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  • Writer's pictureAmi Thompson

I did not tell

The top secret instructions were that under no circumstances could I tell Dad his birthday gift. I was to act all calm, cool and collected. Act as if nothing special had gone on that day. Lips were zipped. Nothing was going to penetrate my secret keeping force field. A secret is a secret and I was not going to share it. Forty years later I maintain that I kept the secret. Let’s see if you agree.

We lived near airport. Not a big commercial, international terminal, but an airport nonetheless. Airplanes of all sorts could be seen in the skies above my home. Dad had always shown an interest in flight. He’s an engineer through and through. His mind works a mile a minute and he has to figure out exactly how each type of plane works. He would try his best to explain the inner workings of the plane, but his children, well we’re not engineers. My brother has a doctorate in Philosophy and I have degrees in English, Communications and Education. Eric and I are not exactly exuding the scientific method. Still, Dad would look to the sky with wonder.

That year we were going to give Dad a flight aboard a glider plane. Cool gift, right? Mom, Eric and I got in the car and headed for the airport. Eric, five years my elder, quizzed me in the back seat. “What are we not going to do?” I would yell (my version of yell and the rest of the world’s is vastly different. I spoke so you could hear it in the front seat) “Not tell Dad his gift!” On the way home from the airport my Mom and I even sang a song about keeping his gift a secret. I understood the mission-do not tell Dad he is going on a glider ride.

Later that a night at dinner, we ate and did not tell Dad about the glider. All was going according to plan, then Bam, this is where it gets tricky. Dad asked me, as he always did, what I did that day. I proudly declared I went to the airport. Mom’s face fell and Eric was mad. I didn’t understand why though. In my six year old head, I didn’t tell Dad his gift. I just said where I went. Eventually, everyone laughed.

Dad acted surprised at his gift and he thoroughly enjoyed his flight. I however, still stand by my six year old self that I did not tell Dad his gift. Do you see it my way? I would love to hear your thoughts.

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