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Boarding buses guests from all corners of the globe, were whisked to St. Andrews Greek Orthodox Church. Renewing friendships, we moved down Lake Shore Drive in a slow caravan. 150 out of town visitors had gathered to celebrate the wedding of Grosse Pointe native Dr. Niko Tapazoglou and his bride, Dr. Ann Ruble of Akron Ohio. Both were completing their doctorial residencies at Northwestern University, the groom in general surgery and the bride, in pediatric psychiatry. Plans after the wedding included their re-location to Baltimore for future training at famed John Hopkins Hospital and a delayed honeymoon in Tuscany, Italy.
In an idyllic setting protected by a captivating mosaic of the Theotokas and Child, with pews adorned with nests and robin eggs of blue to welcome spring, the couple was pronounced wed by Father John Kalomas and Father John Moutafis representing the Metropolis of Detroit.
Guests returned to the Drake's Gold Coast room for a reception and dinner in the grand ballroom. Decorated with the palest of pink baby roses at each place setting gently nested in the folds of Mediterranean blue napkins with centerpieces soaring in fluted opulence over looking the table as if announcing the happy occasion with a profusion of soft pastel color. The wedding party entered, each beaming with the glow of the days experience each holding on to their memories of the moment and the dreams of a bright new future.
The parents of the groom, Dr. Steven and Chrissa Tapazoglou, were visibly overcome with the passage from parent to peer. Watching with silent amazement as to how twenty-six years had passed before their eyes with such unnoticed haste, one day a bouncing rugged child capped with brown curls and glistening brown eyes, now a man before them with those same deep brown eyes lovingly turned to his new bride. The grooms mother resplendent in her gown, watched from her table, surrounded by husband and familiy and yet somehow an island in their midst, knowing that a part of her world would be closed to the past forever to allow room for new joys of the future. The mother-son dance was especially touching as she gazed with obvious pride and love for her child/doctor that she had raised and was now releasing to accomplish his own hopes and dreams; his to capture, grasp and nurture, as she had done not so very long ago.
The bride and groom entered center stage and graciously thanked guests for joining them in this happiest of moments. They began their first dance with a waltz, he with the hesitant cautious steps of a young groom, eager to please counting his steps with concentrated perfection. They glided across the floor with eyes only for one another and with all eyes turned in rapt attention on them. Oblivious to their surroundings and for the moment caught in each others gazes suspended in time and place, only to be aroused from the moment by the applause announcing the opening of the floor to the bridal party and family.
When the Greek selections were started the beautiful blond bride bravely entered the center of the dance floor and elegantly lifting her hands to her new family, she began the traditional Kalamatiano with the confidence and the assurance of someone who clearly loves and is loved, embracing her newly inherited Greek roots with sincere anticipation and determination.
The crowd quickly filled the floor bringing among them those ancestors no longer among us but who were again present in their memories, eager to bless each step filled with experiences that had brought them from a mountainside home in Greece to this distant corner on Michigan Avenue and Lakeshore, still clinging to the proud Hellenic traditions of these previous generations.
The evening passed filled with music, conversation, desserts, and well wishes, each guest knowing that they had been a part of a "perfect wedding" and wishing to cling to the event to its last seconds, as they danced into the night, finally, collapsing in happy fulfillment and satisfaction to an evening of joy and reverence to youth and agape.
Na zisoun panta eftixismeni!