Papa

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I’ll never forget the nod of confidence that changed my life. I was 14. And walking across an airfield toward a 12-passenger airplane, my ride to somewhere I don’t recall. Papa, my grandfather, dropped me off. Halfway to the portable staircase, I froze, suddenly scared to hop on board this tiny airplane. I looked back toward Papa.

He looked me right in the eye, steady. Then, without losing sight of me, gently nodded. I nodded in return then turned around, renewed.

But it’s more than that. That nod of confidence, some 40 years ago, from this man whom I worshipped, has shaped my life more than I’ve realized. It’s a good part of what makes me a man.