Memories of my Father

by Eric Berman

"The Potter" by my father - Carl Berman

Dad and I traveled together in his later years. We'd spend several weeks each year traveling in Spain, camping in the mountains . . .

I remember one trip. We wanted to see the source of the Ebro River, so we rented a little SEAT and headed for Pico de los Tres Mares, near Reinosa in the Cordillera Cant brica.

We took the car up as far as we could go along a winding logging road.The sky opened out over us. There above the tree line, among a tumulus of grey granite, the murmur of the Ebro river was
far below.

The road was too risky by now for our city tires, so we walked the rest of the way.

"We'll make a picnic lunch of it," Dad said. "Bring that Manchego
cheese, the big green onions, those chorizos we were saving from Navarrete, and that crude, crusty, beautiful bread. Remember the bread!"

The Spaniards we had met coveted that bread. They hadn't known anyone was still baking bread like that, and they received it from us in small pieces, like the host. "And water? Bring water. No, wait, we'll drink from the Ebro. We'll drink from the spring where the Ebro is born. Let's go!"

And up and up until the car lay glinting in a distant elbow of the road, and the river murmuring, muffled by the great stone mantle over which we made our way.

We stopped at last, exhausted, exhilarated. We ate and breathed deeply. And while Dad rested, I walked down to the river, down among the flowers of pink and blue, among the wild flowers that graced the stone cowl of the mountain.

I scrambled down to the river and hung by a bramble vine to reach the crystal water where the Ebro is born. I hung between earth and sky and I dipped our canteen into the cold water and the blue sky.

And before I left, I plucked a flower - a forget-me-not, rough-and-tumble downy pink thistle to bring back to him.

I shared the water with my father, and I put the flower in his hat band. The sun shone through the sea grass of his hat and mottled his face. He was so solemn. I took his picture then, and later he said he liked it.

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