Mana mou, manoula mou
Actual conversation I had with my mother when I came home on leave from the Marines:
" Eat some more keftedakia (meatballs) Stavraki (little Stavro...I was twenty five at the time), those people don't feed you boys enough."
I tried to reassure her without much success.
"And they make you go out in the rain and eat out of cans. Can't they put you in a warm office?"
"I don't like offices, Mama."
"Are there any nice Greek girls in North Carolina?"
"No Ma they have all gone back to Greece."
Here is an excerpt from Ithaka on the Horizon:
Mama wasn't exactly thrilled when I joined the Marines; she was hoping I would be a doctor. I don't think even she realized what God had in store for her during the next twenty-two years. It is never easy being the parent of a son serving overseas in harm's way. It took a toll on her. I remember the morning we got the news that over two hundred marines had been killed in a bomb blast in Beirut. My leave had been cut short, and I was getting ready to travel back to Camp Lejeune, where I was a commander of an infantry company. Some of my friends were among the dead, including Major John Macroglou, a Greek American. Mama, who was usually talkative in the morning, was quiet, fighting back the tears and white as a ghost. The mothers of Spartan warriors used to send their sons to war with the words, "Return with your shield or on it." I think my mama was just praying I would come home in one piece, with or without the shield.