Nora Ephron was my writing idol -- immensely talented, a storyteller of all of our stories, wry, humorous self-deprecating. She was brilliant -- a glass ceiling shatterer, she was one of the boys in a way that didn't alienate the girls in the room. She was Erma Bombeck in the city, with edge and a flick of the tongue that could silence the bores and the narrow-minded. She made no apologies -- she hated getting old, but didn't cry into her cup. She was as horrified and mesmerized as the rest of us are by the physical process of aging, but yet she sailed through with grace and wrote about it honestly so that the rest of us could feel better about our necks, our knees and our plastic surgery choices.
Once at a stuffy fundraiser, I remember being in a group with her and letting out one of my zingers. She looked over at me for a second, appraised me and gave me a smile of approval, saying something to the effect of, "Oh, you look interesting." I will never forget that look. I cherish that look because for just those few minutes I was in her company as some sort of equal.
I went on to see Nora at events and she was always gracious, always interested in my writing and what I was doing. Every now and then we would trade emails. But my most recent memory of Nora Ephron, the one that will stick with me the most, is of her at a craps table in Las Vegas, a place she was immensely comfortable. She was teaching my husband how to play. For that hour she had the rapt attention of everyone around her; she owned the table, as she owned every playing field she chose to compete in. Nora Ephron, we will miss you.
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