Today is a very special day for the House family. I know this is a very special day because my brother Kenny actually got a haircut. And because my very favorite niece is getting married.
Well, let me clarify. I have five nieces and each is my very favorite. This particular very favorite niece is my brother's oldest daughter, Lizzie.
Lizzie is beautiful. She must get her looks from her mother and -- much as it pains me to admit it -- her father. (My brother is a Peter Fonda look-alike; I started out as a David Selby -- remember him? Quentin Collins from the old Dark Shadows television show -- look-alike but somewhere along the way morphed into a Newt Gingrich look-like while my brother started out Peter Fonda-ish and morphed into even more Peter Fonda-ish.) Anyway, Lizzie is beautiful. And to top it off, this very favorite niece is one of the nicest, sweetest persons to ever walked this earth. Smart, talented, lively, and kind, with all the attributes of a Boy Scout oath without having to pass that particular physical.
There are so many superlatives I can give her. Why, then, why, when I think of her the first things that come to mind are her smile and her laughter? Lizzie has always seemed to me to be sublimely happy. That's a quality that is much rarer than you might think. Most people, taking a cursory look at the world around them might be given to some despair. Take a look at your neighbors -- the ones next door and the ones down your street. Sure, they have happy times but the also have despairing times. They are unable to see beyond the surface to reveal the glory that is all around us, the intrinsic beauty of the universe and the glorious wonder that comes from life. Lizzie, I think, sees that in spades. She has that rare talent of seeing beyond things to seeing the joy inside. At least, I believe she has that gift because she has that smile. That smile that can wipe away bad times and reveal a shining, glorious light. That is just one of her many gifts to the world and is the one I think of first whenever I think of her.
My brother is most likely very anxious today. Although Lizzie has been on her own for a few years now, until now he has been her protector, her daddy. And now Lizzie will have a new person assuming that role and Kenny will have to take one step into the background. (Understand that Lizzie is a very capable woman who does not need protecting, but also understand that fathers like to delude themselves that they are there to protect their little girls, no matter how old they get.) And Lizzie's new most important person is Steve, a man I have never met. And although I have never met Steve, I know him well because I have faith in Lizzie, in her judgment, and in her future.
Kitty and I have been married for forty-five years; Kenny and Carmen for thirty-five. If we could leap forward thirty-five or forty-five years, I'd lay good money that we will find Lizzie and Steve still happy, Still smiling. Still laughing