You know the question about who would be on your ultimate imaginary dinner party guest list if you could invite five people from any era? Nora Ephron always makes my list. In fact, she has long been a charter member of the group of outstanding women I would like to grow up to be--or at least be like. If this imaginary group had a name it would be something like The Society of Dames of Wit and Panache. Right now I'm in early training, nothing but a pledge, a wannabe, a plebe. Give me another decade or few and with any luck I'll get there.
A few months ago Nora's son, Jacob Bernstein, published a wonderful tribute to his mom. In it, he recounts her final weeks, when even then she maintained her signature humor:
Sunday, June 24, was a pretty good day. The sun was shining, and Mom spent most of the afternoon on a couch in the front of her room, doing the crossword puzzle with Max. Binky was there, as was Richard Cohen and his companion, Mona. Amy stopped by with her husband, Alan. “We’re going to the Guggenheim,” Amy said. “Do you want anything from the outside world?”
“Sure,” my mother said. “A de Kooning.”
Another thing she requested was a pineapple milkshake, so Max brought one from Emack and Bolio’s, made from fresh pineapple. But as far as my mother was concerned, a milkshake is one thing that’s actually better with crushed pineapple. Dole.“When I get out of the hospital, I’m going to go home and I’m going to make a pineapple milkshake with crushed pineapple, pineapple juice and vanilla ice cream, and I’m going to drink it and I’m going to die
,” she said, savoring the last word. “It’s going to be great.”
. . .
The weekend I read the article, the boys were out of town on a scout campout so I enlisted Maddy in my quest for an impromptu Nora tribute day, complete with pineapple milkshake. Get ready, the recipe is fancy. (Can this even be called a recipe if there are only two ingredients?)
1. Throw 4-5 scoops of vanilla ice cream in the blender.
2. Pour in some Dole crushed pineapple, including some of the juice.
3. Blend and pour into glass(es). Serves two. Or one. No one will know.
So grab your teenagers, put on an Ephron movie, raise a glass of pineapple deliciousness, and deliver your favorite Ephron lines like these (extra points if you can name where these lines originated):
- "It was a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, they meant we were supoosed to be together..and I knew it. I knew it the very first time I touched her. It was like coming home, only to no home I'd ever known. I was just taking her hand to help her out of a car and I knew. It was like...magic."
- "I wanted it to be you. I wanted it to be you so badly."
- "That's your problem! You don't want to be in love. You want to be in love in a movie."
- "Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address."
- "When I buy a new book, I always read the last page first, that way in case I die before I finish, I know how it ends. That, my friend, is a dark side."
- "When your children are teenagers, it's important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you."
- "When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible."
And my favorite: "Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim."
- Nora Ephron's blog posts for the Huffington Post
- Hallie Ephron's article about the four Ephron sisters and their mother
- Nora's last work, the play Lucky Guy, just closed its run in NYC this month
- A Nora Ephron documentary is in the works
- Frank Rich's fantastic tribute to Nora in NY Magazine
- Her "What I Wish I'd Known" excerpt from I Feel Bad About My Neck
- Design Sponge's series of posts about decorating inspiration from Ephron movie sets: You've Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle, Julie & Julia, and When Harry Met Sally
- Her entry for Six Word Memoirs: "Secret to life, marry an Italian."
- A Channeling Nora playlist. Okay, I'd better stop. Now my crazy is really showing and I can sense you are getting worried.