Life Stories- Plomari

Dimitrios "Jim" Andonaras Life Story Con't

At the Pan Hellenic Association “the club”, men swapped yarns over the inevitable rounds of cards, mezethes, ouzo and coffee in true ‘Kafenion’ style. After a while Dad became President, and took his responsibility very seriously. When the time came to purchase suitable new premises it was not until after he died that it was revealed that he actually mortgaged his own home in order to raise sufficient funds. Not even his wife was aware of this gesture.


Greek dances were held regularly. This was where, after several whiskies and dancing until the wee small hours, he excelled in raising funds. During the course of the evening it was common for raffle tickets to be sold to all who attended as a fund raiser. Inevitably, he was always a winner, having purchased most of the books. He then proceeded to put the prize up for “auction” which he would, in turn, purchase the prize after furious bargaining.


Saturday night was card-night at home in the lounge at Glamis Avenue. When things really got serious, the game went on for most of the night, leaving only the stony poker faces of the players visible through the pluming cloud of cigarette smoke.


Fishing was favourite activity. Dad spent many evening hours sitting alone on the rocks at Evans Bay. Patiently waiting in anticipation for that “big bite” from a passing Snapper was a pastime that relaxed him and took his mind away from everyday matters while time stood still.

On one occasion he chartered a boat to fish at the best Snapper “spots” in the Marlborough Sounds.


From dawn ‘til dusk every known Snapper ‘spot’ was explored to no avail. Even the act of impressing the others on board with a one handed cracking of eggs for breakfast was short lived and did nothing to raise the spirits of the others.


Jim was a chronic snorer who as most of their kind, do not believe that they disturb others. In an act of demonstrating the truth Stan and Athena decided to make a recording of his torturous slumbers. As the level of noise reached its crescendo the “sound engineers” commenced their task to prove once and for all that his disturbance to others was a reality. Unfortunately the laughter by all of us was too much to handle and Jim woke up to the uncontrolled hilarity and chortling of his family.

Saturday mornings were dedicated to following and supporting his son playing Soccer and Cricket. Standing on the sideline, Dad was always the sole supporter, his consistent presence, a vocal back drop to every game. During one cricket season he was asked by the school to assist as umpire. Dad had no knowledge of the rules whatsoever- but decided to take up the challenge ‘for the sake of the school.’ Taking umpire position behind the stumps the bowler immediately came running in and appealed thunderously - “howzat?” It was a leg-before-wicket appeal. Poor Dad- the ball was about 2 metres outside the stumps and clearly not out- but without any knowledge of the rules- the batsman was given out. A minor squabble occurred when the opposition captain complained. Dad was never asked again!


Life, when you don’t know the rules, can be much like Cricket. Sometimes you get it right- sometimes you don’t… but the important thing is to try. 15years old and standing on the deck of that ship, as his beloved island floated from view, my Father held not only his own destiny, but his parents, his descendents in his meaty hands. It is hard to imagine...


Back to: Dimitrios "Jim" Andonaras' Life Story Part 1  


With acknowledgement and grateful thanks by Debbie Oakes – 23/2/12