Diego and Manuel had just laid down their nets in the calm waters of the Sea of Cortez.
“Now we rest. In the old days fish jump in boat. They glad to get out of water. It was too crowded.” Manuel said. “Now, we wait for the fish. Do you know a fish song, Diego?”
“No songs from me today,” Diego said. “Don’t want to scare fish away. Maybe we should talk about things that make us happy; like our net full of fish.”
“Fish hear that and that not make them happy,” Manuel said. “That scare them away. This is not your day to come up with good things to catch fish.”
“What do you have?” Diego said.
“I tell secret,” Manuel said, “and fish come near to listen.”
“What is secret?” Diego said leaning close to Manuel.
“Here is a secret,” Manuel said. “It is a proud day when you become a father. It is a beginning.” Manuel stopped. His face tightened and finally relaxed and tear rolled from his eye.
“But why do you cry now?” Diego said. “Your son is all grown.”
“I work hard to make him a good man,” Manuel said. “I pray too. I think, I worry. I pray more and more again. I not good example. He really need God’s help. Can’t do it on my own.”
“So what is the secret,” Diego said. “Everybody know it is a proud day when you become a father.”
“The secret is when he becomes a man,” Manuel said, “when he succeed.”
“Your son make you that proud?” Diego said.
“And I cry because God help,” Manuel said. “I can no do it on own. And God give you a good son you don‘t deserve.”
Diego laughed. “We did many foolish things when young. God must have forgiven you.”
“Yes,” Manuel said. “It was foolishness… that gave me a son. But you grow up or give up.”
“But you grow up real quick,” Diego said.
“I just pretend,” Manuel said. “I still foolish at heart, but my son, he is a good man. He is more of a man than me.”
“You cry again, Manuel,” Diego said.
“Yes,” Manuel said. “Because a good son means God has forgiven you.”
“Look! Manuel,” Diego said. “The fish are many. They like to hear good stories about good sons.”
“Yes,” Manuel said. “And God was listening too.”
“Yes!” Diego said. “God and fish like good stories. He tell the fish where the good stories are told. They come to listen.”