After a long battle with cancer Geraldine Ferraro has died at the age of 75. As the first female Vice-Presidential candidate and a pro-choice Catholic, Ferraro was often the controversial figure in Catholic circles. Deacon Greg had an interesting post on whether she should be given a Catholic funeral (yes) today.
I met Ms. Ferraro several times when she filled in for several of our hosts on WOR radio. She was a big “fan” of my dear friend, Arthur Schwartz, who hosted the local food show (I was the producer and I gained 30 pounds doing so).
I’ll share a lighter memory of her from Arthur. Ferraro’s son opened a restaurant and Arthur was invited to go by some friends. From the start of the meal until the end this “foodie” crowd decidedly thought that the restaurant was sub-par. That was until Ms. Ferraro showed up at the table and most of the table turned tail and said that everything was wonderful.
The lone exception was Arthur Schwartz, who then was also the food critic for the New York Daily News.
Ferraro quipped: “Hey you over there, you’ve been kinda quiet. What do you think?”
Arthur (Sheepishly): “Well, to be honest, I really didn’t think things were all that good.”
Ferraro: Good! I like opinionated people! So what was wrong with the place!”
Arthur began to dress down the entire meal with Ferraro paying careful attention. One point she though was picayune.
Ferraro: “Well…cmon now, that last point is a bit much. What do you do for a living that makes you such an expert on food and restaurants anyway?”
Arthur: “Well…actually I’m the food critic for the New York Daily News and I host a food show on WOR Radio.”
Ferraro: “Oh shit, Arthur Schwartz!”
And a friendship ensued between the two from that day forward. She often came and filled in for Arthur’s weekend co-host, Joan Hamburg and she always brought her “A game.” Arthur wrote about the restaurant story in the New York Daily News and it was the only time in the paper’s history that a writer was allowed to use the expletive that Ferraro used in print. (The argument was that she was a public official and she had actually said it.)
While I disagreed with her position on abortion (and once told her so), I often thought of her fondly from our brief professional encounter. I didn’t get to know her well but she always made me feel like she had known me for 20 years (a politician’s gift to be sure). She was a real pro on the air who needed little direction and was always friendly and welcoming to her colleagues.
May her family be consoled today and may eternal rest be granted unto her and perpetual light shine upon her. May her soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.