As I write this I am reflecting on my day. Today was Fathers’ Day. I spent it with my daughters and my wife. It was a great day that included my oldest daughter’s roommate and many well-wishes from my youngest daughter’s friends. Many of them refer to me as their “extra” dad. It is a title that means more than they realize.

My day included a delicious dinner at my favorite Cuban restaurant in Orlando, a trip to the cigar store and time relaxing with my daughters. I thought of my new granddaughter who came into this world just a month ago. I am not sure when I will meet her as my son and his family live in California now. I also spent time thinking about my mother and father as well as the friends that I have lost these past few years.

As I grow older, I find that I spend more time reminiscing, especially on holidays. I do not regret any part of my life, but there are some I would love to live over or simply spend more time enjoying as they happened.

I would love to spend just another day with my mom and dad. They gave me a wonderful life and provided a wonderful example of how to live mine. One more round of golf with my dad, followed by one of my mom’s home-cooked meals. I can honestly smell the food right now.

It would be wonderful to spend a little more time with the friends that I have lost. We tend to take them for granted, thinking that they will always be around. We’re not supposed to lose close friends at this point in our lives. Now is when we get to celebrate where we have come to in our lives, the families we have raised and enjoy our slower days together, gracefully growing old.

I realize that this isn’t really a column about golf. I am sorry if that has disappointed you. This week though, I looked back to the past couple of years and I see the number of wonderful friends and family that have passed. I miss my mother and father tremendously. I miss my friends and feel for their families and close friends.

I’ve realized just how quickly time does go by and I know that maybe I should have enjoyed the journey more than I have. Every day is a gift. The love of fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, friends and other family is special.

There are times when we need to reminisce, and this weekend became mine. The feelings of happiness and sadness are good to experience. We need both of them..

A few years ago, we lost a close friend from high school. I wasn’t was close to David as a couple of our other friends, Mac and Greg. We did make a promise to get out and play the round of golf together that was to include him before he passed. We did do that. Greg saved the spot in his cart for David, complete with a bottle of his favorite libation. It was a round that started a bit solemn, but wound up with us laughing and remembering all of the great things about David.

Six years ago now, I lost one of my very closest and dearest friends. Mike Murphy was not just one of the best friends that I ever had in my life, but a brother to me and my best friend, Dan Shube.

Mike used to cover the PGA Merchandise Show with Dan and me. We’d all share a condo for the week and have a great “guys” week out. Dan and I would usually pick a night and spend a good portion of it shooting pool and smoking cigars with other friends and colleagues. We’d wind up dragging ourselves in just before dawn, just to find Mike up early brewing a fresh pot of coffee. He would look at us with a fatherly face, tap his watch and say, “I don’t even want to know what you boys have been up to.”

So this Fathers’ Day was an emotional rollercoaster for me. I thought about my new granddaughter, my late parents and the lessons they taught me to become a pretty good parent. I also thought about the people that live on in my memories.

It was a great day, and the memories of it are filled with love and happiness. I hope yours was as well.

James Stammer has been an avid golfer and golf enthusiast for nearly 40 years. Contact him at stammergolf@yahoo.com

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