I’ve always hated history. Ever since the 7th grade at Sidney Phillips, when my social studies teacher made us memorize an exhaustive list of wars and Louises with Roman numerals, I tuned out. I know history is important, but its not my thing. I’m much more curious about events and people of today and what’s on tap for the future.
Today, as the taxi driver flew through the streets of Athens toward our hotel, he slowed and pointed to a beautiful old, historic building. “Hippocrates,” he struggled in his thick Greek accent to find the proper English words. “His medicine here 2500 years.” At that he turned and looked at us in the back seat and winked. “Older than America?” I did a quick mathematical calculation. Wow.
We got settled in the hotel and all voted to take a 1-hour nap to hopefully, dilute the effects of a treacherous 10-hour flight – in a sardine can, I might add. The kids voted to do the Acropolis so I begrudgingly agreed. Seeing more old rocks and chipped columns, again, was not my first choice. I would’ve rather walked the streets, sit in cafes and talked with the locals. You know, getting to know the ‘today’ story of Athens.
“We’ve climbed four miles,” my daughter informed me as we neared the top of this great historic citadel in the center of this city. I could hardly breathe. I sat down on a step, a slab of marble which was highly polished from centuries of people walking over it. This piece of stone on which I rested had been hauled up this hill in the 5th century. Before Christ. I could almost see the hot, sweaty men around me, their bodies perfectly chiseled from years of hard labor. I struggled to grasp how the architects could have possibly designed to such perfection the Parthenon’s symmetry – all without a CAD computer. The stone masons and their columns . . . who fed these workers, where did they sleep?
And to think they did all this for their goddess, Athena. The significance of it all humbled me, a sense of reverence overcame me. I was surely on hallowed ground.
Suddenly, history became very real to me.
On to Crete, to a very special family wedding.