I was in Athens, Greece, last week and stopped by my favorite restaurant, The James Joyce in the Monastiraki station area. This popular Irish pub, and restaurant, is one of my favorite eating places in the city. It was around 9 PM, and the waiter had just brought over my Steak and Guinness Pie. For those of you who are not familiar with this Irish dish, it is pastry pie filled with tender chunks of Irish beef, slowly cooked in a special Guinness gravy, and served with Champ potato's.........an extravagant scoop of creamy mashed potatoes that are filled with finely chopped scallions, and served with a large pat of butter, in a well, formed in the center. As I put fork to the tender beef and mixed it with the heavenly potato's, I had a firm hand placed on my left shoulder........making it impossible to get this much needed nourishment into my mouth. "Well, well. If it isn't old Lord Howard of Kent", a strident voice said. Returning my filled fork to my plate, I turned and saw my old friend, Avner, of "The Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations", the Mossad, looking down at me. At over 6 foot tall, Avner, at age 67, with long gray curls of hair, and with his usual slim and trim figure, cut a most distinguished example of a "man's man"......... as contrasted to the short and overweight, male, clientele that filled the restaurant at that hour. Not waiting for me to ask him to sit, he slid his lithe body into the chair across from me, and taking both his hands, he began to both squeeze and tap my shoulders for some 4 or 5 seconds. It was good to see him so fit and relaxed. He said that he had come in for the 11oz Rib Eye steak and baked potato with the scallions and garlic. And he declared, for all to hear, that he was now addicted to this typical Irish fare. Seeing my friend at the table the waiter once again reappeared to provide Avner with drink and to take his order. The waiter then left us to our bottles of Warsteiner, and returned my Steak and Guinness Pie, to the kitchen, to be returned when Avner's medium rare Rib Eye was ready. We then began to catch up on the latest happenings in Athens, and the world.
I had been in the city for several days, and Avner said that he has lived here since his third year of retirement in 2010....... "That the town is a fuse to a "bomb" that will ignite not just Greece, but the entire world". It was his opinion that once Greece "drops", Portugal, Spain, and Italy will follow within 6 months, and then the world will be in a deep "depression", and the Third World War will begin. I told him that I was very much shocked by the continued fighting in the streets and the fact that American television news has not shown the public one tenth of what is actually happening today in Greece, nor how dangerous this chaotic situation really is. The discussion then turned to Israel and Iran, and I told him my thoughts about there being no good results for Israel no matter if Iran was attacked or not, but that to just sit by and "wait and see", would be the worst scenario possible. Avner then told me that he was in the process of clearing up his investments in Greece, and was going to move back to Israel for the full term of his retirement. He said that he believed that the harbinger of God, Isaiah 9:10, was upon Israel, and that he was ready for the fight to restore Jerusalem as the holiest city, undivided, in Israel. As we continued our discussion the waiter returned with our meals, and as we looked into each others eyes, I could see that my good friend was not quite certain of the outcome of this harbinger engagement, but that he was deadly determined to see it to the finish. We ate our dinners in quiet, and drank another Warsteiner. And then from somewhere above the bar came the sound of Nana Mouskouri and her famous Amazing Grace. Could this music be a harbinger of sorts?
Lord Howard Hurts