John Cheever was asked if he would describe life with his wife, Mary. "She has displayed an extraordinary amount of patience," he answered. He paused, then continued," Women are an inspiration. It's because of them we put on clean shirts and wash our necks. Because of women, we want to excel. Because of a woman, Christopher Columbus discovered America." "Queen Isabella," Mary Cheever murmured. "I was thinking of Mrs. Columbus," He said, deadpan.