The Binoculars

The Binoculars

The Binoculars


Judy Bluhm

If only you could see what I saw. I never knew that I could watch the beating wings of seagulls in unison flying north over the beach. Or the facial expressions of the surfers while they are catching a wave and riding a longboard with a spray of luminescence around them. I would watch children running in the sand and parents trying to catch them. I saw my grandsons fishing on the pier. Wait, was that Sean bending over the rail to pull up a line?

Sometimes what I saw was too much of reality. Who wants to see little boys up to shenanigans as they are supposed to be following clear rules? Stay together. Never lean over the pier rales. Do not talk to strangers. Wave at me (I will be sitting on a chair on the deck of the beach house) when you get halfway out on the pier. Wave your red flag if you need me to come. Still, the binoculars gave me a clear picture of the boys of summer. And that picture never failed to amuse me.

My daughter, Tammy, got a hold of a megaphone, which was pretty useful. And funny. Something so motherly about a young mom screaming, “Do not ignore me,” as she ran to the end of the pier, addressing Sean, Kevin and Connor. Usually, they would respond, because their biggest fear was that she would march out onto the pier, and it might be embarrassing. We took strolls out on the Imperial Beach pier every day. And usually once in the evening. It was part of our “beach routine.” As the boys got older, they loved to fish off that pier. A break from surfing with boogie boards.

One time we “lost’ a bright blue boogie board. It had been on our deck, since we never left anything just laying around. My binoculars came in handy because I saw a boy about twelve on it, having the time of his life. Tammy went charging out on the sand and when the boy came gliding in on a wave, she was ready to snatch the board back. No unkind words, just “beach rules.” Do not steal another person’s board!

When we first started going to the beach house, the boys were young. Sean was just six and Kevin and Connor were babies. Since they weren’t out of our sight, binoculars weren’t needed. But as the boys got older, the binoculars became essential. My first pair were big and bulky. Couldn’t afford to spend much on them. But as the years passed, the binoculars were regularly upgraded. What was a “nice item” to have, became essential. They were the most important way to make sure our boys were not doing anything dangerous or taking a wave without our permission.

Binoculars make life better. You can see little heads bobbing in the surf. Or digging holes in the sand. You get to watch nature, people, lifeguards, pelicans, fisherman and all manner of wild, crazy and fun beach behavior. Because the beach attracts all sorts of folks. Over the years, we watched some weird and wonderful people. All through the lens of our trusty binoculars.

Some days, I saw too much. Young couples love playing in the surf. Please lady, put your clothes on! Hey fella, I can see what you are doing! We have young kids here. Move along to maybe an adult area of the beach – not right in front of our sacred beach house! Oh my God, is that couple on the sand doing what I think they are doing? Tammy, get the megaphone and yell at them that “we have young kids here.” Ha, ha, well one thing about “beach life” is that folks do what they want. Binoculars just let us witness it . . whether we want to or not. These little “spy glasses” bring the world into focus. Some of those images remain in my head.

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