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 Responses to "Back on the porch, and our wedding"
  1. Geralyn lasher says:

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

  2. Patty Malcolm says:

    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 says:

    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. 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 says:

    Spectacular, beautiful, gorgeous, exquisite…!

  6. Peggy Fox says:

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

  7. Jenny B says:

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

  8. Jerry Wakeen says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

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

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

  15. Lynda says:

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

  16. Fr. Eddie De Leon, CMF says:

    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 says:

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

  18. Chris Wrenn says:

    What a lovely story.

  19. 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 says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

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

  23. nancy says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

    Thank you for sharing.

  26. 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 says:

    Love the pictures and the story- thanks for sharing

  28. 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 says:

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

  30. Kristen English says:

    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 says:

    Such beauty, such sweet happiness. Congrats!

  32. Beautifully written! Best wishes to the handsome couple! 🙂

  33. Diane shaheen says:

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

  34. E.B. says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

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

  38. Perry Irish Hodgson says:

    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 says:

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

    Paula

  40. Fadia says:

    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.

  41. Carlos Sandino says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

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

  44. Tootsie says:

    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 says:

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

  46. Greg says:

    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 says:

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

  48. Fayrouz Fayad says:

    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.

  49. 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!

  50. Shirley Courey says:

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

  51. Thomasina Rizk says:

    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.

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