If you haven’t yet been out shopping for BBQs, ties and cigars, you’d better hop to it! Father’s Day is on Sunday. If you’re among the lucky ones who have a wonderful father still alive and kicking, spend some time listening to his stories and being together because time flies.

My own Daddy would have turned 100 next month and I’ve missed him every year he’s been gone. He was a great father, community leader and veteran who was due many accolades. His birthday was July 5, and he always referred to himself as a ‘leftover firecracker.’

Daddy’s youngest brother is the only one left who is saving me from being the oldest living person in our family… I hope he lives forever! This great guy is still an avid hiker and health nut at 84, so he just may.

The father who makes me the proudest on this Father’s Day is my son. He and his wife waited until they were almost 40 to have their little girl and she is a delight (says her grandmother, amazing everyone.) To see one’s progeny with their own is a singular pleasure when the adult offspring has excelled in career, marriage and in being a strong, insightful parent.

When I look at my family, I’m astounded that we’re such a bunch of normal people! God knows there were plenty of side-roads in all of our lives that could have led to massive disfunction, but we’ve probably weathered it in part through the strength and decency of the men in our lives.

One of the most admirable of those being my ‘little’ brother. He is an example for the younger generations, certainly including his kids, grandkids and my son, of what honorable looks like. Just an exemplary human being by any measure, he’s a veteran like our dad, deeply involved in his church and married to his wonderful wife for almost fifty years…unheard of in our branch of the family!

All of you no doubt have stories you could plug into the characters I’ve portrayed here. Grandfathers and fathers, sons and brothers who guided and enriched your lives. Even the scalawags some have tucked into the tree may have a soft spot in your heart when you’re not chasing them with a broom.

For you men out there who haven’t excelled at fatherhood, let me tell you that it’s rarely too late. ‘Kids’ of any age generally want a peaceful relationship with their fathers, but mending any broken parts in those connections is best handled by the parent. So, suck it up, evaluate realistically what you might bring to a renewed closeness and don’t make promises you can’t keep. Nobody ever said being a parent was easy, but when it pays off, it can pay off big.

The already lucky ones among us will be bringing a pair of slippers, a perfect pinecone or a carton of fishing worms to the husbands and fathers in our lives this weekend. I hope it’s a wonderful time of love and appreciation for all of you.

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