In 100 words or less, readers share their poignant tales of the bond between father and child. Have a story of your own? Tell us here for the chance to be published in Reader’s Digest.

FIRST IN FLIGHT
by Kay Lockridge, Santa Fe, New Mexico

The little Cessna had just cleared the pattern in its climb to 1,500 feet when my father said, “OK, we can land now.” With my newly minted private pilot’s license in hand, I had wanted him to be my first non-instructor passenger. I’d planned to circle the Michigan State University campus and come back to the university‑owned airport. I reminded him of this, and I’ll never forget what Dad said, more than 40 years ago: “I’m not fond of small planes. I just wanted you to know that I have confidence in you.”

“TALKING IS LIKE KETCHUP”
by Carmen Mariano, Braintree, Massachusetts

I sat in my dad’s living room reading one night while he watched television. An hour passed before I realized it, and I felt bad for not speaking during that time. I asked if he was OK, and he said yes. Then I apologized for not talking more. “Carmen,” Dad replied. “Talking is like ketchup. If you like the meat enough, you don’t need the ketchup—and if you like the company enough, you don’t need the conversation.” My dad never earned a college degree, but he was the smartest person I ever knew.


THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO FAMILY
by Rachel O’Connor, Westtown, New York

“Linda, look at the map!” My father slammed on the brakes, glaring at my mom. He didn’t believe in excessive planning, and so each summer we embarked on a spontaneous family road trip that didn’t always go smoothly. There were lots of late-night panics to find hotels, stops to ask for directions, and elevated tempers. One night, we picked up a hitchhiker somewhere in Kentucky. As we blasted the radio and my dad bought us all ice cream, the hitchhiker told me he’d give his life to have what I had.

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