By Marc Byrne:
Family and Friends:
A couple of years ago, Yiani (owner of Berbatis) and Ilias (owner of Alexis) asked me to go fishing. I dont fish, and told them so; I think they wanted me to come along for the camaraderie, to make me a “man,” and I am dating a Greek girl; which means “I must know/learn how to fish!” It is six in the morning when Yiani picks me up, and we drive out to Ilias’ farm on Sauvie Island. Ilias jumps in the car, and we head to the Washington coast. We drive to a lighthouse south of Longview Washington park, climb down the cliffs, to a rocky outcrop maybe 30 or 40 feet above the crashing water below. They set the lines with 3 or 4 hooks each, and tossed them in the ocean. I finally get the hang of casting when I feel a tug on my line. I reel the line in and have two crabs and one fish on the same line!! Beginners luck, of course, but I was excited. We catch a few more fish and crab, and they cook them right on the rocks, in a camping stove, with olive oil and lemon juice. A good day.
Ilias went fishing yesterday, to the same place that he and Yiani had been to “fifty times before.” He was to meet some of the other Greeks to camp and fish, before Gerry went to Greece for two months, and Ilias would have to work everyday until Gerry gets back at the end of August.
He went to the cliff, put his line in and was fishing; there was another man fishing as well, not too far away. The other man turned to look back at Ilias and he was gone…the man called the coastguard…a half hour later they found Ilias, but could not revive him. My friend is gone.
Ilias, is what the Greeks call a Malacca, literally a masturbater, but translated it means more “a jerk off” or a “jerk,” but reserved mostly for friends. I have gone to Alexis Restaurant two or three times a week, for the last seven years, because my girlfriend, Daphne works there, and because I owned XV, and they were my neighbors in Oldtown. Every time I’d go into Alexis, Ilias the ever present smiling host would be there with the “hey Marco!” As I said, he is a malacca, so he would sneak behind me and poke my ribs, or pinch my arm underneath the bicep where it hurts!! or look at me from across the full bar, and mouth the words “I love you” while i try to read the paper, and wait for my girlfriend to get off work. He was just annoying, like a 14 year old, like a malacca!! He would make up stories to get people riled up, he drank too much, he was not nice to his wife and kids at times, but he was a good man, and I will miss him.
And as much of a malacca that he is, he is the closet person to me who has died. It is quite a blow. Family can be of blood, sweat or wine, my friend was of wine.
If there is a heaven, Ilias would be in the one where the sun always shines, the fishing is good, the Metaxa flows, and there are only other Malaccas.
the restaurant is open