Many years ago, Jerry Jerome and his wife were living in Ocean City, and my wife and I were at their house for a New Year’s Eve party. After midnight, I walked alone to the beach and boardwalk.
I walked across the beach to the surf’s edge and symbolically tasted the ocean. It was salty. Cold and salty. And a little sandy.
I then walked a bit along the deserted boardwalk. The wind was blowing, and I still remember the biting cold that cut right through my heavy coat. I saw no one else on the boardwalk or anywhere. Even the seagulls had gone. The familiar stores did not look so familiar closed up for the winter.
I preferred to drive home that night to sleep in my own bed (as I still would do). I also chose to cross the Delaware by the Chester Ferry that was still running in those days. (The ferry closed in 1974.) I thought it would be a treat for my wife because we rode it many years earlier on a date. That date was a disaster, and this trip was even worse.
We were the only car waiting to cross at about 3 a.m., but I could see the ferry waiting on the far shore, the Chester side. I assumed it continuously went back and forth as I had always seen, but in winter and that late, it only crossed about once an hour. There was no one around to ask when it would cross again, so we waited and waited in the cold car. We could see the nearby Delaware Memorial Bridge, but I was sure the ferry would start again as soon as we left. My wife let me know she was very unhappy. Finally, it came across, picked us up, and immediately crossed back to Chester. Ours was the only car on the otherwise empty ferry. We probably arrived home sometime after 4 a.m. The ferry closed for good a few months later, and I never rode it again. (My wife would not have joined me, anyway. She was through with ferries forever.)