This happened while we were still at Little Thatch. It was early morning, September 8, 1969, a date I will never forget. I was on my way in the Ivory Gull to pickup Enez, our housekeeper. It was a beautiful day, and I didn’t have a care in the world. I was about halfway to West End when I was suddenly gripped with a violent coughing spell. I became extremely dizzy and my vision turned to a black sky with thousands of blinking stars. I felt that I was on the verge of passing out or dying. It was pure reflex action for me to slow down and shut off the outboard.
I sat there for probably two or three minutes, my heart pounding like crazy. Finally, I began to feel almost normal, but badly shaken! I got the outboard going and continued on to West End. Enez said she saw me sitting out there but that I wasn’t hauling in a fish, and what in the world happened.
I told her that I had tossed my cigarettes overboard and that I had quit smoking. She said, “Good for you Mr. Myrick. That smoking is bad business.” I said something like, tell me about it Enez.
When we got back to Little Thatch, I told Marie I had quit smoking. She said nothing for a minute or so, then said, “Well, if you haven’t started again in twenty-four hours, I’ll join you. But this is the last time. If we start smoking again I will never try to stop again—it’s just too nerve-wracking.”
Marie and I got through four, very tough days, then it started easing off. We made it! I should point out that we had been heavy smokers—three or four packs a day!