You know you’re Greek when…you have an olive tree in your back garden. According to Sophocles, the olive tree is the tree that “feeds the children”. Well in my experience it is the tree that feeds the father of the children and the children don’t get a look in!
The word olive derives from Latin olīva which in turn comes from the Greek ἐλαία (elaía) ultimately from Mycenean Greek e-ra-wa (elaiva) attested in Linear B syllabic script.
In case you were wondering.
In Greek mythology, the Goddess Athena planted the first olive tree and an olive wreath was worn by brides and awarded to Olympic athletes.
We planted our olive tree back in the summer of 2006, a year when I was still a teenager, life was still full of promise, rain was not a daily occurrence and George W. Bush greeted Tony Blair with the phrase “Yo Blair”.
As is custom in Greek tradition, we planted the tree along with a coin, presumably in the hope that instead of olives the tree would sprout money. Alas, it has not done so yet.
Our first olive appeared five years later, a symbol of hope and peace and, to my father, a sign that soon we would clearly be able to manufacture our own olive/olive oil production line.
Sadly, only four more have bloomed since then. Not quite enough for a Greek salad.
Still we live in hope that one day, Athena will bless us and the tree will shower us with olive goodness and we will never go hungry again.