Dan was a tall man with a soft voice, and rough skin. He wore a brown suit that was too small. He hardly spoke.

Dan Lovette became an usher at the Baptist church on Easter Sunday, March 26th, 1961. He stood at the door shaking hands, passing out bulletins.

Nobody knew Dan.

Weeks earlier, Pastor Lovette had introduced Dan as his older brother.

Dan was a tall man with a soft voice, and rough skin. He wore a brown suit that was too small. He hardly spoke.

He sat on the front row during sermons. After service, he smoked cigarettes behind the church. People asked the pastor questions about Dan, but he was quiet when it came to his older brother.

Over the years, folks saw a lot of Dan Lovette. He could be seen pushing a mower, changing the church sign, painting clapboards, passing out bulletins on Sundays, or cleaning the sanctuary on Mondays.

Dan lived in a back room of the church. His earthly belongings were: a cot, a hot plate, a coffee pot, a transistor radio, a shaving kit, and one brown suit.

Nobody can forget the Sunday that the pastor announced he would be baptising Dan after service.

This surprised people. Most thought it was strange that the pastor’s own brother had never been baptized.

Even so, sixty-four church members stood near the creek, watching the tall man wade into shallow water behind his younger brother.

It was a simple ordeal. Down Dan went; up he came. Applause. Bring on the banana pudding.

But life was not all pudding and baptisms. In 1974, tragedy hit the church. The pastor was in a car accident on his way home from Montgomery, doctors thought he’d had a stroke while driving.

Dan sat beside his brother’s hospital bed without sleep or food. He lived in a hospital room.

The next Sunday, Dan Lovette took the pulpit with tired eyes. It was a hushed room. It was the first time any members of the church ever heard more than a sentence from old Dan.

“Most of you know me as Dan Lovette,” he began. “But that ain’t my name. Real name’s Springfield. Daniel Springfield…”

It was so quiet you could hear a piano drop.

Dan went on to tell the story about how in 1961, Pastor Lovette had been walking into a department store when he saw Dan standing outside. Dan was homeless, and looking for handouts—or a bottle to cure his shakes.

Pastor Lovette treated Dan to supper. Then the pastor carried Dan home to meet his wife and kids. He helped Dan. He sat with him through hard withdrawals, he took Dan to sobriety meetings, he bought Dan a brown suit for Sundays.

Dan went on: “I felt so bad for all his charity, I came close to leaving. But the pastor just told me one night, ‘You can’t leave us, Dan. Why, we’re brothers.”

Dan didn’t know what to say. He had never been anyone’s brother before—he’d never been anyone’s anything. All he’d ever been was hard up.

But not anymore. He got rid of his old name, and his old habits.

And if I had room to tell you the rest of the story, I would. But there’s no need. You already have the important parts.

What I will tell you is: if you’re ever driving a lonesome two-lane highway in the middle-of-nowhere, Alabama, and you see a dilapidated, clapboard meeting house, pull over.

Go to the rear cemetery. A few graves have flowers. Most don’t. There’s a marker for Pastor Lovette, and one for his wife.

And there’s a headstone for a man who died sober, with his adopted family surrounding him.

The stone reads: “Big Brother Dan.”

I hope you have a happy Easter.

24 comments

  1. Susan Hammett Poole - April 1, 2018 6:00 am

    Beautiful Easter story of love & new beginnings.

    Reply
  2. Beth Reed - April 1, 2018 7:05 am

    I hope that someday I will have a chance to visit and say hello to Dan and his adopted brother. Happy Easter….

    Reply
  3. candyalso - April 1, 2018 11:27 am

    And THAT is the story of Easter, and every other day of the year! Thank you Sean.

    Reply
  4. Carl, another pilgrim - April 1, 2018 11:48 am

    Thank you. Nothing more, nothing less. ICH

    Reply
  5. CaroG87 - April 1, 2018 12:09 pm

    That is the heart of the Easter message, right there. New life. Unconditional love. Thank you!!!

    Reply
  6. Marisa Franca - April 1, 2018 12:26 pm

    Happy Easter, Sean. May the good Lord watch over you and your sweetheart.

    Reply
  7. Carol Houston Rothwell - April 1, 2018 1:24 pm

    Happy Easter Sean,To you & Yours!
    And to all Brother’s & Sister’s!
    Love ya.👼!

    Reply
  8. Pamela McEachern - April 1, 2018 1:41 pm

    Happy Easter, thank you for this story of love, it was as beautiful as we all hope to have, unconditional love

    Peace and Love from Birmingham

    Reply
  9. Steve Welch - April 1, 2018 1:47 pm

    Once again I cry like a child by the end of a piece. You have distilled the true meaning of Easter in less than two pages. I have sat through sermons 45 minutes long that failed at the same task. Thank you for your work, and please keep sending these stories out.

    Hope you and Jamie have a great Easter weekend.

    Reply
  10. neilda andres - April 1, 2018 2:15 pm

    made me cry thank u

    Reply
  11. Minnie Bourque - April 1, 2018 2:40 pm

    Beautiful, Sean! Aren’t we all brothers and sisters? I hope so! A beautiful story for a beautiful Easter!
    Happy Easter, Sean!
    Minnie Bourque

    Reply
  12. Debbie Moseley - April 1, 2018 2:47 pm

    God Love!!! Happy Easter to you and your beautiful wife!! ❤️❤️❤️

    Reply
  13. Micki - April 1, 2018 2:53 pm

    Amen, Brother…

    Reply
  14. Jack Quanstrum - April 1, 2018 3:19 pm

    Beautiful story for Easter. Way to go Sean!

    Reply
  15. Sue Cronkite - April 1, 2018 4:50 pm

    Hope your Easter is as wonderful as your stories.

    Reply
  16. Linda Chipman - April 1, 2018 5:18 pm

    Hope your Easter is as good as this story.

    Reply
  17. Wendy Franks - April 1, 2018 10:02 pm

    I also hope y’all have been having a happy Easter.
    This is indeed a beautiful story for Easter & every day! Thank you, Sean.

    Reply
  18. Jack Darnell - April 2, 2018 12:08 am

    Imma liking Brother LOvette and his big brother!!

    Reply
  19. Pat - April 2, 2018 1:00 am

    Awesome story!!!

    Reply
  20. Terri - April 2, 2018 3:31 am

    Sean, I found your writings by chance. I have been receiving your Sean of the South stories about a week. I think there was only one that left me with dry eyes. You have a beautiful way of telling stories. I’m thankful I found you. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  21. Edna B. - April 2, 2018 3:06 pm

    Awesome story for Easter. I hope you and your family enjoyed a Blessed Easter Sunday. Hugs, Edna B.

    Reply
  22. Patricia Gibson - April 2, 2018 11:29 pm

    Love it!!

    Reply
  23. Dianne Correll - April 3, 2018 6:13 am

    My immediate reaction — Love it!!

    Reply
  24. Libby - April 3, 2018 10:46 pm

    Your writings always touch my heart. You are a gifted storyteller!

    Reply

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