Patty and I met in Keyport, at The Bayshore Independent, in 1976. She was the bookkeeper; I was managing editor. She was captivated by my column on the inanities of Affirmative Action. For my part, she once happened to mention Ecbatana, the ancient capitol of the Medes, and I knew this was the woman for me.
One evening, early in our relationship, a bodacious storm came over Raritan Bay. She had a suggestion: “Let’s go down American Legion Drive to see the high tide.” American Legion Drive is right on top of the water. And of course, I was all for it.
Well, the tide was high, all right, and American Legion Drive was underwater. So was my car, which very quickly shorted out and wouldn’t go any farther. We had to get out and slog through the water to the police station, so I could report that my car was stuck there and please don’t give me a ticket.
My future wife was very upset, blaming herself for the whole debacle. To this day, neither of us can remember what we did after checking in with the police. “I was afraid you wouldn’t like me anymore!” she said. But you don’t give up on a woman who knows Ecbatana–and whom, by the way, your iguana likes almost as much as you do–just because your car got stuck in a flood. Anyhow, the tide receded, there was no permanent harm done to my wonderful 1970 Pontiac, and after it dried out a bit, we simply drove away.
As Agatha Christie’s Superintendent Battle often said, these things are sent to try us. And I think we passed the test.