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Matthews to the late Nora Ephron: I wish I told you I liked you from the start

Let me finish tonight with Nora Ephron.   Why? Because this is about us.

Let me finish tonight with Nora Ephron.   

Why? Because this is about us. You know...people who have dated, have dealt with the surprises, joys, troubles, heartbreaks, and downright mysteries of romantic relationships.   

Like screenwriter Nancy Meyers, who I just met but have long admired, Nora Ephron was a master at writing movies about relationships: usually from the woman's point of view, and therefore — certainly in my case — of deep fascination to men. 

She wrote about this emotionally treacherous place in which a woman gets asked out on a date and has no idea whether she will ever hear from the guy again. Guys, of course, have another hardship: do you take the leap of asking someone out who can shoot you down cold? That can hurt. Do you struggle to hold on when you think the relationship is fading? Let's face it: we've all been hurt. 

But there's hope, and that's what kept us — or keeps some of you — trying.  

I loved Sleepless in Seattle because it's about a story that goes back to the days of Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr and stayed fresh as can be for Tom Hanks and the great Meg Ryan, and will be fresh as can be another half century or another millennium if there are still people out there who are lonely and hopeful of not being.  

The belief that there's a Jack for every Jill is — let's all shout it to the heavens — the one, uniting religion shared by billions, and it's the faith that Norah Ephron preached, despite one too many horror stories, one date (or husband) from hell too many when one is a lot to survive. 

When Harry Met Sally, which our guest and my friend Rob Reiner directed so brilliantly, in You've Got Mail and Sleepless, we get the good news that comes after the bad news of Heartburn. Nora gave it all to us: the bad, the ugly and, finally, the good.

To Nora Ephron, who wrote to us in the old Esquire about men's obsession with women's breasts, who wrote movies about how men need to believe they can satisfy a woman — I can't believe we showed you that scene right here tonight on Hardball! — to Nora Ephron who told us we are not alone, that our dates, our relationships are not out there on some other planet from others.

I salute you, and thank our mutual friend Steve Weisman for introducing us. Miss you already, wish now I had told you I liked you from the start.