I realize now that when I was a child my world-traveling, sea-faring Danish father thought I ought to know the truth about my ancestry, and he made various attempts to give me hints, kind of outside my mother's radar. It was her decision not to tell me, and it was her ancestry that was 'the secret.' He didn't want to go against her wishes, but I just know he thought it wasn't such a big deal, and he tried to give me some taste of what it was.
It's only through looking back that I can see it. The way we used to sit for long periods of time - what's a long period of time to a child? fifteen minutes? it seemed longer - just looking at his pack of Camel cigarettes, first looking at the camel for a long time - he persuaded me to call it a dromedary - and at the pyramids (he told me he'd seen them), then turning the pack over and looking at the mosques, with their crescents and minarets and palm trees on the back. Sometimes he'd ask me which side I liked better. I loved the camel, but I often said I preferred the picture on the back. Just basking in the sunshine of his gentle love and attention. Enjoying ourselves together.
He also used to say he wanted to tell me a very special story about the stork. He told me the stork was almost the national bird of Denmark, and every winter it would fly all the way to Africa and then in the Spring it would fly all the way back to Denmark, build its nest in unused farmhouse chimneys and bear its young. I can still remember him saying to me, "It would fly aaaallllll they way to Africa, and then all the way back home to Denmark. So you see, Africa and Denmark are connected."
(This is one heck of a stork's nest pictured here on an old ksar fortress in Morocco.)