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Mort and Family
Mort and Family

What Fathers Do

My wife tells me that when she was a little girl, her father would ask, "Where's the ocean?" And she'd squinch her face, turn her head this way and that, point in the imagined direction, and say, "There!"

Riding in the Oldsmobile station wagon, standing outside his auto parts store, or carrying bags of groceries in the supermarket parking lot, he'd suddently say, "Where's the ocean?" and she'd squinch her eyes, giggle and point: "There!"

It was a game they played year after year, although they lived less than a mile from the ocean, and deep in the night could hear it whispering below the bark of sea lions chipping at the darkness.

"Why do you think he kept asking you that?" I say.

"So I'd never be lost," she answers.

I nod and smile.

She observes the smile. "Why do you think?"

"It's what fathers do," I say.


from Moments Without Names

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