Very late last night I was reading a magazine after Ruth went to bed. There were back to back articles about Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Dolly Parton in this widely read zine. All of a sudden I realized how similar these icons are. My next leap of knowledge told me that I am living with a woman who shares some of their characteristics. Her name is Ruth.
In her combative way Ruth Bader Ginsburg changed the world. In her many years, 1933 to 2020, she rose from a judgeship on the DC Court of Appeals Circuit to the Supreme Court. A Jewish woman who took her religion seriously, Ginsberg served on our nation’s highest court from 1993 until her death. Wed in 1955, she loved her husband Marty dearly, survived him, and earned the respect of her 2 children and their 5 offspring and always commanded a leadership role where family was concerned. As a Supreme Court Justice, Ginsburg formed a deep friendship with Justice Antonio Scalia, her ideological opposite and hoped to be remembered as a consensus-building Judge.
The article about Dolly Parton was called “What I Know Now” and focused on Parton’s little known personal life, not her dynamite six-decade career. I learned that she and Carl Dean, her husband of 56 years, still have date nights and that she loves to pack a basket so she and Carl can find a riverbank somewhere and have a picnic. This is not the Dolly Parton I know. As a very successful songwriter, she always keeps paper and pencil handy in case she has a sudden song inspiration, what she calls a “Great Idea” worth writing down. I read about the stories behind some of her songs and about her tattoos. It’s all very personal.
Ruth & I have traveled together in pure joy for more than 50 years. We have been to all 50 states and 35 foreign lands together. Ruth is always game for new experiences, even now in trying times. She is an inexhaustible optimist. That’s her in Berlin, Germany, in the picture just above. Note that she had a broken wrist but a smile on her face. That’s Ruth. She just keeps going. Like Ruth Bader Ginsburg career, Ruth had a brilliant career as a teacher lasting more than 45 years and has 2 children and 5 grandchildren. Like Dolly Parton, Ruth has great friendships, never lets people underestimate her, and we share simple pleasures as a couple. Last night, for example, we watched Stanley Kubrick’s 1st film together. Called The Killing, it shows a master filmmaker getting started with a story that could have been ordinary.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Dolly Parton, and Ruth are exemplars of excellence, and I get to live with one of them! Lucky me!