Be Quiet, Ocean!

by Eric C. Biemiler

Summer, circa 1962?

It was a warm, summer night with an off shore storm kicking up the ocean. The front door of the house at Monmouth Beach and doors to the side screened porch had to be blocked open for the wind trying to slam them shut. The ocean roared and crashed against the seawall separating Ocean Avenue and residents from the sea.

From the upper bedroom window you could watch the waves crest, the foam spiraling upward whipped by the wind in the eerie light of the pale night. Often, the waves would run full onto the seawall crashing, shooting spray up like a geyser before its water cascaded down the stone and concrete impediment like a waterfall into the street below. It was fascinating to watch.

Dad had been working in his special place and perhaps had sipped a nighttime libation or two. He enjoyed the confines of his studio den surrounded by bookshelves loaded with his references and Mother's oil paintings in the works on her easel or leaned against her side of the room. Both artists in their own right, they shared the converted garage with each other and the old upright piano, which Mother played very well. Nonetheless, Dad was agitated and entered the living room as I came down the stairs from watching the sea through the windows.

"Damn ocean is making a racket," Dad said. "How in the heck can anybody think with that noise going on!" Facing the open front door of the house, Dad yelled, "Be quiet, ocean!" He then slammed the front door shut, walked over to the screened porch entrance, off the dining room and shut those doors. The house went silent.

Suddenly a smug look appeared on Dad's face. "Ha," he spoke! "Guess I told it, didn't I? When I tell the sea to be quiet it listens!" He turned and sauntered back to his den.

Yep! Dad was a character. Even the ocean listened to him. Of course, shutting the doors to the house blocked the sound, but for that night my father told the ocean to be quiet and it went silent.

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