Over the weekend, I attended the funeral of a youngish and beloved cousin.
I ran into many other cousins, all of whom are still married to their first and only spouses. Either the people in our family possess a knack for making happy unions, or we're freakishly tolerant of pain.
I'm hope it's the first one.
Over breakfast on Saturday, my aunt and I reminisced about some of her daughter's many devoted boyfriends. This cousin is happily married now, but she used to have a lot of devoted boyfriends. "She's a happy person," my aunt commented.
"Happiness is attractive," I agreed.
Later on, as we drove from the cemetery to the restaurant for the post-burial lunch, another cousin, a married and strikingly handsome man (6'6, dark-haired, blue-eyed--you'd notice him) and I talked about the qualities that make for a good marriage.
"Looks don't matter," he said. "They don't last."
"Money doesn't matter, either," I said.
"Money's not that important," he agreed (and he has it).
"In the end, you need someone who can make you laugh," I said.
Life certainly has its ups and downs. Who would have expected our cousin to die of colon cancer at such a young age, for instance? Imagine dealing with that while putting up with some dour loser who complains about his job all day and always manages to screw up when it's his turn to take out the dog.
Maya Angelou told Oprah Winfrey, " I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights."
It's been my experience that people who freak out over nothing freak out over everything. Whatever you do, don't marry one of them.
Marry someone who makes you laugh.