I try to keep that in mind and especially right now after attending my cousin's memorial service Saturday in New York City. Like his father, who was my favorite uncle, cousin Stuart died at 58.
I always knew Stuart was very smart and a very nice guy, but even knowing that it really impressed me hearing the steady stream of New York City attorneys who spoke not just of his brilliance as a lawyer but how he was admired for his kindness, warmth, and honesty.
The crowd was huge and the service long although quite moving, and afterward there was a gathering at the Park Avenue apartment of one of Stuart's brothers in law. That apartment (for sale at 16 million) was a peek into the world of the 1% we've been hearing so much about lately. In the dining room, the owner showed me where my cousin would place the pies he baked for Thanksgiving Dinner every year. Stuart excelled at everything that grabbed his interest: as a musician, historian, gardener, and a baker and probably other things as well.
Later my daughter Becca led my wife and I through the wind, the cold, and the snow to her Brooklyn apartment to spend the night. With many of the subway trains not running because of power failures, the trip was complicated and difficult after a long day. At the apartment she and her fiancee, Sean, had Indian food for us, and it was a huge relief to be warm and dry. The next morning the sky was blue and sunny when my daughter showed us her neighborhood as we went out for bagels.
After leaving my daughter, my wife Pam and I traveled back to Maryland under the sunny October sky, and I thought of cousin Stuart's widow and two children and of how lucky I was.