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18 – Is That Like Crossing Your Fingers When You’re Lying?

“These things don’t work.”

Mom is outside in her camp chair, but I can hear her huffing in exasperation from the back of the RV.

“What things don’t work?”

“The binoculars.”

“How could the binoculars possibly not work? They were fine yesterday.”

Mom insisted that we bring a pair of good binoculars on the trip with us for birdwatching and stargazing purposes. They have performed brilliantly so far.

“I don’t know why they don’t work, but I can’t see anything.”

“Did you take the lens caps off?”

“Very funny, smart alec.”

“Did you focus them?”

“Well I tried, but I can’t see anything, so I can’t tell whether they’re focusing or not.”

I walk out to have a look and immediately pinpoint the problem.

“Mom, look into the end with the little holes.”

There is a moment of complete silence as she turns the binoculars around and looks through the other end, then continues staring through the binoculars as though none of this has happened. Then I laugh. Hard. I can’t help it.

“I cannot believe you were looking through the wrong end! How many years have you been using binoculars?”

At that my mother puts the binoculars down and gives me the finger, but hides it behind her other hand. I think this is also hilarious.

“What is that?” I ask her, still laughing. “You do know t doesn’t hide the fact that you’re shooting the bird at your own beloved firstborn, right? Is that like crossing your fingers when you’re lying? Just own it! Show the courage of your middle finger insult convictions!”

Mom starts laughing with me, then makes a face.

“Oops! One of the things that happens with old age is if you laugh you’re liable to go toot.”

“Blame the dog. No one will ever know.”

That sets us both off again. Sophie just glares at us. Clearly she does not appreciate being blamed for anything she hasn’t actually done, which is fair. She’s already taking the heat for a lot of messes. I have a suspicion that she understands a lot more about what we’re up to than we give her credit for. It’s a good thing we bribe her with regularly scheduled food – she probably thinks we’re paying her tribute just for putting up with us.

After a moment, mom settles back into her chair and starts scanning the trees for birds.

“So how are those binoculars working now?” I ask.

Still holding them to her eyes with one hand, with the other one she very pointedly gives me the finger.


  1. Patti

    I met your mother just a couple months ago. But this is soooo her!
    These adventures are great reading! Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Amber Stephens

      Thank you! I’m glad her quirks are coming through the stories.

  2. Kerry Williamson

    Ha! Awesome. This one made me laugh out loud. Love your Mum.

    • Amber Stephens

      Me too – especially when she’s not driving me crazy. 🙂

  3. Siri

    Ha ha – love it!


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