Fan Fiction - Written by Doug Fowler - Book Universe



Until We Dance Again
Written by: Doug Fowler

Papouli's 2nd visit in Book Universe" differs from "The Last Dance," but has its struggles, too - not just with Papouli's illness either. He leaves a wonderful, loving legacy that fits in well with the Tanner.

I had a bit more time between my newest book "Discovering Grace" (online published; noted in profile) and a bunch of other things. RKORadio and I had discussed these things, so Sam is used with permission. The way Papouli died, a lack of symptoms is possible, but 1-2 little spells could occur, too. This explains where Nick was in "The Last Dance" - it's how fans voted with the Chronology. Takes place between RKORadio's "Demons and Angels" and ""Stephanie Tames the Shrew," with little scenes later, too. As noted elsewhere, Michelle has a late summer birthday in books, as do Nicky and Alex.

Point of Departure is the tape sent when it is. Book "Ballet Surprise" referenced, as are Book Universe versions of a few episodes. It also has bits about Nick's businesss, too, along the same lines as my TV Universe ones.

"V...vid...e...o."

Nearly eighty, the man affectionately known as Papouli looked tenderly at his wife. He did all he could for her since her stroke. "Would you like to watch our grandson Jesse's video?" She nodded slowly as he plopped it into the VCR; thanks to the TV station Danny Tanner worked at, they could format it to work in European systems.

"T...wins?" she asked weakly about Jesse and Becky Katsopolis' one-year-old boys, Nicky and Alex.

"His letter said Nicky and Alex are well. Jesse has done wonderfully since moving in with Joey to help his brother-in-law Danny raise the girls." Danny's girls were D.J., who had just turned sixteen, Stephanie, who turned eleven last month, and Michelle, six." He pressed "play," and the doting couple enjoyed watching. Gina was able to utter "new girl?" Papouli supposed it was one of Michelle's friends. So, why were they hosting her birthday party? And, where were the girl's parents?

Jesse made that clear at the end. He held his sleeping boys as Becky recorded. "Hey, Papouli. It's Jesse. That new girl you saw?" He became somber. "Tomorrow's her sixth birthday. Her name's Sam. We're the only family she's got. Oh, she's got parents who don't pay any attention to her," he explained. "But, starting last fall, when Steph met her at school, she's helped Sam so much. Her behavior, her eating habits, so much has improved a lot. Steph makes me so proud. She knows how to lead. I hope you can meet Sam sometime. You'd know she's been through a lot, but you know something? Steph's putting a team together that can really help her. I know you'd be proud."

Papoluli caught Gina's questioning look. "I don't know what he means. I know they will do a good job, though. It would be wonderful to see them again." They'd visited over two years earlier, for their 50th anniversary. He couldn't do it now, and his wife probably wouldn't be traveling again. Still, he'd wanted to sound positive.

She passed away that summer. He'd have gone to America to visit again soon after the first of the year as it was. Now, he decided to go earlier, around Thanksgiving.

"If just one person believes in you," Sam sang. It was one of two songs she'd danced to in her recital that fall, over half a year after the video. She was twirling and singing, as Michelle came out of the school. Her pretty voice drew others, as Danny pulled up in the car. "There's your dad," she told Michelle.

"Dad; Sam's got a note saying she can come with us instead of to the daycare," Michelle said. "We can take her home after supper." As the girls got buckled in, Michelle added, "Our Uncle Jesse's grandpa, Papouli, is coming tomorrow. This will be so cool!"

"I can wait to meet him. I want to learn that Greek dance," Sam remarked.

Danny smiled. "That great. Pam never carried on many Greek traditions; I think because Nick didn't." Nick was Jesse and Pam's dad. "It reminded him..." he stopped himself and sighed. Normally a world class rambler, he hadn't wanted to depress Sam with thoughts of sadness and loss. It was already hard enough for the girl with parents who neglected her all the time. Hearing about how Nick had grown up during World War Two and the later Greek Civil War could cause more pain for her.

"Reminded him of what, Dad?" Michelle wanted to know.

"Oh, nothing. I'll explain later. Anyway, Joey's doing their radio show solo, so Jesse will watch you two and Steph. Aunt Becky and I have an interview to tape at the statio for our show," he finished saying as they walked in the back door.

Sam smirked as she looked at Michelle. "Your Uncle Jesse looks weird today," she joked. She was very blunt - an "uberMichelle" some would say.

Danny smiled as Irene, Jesse's mom, hugged Michelle, who introduced her to Sam. "That's Jesse's mom. I take it Jesse had to leave?"

Irene waved a hand. "I don't know what gets into my husband. He keeps wanting to get away from his extermination business, but he's never satisfied with the help he gets. We've gone to Palm Springs a few times, and each time we return he's all gung ho about getting back into it," Irene complained. "I keep telling him there's no guarantee Nicky or Alex will want to take over, and he'll never make it another 20 years anyway at this rate." Irene sat at the kitchen table and held her head in a hand as Stephanie entered. D.J. was at a school newspaper meeting. "Jesse's trying to smooth things over between Nick and the last helper he got."

"He's desperate to give it to someone in the family, not just any old apprentice, huh?" Danny asked.

Irene nodded. "Jesse told me I had to baby-sit. Maybe playing ballerina with you two will take my mind off of this."

Sam turned to Michelle after getting a big hug from Stephanie. "Does that mean she'll just sit and watch us dance?"

"That's what I'd always get our Uncle Jesse to do," Stephanie reminisced. "But, Grandma Irene might just try to dance with you."

"Oh, I'm not nearly as graceful as I hear you are," Irene told Sam. The little girl was thrilled to hear people give her positive attention. The Tanners were such a wonderful family. She felt so thankful for Stephanie's and the others' love. She figured Papouli would be the same as the others. "I'm not really musically inclined."

"More like musicaly declined, huh?" Stephanie said with a smile, hoping to perk Irene up. It worked.

"Im not as graceful as Steph or D.J., either," Michelle consoled her. "I wish I could be sometimes, because I want to be like them. But, I have fun.tThat's what's important. Just like I had fun with Samantha her first few practices before she got used to it."

"Papouli will love to watch both of you dance," Danny told them. "He needs a break."

Danny knew Gina's death had been hard for Papouli. Maybe he could even help Nick when he came. Nick and Irene were good with young kids; Nick, while volatile with Jesse, was - at worst - like Dennis the Menace's Mr. Wilson with the youngest, and he wasn't usually that bad. Still, given Sam's neglected background, the protective Danny was glad they hadn't exposed Sam to Nick and Irene's consistent fighting. Between how much time they'd spent in Palm Springs, and how busy Stephanie and the others kept Sam when she was there, she hadn't had the chance to meet Nick, and if she'd met Irene, it was only one or two other times - Michelle wouldn't have remembered for sure.

"Grandma Irene, would you like to watch Sam's recital?" Stephanie asked. Irene was thrilled. Stephanie would explain about Nick and Irene later. For now, she was just happy Papouli was coming.

He arrived before suppertime the day before Thanksgiving. After everyone greeted him, Sam turned to Stephanie. "Is it okay to talk about losing his wife?"

"Of course it is, my dear." Papouli picked Sam up and gave her a great big hug. "You must be Sam. Jesse has told me so much about you." He put her down and said, "I don't mind talking about my wife. I know right where she is; with her Savior, Jesus Christ." He stood and deadpanned, "I'm the one who is lost."

"I know how that feels," Stephanie assured him, thinking of their mother. Papouli and Gina had come to visit a few years before Pam died. They'd been such a wonderful, loving couple. She'd envisioned her mom and dad being the same way someday.

"I'm sure you do," Papouli said soothingly. He then brightened. "But, we are going to have a fabulous time together celebrating things that we are thankful for."

Jesse took his coat. "Yeah, that's right. Goodness knows, after Pam died, I didn't know where to turn. She always talked about that forgiveness, though, and I knew it was real, the way she'd lived her life..." He was so thankful that he'd received that forgiveness himself. Jesse still rebelled, and followed his own ways, at times, but he'd grown into a loving family man who right away had wanted to change and move in to help Danny raise the girls. He wasn't teary yet, but stopped so he wouldn't become so. "Look at me; years later, and it still gets me. Why don't you teach the girls that Greek dance now so we can start to think about happier times? That's all they've talked about."

"That is a great idea." Papouli was glad he hadn't waited till after the first of the year. It wasn't just for Sam's sake, but for his own; he loved being with those he loved. "I will stop and see Nick tomorrow morning; what is his number?"

Once he made plans, he settled in to showing them the dance and also doing other fun things, including throwing flour in the air the next morning as they made Pam's picture perfect pumpkin pie together with him.

"This is the silliest way to make Mom's pie," Stephanie said through her laughter.

Michelle remembered the story of their first Thanksgiving without Pam. "If you drop stuff now, you won't do it during the meal." Stephanie gave her an odd look. "That's what I told Sam when she worried about messing up during a rehearsal. It worked."

"Well, I haven't dropped the pie since that first Thanksgiving, either, so silly rituals are not needed for my mental health," Stephanie assured her.

"Then, why are we throwing flour all over?" Sam wanted to know.

Danny, Jesse, and Joey came from upstairs. "I'd like to know that myself. Some ancient Greek custom?" Danny asked Papouli as he started to clean up the mess.

"No, see, when you are helping children to cook, there will be a mess anyway. Why not do it from the start?" Papouli asked.

"I think that would be Joey's grandpa," Jesse cracked concerning the comedian who enjoyed acting like a kid. He patted Papouli on the shoulder. "Too bad Nick and Irene already had plans. It might have reminded me of those times when I was wee little and you'd take care of me, before you moved back to Greece."

Papouli agreed. "Yes, it would have. We stayed here over a decade to make sure Nick got established. But, it was too hard to leave my homeland for good. I really did it for Nick, when I was here," he told Sam. He caught her questioning look, and despite warnings from Danny, he explained to her. "My dear, my son, Nick, went through some very painful things. You can imagine that war would give you nightmares, right?" Sam nodded. "Nick had to live through times when very bad men took over our little country. Now, America is as big as anything you can imagine! Come, I will show you."

Still partly covered in flour, Papouli and Sam went into the living room. He grabbed an almanac and opened to the maps in the middle.

"See how little Greece is? Some very bad men, who are not around anymore, took over this little country. But..." he turned to a map of the world. "They could never have gotten across this big ocean. And America is so huge. Look how little Greece looks now." He explained how they came to America so Nick could start a new life. "I wanted to be back with my own people. So, after he had established a family and the business, I returned."

"So there can't be anyone like that coming here because it's too far?" Sam asked.

"Not only that, but they'd get lost in such a big place," Michelle commented.

Sam's eyes lit up. She felt safe now, seeing all the distance between them. Not only that, but she was certain the "bad guys" were gone.

As they talked, Danny could tell she understood that she didn't have to worry about such things, but she knew how to be safe from things that could be problems. Danny smiled in amazement. "I try to give the girls these detailed explanations, and you do it so simply."

Stephanie even wished she could be that good, though she was with a lot of things; some of her wishing was just her being hard on herself. She smiled, satisfied that Sam comprehended, and they went back to making the pie.

During their Thanksgiving dinner, Sam often looked at Stephanie with love and admiration in her eyes. Papouli sat on the other side of Sam, relating stories of a poor orphan in Greece who his brother had adopted after the war. It was a very touching tale that made Sam feel really good; she wasn't the only person who had family problems.

"Was her name Annie?' she asked, having not listened to the very start.

"No," he said with a laugh, "she was not named Annie. But, she had a very sweet voice like the girl in that play, and could sing wonderfully."

"Did she become a star?" Sam asked.

"My dear, a star is not just someone who performs on a stage," Papouli informed her. He appeared to suffer from a little acid reflux then. He hid it from the others, not wanting to worry them. "A star is someone who is very special in another person's eyes. All of you are stars, because you are special to each other. Now, some may shine more brightly, but that does not make them more important. What is important is, how many hearts has that person touched. And, she has touched many hearts over the years."

"That's beautiful, Papouli." Jesse asked if he wanted any more food.

"Oh, no thank you, I feel like that turkey felt a few hours ago, stuffed to the gills. Thank you for a wonderful meal, Mr. Tanner." Papouli went up to nap in Danny's room, rather than go all the way to Jesse's attic apartment or use the fourth bedroom, which had contained an office for years.

When Papouli, awoke, however, he had trouble catching his breath. Stephanie overheard, having just come back from taking Sam home. "Papouli, are you okay? Michelle?!" Stephanie hollered for Michelle to come, wanting her to call 911 if she had to, and figuring she was still on that floor.

Michelle came running in from their room. "What is it, Steph?"

"I'm fine," Papouli insisted, "I just had trouble catching my breath for an instant."

"What were you doing in your dream? Running a marathon?"

"Has this ever happened to you before?" Stephanie asked.

"Just one, two, maybe five or six times," Papouli asserted. "I'm sure it's nothing."

"Well, I want a second opinion. Have Dad call the doctor's office, Michelle. I'll stay right here just in case." She didn't think it was a problem for 911; that was for major emergencies. She was still quite concerned, though.

Michelle came back upstairs a moment later. "Dad says the doctor said to take him to the ER. He wants us to check his pulse, too." They quickly did as suggested; Stephanie didn't need to be told how, as Danny always enrolled the girls in "safe sitter" courses at the earliest age possible in their area, eleven.

Late that evening, Danny walked in the door to find D.J., Stephanie, and Michelle waiting up. "Jesse's still at the hospital with Papouli." He sat down, unsure of where to begin. "It's a good thing he came now, instead of waiting like he'd planned."

"Is there a major problem?" D.J. asked.

"D.J., he was out of breath from sleeping. What do you think?" Michelle asked.

"Well, it wasn't exactly overexertion that caused his shortness of breath. He might have started using two, three, four pillows to feel comfortable. But, what he needed..." Danny sighed and explained the situation and condition. "He's being checked with a lot of tests, but it looks like - among other things - he may need a pacemaker. If he'd waited another couple months, there could have been no warning. He might have died in his sleep."

"Oh, no," D.J. cried.

Michelle asked weakly, "He's gonna be okay, isn't he?"

"If everything goes well, he should be fine, pumpkin," Danny said, giving her a hug. "Now, it's way past your bedtime. I'll be up in a minute." She went upstairs.

"We didn't tell Sam; we didn't want to scare her," Stephanie informed him. Danny could tell even this would frighten Sam, from the way Steph looked when saying that.

"That's probably a good idea. She really seemed to bond with Papouli. Just like she has with you, Steph."

"Well, I don't know, Dad. I'm having talks and visiting with her quite a bit, but it's not like last year, when we were in the same school. She's bonding more with Michelle."

Becky came down. "Jesse called our apartment; glad you made it home, anyway."

"Thanks. Steph, I'm sure she's bonding a lot with Michelle, too," Danny remarked. "But, she needs a mother. And, you might be giving her that emotional attachment."

Stephanie chuckled. "Come on, Dad. Me? I'm only eleven."

"Well, think about it, Steph," D.J. urged. "I was months younger than you when I dedicated myself to being like a mom for you two. I was only ten when I started forming that bond with Michelle, after Mom died."

Stephanie thought for a second. "I don't know; it's kind of hard to imagine."

Becky asked her if the age difference seemed weird to her. It did. "Steph, at her age, there's still a huge gulf between six and eleven or twelve. Maybe some is thinking about Papouli's stories, but I think that whatever it is, she really does look up to you."

"Right. What matters is you're the number one influence in her life. Just keep up the good work," Danny finished before going upstairs.

The Tanners were thankful that they could tell Sam the next day that Papouli would be okay after some surgery anda pacemaker. Danny and Becky had left to do their morning TV show, and Joey was watching the girls and Nicky and Alex, all of whom were playing out back. D.J. and Kimmy were also in the living room, planning a shopping spree.

Then, the phone rang. "Tanner residence," Joey said. "Jess, are you sure? Oh, no!"

A lump formed in Stephanie's throat. They'd just told Sam, before she and Michelle went out to play in the backyard. She looked at Joey, but didn't really want to ask. How would they breakt he news that Papouli had gotten worse, just after they told Sam he'd be okay.

Thankfully, Joey turned toward them. "Jesee's dad had a heart attack this morning."

D.J. gasped. Stephanie shouted, "Oh, no, is he all right?"

As Joey held up a hand and listened to Jesse talk, D.J. expounded, "Anything with attack sounds bad."

"Even Big Mac attacks?" Kimmy asked. She thought a second. "I guess if it's Mac the Knife attacking."

"Kimmy, that's a song about a shark," D.J. reminded her.

"So a Big Mac attack comes when you need a filet of fish, too?" Kimmy asked.

"Kimmy, they don't use ...a Big Mac is..." Stephanie was at a loss for words. She'd been glad for the diversion, but wanted more badly to hear what had happened as Joey hung up. So, she ignored Kimmy's comment and asked, "How is he? Is he gonna make it?"

"They're not sure. I need to call Becky." The show had just ended, so Danny could handle everything at the station. He told the girls to listen in once he asked them to get Becky. "Becky? Listen, Jesse just called....Yeah, Papouli's okay, but now Nick's had a heart attack. Pretty bad, too." He gave particulars, and said, "Irene's there, but Jesse needs you down there, if you can make it."

She said she could, and Joey hung up. Jesse had really only said he'd appreciate Becky coming, but Joey knew Jesse well enough to know Jesse really needed Becky there, but didn't want to let on how worried he was.

"I guess his blood pressure was always so high from all that arguing." Had Papouli waited till after the New Year, it was close enough to coming that he'd have been incapacitated for Papouli's arrival, though it may not have been quite as severe.

Kimmy put an arm around D.J., who had been closest of the sisters to Nick and Irene. "I'm sure he'll make it. He's a real fighter."

"I know." D.J. reminded them of how Irene had said that Nick was overworking himself. Even without this, D.J. knew it might have been just another month or two till he had one. "He's so young yet."

Joey agreed somberly. "He probably had so much he held in from growing up during World war Two."

Kimmy asked if Nick was Papouli's only child. "I hope they don't try to tell Papouli." Kimmy was very dumb and very weird at times, but still knew enough to be worried what that might do to Papouli's heart.

"Gina was Papouli's second wife," Stephanie explained. "They had their 50th anniversary here in 1990. Nick was born right after they fought off the Italians. I remember Papouli telling us 'Nicholas comes from a word that means 'victorious people.' His first wife had died; that's the marriage they had the son that produced Melina from. A guy named Stavros is also from that line. Papouli was off fighting for several years after Nick's birth,a nd also fighting in the Greek Civil War." She realized how much she'd rambled. "Did I answer your question? I don't remember what it was." Joeys aid it was okay; he knew it was a stressful time.

"I don't remember either. But, I understand," Kimmy said graciously, showing the compassion that had made her such a good friend to D.J. after Pam died. "Still want to hit the malls, Deej?"

D.J. said she had to get her mind off of things; just waiting wouldn't help. So, they left.

They returned late that afternoon with a few bags each. "That was exhilarating," D.J. said cheerfully as they walked up to the door, wondering what they'd find inside.

"Same here, Deej."As they entered, Kimmy added, "Shopping the day after Thanksgiving is the kind of adrenaline rush men must get when they ride a motorcycle. Did you ever notice that?" she asked Jesse, whom she knew had one when younger.

Jesse couldn't help but snicker. He'd had to come home to get a break from the last grueling 24 hours. "Sometimes, it's great to have comic relief, you know that."

"Nick's critical but stable," Becky reported. "Jesse just brought pizza for everyone, and then he's going to get a well-deserved nap. Aren't you?" Jesse nodded slowly, and nestled with Becky on the couch.

"They told me and Stephanie and D.J. talked about how to pray," Sam said.

"Yeah, that's vital, kid," Jesse muttered. "We just told Papouli before we left, after we knew Nick was stabilized."

Danny said the older man hadn't been too shocked. "He knew Nick had anger issues. He said there's a family history of heart problems alter in life, though usually not this young. So, with what all Nick went through..." be trailed off.

Kimmy tried to commiserate. "I'm sure he tried to get better and not get so upset. But, they say a leopard can't change his stripes."

"Kimmy, leopards have spots," D.J. pointed out gently.

"You tell which cat it is by its markings. Tigers have stripes," Michelle said. The family didn't tease as much as they might have, but still, Kimmy was awfully odd at times.

"I knew one of them did. Hey wait." An idea suddenly came to Kimmy. "If you tell them apart by what they have on their skin, does that mean panthers go incognito?" The others looked at her strangely. "So, a panther could be a tiger or a leopard under that dark coat."

"Maybe it has checks," Stephanie quipped.

Joey offered, "I know elephants don't; they carry credit cards. That's why you hear about elephants charging sometimes."

Sam laned back in Stephanie lap. "Was it like this when your mom died?"

"Yeah, we tried to keep things as happy as we could. We had trouble sometimes. But, we got through it just like we'll get through this." Stephanie decided not to add that Joey even had trouble being silly at first. With him, it was more about knowing when to and when not to; a skill even Kimmy had used to help D.J..

"Well, he might make it." Jesse cuddled his boys and sighed as they got into his and Becky's laps. Nick hadn't wanted many reminders of Greek culture around. Now, Jesse worried that he might be losing two important pieces of his own heritage

Jesse went back to the hospital a few times. Finally, Papouli felt well enough that Jesse's mini-cassette player could be put to use. He wanted Papouli to record as many memories of his life as he could. "Hey, Papouil," he said.

"Hi, Jesse. How is Nick?"

"Improving every day." Jesse wasn't sure how to say this. "I know...why he never liked to talk about Greece. I remember it was kinda hard for him when we went in '77, after Pam was married; that time I met Elena. He felt good once he got there, though. I still feel it's an important part of me, though. Just like that Greek dance stuff. It took something like this to really wake me up to that. Iwas hopin'...you know."

"If you think a tape player can record a dance," Papouli quipped with a glean in his eye, "you have been hanging around that Gibbler girl too much."

Jesse laughed despite himself. "It's good to have you back, Papouli." When his grandfather said he and Nick would both have to make some changes, Jesse told about the spots and stripes problem. "We've always known how to have fun, huh?"

Papouli agreed. "Yes, we have. We always need to give away smile."

"You always enjoyed family so much. I remember how you talked Dad into letting me have that stage name when I was younger. You even wrote Pop for me" Jesse sighed. "I guess it's always been easier to talk to you. Maybe it was easier for him, too."

Papouli agreed. "You are right, Jesse. Although some things, he will not even tell me. But, he at least knows I will understand if he should mention the war."

"Yeah. Maybe when you feel a little better...well, you'll be leaving the hospital before him. Maybe you and I can both go talk to him," Jesse said.

Jesse had talked with Nick a few times over the next few days, but only when Papouli was ready to go home did he go to visit Nick. "Hey, Pop. I brought someone to see you," Jesse said with a smile as he and Papouli walked into the hospital room. Nick still had a couple tubes connected to him, which made Jesse shiver a little.

"Hey. Glad to see you up and around. Do you think you could sneak me in some Greek food?' Nick asked. "The food here is terrible."

"I will be very anxious to sample Mr. Tanner's cooking for a few more days before I must leave," Papouli acknowledged.

Nick stunned the others by asking if Papouli would do the Greek dance for show and tell in Samantha's first grade class and in Michelle's second. "Pop, you'd actually eat Greek food? And now this?" Jesse asked.

"Well, maybe not much. But, a little." Nick sighed. "I still don't like to think about that part of my life. You know, 'cause of the war. But, when you brought Michelle in, she said she hoped I wouldn't have nightmares because of it. You're teaching those grandkids of mine to care. So, I decided maybe I could return the favor and talk a little about the mother country. It'll give me something to cling to since I'm going to have to shut down the business," he said gloomily.

"Now, Nick, I know it is hard to believe. But, if you can come back in another half a year or so, and do light work, perhaps D.J.'s boyfriend will be able. That way, it would remain in the family in a way," Papouli suggested.

"Yeah, Pop, Papouli's right. I mean, their relationship's kind of cooled off, but once he matures some, who knows. Don't give up hope," Jesse said. Nick responded with a sigh. "He could even keep the name."

"I suppose so. I just wanted...you know, as a first generation American. Well, I consider myself one, anyway, even though I was born in Greece. I just wanted so badly to pass it down to someone we know and love. That's why I kept firing all those other helpers. They weren't family. How do I know Steve's going to be any different?"

"I guess you just have to have faith," Jesse replied, unsure of what else to say.

"You kept that as a way to have a heritage, one I helped you with when I was over here. Since I did help, that allowed you to keep some of the old country, yet with no reminders of the war, correct?" Nick nodded, and Papouli went on. "I understand your concern. You have a wonderful, loving family, though. Wherever you feel best, there is always going to be some way to remember that love."

"No story?" Nick asked.

Papouli laughed. "No, you still need rest right now. Later, I will tell you one. Just make sure you recover."

Papouli did the dance for the classes as planned, then left. Because of the pacemaker, he was able to live long enough to visit the Tanners again. In the meantime, they kept sending Papouli videos of ads Samantha - which Sam now went by - was in, recitals, soccer games, everything. He was thrilled to come and spend New Year's with them.

"I can't wait to see what 1997 brings," Samantha said enthusiastically as they sat around the living room and chatted.

"I know last year was fun. I have felt such joy following you," Papouli said. "You have won so many trophies in soccer and ballet, and this summer, you will be able to go to New York for dance school, Samantha. That is incredible," Papouli said. He entertained them with talk of Olympic performers he knew. He also advised her that she didn't need to make any activity her whole life. "I was telling Nick yesterday, these performers had families, friends, and even hobbies."

"Hobbies? That's hard to believe," Samantha responded, as he spoke of several such people,a nd repeated what he'd told Nick. "I mean, I'd like to be class president, but I'm worried I can't do that if I really want to be a ballerina. Or be an All-Star at soccer again next year," the girl finished.

"You are being just like Nick; and like Jesse has a tendency to be at times. You throw yourself into your work. Now, Nick chose to start his up again to see if D.J.'s boyfriend, Steve would be a viable replacement. Steve has done well. But, Nick had to learnt he hard way that he needed spare time, too," Papouli said.

Michelle was surprised. "I can see it with work. But, I thought Olympic performers didn't have time for anything else. As least with work, you can get a little time off to eat and sleep," she spoke bluntly.

"Oh, believe me, they budget their time too. More of it is with their sport. But...well, let me give you an example like I gave Nick." The others grinned as Papouli began. "Back in Pompadoris, I knew two men in my youth. Each worked very hard to make the 1932 Olympics. They spent years perfecting one move - running a lap and passing the baton."

Samantha nodded slowly, grinning ear to ear as she listened to the man she considered to be her only grandparent - Michelle's dad's mom was nice, but not around nearly enough, as she'd moved back home to where she'd grown up before Stephanie had first met Samantha. She baked great stuff, but so did Danny.

Papouli continued. "The first man took six months off to help his sick child in the middle of his training regiment, though he still tried to run a little each day. The other man continued training until he wore himself out, taking no time off for anything but the essentials. The day of the Olympic trials, when they competed to see who would make the team, the man who had to take six months off won a spot on the team, and went to the Olympics. However, the other man dropped the baton making the handoff, and failed to make the Olympic team."

He explained that the first man had muscle memory. He was no doctor, but he knew that once he practiced, it stayed with him, even if he took a little time off. The other man had done too much practicing, and became overconfident and burned out. The lesson was that Samantha needed toa void being overscheduled. He understood that things like dance took her mind off her problems before she met the Tanners. When it came to dance, soccer, everything, she needed to continue feeling confident, but not too confident. And yet, she could get burned out easily if she wasn't careful. Stephanie and even Michelle had endeavored to make sure she wasn't overly scheduled, but Samantha felt glad to hear that from Papouli.

Papouli passed away at home in Greece over a year later. It was sad for the Tanners, but not nearly as sad as it could have been - even Samantha dealt well with it.

She couldn't get to Greece then. But, finally, in 2006 she made a trip there with her ballet company. She had enough money from her parents by then she could invite and even pay for all the Tanners to visit their ancestral home.

"What a summer vacation," Jesse said as he looked around. He recalled being there thirty years earlier to visit Papouli, after Pam had graduated and married Danny.

"Can you kids believe you're in a different country?" Danny asked. "This is incredible. I hope I remember some of the phrases we learned. Like, 'where's the bathroom'?" he quipped. Pointing to the ancient ruins near them in Athens that day, he said, "By the way, this is what happens over thousands of years when you don't keep things clean."

"Yeah, well, just remember it's thousands of years, not thousands of minutes," Jesse kidded him, referring to his love for cleaning.

"By the way, Danny, you keep urging us to try new foods." Joey winked toward D.J,., Steve, Stephanie, Michelle and her fiancÚ Jeff, and Jesse and Becky's kids. "I brought some dolmades from that stand." He handed Danny one.

"Okay. Hmm, looks interesting," he said as he held the wrapped treat in his hand. It was a Middle Eastern dish containing meat and spices and such wrapped in one of two things.

One was grape leaves, the more common one, and what people usually ate in Greece. Joey had given him the other, however.

"You know you're eating seaweed?" Jeff, a class clown who had matured into a wonderful, caring man, asked with a straight face.

Danny aghast as he bit into the rest of his dolmade. He pulled it out and stared at it, his eyes a little bugged out. "Seaweed? This was once in the ocean?!" he asked with his mouth full. He stared at it as the others laughed for a minute. Finally, he swallowed and tried to regain his composure by reasoning, "Of course, it isn't bad. I guess ocean water could make it clean. He handed the rest to Joey and said, "Here; three bites rule. I took some bites; now get me one with grape leaves."

"Danny, try three bites was our rule, not yours," Becky reminded him.

"Well...but that was with American food," Danny argued. He tried to take it back from Joey, but found that Steve had already consumed the rest. "We never needed a three bites rule with Steve around; everyone ate all they could because they thought he might eat everything," he quipped.

Joey and his wife Suzie's boy, Robin, would be going into first grade. He said he liked eating the seaweed ones. "I'm anxious to tell girls back home and see their reaction."

Danny chuckled. "Like father, like son." Joey agreed.

"Hey, here's the ballet troupe," Steve announced as Samantha and a number of the other dancers arrived at the tourist site. "You got your rehearsals all done?"

Samantha said they were ready. "I'm so glad Papouli said what he did. It's so nice to spend time seeing these places we travel to," she said joyfully.

"Yeah. You never know when you'll get the chance," Danny said solemnly. "Like Pam."

"She'd had D.J. by the time Uncle Jesse came with our parents; plus she was babysitting for extra money while our dad was in school," Stephanie said.

"I thought you'd be thinking about her," Samantha remarked.

"I remember our mom saying she and Dad would come here for their 25th, or - if they had enough money - a little before then, but only once we were all older and could appreciate it," D.J. reminisced.

Stephanie said she'd been thinking about her. "It's wonderful to know where she is. But, it's like Papouli said when he came right after his wife died. Such a big part of your life is gone; you feel so lost when someone dies like that. But, you know, it's still sad, but it doesn't get us down anymore."

"That's right. We've got the faith to know there'll be good times, too, while we here waiting for that reunion someday," Danny added.

Jesse's boys asked if a lack of faith was Grandpa Nick's problem. "Yeah, I think it was a little," Jesse said. "Some of that stuff during the war, I don't think he's ever been able to totally let go. I'm just glad his business is in good hands," he said, looking at Steve, who had taken over the extermination business. Steve thanked him.

"I'm sure it was hard for him. To hear all that shooting and bombing, I'm sure he built that defensiveness and combativeness to learn how to deal with things," Becky said. "I remember when he had his second heart attack, the minister talking to him about trusting in Christ's forgiveness. It was hard for him to grasp that God could take all that pain away if he just trusted Him to do it."

"Yeah. Jesus doesn't just forgive our sins and take us to Heaven someday. He comes to live in a believer and help them with comfort, peace, wisdom, anything they need, if they just ask," Stephanie said. Jesse agrteed that He gave it eventually, even to those like him who rebelled a lot. "Sure. His love is unconditional."

Danny said that notion - unconditional love - might have been something else Nick found tough to comprehend. He'd had it for Pam, but Pam had been very well behaved.

"It takes a special someone to love people when they rebel the most like me," Jesse said. "That's why that gift we celebrate at Christmas is so important. It's funny; I thought about how Pam always showed that. Papouli did, too. And, when you have Him in you, He's gonna work in you to make good stuff come out."

"And all a person need to do is call on Him to forgive them and receive by faith; that He paid the whole price to get us to Heaven when He died and rose again," Stephanie added.

Samantha smiled broadly at Stephanie. "He sure makes good stuff come out of you. Say, we should show them that Greek dance once we get back to where we're staying," she told Stephanie and her sisters.

"Great idea. I'm so glad we can celebrate family memories like this," Stephanie replied. Jesse said he'd do it, too, to remember him. "Great. I'm sure, in a way, it was ahrd for you, too, Uncle Jesse, since you never passed on a lot of Greek customs to us. But, the important thing is, no matter how we celebrate, we can celebrate being a warm, loving family.