While standing in line at the Dollar Store, the man behind me asked, “What ‘cha doing this weekend?”
"Marrying my cousin.”
“First or second?”
I was struck by the immediacy of his response.  “Wait, no!  I’m officiating my cousin’s wedding.  This ain’t Kentucky.”

Sorry, Kentucky, I was mistaken.  Apparently in Colorado and 26 other states, you can legally marry your first cousin.  Kentucky is not one of them.  Canada, Mexico, and all the European nations have no problem with it.  China didn’t ban the practice until 1980.  In the Chinese classic Dream of the Red Chamber, most of the 2,500 pages are filled with Baoyu spouting romantic poetry in an attempt to woo both of his cousins, Daiyu and Baochai.

My cousin's wedding was flawless, a beautiful autumn day beneath the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.  As the shinning bride walked down the aisle, abundant in regal splendor, I noticed her shaking hands and dilated pupils.  I suddenly realized why brides often don’t cry at their own wedding.  Too much adrenaline! 

So, how was it that I was given the honor to officiate my cousin's wedding?  Every couple struggles with doubt before getting married and often a break is required. B moved to Denver and W embarked on a grand bike tour of the American West.  And half way through his journey, he realized what he had lost.  He had lost the love of his life.  Yet, he pushed ahead and accomplished his dream, finishing the trip in record time.  He jumped on a train to get back home and when I picked him up at the station, he didn’t say, “Hello.”  He didn’t say, “Hey, I missed you.”  He only asked, “How do I get B back?”

My favorite part was the lines spoken as my cousin W placed the ring on B’s finger: “The hands you are holding now . . . these are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, hands that are holding yours as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow and forever.  These are the hands that will work alongside yours as you build a future together.” 

As she placed the ring on his finger, “These are the hands that will wipe tears from your eyes, and give you strength when you need it.  These are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the unspoken tenderness with just a touch.”

And when asked if they would promise to have and to hold, to cherish and to love each other, they said, “I will”.  Perfect.