My birthday, spent in Cairo.
Celebrated at the house of Dr Anastasio a Greek doctor, also acted as godfather at the christening of Arini (the baby of my Italian friends Grimanelli) Had a most amusing time.
Arrived at Grimanelli’s place around 1030 and took Marie (the daughter and godmother of the child) around to Anastasio’s place. On arrival there I saw the kid and drank its health, with a drink known as Je-Bebe. The drink was stronger than I thought. It made me feel quite merry and I was ready for anything.
Two priests of the Orthodox Greek church arrived at 1230 and Marie and I were ushered into a room with the crowd following on our heels carrying a long lighted candle.
We knelt before the priest and he began to read something to us and occasionally ask a question. He was speaking in Greek so I of course did not understand a word he was saying. One of the girls answered for me. By Jane I was starting to get darned anxious as the performance was too much like a wedding ceremony for my liking and I began to wonder what I had better do. Then the mother came along with the kid and handed it to Maria. Didn’t I have a sigh of relief. It would have been a great inconvenience to find oneself burdened with a wife.
After a good deal of talking, Marie handed the baby to me and I had to hold it for half an hour. The kid had no respect for my uniform either. We went into another room where a font had been erected. The priest smeared the kiddie with holy oil, blessed it and dipped it holus bolus into the water. At the conclusion the priest pushed Maria over to me and I had to kiss her which was not hard to do. The crowd got all around us and shook hands and patted us on the back. I was all at sea.
After the show more drinks were sent around on account of my birthday and we sat down to a ~ course dinner with plenty of champagne. It was a great day and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I only hope I’m not married.
I chose the name Arini.
Senorita Mary Grimanelli, Fermoposto, Cairo, Egitto
Jack A. Graham
Jack Graham, ANZAC soldier, kept a diary from 1914-1918. Here it is, blogged 100 years later to the day....