Fall 2020

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Two things come to mind when thinking of my personal treasures: one is my ocean view, and the other is my grandmother's holy seal. During the COVID-19 lockdown, I had the opportunity to spend more time at my home that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. As I looked at the sea and enjoyed the breeze, it affirmed that everything would be OK again. Being in touch with nature in the beautiful Florida weather washed away the anxiety and stress that the lockdown brought. My most sentimental possession is my grandmother's handcarved wooden holy seal, which is used in Eastern and Greek Orthodox churches to mark the prosphora, or the bread used in the Orthodox Holy Communion Divine Liturgy. Kneading and baking was my grandmother Sofia's gift. She would knead all night, making small round loaves for us that she stamped with the seal. My siblings and I would anxiously wait for the hot bread to come out of the wood-burning oven so we could place a piece of cheese inside to melt. My grandmother treasured the holy seal. She kept it together with the icons. I still remember the awe and reverence with which she would carry and handle it. In keeping with my grandmother's memory and tradition, I, too, keep the holy seal with the icons. v "Being in touch with nature in the beautiful Florida weather washed away the anxiety and stress that the lockdown brought." Some of my most cherished possessions are items that were handed down from my grandmother, Colleen, who passed away almost 20 years ago. One of my favorites is a pillow she needlepointed that says "Bless This Mess." I keep it in my closet as a daily reminder of her and the memories of watching her needlepoint everything she could get her hands on. When she passed away, all her grandchildren were able to take mementos that were special to us. The memory of her sitting in her chair making these beautiful creations left an impression on me. When life gets crazy and sometimes messy, the pillow reminds me to take a breath and ask myself what advice my grandmother would offer. I also love to collect shells and butterflies. A few years ago, I was walking the sandbar on Cat Cay, Bahamas, when I came across a beautiful shell in the shape of a butterfly. It was lying there all by itself on the beach. I keep it on a shelf with some other mementos. A person very special to me passed away many years ago, and her passion was butterflies. When I stumble on items like this in nature, I like to believe it is her way of letting me know she is always with me. At the moment, my 15-foot Boston Whaler is my most prized possession, not because it is a boat but because of the commonality it has provided to my daughter, Olivia, and me. We purchased it during the COVID-19 pandemic. We both love being on the water, so the Whaler allows us to spend time together—and it takes a little teamwork to keep it pristine. Olivia is by far the better captain and can dock a boat better than some seasoned boaters I know. Susan Penrod Publicist Sophia Mylona Owner of Thasos restaurant "Olivia is by far the beer captain and can dock a boat beer than some seasoned boaters." Fall 2020 85

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