Toivo's Wedding

My friend Harry dropped by and brought a friend with him.
"Hi," said Harry. "Do you remember my friend Toivo Kantor?"

"Sure, I remember you Toivo" I replied. "I met you at the Lahti's place in Clatskanie. You're an Engineer at the Port Westward industrial complex."

"That's right;" nodded Toivo. "Harry brought me to town today so that I could get fitted for a Tux."

I looked Surprised. "A tux? You getting married?"

Toivo's face split into a wide grin. "Next month."

My wife, Claudia walked into our living room "Do we know the girl?"

Toivo said "I'm not sure if you do, her name's Ayla Ülkümen and she's also a Port Westward engineer."

"I don't know her," grinned Claudia; "but I know who she is. Annie Lahti told me that you were dating her."   

Before Toivo could answer, Harry blurted out: "She's a Turkish Muslim."

Toivo smiled. "It's a marriage made in heaven. I'm a Finnish Jew and despite differences, our religions have lots in common. Our dietary laws are similar as well as some of our ritual beliefs,

I spoke up. "I thought that Jews and Moslems were natural enemies"

Toivo shook his head. "We didn't' used to be. During the Middle Ages when the Christians started persecuting Jews, many went to live under the protection of Islam. They were considered "People of the Book" and were given many rights and their communities prospered. There are still large Jewish communities in Turkey and Iraq. During World War II, the Turks were responsible for rescuing thousands of Jews from the Germans."

Claudia looked at Toivo. "Are you going to get married in a Synagogue or a Mosque?"

Toivo laughed. "Neither, we're getting married by a boat Captain on a Riverboat."

"How about Ayla's family?" asked Claudia

Toivo made a nodding motion with his head. "I have met her family. They seem to be okay with us. Ayla's family follows the Sufi Moslem tradition of believing that everyone has their own way to God. The Sufi's are probably the most liberal branch of Islam, and there are many Sufi's in Turkey. Her sister is married to a Protestant and her brother (like the Prophet Mohamed) has a Jewish wife. They appear to be a very happy family."

Toivo pulled a small picture from his wallet.

Harry interjected "She doesn't look like an Arab."

Toivo laughed. "Turks aren't Arabs. Ayla has blond hair and blue eyes, just like many of the people who live in her grand parents black sea village."

Toivo continued. "I'm a Reformed Jew, but my parents weren't completely happy when I first introduced Ayla to them."

Claudia frowned.

Toivo laughed. "It took us a few visits, to break down barriers, but it's very hard not to love Ayla." 

Toivo started giggling; "It would have taken them longer if she were a Christian."

Harry opened an envelope that he was carrying. "This is a formal invitation to their wedding. They will have a brunch with lots of food for us all. We hope that you and Claudia will be able to attend."

Claudia responded with "I wouldn't miss it for the world and I will make sure that Bill is on his best behavior."

Claudia and I bid our friends farewell.

I took Claudia's hand and looked at her. "I only wish that the rest of the world would be more willing to live peacefully with each other. I would love to see more Toivo's and Ayla's. Our world could use more love and fewer wars."

Claudia gave me a big hug and whispered "Amen."

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