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  • "I feel like I've fallen into a horror movie," I moaned as we left yet another empty village. "It's like Children of the Corn but with olives."

    "A horror movie or a nightmare?"

    "A little bit of both?"

    Upon further consideration, I decided that our vacation felt more like an episode of The Twilight Zone, though. The villages were beautifully surreal with whitewashed walls and blue domes against a back drop of the crashing Aegean and brilliant blue skies. They were also empty except for the children and cats.

    So many cats.

    And my friends stopped, stroke, pick up, and feed every last one of them.

    Storefronts and restaurants beckoned enticingly with promises of sweet treats left undelivered behind brilliant blue shutters. Finding a restaurant for dinner took hours of searching and started somewhere near breakfast.

    "Is open!" the woman at the front desk assured when we asked about a well-rated restaurant in town.

    On Monday, we tried eating there without any success. The restaurant was dark, but we took her word.

    "I think we need to go over to the other square," I said when we parked. "The one with Benetton? Then, we need to walk to the National Bank and take the alley behind it. Do you remember when we went to the bakery?"

    "I only remember Benetton."

    "Yesterday? When we went to the bakery and she went into the bank to break her 50s?"

    My friends stared at me blankly.

    "I think it's this way."

    It didn't matter. The restaurant was closed. A friend called their number, and they assured us that they wouldn't be open 'til June. We didn't have nearly that long to wait. I didn't know if we'd make it back to the origiinal square.

    We all have different styles of travel and eating. One would gladly skip lunch until we skip lunch and then she talks about food until we stop and eat. Another gets hangry with low-blood sugar leading to hunger pains with flashes of anger. Frequently nauseated, I prefer lunch to supper and heading to bed early, and the fourth will just do as she's told. Her sister's in charge of things like meals. Somehow, though, we make it all work. I have started carrying bread, nuts, and cheese. Others carry eggs in their pockets.

    When we booked the trip, none of us considered the fact that we would find winter in Greece. We knew the projected temperatures and that they would be cool, if not cold, but warmer than Washington DC. At least it would be sunny, we thought. We would be fine, we thought, but winter in Greece has little to do with mercury falling or rising. Winter in Greece is a state of mind. The villages we visit are filled with empty streets, children, and cats. Empty cars line the streets. Beautiful storefronts sit shuttered and empty and we wonder what happened to other adults.

    They seem to have fallen prey to the children of the olives. If we don't leave soon, we might be next.
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