By Dan Miller
October 28, 2008
If I was asked once, I was asked 500 times in recent weeks, through emails and on the street, "Where's Demetria?"
I understand everyone's curiosity, since she's been away from the newscasts for most of the last month-and-a-half.
But there's a good reason -- perhaps I should say bittersweet reasons -- for her absence.
Here's photographic validation of one of the reasons for her extended absence.
Yep, the pictures tell the story.
Demetria and long-time beau Verlon Thompson (finally) tied the knot.
I knew each of them years before they knew each other, and this joining of two of my favorite people makes me happy.
In fact, look closely in that top photo and -- right between them -- you can see me being happy.
The wedding day was storybook.
Family and friends gathered at Verlon's (well, now it's Demetria's and Verlon's) combination barn/house, which I always refer to simply as "the farm."
The brilliant colors of a Tennessee October created a setting that any travel brochure for our state would be proud to display.
The sunlight through the trees cast a magical spell on the banks of the South Harpeth River, which winds through the little valley just behind their place.
If you want a description of the bride's dress, well, I'm not the one to ask.
I'm not very knowledgeable when it comes to awareness or descriptions of fashion.
As I've often said, if you walk up to me, ask me to cover my eyes and describe what I'm wearing at that very moment, chances are I wouldn't have a clue.
But I can tell you that Demetria had mentioned to me she was indecisive about whether to wear a long or short dress, so she split the difference... she wore a unique dress that was short in the front and long in the back.... sort of a blend of the two.
It was a very nice compromise.
Every wedding needs a little music.... and this one had some of the best.
Immediately after the vows were exchanged, before Demetria and Verlon walked back up the aisle... uh, the trail... Verlon picked up his guitar and left not a dry eye around when he sang to Demetria a song he wrote for her titled "Get To You Waltz."
Then it was time for everyone to gather in the big tent set up on the side of the barn/house for food, wine and more music.
That's where Verlon was joined by his pals Guy Clark.... Shawn Camp on fiddle and mandolin.... and Mike Bub on bass.
Not a bad little band for a wedding!
Even Verlon's mom Darwettia got into the act when she got up with the boys and sang a rousing version of "Little Bitty Woman (Put a Big Hole in my Heart)."
Verlon credits his mom -- out on the windy plains of Oklahoma -- with teaching him to play guitar before he could even reach his 4-year old hand around the neck.
His dad Don... a real-life cowboy... is more content to be in the audience.
Here's the bittersweet part of the whole evening.
After everyone had enjoyed their dinner, and before the rest of the music started, Verlon asked everyone to listen because he had one more musical gift he wanted to share.
If you know Verlon, you understand he's much more comfortable with a guitar in his hand, singing a song, than he is making small talk.
Right there, in the middle of the big tent, Verlon strummed his guitar and shared with all of us a song he'd written for Demetria last Valentine's Day.
This one was a poignant tribute, not only to his bride, but to her roots.
He titled it "Mike and Betty's Daughter"....
That's Mike and Betty Kalodimos in the last photo.
Mike and Betty weren't able to come to Tennessee to see their daughter marry Verlon.
Mike has been in the middle of a struggle with recently discovered late-stage lung cancer, and other related health issues.... which is another reason Demetria has been away from work lately.
On the day of the wedding, Mike had no choice but to stay in Chicago, and Betty stayed there with him, side by side, as they have been for 51 years.
In the long years leading up to this wedding, Demetria's parents got to know and love Verlon.
And Verlon got to know them.
Mike and Betty have given Demetria and Verlon, and all their other kids and grandkids, a wonderful example of how to do it right.
From that beautiful October day forward, rest assured you'll find Verlon side by side with Mike and Betty's daughter.
Mike Kalodimos peacefully passed away at 7:30 Tuesday morning, October 28th, at the age of 80.