Swiss Army Knife Adventures

Swiss army knife

Swiss army knife

Origin Story

Mark presented me with a brand-new Swiss Army knife one Valentine’s Day early in our relationship, because we both loved hikingbackpacking, and opening bottles of beer and wine.

Little did I know how many wild and amazing adventures on which this knife would accompany us. It stayed in my back pocket much of the time while we rambled around the USA and Alaska on our nine-month journey in 1986.

I have had MANY embarrassing moments in my life, but one in particular reigns as THE MOST MORTIFYING.

Most Mortifying Moment

In Northern California, we camped out beside Lake Lytton, As Mark relaxed, I strolled around the lake.  Then I sat on a log that jutted out over the water, contemplating life. My Swiss army knife fell out of my pocket into the lake which was about five feet deep. First I tried retrieving it with my toes. That didn’t work, so after about half an hour of hit-and-misses, I decided that since it was such a remote area, I would remove my clothes.  i didn’t want to get them wet.  Then I bent over and reached in with my hand.

Patty Mooney tree lake

Patty, the tree and the lake

At the time I wore contact lenses, so I was afraid of losing them if I opened my eyes under the water. I kept reaching in and missing the knife, getting pretty worked up about it.

Father and Son

Just then a father and his son happened to hike by and saw me in my naked glory. I’ll never forget the looks on their faces.  And I’ll bet they’ll never forget the look on mine. They walked by without saying a word, and I continued my now futile mission to retrieve the knife.

I was ready to give up when Mark arrived. He’d become worried at my long absence and came to see what had become of me.

Lady of the Lake

Mark laughed when he saw me naked, and asked what was going on. When I explained that my knife had dropped into the water, he grabbed a thin branch and plucked the knife out in less than five seconds. I got myself dressed.  He hugged me and made a joke.  I laughed and then life was good again.

From that moment on Mark would refer to me occasionally as “The Lady of the Lake.”

John Gray says, “Men are from Mars and women are from Venus.” He just might have something there.


Patty Mooney is a VP, Video Producer, Sound Technician, Teleprompter Operator and Video Editor at award-winning Video Production Company, Crystal Pyramid Productions, established in San Diego in 1981.