During his long-shot chemo treatments at "the spa," as he called Memorial Sloan-Kettering, Ron turned his chemo rooms into Command Central. Most people doze off during chemo; Ron would be sitting upright, watching the news, checking his laptop and making cell phone calls, seemingly oblivious to the poison being injected into his arm.
He'd often come to church with me on Sundays -- while insisting he favored the "Original Testament," as if the New Testament were an act of judicial activism. He just liked to hear an intellectual lecture on the Bible -- and always perked up when the minister began discussing the "Original Testament."
On Sundays when we had communion, Ron would pop the host in his mouth as soon as the tray passed him, approvingly observing that matzo was served at church.
No ideas frightened him, which is part of the reason why we were always laughing, even when we were arguing.
Ron sometimes told me of the cruelty directed at him by his former friends, but never with bitterness or for publication -- although I'm tempted to get it off my chest even if he didn't want to get it off his chest. You know who you are.
As with his impending death, Ron mostly joked about his banishment from the plutocracy. When I off-handedly mentioned in December 2004 that I had to get a Christmas tree, he told me he'd like to help, but having recently spoken at the Republican National Convention, the last thing he needed was to be seen walking through the streets of New York carrying a Christmas tree.
After an aborted operation on his cancer in July 2007, as soon as I saw Ron in his hospital bed, I told him I had Christians across the country praying for him. He said, "That's good, because the Jews are praying for me to die."
Here he was joking only hours after being told his cancer was inoperable and he had mere months to live. Nearly two years later, he was gone. Luckily for him, he now faces a Maker who rewards bravery, but despises "bravery."