The Good Father by Marian Brooks

Frank Evans walked waist-deep into the Atlantic Ocean. He cast his line and splashed his way back to shore allowing more slack. He anchored his fly rod firmly into the damp sand and sank into his beach chair. He applied sunscreen to his nose, plunked on his Eagles cap and settled in with the local newspaper. It was mid-September, just past Labor Day, and the beach was pleasantly deserted.

Frank watched Brady out of the corner of his eye. The boy was busy adding the finishing touches to an elegant castle, drizzling wet sand onto the turrets. He’ d carved windows, bridges and tunnels with an old kitchen knife using one part sand and one part water just as his father said. But before long the sea would claim the fortress no matter how high the towers or how deep the moat. Brady hoped that for once his father would be wrong.

Frank’s line vibrated. He struggled to his feet and reeled in his catch. “Dad, look! You’ve got two of ' em!"

“Brady, Grab the pole! Wait until your friends see this!"

Frank reached for his camera. The boy smiled broadly. His two front teeth were missing and his Batman swim suit looked as if it were going to drop to his ankles at any moment. "Now, that would be some picture," Frank thought.

He released the small bluefish from their hooks and tossed them back into the ocean.

He waded out once more and cast his line. Within a few minutes, he felt another tug. “A strike, Dad!"

This time Frank allowed Brady to do battle with the fish. An intense skirmish ensued but eventually the seven-year old prevailed landing a half-pound sea bass; another photo op. With Brady’s permission, Frank flipped the tiny bass to a tenacious seagull squawking nearby. The large gull swallowed the fish, waited and then served it up in bite-sized pieces to his hungry chicks.


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