Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on Rosh Hashanah, which was also my birthday. My husband, Jonathan, and I found out on ‘breaking news’ on our cellphones minutes after I blew out my candle, made a long wish, and ate my cookie and homemade ice cream at Gramercy Tavern in the middle of Manhattan’s 20th Street at our socially distant table.
No. No! We reached for each other’s hands. And cried.
Our waitress had told us that Hallie Meyer, owner Danny Meyer’s daughter, made the delicious ice cream and owns a café on Irving Place called Caffé Panna. Wanting to offer praise and share kind words, rather than go home to CNN, we walked to Caffé Panna, introduced ourselves, told Hallie we just ate her delicious ice cream at Gramercy, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg died. Her mother already called her with the news.
Hallie gave us a pint to take home. Just like that. Apples and trees. Trees and apples. I am a longtime fan of Danny Meyer’s restaurants and kindness. He majored in emotional intelligence.
Which brings me to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, her emotional intelligence, Her Everything. I have never grieved for someone who is not a family member as I have been for her. What I am about to say does not compare in depth and breadth to those who have been writing about her, but I want to share some thoughts.
How lucky we are to have had this super heroic amazing woman change our worlds.
How terrifying our country has become.
How terrifying to think of our future Supreme Court.
I pray we all carry RBG inside us in big and small ways.
I have already listened to Glenn Gould play Bach’s Goldberg Variations twice. My mother took me to a Glenn Gould piano concert in 1955 at which he played it. In a recent NY Times op-ed piece, a writer wrote how much Ruth and Marty loved the piece with Gould playing it.
Her husband, greatest fan, great love, and true partner, was a mensch among mensches.
I pray more men get in touch with their inner Martys.
My husband is a Marty.
My champion. My partner. My love.
His cooking and kindness fill our home.
He deserves more than these few items on this list.
And more than my repeatedly telling him I love and appreciate him.
I appreciate my mother, gone now 20 years, more than ever.
And not just because she introduced me to Glenn Gould.
I regret not showing her more appreciation and love.
In interviews, RBG often spoke of her mother’s influence, early death, and how much she missed her.
I am missing my family in California every day and in every way. They occupy the core of my heart.
I am so grateful for them, our Facetimes, and their love.
I have watched the movie, “On the Basis of Sex” many times and am awed by how Ruth Bader Ginsburg spoke, got in the last word, and brilliantly and quietly made her points.
Brilliantly, I cannot do.
I am working on quietly.
And staying focused, engaged, kind, and available to my family, friends, students, readers, country, and myself.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the best, most influential role model we have ever had.
I am grateful for all she did, all she was, and all she means to us. May her memory be a blessing.
I revere her.
Nancy Davidoff Kelton, is the author of 7 books, including “Writing from Personal Experience,” and her memoir, “Finding Mr. Rightstein” which she is adapting into a play with the same title. Her essays have been published in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Buffalo News, AARP, Next Avenue, Parents, and elsewhere. She teaches writing at the New School, privately, and at the Strand Bookstore. Her next Strand class, a Zoom workshop, will be January 28, 2021 at 7:00 pm.