catch squid and small octopi off the small Island of Nysiros. When he got to the US, he became a chef and never went back to school to learn public speaking or nuances for debating in New York City or in Philadelphia.

He simply felt a need to express himself in a way his limited use of the English language could make you hear his side.

I seem to recall that he never broke anything while speaking in his native language.

God love you Pop. In any gesture you feel is right!

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