Dear Sean

I took classes when I could afford them. I attended night school after work. I ate suppers in my truck, going over homework under a dome-light. I wish I could tell you I was a fantastic student. I wasn’t.

DEAR SEAN:

Your writing sucks. What makes you think you’re so freaking special? LOL.

Regards,
I DON’T LIKE SEAN OF THE SOUTH

DEAR I DON’T LIKE:

It was evening. The ceremony was in the gymnasium. The room was filling up. My wife squeezed my hand. “Are you nervous?” she asked.

I wasn’t. I was more ready than nervous.

My father killed himself when I was twelve. My mother wasn’t the same after it happened. She spent her days grieving in a bedroom. I did not attend high school.

My first construction job was as a teenager. I hung drywall. Drywall is the Devil’s work.

I don’t know how it happened. But over time, I came to believe I was unintelligent. After all, smart folks drive nice cars, go to college, and tell Charles to saddle their horse.

Educational failures like me sanded drywall seams.

Embarrassment was my roommate. I did a lot of reading during those years. I read so much I developed headaches.

I did this because I missed out on things like prom, football, and other various benchmarks. Books helped me feel less stupid.

The librarians knew me by name. I read Westerns, adventure novels, “The Unabridged Encyclopaedia on Cheesemaking,” “Innocents Abroad,” and the autobiography of Andy Griffith.

I admire writers. Always have. Especially those who write.

Anyway, getting into a community college was no small feat for someone like me. The truth is, I barely made it.

I took classes when I could afford them. I attended night school after work. I ate suppers in my truck, going over homework under a dome-light.

I wish I could tell you I was a fantastic student. I wasn’t. It took me nearly a decade to finish.

But there was a professor. She was older. She liked the first college essay I ever wrote. My opening line was: “Sometimes, I feel unsmart.”

She said it made her cry. She asked me to read it aloud before the classroom. I was too nervous.

So she took me aside. “You gotta believe in yourself,” she said. “You’re a pretty special student.”

Special.

So. There I am in this gymnasium full of people. My wife wears her Sunday best. When they call my name, I walk onto a platform and accept a piece of paper bearing my name.

It was special.

In the hallway, I loosened my tie and cried. I was still me. The same fatherless flunky I’d always been. The same fella who hung drywall, laid tile, and drove a commercial mower.

That professor found me. “You did it!” she said. “How do you feel?”

To tell you the truth, I felt ridiculous. The word “humbling” came to mind.

“Why?” she said. “You should feel proud, honey.” Then, she hugged me.

Anyway, you probably don’t care about what some elderly lady called someone like me.

But maybe you’ll care about this. That same gentle woman once told me that every essay needs a good closing line, so here’s my attempt at one:

I hope you feel special today, sir.

Because such things will change your damn life.

107 comments

  1. Linda - July 19, 2017 1:13 pm

    Bless you. Thank you.
    You *are* special.

    Reply
    • Peggy Windham - July 19, 2017 3:50 pm

      Your writing touches me in some way every day! I look forward to reading them daily! Oh, and I think you’re special!

      Reply
  2. Joann Wilson - July 19, 2017 1:13 pm

    I’m almost 70 and I still feel unsmart. In fact, I KNOW I am unsmart. Math totally escapes me. I love your stories so much. Keep writing.

    Reply
    • Joe Reed - July 19, 2017 1:34 pm

      Hi Joann…

      Aptitude in Math doesn’t make a person smart. There are so many different measures of intelligence; that you read this blog and commented tells me you are curious, sensitive, and a thinker.

      That makes you smart in my book.

      Take csre,
      Joe

      Reply
      • Carolyn - July 20, 2017 1:22 am

        And special Joann

        Reply
  3. K. Coxwell - July 19, 2017 1:13 pm

    You are truly special, Sean, and not only that, you are gifted. You are the personification of this quote from Winston Churchill: ” Never, never, ever give up.”
    K. Coxwell

    Reply
  4. Rene Hodges - July 19, 2017 1:17 pm

    …so, did you make any cheese? Sean, you are not the asshole whisperer! Some people are just morons. No wait, I didn’t mean to insult morons.

    Reply
  5. Janet Williams - July 19, 2017 1:21 pm

    I’m sure I am not the only person who looks forward to your posts each day. I am taken back to my childhood, old friends and loved ones when I read your stories. I love how you make the most common people and events into something memorable and beautiful. I’ve been brought to tears more than once and I’m not usually a crier. Your stores ring true, a refreshing reminder of the wonder found in the ordinary. Please keep writing! You have some valuable things to share with us.

    Reply
  6. Barbara Hood - July 19, 2017 1:22 pm

    Your writings touch me every single time. You are indeed special.

    Reply
  7. M. Shepardson - July 19, 2017 1:22 pm

    Don’t stop.

    Reply
  8. Cathi Russell - July 19, 2017 1:24 pm

    Sean, you make me cry too, almost every day. But I adore the way you write!

    Reply
  9. Jean - July 19, 2017 1:26 pm

    Not only are you special, you are a rare and uncommon bird with a heart of gold. Keep those wonderful words coming for those of us who appreciate the good things in life.

    Reply
  10. Susan - July 19, 2017 1:26 pm

    I think you are a very good southern writer and storyteller. Your stories speak of the South I know. I have just recently “discovered” your posts and look forward to the daily writings as well as the videos on your page. (I loved your rendition of “Amazing Grace”). I have forwarded the link to friends. Thank you.

    Reply
  11. Stephen - July 19, 2017 1:30 pm

    Bravo!

    Reply
  12. Connie - July 19, 2017 1:31 pm

    I’ve probably commented a dozen times on how your words touched me. You are beyond special. Anyone who doesn’t think so is suffering from something dark and twisted sand has no heart. Don’t believe a word they say.

    Reply
  13. bob baggott - July 19, 2017 1:35 pm

    Shaun, new to your writings and appreciate their beauty and rawness of spirit. This one especially pricks my softly packed away wounds because I was a terrible student. . Back in my day it was expected you were to pay attention and ADHD was an acronym for stupid. I tried, oh I tried, but my mind had so many other things to engage. My ink pen could become a rocket, my desk the cockpit of a fighter plane, my drawings the playbook for Auburn to beat Bama on 4th and goal. This would all lead to that terrible embarrassing moment mid quarter when the dreaded yellow deficiency slips were handed out. The teacher would call you name and up you had to walk with all the smart Key Club kids in penny loafers snickering. . Stupid Kid walking I have come to call that long walk to the wooden desk of the teacher.. Anyway, recently I found one of those knives of deficient knowledge in an old scrapbook from 1965.. In the place for comments on the slip the teacher had written, ” If Bobby would show as much energy for his studies as he does for the things around him he might learn something.” Needless to say when I found it all the memories of feeling dumb and embarrassed in front of my friends came rushing back. So to ease the pain a bit I have now decided to remind myself of that time instead of hide from it any longer. The yellow slip now hangs in a frame from Target just above my BS from College, below my M.Div from graduate school and alongside my hard earned Doctorate. One never knows where a child’s mind might be when you try to corral it and force it to become normal. Sometimes the best thing to do is set it free to be the mind it was created to be. I guess this is simply to say that your mind seems to be doing what it was called to do. So keep stirring up beauty. I need it every time something yellow hits my vision field.

    Reply
    • Marisa Franca @ All Our Way - July 19, 2017 2:58 pm

      That was well written. It touched my soul and I’m so sorry for the inconsideration of some people.

      Reply
    • Janis - July 19, 2017 3:24 pm

      Bob Baggott – That teacher may have had more of a positive impact than you realized. If for no other reason than defiance, you found the discipline and focus and energy to rise above those words and prove them RIGHT! You DID learn something!

      Reply
    • Paul - July 25, 2017 5:36 pm

      Dear Bob,
      As someone who likes to write a lot, I scrolled quickly through all the comments until I saw your long one.
      Went back to read it.
      Thanks.
      Late for gardening job, and free hot lunch at Senior Center so I gotta go.
      But just wanted to say thanks.
      Paul

      Reply
  14. Dianne - July 19, 2017 1:36 pm

    it is interesting how we fret over the weeds in our gardens sometimes more than we relish the other beautiful plants. We can often remember the injustices and can’t recall the generous comments. I read recently of a woman who felt so low that she began a gratitude comp. book. She made herself write down the most minute things if she couldn’t come up with something she felt was significant. She kept up with it for a few years. She said it turned her negative life around. I try to go over the day with some mental gratitude posts. You have a life now filled with the positive overcoming the negative. Blow off the naysayers. Your writing is such a delight. I even share your articles.

    Reply
  15. Fossil - July 19, 2017 1:37 pm

    Sean,
    Truly good writing, like good music, touches you deep inside and elicits emotion. Whether, it takes back, or to a place you’ve never been, it stirs your emotions.
    Your writing takes me back – and to places I’ve never been before.
    Your writing makes me laugh, and cry, and hurt, and feel proud, and ashamed, and warm, and it makes me shiver.
    Your writing strikes a chord that resonates within me.
    Thank you.

    Reply
    • Jane - July 19, 2017 1:44 pm

      I totally agree!

      Reply
    • Allyson - July 19, 2017 2:16 pm

      Yeah… what fossil said!

      Reply
    • Lisbeth Garecht - July 19, 2017 10:26 pm

      You said what I couldn’t Fossil.

      Reply
  16. Rhonda - July 19, 2017 1:37 pm

    An alphabet soup behind a name may qualify someone as “smart” by societal standards. However, you indeed have something “special” … the words that God has written in your heart and that you so beautifully share with all of us.

    Reply
  17. Anne Carpenter - July 19, 2017 1:39 pm

    Your stories never fail to evoke a full range of emotions in me. What is that if not special? But, your humility is what really sets you apart. To have accomplished so much, yet remain so down to earth, is truly rare. Keep on writing, I will keep on reading!

    Reply
  18. Beverly Thrasher - July 19, 2017 1:41 pm

    Absolutely brilliant. I look forward to my morning reads every morning that come in my inbox. Keep up the good work!!!!

    Reply
  19. jamie - July 19, 2017 1:41 pm

    Every person can shine in their individual way no matter how humble. I’m so glad to have found your writings. You touch so many lives in a positive way.

    Reply
  20. Jane - July 19, 2017 1:43 pm

    I look forward to your posts each day and cry, laugh, and smile smile smile!!! Continue your writing and seeing the good in all people!

    Reply
  21. Mark Elder - July 19, 2017 1:44 pm

    I’ve hung drywall too and it is the devil’s work. Not sure I could respond in this way to “I don’t like” this was pretty special.

    Reply
  22. Brian - July 19, 2017 1:49 pm

    Dear Sean,
    I am an English teacher. I have a doctorate in education. I am 59 years old, have read extensively, done some writing myself, and lived life fully. All of which qualify me to say with confidence: you are “freaking special.” Having just stumbled onto your work this summer, I can’t wait to use some of your columns with my students in Taiwan as authentic examples of voice. I may or may not tell them I have shed more than a few tears over your words as they draw me back to special memories or remind me of the way things really are and should be. Thank you.

    Reply
  23. Melissa - July 19, 2017 1:51 pm

    Glad you chose to be a writer that writes. When words on a paper can paint pictures in the readers mind, that is a gift meant to be shared.

    Reply
  24. Dianne - July 19, 2017 1:51 pm

    Thank you for reminding this English teacher how important her words of encouragement are to those we might least expect.

    Reply
  25. Ashley - July 19, 2017 1:52 pm

    Well, I love you brother. God bless this poor man. Let’s pray He finds the love of Jesus.

    Thank you for your awesomeness Sean,

    Ashley

    Reply
  26. Catherine - July 19, 2017 1:53 pm

    This is my favorite writing of yours, and there has not been one that I haven’t loved. Real. Thank you for not giving in to the un-smart feelings and not giving up on the writer inside.

    Reply
  27. Regina Chandler - July 19, 2017 1:54 pm

    The old adage, you can’t please all the people all the time, comes to mind. In this world of great negativity I find it extremely soul satisfying to read your encouraging words on a daily basis. Thank you Sean. Keep up the good work.

    Reply
  28. Sandi Turner - July 19, 2017 2:03 pm

    Sean, I love you and I’ve never even met you! Your writing makes me love you. I read your blog everyday and I have never read anything that touches my life like your writings. You are special, indeed, and you should be extremely proud of yourself for your achievements. I look forward to your renderings every single day of my life! I’m 75 years old so I should know good writing when I read it, don’t you think? Those negative rascals are to be pitied as they have never lived…..poor things!

    Reply
  29. Ashley - July 19, 2017 2:04 pm

    Reading your essays every day has become one of my greatest blessings, Sean. Thank you!

    Reply
  30. Sharon - July 19, 2017 2:04 pm

    I don’t believe in coincidence. I believe in God. I also believe that I found your writings at a time when I needed it. We are all special in some ways. Yours happen to be putting it in words. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Wendy - July 19, 2017 6:12 pm

      Sharon, I call those Godincidences.

      Reply
  31. Sarah - July 19, 2017 2:07 pm

    Look forward to your writings everyday ! Thanks so much who feels you have a special talent!

    Reply
  32. Rosanna - July 19, 2017 2:17 pm

    You make me feel special with each of your words I read. You remind me humanity thrives and is alive within me.

    thank you. please don’t stop writing.

    Reply
  33. Laura Young - July 19, 2017 2:18 pm

    Everyone can express their opinion and my opinion is that I wholeheartedly disagree with that guy. Your writing not only does not “suck” but it inspires, uplifts, evokes emotions – both smiles, laughter and, yes, tears. I am so glad that college professor of yours recognized your talent and inspired you. You may have needed the degree to feel smart, but a college degree no more defines you than the opinions of people do. You are special and, like another reader said, I found you when I needed you. I look forward every day to your blog. If I am with a grandchild or with my 92 year old Mother, they have to hear what you have to say. I find myself disappointed if I open email and your blog isn’t posted yet. I love you, Sean! Please don’t listen to folks like that guy. Believe me, you are VERY special!

    Reply
  34. Craig Johnson - July 19, 2017 2:23 pm

    I have searched the internet trying to find the fantastic writings of “I DON’T LIKE SEAN OF THE SOUTH”, nothin’.

    So I guess you win! Keep writing.

    Reply
    • Camille Atkins - July 19, 2017 2:55 pm

      Perfect, Craig Johnson, just perfect!

      Reply
    • Jeannie - July 19, 2017 8:14 pm

      Love it, Craig!

      Reply
  35. Erin Leigh - July 19, 2017 2:25 pm

    Sean as I read this I remember stories about my great grandpa. They say he only went through elementary school but he had a thirst for knowledge and read constantly. He was a brilliant man, but like many people life got in the way. I love your writing, it is so postive in an increasingly negative world.

    Reply
  36. Gail Stewart - July 19, 2017 2:26 pm

    You are special and I love your writing. Please don’t ever stop! I hope that idiot breaks a leg 😡

    Reply
  37. Sue - July 19, 2017 2:27 pm

    THANK you for this, once again you amaze me and touch the best places in my heart. You ARE special and this fella is just a sad and disappointed person who I feel sorry for. He must not have anything at all in his life he values, and that is very disheartening. Maybe he will find something and develop a better outlook on life. Your response to him was perfect and I agree 100 %. I am a writer myself, but not like you are. I can only wish for your kind of talent!
    KEEP Writing!

    Reply
  38. Madeline - July 19, 2017 2:28 pm

    Another great expression of life, real or imagined, thank you. You, feeling ‘unintelligent’, and the person that said, ‘your writing sucks’, exposing his feelings of worthlessness. I think we have all been in both places.

    Reply
  39. GiGi - July 19, 2017 2:44 pm

    You have a wonderful and special gift. Thank you for sharing it with all of us.

    Reply
  40. Melanie Wilbourn - July 19, 2017 2:48 pm

    While I am a fan of your writing, it’s your character that shines in the way you responded to your critic. The heart of a person is far more important than any accomplishment. What a heart you have, Sean of the South.

    Reply
  41. Sam Hunneman - July 19, 2017 2:53 pm

    There are two ways to become the tallest tree in the forest. One way is to grow. The other, to cut down all the other trees… neither Christian or sustainable in my book! Keep on writing, honey, and we’ll keep on reading you.

    Reply
  42. Jacque - July 19, 2017 2:58 pm

    Well, I think you’re a damn good writer – and I’ve won a lot of awards for writing, myself. So there, Anonymous Critic.

    Reply
  43. Marisa Franca @ All Our Way - July 19, 2017 3:00 pm

    Many years ago I started reading you because I wanted to write with the open raw quality you use. I read you now because I can’t stop. Every story is a jewel — simple but beautiful.

    Reply
  44. Laura Fryburg - July 19, 2017 3:06 pm

    Damnit Sean,
    You made me cry too.
    I don’t want to sound like Buffy or Muffy or some other equally ridiculous rich girl’s name at some country club in some part of the country. You as you know have a very special gift.
    I read your posts every morning.
    It’s my devotional.
    You make me think. I didn’t have time to think much until last year when I finally retired. I was a hospital nurse.I worked at different hospitals in the South where I grew up. The last twenty seven years I worked in the Pacific Northwest. It’s a lot like the South but it rains way more and has big trees. All I had time to read was journals and I was always exhausted physically and emotionally.
    My friend from Washington State told me about your writings. I read a couple and thought that ol boy can sure write.
    Your posts make a difference Sean. Damnit Sean keep writing. You make the world a better place.
    Thank you,
    An energized and renewed ol woman in the NW

    Reply
  45. Rev. Steve Baccus - July 19, 2017 3:16 pm

    I feel unsmart a lot of the time too, despite the sheepskins hanging on my office wall. But compared to your critic you mention in this piece, you and I are flipping geniuses! Just keep dropping the mic, Sean. Boom! Oh yeah…..and may God bless your endeavors! Amen.

    Reply
  46. Paul E. Click - July 19, 2017 3:26 pm

    PERFECT!

    Reply
  47. Allen - July 19, 2017 3:30 pm

    Dear Sean,

    I’ve written to you before, I’m the Ph.D. (Not Pizza Hut Dude, although I’d probably make more money that way), but college professor. I mentioned to you that your take on To Kill a Mockingbird was spot on, and just as, if not more valid than that Yankee professor who told you you had it all wrong. He can’t help it, he’s a scholar. His bread and butter is reading cocakmaimy ideas into things. So it goes.

    My particular degree is in creative writing, and from what you have stated above, I would say that your self-made education on writing is worth more than most of the sheepskins of most of the degreed writers out there. The thing that a lotta folks fail to grasp is that you can’t figure out how to write by reading books on craft. The best way to do learn is to read what other writers have done, figure out what works, what appeals to you, and then apply it to your own style, which you have done magnificently. I’ve taught community college in two states and University level in at least two with a tad of overlap. The thing that gets me most frustrated is that so few students seem to read the text. Text messages, sure, but not the text of the book. You are far ahead of many of the ‘educated’ folks who went to college and came out knowing no more than they did before.

    I don’t know why this joker wrote to you. The smart money is on avoiding things you don’t like. Not sure why he didn’t, but that’s his burden. Your work is vivid, moving, genuine, and real. You have something that is all too rare these days: An original, authentic voice. Keep talking. Don’t let anyone tell you to be quiet, or that you are not special. You are indeed special, rare, and authentic.

    Best,

    Pizza Hut Dude

    Reply
  48. Pamela - July 19, 2017 3:34 pm

    Dear Sean of the South,
    I love you and your work since discovering it less than a year ago. I save many of them and I eagerly await the arrival of each story. I won’t make this lengthy by repeating all the wonderful words others have said about you, even though they are true! You ARE special!

    I do want to say that your naysayers such as “I DON’T LIKE SEAN OF THE SOUTH” are to be pitied. It is obvious that he and others like him have serious intrapersonal issues! If they don’t like your writing why do they read it in the first place then feel they must make negative comments?

    My 67 years have taught me there are those who live to grumble, complain and be miserable. They look for the negative because that’s all they find within themselves. Some have been that way since childhood. Somehow it may them feel better about themselves to put others down. I’m sure there are reasons, but I’m no psychologist. As a retired high school teacher I learned long ago not to take my students’ criticism personally. It has nothing to do with me, it is their issue. Teachers have to develop a tough skin to survive.

    After several experiences with one member of my church, I have come to the following conclusion about such people: If I do or say something, without intent to harm, that invites him/her to be critical of me, I have made his/her day! IT IS A GOOD THING! Perhaps, I have saved another, without the strength and confidence I have, from being the “recipient of the day”! Life is too short to fret over such people!

    Keep writing Sean and I’ll keep the tissues handy!

    Reply
  49. Kathy - July 19, 2017 3:54 pm

    Let’s all keep him in our prayers. Sean, you obviously understand that he needs them.

    Thanks for sharing your heart with us in your essays. It’s equally obvious from all the comments that many of us DO LIKE Sean of the Sourh!

    Reply
  50. Roxanne - July 19, 2017 3:56 pm

    Dear Sean,
    I have taught 9-15 year olds since 1991 except for the 5 years I stayed home with my babies. It is my fondest hope that I have affected just one of my students the way your teacher affected you. You are special for sure. Your writing is a gift, and I thank you for blessing us with it.

    Reply
  51. Nancy - July 19, 2017 4:11 pm

    Sean,
    True Statement: Not everyone likes everything.

    However, one comment to I DON’T LIKE SEAN OF THE SOUTH: Stop reading the blog, but know that there are tons of people that do like Sean and feel blessed when these little gems come to our inbox.

    As for me an my house – we read Sean Dietrich’s blog – everyday and will continue to do so as long as he’s writing them.

    God bless you, Sean

    Reply
  52. Serena - July 19, 2017 4:13 pm

    sweet reply. even thou, it didn’t deserve your attention.

    Reply
  53. Roxanne - July 19, 2017 4:14 pm

    Wow. Just wow.

    Reply
  54. Jan - July 19, 2017 4:16 pm

    Sean,
    Just to chime in along with your many fans:
    You are special and one of my very favorite writers!
    You see and write the truth about people in a unique and moving way.
    Thank you!

    Reply
  55. Don Dees - July 19, 2017 4:48 pm

    My life us better because of you. Thanks, Sean, for finding my buried thoughts and expressing them so eloquently! You are having a great impact upon this 64 year old man. Don’t ever stop!

    Reply
  56. Warren Callaway - July 19, 2017 4:50 pm

    at a’boy, you tell’em Mr. S

    Reply
  57. Melissa - July 19, 2017 4:53 pm

    Good for you, Sean! That is a HUGE accomplishment! I just love your writing! You paint such clear pictures with your words. Makes me cry. But in a good way! 😊

    Reply
  58. Jill Shaver - July 19, 2017 4:57 pm

    You have a very special gift of writing! If you were not wonderful, no one would look forward to your post every day, like we all do. Please keep on sharing personal stories. We all are fighting battles here. Jill

    Reply
  59. Janet Mary Lee - July 19, 2017 5:11 pm

    I just love you…..what a response. The best things ARE said simply, or hardly at all. (Kiss Ellie May for us!).

    Reply
  60. Patsy Sheppard - July 19, 2017 5:12 pm

    I love your writing! I know you don’t need some stranger telling you you’re special to know you are, and don’t let any stranger who doesn’t even have the courage to sign their name make you feel unspecial for even one second.

    Bless their heart and forget about them!

    That professor was right!🤓

    Reply
  61. Judy - July 19, 2017 5:29 pm

    I don’t understand why someone would waste their time reading something they don’t like, much less waste their time to criticize. I look forward to your blogs so much that I read them from your Facebook plus I receive them via email. I have bought a ticket to meet you in a few weeks. I have shared your stories with people that also find them encouraging in some form. I find you to be very special. You have a way with words that show your heart. Please don’t let one sour grape spoil your punch. 😊

    Reply
  62. Jim Mundy - July 19, 2017 5:53 pm

    Sean, you are more than special; someone who thoughtfully observes and then clearly describes those observations.

    Reply
  63. Diann - July 19, 2017 5:59 pm

    You’re not only special, you are brilliant! I love reading your work, it’s so very real and personal; I look forward to it every day. And you know what; I find I look at ordinary, every day events a little closer and with a little more perspective. You see, I often pray for God to not let me miss his blessings, no matter how small they may be; and I believe God is using you my friend as His vessel to shed that light. Keep sharing!

    Reply
  64. Dabney Waters - July 19, 2017 6:33 pm

    You are an amazing writer and inspire me to be a better person!

    Reply
  65. Ruth Betts - July 19, 2017 6:44 pm

    Darn you, Sean! You’ve made me cry again.
    In my opinion, that is extra SPECIAL!!!

    Reply
  66. Harriett W Kirby - July 19, 2017 6:48 pm

    Dear Sean,

    I am not the smartest cookie in the pack, but I do have several letters I can put after my name. I think your writing is pretty good. I also think a damn Yankee probably wrote that tacky comment.

    Harriett W. Kirby BS, MS, Ed.S

    Reply
  67. Melissa Armstrong - July 19, 2017 6:49 pm

    I think you are very special. I truly enjoy reading your stories everyday, and I think one of the things that makes you so special is the fact that you are NOT like the mean spirited guy who wrote to you.

    Reply
  68. Carol - July 19, 2017 6:51 pm

    It really does take only one to change a life forever. Fortunately my one is my husband who empowers me to do all the little and all the big things needed to make our world stay on it’s axis. Not anything too monumental, just the encouragement and atta-girls that keep me going everyday. So, glad you had your one-voice and glad for me too!! God is good and faithful and will always provide…always…

    Reply
  69. Michael Bishop - July 19, 2017 7:48 pm

    Sorry I haven’t been commenting much lately, but please look at the number of people who have and know that we wouldn’t be doing this if your writing — and you ARE a writer — didn’t touch something raw and wanting in each one of us. I am allegedly a writer, but you do it every day with a heart and an authenticity impossible to feign day after day, and I know how hard, even daunting, such work usually is for the most dedicated among us. You put me to shame every day, but redeem me from it simultaneously with both compassion and grace. Thank you.

    Reply
  70. Norma - July 19, 2017 7:56 pm

    I like your writing. Much of what you touch on speaks to my upbringing. Thank you for sharing your life with us and thanks to my cousin C.F. who pointed me in your direction.

    Reply
  71. Bobbie - July 19, 2017 8:05 pm

    I DO LIKE SEAN OF THE SOUTH!!!

    Reply
  72. Jeannie - July 19, 2017 8:09 pm

    To I Don’t Like Sean of the South-
    Apparently no one has ever told you how special you are. I am so sorry that you can not see the beauty in the stories that Sean writes- stories that help us to see the good and best in people and life situations.
    I will pray for you sir, as I can only imagine how hard your life must be.
    As for me, the writings of Sean not only brighten my day but help me go out the door each day feeling blessed, not so judgmental, and much more aware of how all of us are more alike than not.
    God bless your heart!

    Reply
  73. Jackie - July 19, 2017 8:10 pm

    I agree with that professor. Your writing makes me cry. You manage to touch a place in my heart that moves me. Keep on writing, Sean. You have important things to say!

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  74. Danny - July 19, 2017 8:53 pm

    Great response (to, well not really a grown up) but maybe one day he will see the light and realize the good in others …. keep up the good work Sean.

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  75. Gary - July 19, 2017 8:54 pm

    I believe you make a difference, I enjoy the stories !

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  76. m - July 19, 2017 9:18 pm

    That guy/gal must be a damn yankee!

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  77. C. Hartman - July 19, 2017 9:45 pm

    Awesome…

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  78. Elizabeth Voss - July 19, 2017 10:03 pm

    I have felt unsmart a time or two. And, I have felt special. Those two things are not necessarily mutually exclusive. As for your writing, not only is it compelling, but you are gracious. You have a gift for grabbing people by the heart, helping them to feel, to process, to see things. You remind me of a good trial lawyer (which is not an insult in my book, because, well I am a lawyer who went into the profession hoping to be Atticus and make the world better. I failed at that. But many lawyers are indeed noble, and they do a whole lot of good for the least among us.) Like a good trial lawyer when speaking to a jury, you know how to connect with people, how to say just the right words to move them, and influence them. Don’t let the critics get you down. Deep down you must know that you are special. If you don’t, I will remind you, as will countless others. You deserve credit for responding to that critic with more humanity than he extended.

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  79. Perri Geaux Tigers Williamson - July 19, 2017 11:03 pm

    We all know bullies never feel special. They are sad frauds marauding as confident. Therefore, they attempt to bring others to their level of pain and loneliness. Bullies are also never courageous enough to expose their soft underbelly. Even if you couldn’t write a lick your courage and example prove to be harbingers of ‘specialness.’ You may have had only one biological family, but as proven by your late father-in-law you are considered family by at least a whole REGION of ‘first cousins.’ Onward! We’re counting on you to bring out the best in us.

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  80. Sharon J. Wilson - July 19, 2017 11:29 pm

    Dear Sean,
    I love your posts.
    I think the most motivational thing ever said to me rolled off the lips of Miss Wynona Martin. She was the witch who held the title of high school counselor in the 60’s in Ozark, Al.
    It was during registration for my senior year she felt she should just set me straight. “Don’t waste your parent’s money trying to get into college…you aren’t college material”
    Hell hath no fury like a red-headed, tractor driving, wild- game-shooting 100 pounder. Not only did I continue studies in piano, organ, and voice, but earned a Nation Registry Paramedic license and a Master’s in Health Services Mgn, and learned to fly the Bell 47 helicopter.
    I am proud of both of us. You just keep up the writing.
    Sharon Wilson

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  81. Leigh - July 19, 2017 11:59 pm

    I, too, often feel unsmart, despite my Ph.D. What does that make me Pizza Hut Dame lol! And go Sharon! The best way to get me to do something is to tell me that I can’t.
    Sean, don’t ever stop.

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  82. Jack Quanstrum - July 20, 2017 12:12 am

    Great story Sean and Great response for the writer of Dear Sean. Hear is my response to that writer. I to was called stupid, had to go to summer school. My dad would tell me I would never amount to anything if I didn’t shape up. Was beat up more times than I have fingers and toes. Only got a 16 0n the ACT test to enter college. So I petitioned in, the Dean allowed me in because of the desire in my heart to succeed in wanting to help others. I was on probation for one year. In the summer I hung drywall which I agree with Sean is the Devils work. I also loved to read like Sean and that definitely helped me to make it. I graduated with honors. But my student teacher supervisor gave me a bad evaluation stating I was to defensive. So I could not get a job teaching. Did get a job working on the docks in Chicago . Did get one break (I believe through God’s divine intervention ) My Uncle a Vet of WWII got me a job At a Veterans Hospital as a Recreational Therapist. And there I blossomed into a play expert with Psychiatric Patients. Through play they healed. I did that for 39 years at various hospitals. Today I play with my grandson. It was therapeutic for me, all the patient’s I worked with and now my grandson. Seans stories are theraputic. He heals through his writings. Your Dear Sean letter does not. Your letter reminds of the people that use to beat me up. By the way the two Biggest Bullies quit school joined the Army and where killed in Vietnam. What irony! YOU should try and help others instead of being a bully. Love you, Sean!

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  83. Melissa Roth - July 20, 2017 12:45 am

    I have a PhD (Piled Higher and Deeper). The one thing it taught me was that intelligence and talent have absolutely no relationship to education. You have intelligence and talent. Keep writing regardless of who does or doesn’t like it.

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  84. Deedee - July 20, 2017 1:34 am

    You are special to me. I read your stories every day. They make me feel. They remind me of my daddy and my husband and my son who are all in heaven. Sometimes I cry, but mostly I smile because special people like you make me glad I’m still here.

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  85. TN Lizzie - July 20, 2017 6:03 am

    Dear Sean of the South, The man who inspired this post – If your writing doesn’t light a fire for him, his wood must be wet. Bless his heart.

    Thank you for blessing me and every other person who replied. You are special.

    Deedee, I am glad you’re still here. I am so sorry about your daddy, husband, and son. Goodbyes are hard. See ya’ laters are hard too, but what a blessing to know you will see them again.

    I’m going to heaven too. I’d love to have some Peach Tea together and have you introduce me to your men!

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  86. Susan in Georgia - July 20, 2017 7:42 am

    Sean, I think you are wonderful and very special. Your ability to write every day and move your readers on many levels just proves you are doing exactly what God created you for. In my opinion, your stories are alive with feeling, caring, and love for your fellow man (and animals). I really like the Bible verse Jeremiah 29:11 and do believe it applies to you. [I’m paraphrasing] “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, not for calamity, but plans for hope and a future.” God in His infinite wisdom created you for these days. We are in great need of HOPE and you freely give it in your daily writings. Thank you from the depth of my heart. You truly are SPECIAL. Obviously, I’m not alone in thinking this ~ just look at all the comments!

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  87. JOHN - July 20, 2017 12:59 pm

    If Don’t like doesn’t like you, he doesn’t have to read your column! Personally, I thoroughly enjoy your stories. My best friend turned me on to your site and I’ve been very grateful ever since. Some of your stories cause me to get emotional, but I enjoy them all.
    keep up the good stories!

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  88. Merry - July 20, 2017 1:30 pm

    Excellent. I taught school for 25 years. I tried ti inspire students. You are the student I would have wanted. The student that wanted an education!

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  89. Jerri Paulk - July 20, 2017 10:23 pm

    I think you are kind, caring, humble, strong, and an extremely talented writer. Thank you for the inspiring tales you share with your readers…we all appreciate reading your work.

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  90. waunette - July 21, 2017 2:29 am

    Feel the same way. Some days I feel really stupid.
    I look forward to your daily emails. You have a special gift.
    Happy the teacher saw your worth, encouraged you so that your writings can be enjoyed my me and my friends.
    Remember, the perfect man was hated, and crucified.

    Thank you

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  91. Kay Oliveira - July 21, 2017 1:13 pm

    I love the way you write. Reminds me of John Grogan’s style (Marley and Me). It’s like someone you know is telling you a story that needs to be told and that you need to hear as much as he needs to tell. There is something comforting about it because the need to tell and the need to hear creates a unique conversation. Have you written any books? If not, I hope you will because it’s in there waiting to be heard. If you have, what are the titles?

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  92. Pam - July 22, 2017 1:41 pm

    This one made me cry. As a teacher, I’m afraid I didn’t tell enough students they were special. 😥

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  93. Suzanne - July 22, 2017 6:55 pm

    Dear Sean, I absolutely love your writing! Thank you for inspiring others to overcome their past and become what they were meant to be.

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  94. Kathy Burgess - July 25, 2017 5:39 am

    I will pray for I Don’t Like.

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  95. Drucie Brown - July 26, 2017 8:02 pm

    I taught English in a community college almost thirty-eight years. Guess I didn’t teach you, but I’d have liked to.

    P.S. I think you were born smart, but life is a great teacher. Godspeed.

    DGB

    Reply

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