Back on the porch, and our wedding

Front porch, Maureen Abood
Summers on the porch here on Main Street have always brought visitors by. From the start, my dad would wave them on up to join him on the white wicker chairs for a visit. Before they could hit the top step, he was turning to his daughters to bring out glasses of iced lemonade for everyone.

On Dan’s first visit to our place on Main Street, he’d come over from Charlevoix on the water in a big, bad cigarette boat with his brothers. I’ve always thought that boat was yellow, but Dan says no, red. They were very young, swarthy men; no doubt they sauntered through town and hung out on the docks looking at the pretty girls pass by. They didn’t leave, though, without visiting my dad, Camille. Since their own dad died unexpectedly, a young man himself just a few years before, my father had stood close by the boys and their mom and their sisters as they put their lives and their auto dealership back together in the difficult aftermath, and then for years beyond that. In other words: they were close friends. Close Lebanese friends—which means, you know, that they were cousins.

Church, Maureen Abood

Rings, SB

The brothers came up on the porch, my dad waving them over and turning to his daughters for the lemonade. Dan says it was a glass of pink lemonade that I handed him, and that I had long brown braids on either side of my 12-year-old face. He must have pulled on one of the braids and cast a certain spell, one that said: I’ll be seeing you back here somewhere down the line, and then for good.

For a lot of years (read: 30) after that, Aunt Hilda was the epicenter for us to hear, however sidelined, how the other one was doing. She and I would sit at her kitchen table and she’d fill me in on what was happening with everybody we know, from cousins to more cousins to the Shaheens (Danny is a hanoun, she’d say, like you) and the family over in Lebanon.

Parents wedding photos, SB

Moms, Maureen Abood

Hilda’s best friend? Dan’s mama, Louise. They shared the same towns (Flint, then Lansing), ran with all the same people, had both lost their husbands too young, and were “like that”–two fingers crossed: tight. Sisters. Cousins. Close friends. (My own mom was of course part of that circle of Lebanese lovin’ ladies too)

After Hilda passed away, Dan discovered a whole slew of missed voice messages on Louise’s phone, which they saved so she could hear Hilda’s voice whenever she wants.

Monogram hankie, Maureen Abood

Maureen, SBDown the aisle, SB

Right around the time that Ruth passed away in 2009, Dan and I were in a similar state of mind. The road had been bumpy. The Path of Life had not, in many ways, been what either of us had in mind. At the funeral, I stood up and sang a tear-laden Ave Maria and Dan says he sat in his pew listening, watching, and wondering. He came up to say hello after; why I don’t remember this, I have no idea other than that I was in a fog of pain for all kinds of reasons (like this and this).

A year or so later I was in San Francisco at culinary school (a new day had dawned!). Aunt Hilda had gotten very sick, to the end-time, and I came home. We were for a good week, with Louise and Alberta and Uncle Dick and lots of others, up at the hospital holding the vigil.

Wedding flowers, Maureen AboodHazy tables, JAChampagne fountain, SB

At Hilda’s wake, the room was jammed with all of the Lebanese dressed in their handsome black, laughing and crying and laughing some more.

I was telling Aunt Rita that I was moving back to Michigan after culinary school, when I turned to see the handsomest of them all, Dan Shaheen, standing by my side. It was our first real, head-on conversation since the lemonade-visit when I was a kid.

Ladybug, SB

M and D dance, SB

Mantle

Cheese table

We nodded about Aunt Hilda (she always told him he was her favorite, and he was genuinely surprised to hear she’d said the same to me…), but then he cut to the chase: You’re coming back? When? I told him I’d be heading directly Up North, where I’d stay.

See you on the porch for a glass of lemonade, he said.

And that we did.

Happily.

Ever.

After.

Maureen and Dan, SB

(Happy end of summer, all. Thanks to so many of you for asking to see photos and a story of our joy. Of course there is so much more to show and tell, but here’s a taste. Despite the weather, it’s been such a beautiful season. Your recipe for a last-hurrah lovely lemonade is here. Try using summer raspberries in place of spring’s strawberries, straining the fruit mixture before stirring it into the lemonade).

**We thank Erin at Anchor Events, Bella e Dolce cakes (stay tuned for that story!), Galley Gourmet, Stephanie Baker Photography, Pontius Flowers, our priests Father Mark and Father Joe, and many more!

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56 Comments

  1. Geralyn lasher on August 29, 2014 at 12:37 PM

    Beautiful words, beautiful family and a beautiful couple–inside and out!

  2. Patty Malcolm on August 29, 2014 at 12:40 PM

    Loved hearing how you met…so romantic. Your wedding looked gorgeous. Perhaps I can talk my daughter, Michelle into getting married in Harbor Springs! (Your Main Street summer neighbor, Patty.)

  3. alexis branoff on August 29, 2014 at 12:47 PM

    Hi Maureen, What a beautiful, beautiful story!! Being Greek, I can totally identify with so many of the things you wrote about. I also loved the photos!!! So special!! Looking forward to seeing you soon!!

  4. Denise Thomas on August 29, 2014 at 12:59 PM

    Dear beautiful Maureen,

    Did you ever imagine such happiness? How gorgeous you look and what a picture perfect wedding!!
    I wish you all the best of everything. Keep the pictures coming.
    Thank you.
    Love
    Denise Thomas

  5. Mrs. Ghazel on August 29, 2014 at 1:00 PM

    Spectacular, beautiful, gorgeous, exquisite…!

  6. Peggy Fox on August 29, 2014 at 1:27 PM

    This made my day! What a happy, handsome couple. Thank you for posting!

  7. Jenny B on August 29, 2014 at 1:33 PM

    Maureen you look so beautiful in your wedding dress – may you have many happy days together!

  8. Jerry Wakeen on August 29, 2014 at 1:36 PM

    Thanks for sharing a wonderful day.
    I wish you both every happiness.
    I assume a lot of Lebanese food was consumed, I hope the fountain was not flowing Arak! 🙂
    best, Jerry

  9. Patti on August 29, 2014 at 1:36 PM

    Oh Maureen, that was so beautiful just like you, just like your family and just like the way you make everyone feel who has the privilege of calling you friend. I love ya cousin. xoxoxox

  10. Jody Atty on August 29, 2014 at 1:50 PM

    Beautiful story, gorgeous pics!
    Thank you once again for sharing your life with us.
    You certainly deserve happiness!!
    Best of everything to you both.
    Much Love,
    cousin Jody

  11. Laura on August 29, 2014 at 1:53 PM

    Cousin 🙂

    What a great story and the photos are stunning. You are truly a beautiful bride and your hubby is quite handsome! There’s just something so attractive about Lebanese faces 🙂

    Congratulations!!!

  12. Elizabeth (Beth) Abraham on August 29, 2014 at 1:53 PM

    Love the story – Especially Flint, so wonderful to see your photos of
    Your special day. Of You habibi- Blessings – Greg & Beth Abraham

  13. Judy Hatem Aboud on August 29, 2014 at 2:05 PM

    I just read your lovely, goose bump producing account of your love…got chills…felt mushy….put a smile on my face…a tear of joy in my eye…and a burst of happiness because I love happy beginnings!!!!

  14. Ammini Ramachandran on August 29, 2014 at 2:08 PM

    Congratulations! Beautiful photographs and a touching story. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Lynda on August 29, 2014 at 2:23 PM

    Maureen, so beautiful. Lovely story, lovely setting, lovely couple. Congratulations!

  16. Fr. Eddie De Leon, CMF on August 29, 2014 at 2:26 PM

    Congratulations! I am sooo proud of you and happy for you too. Please say hello to your family for me. I love your generous spirit!!

  17. Anne Saker on August 29, 2014 at 2:56 PM

    Rejoicing once more for you, dear cousin, that love has found you for certain and for good. Love you immensely.

  18. Chris Wrenn on August 29, 2014 at 3:06 PM

    What a lovely story.

  19. Beth (OMG! Yummy) on August 29, 2014 at 3:11 PM

    Thanks for sharing Maureen. You are a beautiful stunning bride and gorgeous couple. I am so happy for you and look forward to hearing and seeing more about the wedding, the cake and the upcoming book!

  20. Sam Naomi on August 29, 2014 at 3:22 PM

    Sorry that I have’nt been in touch, I’ve been real busy getting my woodshop up and running, and with 5 employees it kinda keeps me on the go. Anyway my deepest Congratulations, and may the wind to your back always be warmth with love and good health.
    Best of regards,
    Sam Naomi

  21. Amy Carrow-Feinauer on August 29, 2014 at 3:46 PM

    What a wonderful story & a wonderful couple! Congratulations on happiness, joy & love well deserved! As I share my wedding anniversary date with you (we were married in 2008) I will thank God each year for your happiness as I celebrate my own !

  22. allison F. Lange on August 29, 2014 at 3:47 PM

    Oh what a LOVELY post!!!!! And, what a special day… you both make me SMILE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! xoxo’s…. 🙂 So much to say… 😉 xoxo

  23. nancy on August 29, 2014 at 5:24 PM

    the world is so full of pain and anguish, it is a joy to read about you and dan and see your photographs. one question? do you ever eat anything? every happiness and joy in your life together. and keep on writing.

  24. rachel abood on August 29, 2014 at 6:09 PM

    A beautiful beginning for a couple of exceptional people. May all the good things in life always come your way. You always share such touching and inspirational stories, and the photos are an added bonus. Love you cuz ,Rachel

  25. Patti Panuccio on August 29, 2014 at 6:28 PM

    Thank you for sharing.

  26. Diane DeCillis on August 29, 2014 at 6:29 PM

    What gorgeous photographs. A beautiful couple. Everything looks so elegant. All the best in your new life together! And thanks for sharing.

  27. Ann morrissey on August 29, 2014 at 7:19 PM

    Love the pictures and the story- thanks for sharing

  28. Dianne Jacob on August 29, 2014 at 8:34 PM

    Took you a long time to come around, girl! You look like a movie star. Congrats on this new part of your life. XO

  29. Katie Dyos on August 30, 2014 at 12:08 AM

    Here’s to true love Maureen! Couldn’t have been more beautifully written!

  30. Kristen English on August 30, 2014 at 1:02 AM

    Thanks so much for sharing your lovely story. It’s wonderful to read about your happiness in coming full circle back to each other.

  31. Susan on August 30, 2014 at 3:08 AM

    Such beauty, such sweet happiness. Congrats!

  32. TasteofBeirut on August 30, 2014 at 4:53 AM

    Beautifully written! Best wishes to the handsome couple! 🙂

  33. Diane shaheen on August 30, 2014 at 10:49 AM

    Best read all summer Maureen. Poignant beautiful touching! Sniff sniff.
    You two look amazing the love apparant. Heavens blessings always!

  34. E.B. on August 30, 2014 at 1:18 PM

    Beautiful post and incredibly on point for me. This summer has been a rollercoaster, full of moments when I held my arms high going “Woohoooo!” and others when I just covered my eyes and kept muttering “This too shall pass!” and “I will trust the sky I am under” (that last one being from Frances Schultz’ blog). This post reminded me friends and family get you through the tough times and celebrate the good times with you, baking and sharing food heals our souls, feeds our tummies and happy endings do, eventually, arrive at our door. I loved the shot of the tiny ladybug on the cake and the last shot of your two? You are both positively beaming with joy! Congratulations and may you have many, many years of happiness together!

  35. Helene felgenauer on August 30, 2014 at 5:34 PM

    I so enjoy following your wonderful stories! I am also from Lebanese descent and relate totally to all your feelings and recipes! Loved reading your love story and also wanted to say that my mom is cousins (for real) to Margaret Curtin in Lansing. You knew her daughter, Margaret,in school. So does that make us “cousins ” too! I think so!!! Will keep following your wonderful stories!

  36. Oh Maureen, so beautiful, so lovely, brought tears to my eyes and smiles to my heart–the picture of the two of you looking adoringly into one another’s eyes and hearts, speaks volumes of happiness, love, devotion, caring, understanding. Many blessings and many many years!!!

    Congratulations Dan and Maureen!!

  37. Pam ogle on August 31, 2014 at 9:26 AM

    Happy you and Dan found each other. God’s blessings to you both.

  38. Perry Irish Hodgson on August 31, 2014 at 10:54 AM

    Lovely post, Maureen. Thanks for including the links to your other posts about your earlier heartbreaks, too: it made the story with you and Dan all the sweeter. John is growing up so beautifully, such a sweet boy! P.S. I’m glad Dan’s taste in boats has matured! 😉

  39. paula on August 31, 2014 at 2:05 PM

    I’d say Maktub!…
    You looked stunning and I’m so happy for you.
    Believe me.
    Much love from Portugal

    Paula

  40. Fadia on August 31, 2014 at 11:23 PM

    Maureen, to you and to your husband, Alef Mabrouk. You both look great, made for each other. Marriages are made in heaven. May you both have a very happy and long life together. Allah yhaneekoun.

    • Cynthia Ottaway on September 1, 2014 at 11:27 AM

      Wonderful post. Best wishes to you both. Love reading your interesting stories and recipes. Happy years.

  41. Carlos Sandino on September 1, 2014 at 11:33 AM

    Such a wonderful story, Maureen. You tell it beautifully, without leaving out the sorrows and joys that mark our lives here on Earth. I am very, very happy for you, and wish you and your husband all the happiness in the world. Thanks for sharing your joy with us. It’s contagious! 🙂

  42. lilian on September 1, 2014 at 3:29 PM

    oh maureen – i love that you shared this. you and dan look so lovely and happy. and all the wedding details, gorgeous. so glad to have had a chance to visit with you and meet dan. may we have another opportunity one day! xoxo

  43. verna on September 4, 2014 at 12:17 PM

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful story and wedding pictures. They brought tears of joy.

  44. Tootsie on September 5, 2014 at 7:35 AM

    What a beautiful story. I was sitting with Dan when you walked by after singing. He gave me the look and I said…”She is beautiful, She can sing, Let’s find out if she can cook!!!!!! Yep The Gal Cooks. Thanks so much for allowing me to be a small part of your beautiful life and wedding. I love you both.
    Thank you for the wonderful flowers you sent me yesterday.

  45. robin on September 5, 2014 at 11:54 PM

    Oh, how ROMANTIC!! He waited for you!! And, he’s absolutely bejennan. Both of you!

  46. Greg on September 6, 2014 at 8:48 PM

    What a beautiful setting, peaceful, scenic, bright and white. Congratulations on your big day. It is easy to see so quickly what joy is in everything here. And the fruit looks so delicious and refreshing. Thanks for sharing all those photos – how uplifting.

  47. Naz on September 16, 2014 at 3:18 PM

    Oh Maureen, so beautiful!
    Both Drew and I wish you and Dan many, many congratulations!

  48. Fayrouz Fayad on July 20, 2015 at 10:29 AM

    Hello Maureen, Loved your blog and your story. My husband and I immigrated to the United States on February 26, 1976 and been living in Nebraska.
    Lebanese and other Cuisine Cooking is my passion too :-). As a matter of fact, I was getting ready to make the Fig Jam and decided to check out some recipes online just out of curiosity and came across your “Rose Water and Orange Blossom”. Mabrook! The Wedding photos are beautiful!!
    God Bless you in abundance with all your endeavors.

    • Maureen Abood on July 20, 2015 at 7:26 PM

      How special Fayrouz-thanks so much and delighted to have you here! LOVE that fig jam…

  49. Tom | Tall Clover Farm on January 16, 2017 at 8:24 AM

    Hi Maureen, I was enjoying your new website design and stumbled across this post. How lovely, your day and you two as a couple. I feel the love and see the sparks dancing off the page. Congratulations!

    • Maureen Abood on January 23, 2017 at 6:17 PM

      How kind Tom! Thanks so much. We are blessed with joy!

  50. Shirley Courey on May 19, 2018 at 10:52 AM

    Gorgeous. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. What a beautiful bride you are.

    • Maureen Abood on May 20, 2018 at 12:01 PM

      Shirley, thank you so much!

  51. Thomasina Rizk on May 19, 2018 at 1:01 PM

    Dan’s father Mike was my mother‘s cousin. Aunt Louise looks beautiful in the photos you shared. I hope she is doing well. We love your cookbook and share the recipes on Facebook as often as we can. My ex-husband worked at the dealership years ago and we won two cruises… How fun. Keep on keeping on hope to meet your beautiful face one day.

    • Maureen Abood on May 20, 2018 at 12:00 PM

      How special Thomasina, cousin! Thank you so much. We will meet!

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