Dear Sean

...When I started writing this column—if that’s what you'd call it—I wanted to meet new people like you. Writing is decidedly more fun than, say, taking knitting classes, or playing rummy with the Junior League.

DEAR SEAN:

You’re an idiot and I’m sick of your storytime bull $@%+, you don’t know half as much about life as you think you do… And it pisses me off when you go off giving advice to people.

You’re too young, why don’t you just shut up until you’ve lived a little?

I AM UNFRIENDING YOU

DEAR UNFRIENDING:

Thank you for your words. I sincerely mean that. Even though they weren’t exactly the prettiest sentences I’ve ever read, I’m grateful for them. Sort of.

Because when I started writing this column—if that’s what you’d call it—I wanted to meet new people like you. Writing is decidedly more fun than, say, taking knitting classes, or playing rummy with the Junior League.

Anyway, I’d like to go back to seventh grade for a moment. The year my father swallowed the barrel of a hunting rifle. I lost a lot of good things that year.

I grew up rural. I did not attend high school. I worked.

My first job was at age fourteen, hanging drywall.

My peers attended proms and picked out colleges; I smiled and congratulated them from the sidelines.

The word “outsider” comes to mind.

I visited the library a lot. Once per week, Miss Terri, a short white-haired lady, hand-picked stacks of books for me.

She chose subjects like: chemistry, botany, ornithology, American history, agriculture, wood joinery, classic literature, and Western novels.

I read until my eyes went blurry.

When I hit my mid-twenties, I met an older man on a construction jobsite who had his masters degree. He was swinging a hammer just like me.

I clocked off work early and rode to the local community college. I walked inside and told the lady I wanted to go to school.

She said, “Where’s your high-school diploma?”

“Don’t have one,” said I.

“How about a GED?”

“No ma’am.”

She told me about a college-entrance exam for those who’d been schooled at home. “It’s a tough test,” she insisted. “You’d better study for it.”

“I’ll take the test now, please,” said I.

She led me into a room and seated me at a desk. After three hours, I gave the test back. She fed it into a machine. I almost vomited.

She smiled and said, “Congratulations. We need a signed affidavit, stating you were home-schooled in the state of Florida.”

I enrolled in the summer semester. I took my first English class in a double-wide trailer. And for several years, I pieced an education together, working during the days.

When I passed my last final, I hugged my wife in the parking lot and I cried.

I have never written the story I just recounted because it still humiliates me to even talk about it.

So why am I telling you this? Well, not to be melodramatic, but I have gone a lifetime feeling as though I were beneath people. I have felt ridiculous. And I have felt stupid.

Whether I am doesn’t even matter. Because I am a person, sir. A human. The same as you. Am I a fool? Maybe. But an idiot?

No sir. Not anymore.

Thanks for the letter.

161 comments

  1. Clint - June 7, 2017 1:27 pm

    I’m confused as to why you would be humiliated by that story. It’s an honorable one.

    Reply
    • Jane Wasden - June 7, 2017 1:31 pm

      You continue to amaze me! There is no way that you should be humiliated by this story. It inspired me and should inspire all that read the story!

      Reply
    • Beverly Mathias - June 7, 2017 1:43 pm

      I agree, you should be so proud of what you accomplished. I am the only one in my family to finish high school. I went on to attend college and have a masters in education. I taught for 33 years. I am proud of this.

      Reply
    • sharon - August 1, 2017 1:37 pm

      I agree…your will to be more than you were, work very hard, and look for the support you that would help you find new avenues is inspiring.
      And what a testimony on behalf of all the autodidacts out there and to the public library system!

      Reply
    • Clint Thompson - August 1, 2017 6:24 pm

      I second what Clint said.

      Reply
    • Aggie Boartfield - August 2, 2017 1:24 am

      My daddy always said one can be dumb as a rock still have manners, and deserve respect. Just as one can have five master degrees that hold not an ounce of common sense nor my attention. This article proves how right he was on both counts. Thank you for your wonderful way of expressing my South so elegantly.

      Reply
    • Sharon Finn - August 12, 2017 6:25 am

      I was deeply moved by Sean’s story and agree, it is an honorable story. His journey demonstrates courage, determination, openess, inner strength, and vulnerability. I greatly admire him.

      Reply
  2. Mike - June 7, 2017 1:28 pm

    Damn right! Hang in there, I like reading your stuff.

    Reply
  3. Steve Welch - June 7, 2017 1:32 pm

    Sean:

    You sir are no fool, or idiot or anything of the sort. While I am grateful you can weather the comments of this person with grace and dignity, you have earned the right to your dignity and self respect. You have survived what life has dished to you, pulled yourself up, looked adversity in the eye AND DID NOT BLINK! Please keep writing your “column-if that is what you call it.” Somedays you make me life, somedays yoiu mak me cry, but everyday you make me think. And that sir, is what real writers do.

    Thank you.

    Reply
  4. Jane - June 7, 2017 1:33 pm

    I look forward to reading your words every day Your subjects come to life with very few words and I know most of them. Thanks

    Reply
  5. LeAnne Storey - June 7, 2017 1:38 pm

    Amazing!

    Reply
  6. Connie Griggs - June 7, 2017 1:40 pm

    As a retired educator, I am always thrilled when someone realizes the value of an education and aspires to achieve it. Your story is amazing, and I am inspired by you everyday! Obviously, you have never been discouraged by naysayers. Don’t start now! Looking forward to tomorrow’s blog! 😃

    Reply
  7. Scott - June 7, 2017 1:47 pm

    A good friend forwarded me your column a month ago and I’ve been an avid reader and fan since day-one. I love the stories.

    Reply
  8. David Jones - June 7, 2017 1:49 pm

    You’re awesome, and I consider myself extremely fortunate to have discovered your writing. Sad that there will always be some whose own existence causes them to want to hold others back or pull them down. Mankind advances not through their efforts, but through the efforts of people like you, Sean. God bless you

    Reply
  9. David - June 7, 2017 1:50 pm

    There is a lot to be said for “pulling one’s self up by the bootstraps” as the old saying goes. Reminded me somewhat of my background. First job was also at age 14, digging septic tank holes and drain fields with a shovel in the hot South Georgia sun for 50 cents an hour (1960)(our town population : 1500) Although I did finish high school near the top of my class I worked every afternoon and most weekends throughout (balanced with basketball and track practice). I bought all of my clothing as well as my first car ($350) with my part-time earnings. I got student loans for college (and paid every dime back) but worked each summer and over the Christmas breaks. Foolishly eloped during my junior year (but proud to say that we just celebrated our 50th anniversary) and worked 3 jobs while completing college on time. Three years later was accepted to law school, graduated in 3 years and have now been practicing over 43 years (including a 4 year stint as a Judge Advocate in the Navy)(also paid back every dime of my law school loans). I look back at those early hard times, not with regret or sadness, but with joy as they made me what I am today. My parents could not afford the education I received but supported me in ways that money cannot buy. I thank God for my humble beginnings, the values of growing up in a small town, the values instilled from my parents, the love and support from my wife as well as for God’s grace.

    Sean, keep the “newsletters” coming. I look forward to each and every one!

    Reply
    • Janice - August 1, 2017 3:45 pm

      You are to be commended sir. Thank you for your service to our country and for the work ethic you have exemplified. Wish this current generation could say the same.

      Reply
  10. Sandy - June 7, 2017 1:51 pm

    Oh Dear! Thank God you know more about life than that person thinks they do.
    Your life experiences qualify you for giving advice because you do know life. And probably a lot more than most people.

    And advice is just that. It is something the person receiving can use with other things in their life to make a decision. They don’t have to take it as gospel.

    Please accept my respect. You are Highly Valued. and from what I read of other’s comments, I am not the only one who does.
    Sandy in the UK

    Reply
  11. Debbie Beach - June 7, 2017 1:53 pm

    Don’t you dare feel humiliated!! If I was there now I’d turn you over my knee! You are too wise to feel humiliated. What you experienced made you who you are now and WE LOVE you for expressing our feelings that we somehow manage to screw up when printed.

    I admire you even more and beyond words! What an amazing, wonder-full life you have experienced.

    One day soon I will share a short story about my son and I and being a single parent and what he managed to accomplish when I thought he was doomed. Very similar to your earlier years.

    I love you and your family and readers and everyone you touch! Thank you for giving me that the gift of loving others through your words full of wonder which I describe as wonder-full.
    Debbie 😉👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

    Reply
  12. Sandra Blazynski - June 7, 2017 1:53 pm

    As a writer myself, Sean, I have been moved to that place where words élude the overwhelm of my feelings about this vulnerable, authentic story.

    I wrote a memoir about my childhood from age 4-14, as the sole witness of my family home and environment. Tremendous wisdom comes from living with/through and witnessing suffering – no matter one’s age. There are small children who have more wisdom and sensitivity than the adults around them. If anyone is a fool in need of wisdom, it’s the narrow-minded person who “unfriended” you.

    Our true strength lies in our vulnerability. You proved that today and I am deeply moved and inspired. Thank You, Sean.

    Reply
  13. Lois Evans - June 7, 2017 1:55 pm

    I am as proud of you as if you were my son. I have two wonderful children and think I am in love with another! You make my day! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  14. Cindy Simmons - June 7, 2017 1:56 pm

    Forever etched in my heart, a fool, maybe, an idiot, Nope! and who thinks it is okay to be foolish sometimes?

    Reply
  15. Ashley - June 7, 2017 2:00 pm

    This is beautiful and truly touching. We adore you. Thank you for being a fighter and unafraid to evolve.

    Reply
  16. Jenni - June 7, 2017 2:02 pm

    Inspiring, Sean. Your story is one I have shared with many of the students I work with in higher education to show them they are not alone. Like you they can do great things of their own choosing. Look forward to the next blog post!

    Reply
  17. Sam Hunneman - June 7, 2017 2:05 pm

    RIGHTEOUS! Go, Sean!
    I took a course once called The Y.E.S. Course… it stood for Your Eternal Success. The core of it was Rule #1 which goes as follows:
    I AM IMPORTANT.
    SO IS EVERYONE ELSE
    I WILL NEVER USE MY IMPORTANCE TO PUT ANYONE ELSE DOWN.
    AND I WILL NEVER, NEVER, NEVER ALLOW ANYONE ELSE TO USE THEIR IMPORTANCE TO PUT ME DOWN.

    Reply
  18. Laura Young - June 7, 2017 2:11 pm

    You amaze me more every day. There are those who do everything possible to belittle others and who try to make others feel inadequate. My grandparents lacked formal education but farmed the land and raised children who became productive citizens. They knew what was right and what was not. I was blessed to be educated as a nurse, but I was thin king this morning that I became a nurse long before I took the training to be one. It was in my heart from age 3, and it had little to do with the training. I’m not saying the education wasn’t important but the heart was most important- lots of “nurses” don’t have it and are not good at what they do as a result. YOU have the heart to write and no amount of education can give you that! I am proud to know you (It seems to me like we are good friends though we have not me..:-)

    Reply
  19. Ruth Otwell - June 7, 2017 2:13 pm

    Humiliated? I think not. Your story is beautiful and honorable. It is an American story, and is exactly what someone needs to hear. Someone – maybe many – can identify with your story, and it is inspiring them and giving them hope. Your detractor is angry and hateful – such a sad way to live life. Keep on doing what you do.

    Reply
  20. Joseph Brown - June 7, 2017 2:14 pm

    You are far, far from an idiot, sir and have a lot of which to be proud. I look forward to your thoughts and “column” as you say each day. It makes me think. It keeps my mind open and helps me open the minds of others…sometimes. It also makes me happy and for that I thank you.

    Reply
  21. Tom Scott - June 7, 2017 2:19 pm

    Preach! Right there with ya in so many ways. at 59 I’m in my last year of college to finally get my degree. Thanks for reminding me I’m not an idiot. No sir!

    Reply
  22. Dolores Fort - June 7, 2017 2:21 pm

    Sean,
    You are a strong person and wise because of your background. My father never finished high school, he quit after the 8th grade because of necessity. Through his perseverance, he provided for a wife and six children. ALL of his sons served their country, four in WW II, the fifth in Korea. I am very proud of my father and his accomplishments. And I am proud of you and your accomplishments.
    Thank you for sharing. And definitely, keep up that “column – if that’s what you want to call it” because it is a major influence in the lives of so many.

    Reply
  23. Suzanne Wright - June 7, 2017 2:28 pm

    Grrrrrrrr…….this guy needs to get a life! I LOVE your writing and your life attitude. Also, I have lived long enough to know that a few ugly words from someone about “who” I am can sting no matter who or what it is they’ve said regarding …well, just BEING who I am. However, I’ve learned to consider the source of opinion & criticism & be thankful I don’t refer to such as, “friend” as you also appear to ‘get’! Although such an attitude is disgusting I was taught & sincerely believe I need to forgive and pray for them…and…as YOU did, even give them thanks! Having said that I will say how good the elastic is in your bootstraps! Woo hoo, Sean! Please…CONTINUE.😊

    Reply
  24. Jan - June 7, 2017 2:29 pm

    Way to go Sean!!! You are just the kind of super intelligent man that this person needs to know … too bad for him!

    Reply
  25. Cece DuBois - June 7, 2017 2:31 pm

    Sean, your story may feel humiliating to you; it’s breathtakingly inspirational to me. I myself am humbled by your candor.
    Thank you.

    Reply
  26. Dave Helms - June 7, 2017 2:33 pm

    It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice. Grandma used to say that. Drank Mogen David wine from a bottle she kept next to the bed. Smart woman.

    Reply
  27. Judy Miller - June 7, 2017 2:33 pm

    Your “column” inspires me every morning.
    I think we all can spot an idiot, and you certainly are not!
    I wonder why the real idiot is so mean and nasty? They must have a very lonely, sad life.

    Reply
    • Gerald - August 1, 2017 2:16 pm

      Yup–And now it is even lonlier. Sad case.

      Reply
  28. Sally Johnson - June 7, 2017 2:36 pm

    I enjoy your blog/column every day. There are idiots in this world but you are surely not one of them. I pass on your writing to people almost every day so they too may enjoy your writing. Thank you for every word.

    Reply
  29. Mary Schryer - June 7, 2017 2:38 pm

    Your words are the best I have ever read. I got a GED years after marrying at the age of 17.

    Reply
  30. Marty from Alabama - June 7, 2017 2:44 pm

    You are very refreshing young man and I have enjoyed every column that I’ve read; however, I only found your column by some stroke of luck. Don’t know how or why, but, for whatever reason, it came at a time where I needed it. Not a column filled with all kinds of statistics, political views as to correctness or not and none of this “I know such and such person and went to their very elegant home.” Just good old plain and simple every day life stories. I love it and hate I’ve missed out on the beginnings. Don’t change anything.

    Reply
  31. Sue Thomas - June 7, 2017 2:47 pm

    If I knew how to find Unfriendly Unfriending, I’d run my wheelchair right over his foot. The idiot!
    No one made him read your works. I don’t count it an assignment, although sometimes friends day “You have got to read this!”
    I count this a privilege!!!

    Reply
    • Lynda - June 7, 2017 6:48 pm

      Amen and amen.

      Reply
  32. Marilyn - June 7, 2017 2:51 pm

    All too often, bullies victimize others to make themselves feel superior. IF and WHEN they are called on it, they suddenly accuse the intended victim of doing EXACTLY what they had done and, consequently, they play the role of the victim instead. I think it’s the same whenever people judge others as STUPID/FAT/UGLY… it’s because they feel stupid/fat/ugly… themselves and are somehow attempting to give away those insecurities. They see friendships dwindle (because WHO wants to be around such negativity???) but they interpret the resulting distance as proof their comments/thoughts were valid.
    I love that conundrum: If I give someone a gift (words) – and they refuse to take it – then to whom does it belong?

    Reply
  33. Stephanie - June 7, 2017 2:53 pm

    Sean. Thank you, thank you for your column! I’m a relative newcomer to it but I look forward to your words every day. You strike a cord with so many of us and I absolutely love everything you write. Guess that makes me an idiot too. Your story is amazing. Be proud of where you came from and who you are.

    Reply
  34. Jack Quanstrum - June 7, 2017 2:53 pm

    Unbelievable story. Thank you for sharing your story. I am thrilled daily to read your touching stories especially this one about you. Your authentic and that’s all that matters. Ones age doesn’t matter. I have learned and been given sound advice by folks younger then me through out my adult life. I even get good advice from my five in half year old grandson at times. I have learned that God has surrounded us with people who can guide us and teach us. If we humble ourselves to listen we gain the wisdom of Solomon. Your humble Sean and your writings inspire me daily to be good, happy and grateful. Thank God for a story teller like you. One last thought. Your stories remind of Jesus sharing parables in the bible. Deep in truth, goodness and guidance.

    Reply
  35. Becky - June 7, 2017 2:56 pm

    Your personal story is pure inspiration. Your articles show us all that we are not alone in believing that the world is a better place than those folks on TV want us to know. I think that’s why the person lashed out at you the way he/she did. Because that person can’t seem to get beyond the ugliness inside of his/her own head and see what else is out there in this old world. Can you just imagine how awful it must be for him/her, living with a head full of snakes named Regret, Anger, Bitterness and Self-loathing? Poor thing. That person needs praying for.

    Reply
  36. Sara - June 7, 2017 2:56 pm

    Thank you for your words but today and always. It is a lovely way to start the day and I look forward to your blog each morning

    Reply
  37. jamie - June 7, 2017 2:58 pm

    It is hard to add anything fresh to the previous comments. I enjoy your writing and you have my respect and good wishes for all you have accomplished. I wish there was a “like button” on the comments. I feel like part of an extended family here. Thank you for keeping a bit of sanity in this crazy world.

    Reply
  38. Suzanne Rainey - June 7, 2017 2:58 pm

    Dear Sean,

    I was angry and upset when I read that letter! People are rude and thoughtless at times, but your answer to him stopped me. You are so much more wise than your youthful good looks would suggest.
    You have lived several lifetimes in one and you daily remind me to take more joy in mine. And I do.
    Big thanks to you.

    Reply
  39. Marisa Franca @ All Our Way - June 7, 2017 2:58 pm

    Oh, Sean!! I admire you and don’t you dare feel ashamed!!! Sorry for the exclamation points but I feel very passionate about this subject. My parents barely had the equivalent of a 4th-grade education but they worked hard, provided for their family, and didn’t owe anyone anything. They came to America with two children, a trunk, and a few hundred dollars. They saved, they sent me to college, and when they passed away they had savings that they proudly left for me. They knew more about politics and geography than college graduates. It isn’t just book learning, although it is important. It is learning from the world around and taking an interest. I love your writing!! Be proud!

    Reply
  40. Wendy - June 7, 2017 3:00 pm

    Rest assured you ARE a friend and have a friend in those of us who value your words and experiences. Keep writing, I’ve shared your thoughtful and loving words with so many people I know.

    Reply
  41. sam - June 7, 2017 3:01 pm

    I support you all the way Sean. Your advice sounds good to me.
    That person is better unfriended..

    Reply
  42. Ellen Brooks - June 7, 2017 3:05 pm

    Sean, you are an inspiration. I love your writing. I love how you received your education and every day when I read your column, I think- I Love you Sean of the South!
    You are precious and I for one am grateful for every word you write.

    Reply
  43. Richard George - June 7, 2017 3:13 pm

    Sean…..I agree with all the positive and supportive comments made by others…..keep up the good work. You DO make difference.

    Reply
  44. Nita Stacey - June 7, 2017 3:18 pm

    One of your best blogs yet!

    Reply
  45. Karen - June 7, 2017 3:33 pm

    Sean, well stated glad you stood up for yourself. Your writings are salty and about real people. Most of this country turn to the liberal media and they know nothing about what goes on in everyday life in the folks that make up this country. You are going to get a few difficult readers and you do not need them. You must of struck a chord to write you such a nasty resignation of your blog. The people you write about are real and I thank you for your blog and writing. I enjoy very much. For every negative there is a positive.

    Reply
  46. Anita Timothy - June 7, 2017 3:35 pm

    Touche’……mon ami…..

    Reply
  47. Nedetria Talbot - June 7, 2017 3:36 pm

    You my friend, are someone who I admire. I love to read anything you write! Just last week I shared one of your posts and added that I wanted to live my life as a person Sean Dietrich would write about. You inspire me to be a better person. May God richly bless you!

    Reply
  48. Marcia - June 7, 2017 4:00 pm

    Dear Sean,
    I’m a college graduate with a Masters degree and 35 yrs of teaching English under my belt…
    And I wouldn’t miss reading your blog. Keep it up. The world needs to hear what you have to say.

    Reply
  49. Ruth Aydt - June 7, 2017 4:03 pm

    Sean – Thank you for sharing this story, and so many others. They give me hope in times of despair. You are not, and never have been an idiot. You are an inspiration. Hold your head high and be proud of all you do to make the world a better place.

    Reply
  50. Suzanne - June 7, 2017 4:08 pm

    Sean, my heart has gone out to you ever since you impersonated Elvis when you were a boy at a church in Shawnee Kansas. I knew it was a tragic time for you , yet the show went on. Concerning today’s blog, I know that a writer can take liberties to achieve a goal because I have done so myself. Therefore I had to wonder if anyone could possibly have written such a nasty letter that missed the mark by so far. Your writing is priceless. Your insight into humanity is achieved as well by few others.

    Reply
  51. Jim Luther - June 7, 2017 4:21 pm

    Yours sir is the American story that so many have achieved. From time to time I send your stories to my high school and college granddaughters as they are so inspirational. The person who made the comments to you, I hope he gets the help he needs and pray he does not have a family. If he does, I can’t imagine what life must be like for his wife and kids. Keep on writing and be very proud of what you have done to better not only yourself, but those of us who follow you.

    Reply
  52. Patricia - June 7, 2017 4:26 pm

    Haters gunna hate. You are just a bright beam of light. That might be hard to take if one has been too long in the dark. You are one of the kindest, smartest and most talented people I have had the honor to know. Keep writing Sean of the South !!!

    Reply
  53. Norma - June 7, 2017 4:31 pm

    Wow!
    Sean your reply of June 7th to that ignorant fellow is spot on. You are the only blogger I subscribe to and I have read every one of your books.
    I have had my 13 year old grandson read some of your books in order to reinforce life lessons on how a real man behaves.
    I was born and lived for 62 years in a Northern City, Boston, to be exact.
    Your values transend geography.

    Reply
  54. Mark Elder - June 7, 2017 4:35 pm

    Sean,
    I am not going to tell you how to feel about your life and story. I will tell you how I feel about this response of yours…humbled. It is a master class in how to integrate your story. As one who has spent a lifetime helping people come to understand their story and the power it contains over sickness, dying, ruthlessness, and yes, in the face of objectional letters from readers, I stand humbled by your words and life.
    All I have is the deepest thanks I can render to another soul.
    Mark

    Reply
  55. Paula Link - June 7, 2017 4:36 pm

    Well said, Sean. I was 19 when my mother put the pistol my dad kept “for security” to her temple and pulled the trigger. I was blessed – I had graduated from high school and community college by then. But I worked my way through the rest of college, and later was blessed by a husband who paid for my graduate degree. But being from SE Alabama, sounding like it, and being female I’ve also had some issues. But I know an idiot when I see one – and you ain’t one by a long shot. Never have been. There’s no shame in ignorance, especially when you set about to cure it, which you obviously did. You bless me, you bless many others, and God can bless “unfriending” because he/she obviously needs it.

    Reply
  56. Linda Palmeter - June 7, 2017 4:38 pm

    Grace under fire sir. Well done..
    My thoughts are…democracy is the right not to show up, not to watch, listen, Not to READ. Some have forgotten.
    Have a blessed day and keep writing.

    Reply
  57. Carolyn Finlayson - June 7, 2017 4:41 pm

    I enjoy all of your stories and admire your accomplishments. I came from a working class family, my brother was the first to go to college. My Mother did not finish high school. Life is what it is. I lived in small towns, moved a lot and identify with many of your stories.

    Reply
  58. Lynda Richards - June 7, 2017 4:52 pm

    Sean, You are a fantastic writer! I look forward every day to seeing your latest work. You paint a picture with your words. I have shared your work with friends of mine who are now subscribers also. This “unfriending person” who wrote you is no doubt jealous of your natural talent and is lashing out at you. Take heart, you have a lot of followers like me who think you are fantastic. So take his words and burn them in an ashtray or bury them in the ground and pay no more attention to them.
    Signed an ardent reader in Alaska (you can take this gal out of the south but not the south out of the gal)

    Reply
  59. Thanks, Jack. It's always good to have someone to agree with you.Barbara Nelle Ewell - June 7, 2017 4:57 pm

    Dear I AM UNFRIENDING YOU,

    You probably won’t see this, if you really have unfriended Sean of the South. But somehow I doubt that you have. I am thinking that you will check back to see if Sean responded to your remarks. Maybe to read the comments that other people, like me, have made about you – – though we don’t know you. We do know Sean. A little bit. And a little more with each “column,” if that’s what you call it. Actually, you have helped us know him better than ever. So I too thank you for your letter. And as Sean Dietrich says, you are a person too. I hope you figure that out someday.

    Reply
    • Jack Quanstrum - June 8, 2017 12:31 am

      Enjoyed reading your comment. To the point. I agree with you to!

      Reply
      • Barbara Nelle Ewell - June 9, 2017 2:53 am

        Thanks again, Jack. I really enjoy these sketches. If you like to read novels. he has a good one entitled Lyla. (I don’t get a commission, by the way. Don’t even know the guy. Just wish I could write like he does.)

        Reply
  60. R. Lee - June 7, 2017 5:21 pm

    What they all said.

    Reply
  61. Bettyjo Brown - June 7, 2017 5:30 pm

    What a wonderful column. You are truly blessed. Would you have really appreciated your accomplishments as much without the journey you traveled? I think not. I do so enjoy your writing. Thank you.

    Reply
  62. Marilyn Jordan - June 7, 2017 5:31 pm

    You are a kind, caring, considerate, articulate Southern gentleman. Who cares that this grouch unfriended you…good riddance. It will be his loss, not yours. We are blessed by your
    posts. Keep your head up…your have
    nothing to be ashamed about.

    Reply
  63. Camille Atkins - June 7, 2017 5:36 pm

    WOW! That guy watches too much cable news. Anger management is what comes to my mind. Sean, you have become a household name, the only bright spot in a lot of people’s days. You lift us up from an angry world that seems hell bent on taking us down. I know too many people like “Mr. I am unfriending you,” and I don’t know enough people like Sean Dietrich. Keep changing the world, one daily column at a time! Thank you from all of your “Friends.”

    Reply
  64. Lynnis - June 7, 2017 5:46 pm

    Dear Unfriending You: Bless yore heart. That’s all I got to say about that.
    Sean, I’m a recent reader to your blog, newsletter, whatever you want to call it. Just wanted you to know that I love your daily posts, get them in my email. I’ve discovered that you can make me laugh, cry and think all within a space of the 5 minutes or so it takes me to read. I share on FB w/my sisters, Momma and friends (we were born and raised in KY). They love your writing as well.
    I find it rare to come across a writer who remains humble as you do. Most popular writers think more highly of themselves as they ought.
    Just wanted to say ‘thanks’ for making our day a little bit brighter. My grandmother was fond of quoting this to us as young children;
    There is so much good in the worst of us,
    And so much bad in the best of us,
    That it hardly behooves any of us
    To talk about the rest of us.

    Reply
  65. Jeannine Porter Birmingham - June 7, 2017 5:46 pm

    I love you writing so please keep it up….always. Your stories bring a smile to my heart. Have you ever entertained writing a collection of short stories? You are far from an “idiot” – more like an inspiration.

    Reply
  66. Nancy - June 7, 2017 5:53 pm

    Whether about yourself or any of the colorful characters you have run across, you provide inspiration for readers to remember life’s simple goodness with every story. Thank you.

    This reply is much better than a backlash of hatred. Your stories of hard work, drive and dedication speak for themselves. Anyone who is too blind to want to see any good in the world must have a very sad existence. I hope, for their sake, they can open their eyes and change their perspective. Life’s too short to be angry all the time.

    Reply
  67. Jeannie - June 7, 2017 6:05 pm

    Dear Unfriending
    Goodbye and hopefully one day you will see the good in each and every person and will find your way back to this amazing writer.
    I am sorry that you do not recognize the importance of what he writes and how it helps us to all remember that are we each put on this good earth for a purpose. I pray that you find yours
    Sincerely
    A “friend” and admirer of Sean of the South

    Reply
  68. Stephen - June 7, 2017 6:12 pm

    As always, enjoy your column. Your reply just exemplifies to why you are one of the few elusive good guys left in this world. And for “Mr. Unfriending” … he needs to build a bridge … and get over himself.

    Reply
  69. Carroll Wills - June 7, 2017 6:15 pm

    Sean, don’t ever let anybody tell you that you are anything less than a wonderful, kind, compassionate and extremely smart man who knows how to write to reach down in the deepest part of one’s heart and bring it back to life. I dare say there are many PhDs who are totally unqualified to do that and would never even attempt to do what you do.

    Reply
  70. Debbie Galladora - June 7, 2017 6:26 pm

    You’re the best Sean!

    Reply
  71. Laura Dolph Cullison - June 7, 2017 6:32 pm

    Oh my gosh! You are not an idiot but an inspiration. I look forward to waking up to your column each and every morning.

    Reply
  72. Regina Chandler - June 7, 2017 6:33 pm

    As the old adage goes, “You can’t please all the people all the time”. is so true. I am far beyond you in years and that was true when I was young.

    I, on the other hand, enjoy everyone of your writings that I have had the privilege to read. I have found something in each and every one of them that touched me in one way or another.

    Our world would, in my opinion, be a better place if more people would read your works.

    Keep it up.

    Reply
  73. Elizabeth Hypes - June 7, 2017 6:35 pm

    Dear Sean,

    Seems to me that the internet has given people a feeling of freedom to say whatever they want to say in any way they want to say it with no consequences.

    Im sorry this human chose to attack you like that. He or she must be a very sad and/or angry individual indeed.

    What makes me sadder is that you’ve never shared your story before and that it makes you feel bad. Your story represents the foundation of our country…or at least the attitude that helped found our country. I worry about it now because so few people have that school of hard knocks degree. Instead it seems if hard knocks knock, too many folks turn to drugs and melt like little snowflakes with the first touch of heat.

    Thank you for sharing and please don’t ever ever think your past holds any shame! You’re amazing as are your stories and the way you tell them. Everyone has a story and I love that you take the time to learn so many peoples stories and then share them.

    Please be proud of yourself and of your accomplishments. Be proud of your past because you not only survived it, but you kicked it right in the teeth!

    Reply
  74. Bobbie - June 7, 2017 6:41 pm

    Sean for president!
    I love your heart and soul found in each piece you write.

    Reply
  75. Lynda - June 7, 2017 6:46 pm

    Oh, brother! Where does all of the hateful anger come from these days? For heavens sake, if someone doesn’t like you column, why can’t he/she just stop it? I for one appreciate you insights that can only be borne of experiences and emotion. Thank you again.

    Reply
  76. Curtis Thomasson - June 7, 2017 6:46 pm

    Sean,
    Your writings are a highlight of my day. Once I read the first one, I have been an avid fan. I grew up in South Alabama and love my heritage. I appreciate so much the way you share such meaningful experiences. They are truly inspiring. Keep up this valuable work. Thanks so much.
    Curtis Thomasson

    Reply
  77. Sandra Lee Van Dam - June 7, 2017 6:55 pm

    You are an awesome human, Sean. Keep it up!

    Reply
  78. Dave Pickens - June 7, 2017 7:09 pm

    Sean,
    Well said and I can only guess what it must feel like to be you, from this posting. I did want you to know your words uplift me as well as my wife and hey I have a few more years experience under my belt than you!
    Dave

    Reply
  79. Olivia Grizle - June 7, 2017 7:13 pm

    I can’t believe someone would write such hateful comments about you. I love your stories, and this one is so touching. You are a wonderful writer and human being. Keep up the good work! I look forward to reading your stories each day.

    Reply
  80. Paul J LeBlanc - June 7, 2017 7:15 pm

    Hi, again, Sean-

    Like many of the above posters, I would urge you to be proud of what you accomplished. It is always tough to get a good education, especially after you had to walk away from the opportunity. However, you over came many obstacles, did go back and you did succeed. I dropped out of college lacking 19 hours to graduate because work got in the way-I worked weekly rotating shifts as a Deputy Sheriff. After three years and a job change, I was a bit more stable, time-wise and was able to go back to complete my degree. Years later, aggravated in another job, I juggled full time work and family life and went back to school to obtain a degree that allowed me to change professions-22 years ago and I have never looked back. You’ve done well, Sir-and I love your writing. It reminds this Southern boy of home while I live by Chicago. Thanks for your words.

    Reply
  81. Connie - June 7, 2017 7:23 pm

    Oh my. What a sobering, compelling story! You told it in a very matter-of-fact way, succinctly and to the point. Thank you for sharing what I know has to be difficult story. And you are not at all stupid and ridiculous.
    Thank you for sharing with us.

    Reply
    • Carol van Peelen-Cosper - June 7, 2017 7:52 pm

      Brilliant! Bravo! Well said and quite a background which adds up on the maturity scales in life. We love your writing and do please continue for those of us who are pleased by your words.

      Kind regards
      C&J

      Reply
  82. Patty Jacks - June 7, 2017 7:58 pm

    I believe some people just sit around thinking of negative things to criticize others. Actually it makes me think that it builds them up at the expense of someone else. Does jealousy enter the mind? I had been saving your posts in my archives, wondering have you published a book yet? That was a precious testimonial to your inner strength and determination, facing life one day at a time!!! Patty

    Reply
  83. Merri Bludsworth - June 7, 2017 8:17 pm

    I don’t understand people! If you do t like it then don’t read it!! No need to be nasty!!

    Reply
  84. Sue - June 7, 2017 9:02 pm

    Dear Sean,
    I love your stories. This guy who “unfriended” you is wrong. You are not too young to write these stories, you are way older than your years. I am 70 so I should know a little bit about it. Life has taught you things some people never learn even if they live to be a hundred. You are not beneath others, nor are you ridiculous, and you are not stupid, neither are you an idiot. There was a fool present, but he unfriended you . Keep on writing.

    Reply
  85. Teresa - June 7, 2017 9:22 pm

    I am fairly new to your blog and was hooked from day 1. I can relate with many of the stories and enjoy your perspective. Keep writing!!

    Reply
  86. Mary Ann - June 7, 2017 10:03 pm

    THIS!!!! Every single word of it!!! ❤️

    Reply
  87. Frieda Borntrager - June 7, 2017 10:07 pm

    You sir, are no one’s fool! To be able to string words together to tell another’s story in an empathetic and compassionate way requires both astute understanding of human nature, and superior writing skills, among other talents. To be able to convey feeling with simple words in a simple story even kids can understand is beyond amazing. You sir, are a genius!

    Your work blesses me every day.
    Frieda Borntrager

    Reply
  88. jim jewell - June 7, 2017 10:22 pm

    Someday, someday, i will understand why people like to rain on parades. i don’t yet. And i will never understand why people like “Unfriending” seem intent on making themselves smaller by trying to make others smaller.

    i am not smart enough to judge whether anyone is an idiot or not, and i am amazed folks seem to think they know more than others and can identify who and who is not an idiot.

    Sean, i read your posts daily because Judy Lewis Gray sent me a beautiful one of yours about two or three months ago. You somehow manage to find the best in people daily, even “Unfriending.” i admire that and it makes me feel good about myself and the world. Although i fortunately never had to experience the tragedy you have, i have lived through 73 years of life and your uplifting approach to life is something to be admired and pursued by others.

    Keep on keeping on, brother.

    Reply
  89. Marsha - June 8, 2017 12:00 am

    I feel bad for “unfriending” , he is going to miss out on a whole lot if what life is really about.

    Reply
  90. Ken M. - June 8, 2017 12:25 am

    I fell deeply sad for people filled with so much negativity. I hope that “Unfriending” can find joy in simple things.

    Reply
  91. Wanda Coleman - June 8, 2017 1:22 am

    Dear Sean,
    You my friend have had enough experiences to qualify you as an expert in this thing called life! I don’t care how old you are.

    Reply
  92. f - June 8, 2017 1:24 am

    you are awesome. i have copied so many of your pages. i am a retired high school teacher. you know more about life than most graduates do. keep up the good work. you brighten every day of my life.

    Reply
  93. Dana McHargue - June 8, 2017 1:40 am

    Your writing is honest, pure, beautiful, hopeful, humble, and inspiring. There are not even words invented yet to describe how you are able to touch a person’s soul. Keep writing. The world needs this honesty. Thank you for sharing your heart. It’s refreshing to find someone being himself and trying to make the world a little better. I share your stories with my youth group at church. It means something to them. Some have been abused, been left by a parent, been bullied, while others have lived such a charmed life they can’t relate. Your words help them all grow, see.

    I pray for blessings on your life.
    Dana

    Reply
  94. Michael Hawke - June 8, 2017 1:58 am

    I appreciate what you do. Thank you.

    Reply
  95. Trina V. - June 8, 2017 2:04 am

    As a high school teacher (12th grade English) in a rural area and in a school that has a 60-70% free and reduce lunch rate, I have many students who feel they don’t have many options. I would love to share this with them and have them write a response to it.

    Reply
  96. Gail - June 8, 2017 2:13 am

    Well, bless your heart!!!! This makes me love you even more. You have a wonderful life story, and you have won in life!!!! Blessings!!!!!

    Reply
  97. Susan Warren - June 8, 2017 2:23 am

    This is my favorite story by far! So proud of you and all your efforts! Thanks for reminding us all that each human has a story and a God given purpose! So proud of you!

    Reply
  98. Dottie - June 8, 2017 4:18 am

    Sean, age has nothing to do with wisdom. I believe you are very wise due to your life experiences and the gifts you were given when you were born. Your words come from your heart, and they are helping others who read them.

    My mother taught me that if anyone criticizes you in anger pointing out what is “wrong” with you, it is because they have to belittle someone else to make themselves feel better. The words they use are the words they need to hear, because those words describe themselves.

    Hopefully, whoever wrote that message will one day look in the mirror and see the words looking back at him. Only then can change take place in that person’s life, and the writer of that message will have a chance to become wise as well.

    Reply
  99. Christine Ross - June 8, 2017 7:56 am

    I’ve been so fortunate to have been directed to your writings. I purposely wait till the end of my day to read your latest views and observations of your life experience. I feel a sense of comfort from your pacing of words and your common decency responses.

    Thank you.

    Reply
  100. Sonja Wells - June 8, 2017 10:41 am

    You are neither a fool or an idiot. You are kind, you are smart, and I’m so glad someone suggested I read your column. Keep ’em coming!!!

    Reply
  101. Fossil - June 8, 2017 11:27 am

    Well said and well done!
    A certain speech by Theodore Roosevelt comes to mind:
    “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

    Reply
  102. Kathy Lane - June 8, 2017 11:29 am

    Geez! Who crapped in their cornflakes? I like what you write, until you dispairaged knitting…….Keep it up!! You are the smile in my inbox- I appreciate you and your wonderful stories

    Reply
  103. Candy Clark - June 8, 2017 1:27 pm

    WOW! That is a very sad, unhappy human being! Be grateful he unfriended you. PLEASE don’t stop writing! I pray the good comments out weigh those kind. Thank you

    Reply
  104. Jon Dragonfly - June 8, 2017 3:23 pm

    I don’t care if you dump garbage cans into the back of a truck and scrawl your notes on crumpled notebook paper with a #2 pencil (that you lick before writing). Your heart is shared in your scratches and that is what matters. How wonderful that you choose your words so carefully. I’ll be back tomorrow (and the day after) to see what you’ve scribbled.
    J

    Reply
  105. Esteban Rudman - June 8, 2017 5:22 pm

    Law of the harvest. As you sow, so shall you reap. Karma. Almost all cultures know that what goes around comes around. Sean, you get to be you, and that poor sumbitch gets to be him. Justice happens. Maybe he will have a change of heart someday. I hope so. Sowing thistle seeds is not a good idea. All you get these good for nothing stickers.

    Reply
  106. Michael Bishop - June 9, 2017 11:07 am

    All I can say at this point (I came late to this one, Sean) is DITTO to the dozens of readers who have affirmed you as a person and a writer. Bless them and bless you. Hang in there.

    Reply
  107. Kathi Harper Hill - June 9, 2017 2:12 pm

    Why on earth would you feel humiliated? I did get my high school diploma, but went right to work. I wound up supervising all sorts of educated people – even M. D.’s – in the business I was responsible for. I had a budget of nearly two million dollars. I was responsible for nearly eighty employees and 800 clients in two counties. Never once did I feel embarrassed that I did not have the formal education the folks I supervised had. I had brains. Just like you. You are gifted, never feel humiliated about how the Good Lord brought you to where you are. Just be thankful He gave you what He gave you, the way He gave it to you.

    Reply
  108. Patricia Gibson - June 9, 2017 5:02 pm

    I pity the person that wrote you that letter. They have a lot to learn.

    Reply
  109. Gary Martin - June 9, 2017 8:27 pm

    I think you are a humble man with a lot of class. There are those with class, those who are low class and then there are those with no class. Not hard to see which Mr. Unfriended is. Keep writing, you are getting more grateful readers every day.

    Reply
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  111. Jennifer from Mississippi - June 10, 2017 3:18 pm

    There are far too many mean people in this world. Don’t waste your time trying to explain who you are to someone like this man because they are usually only committed to misunderstanding you. This person’s negativity says nothing about you or your work. It does scream volumes however about his own low-self esteem & toxic thinking. By going out of his way to send such an ill-intentioned message in hopes he’d bring you down only goes to prove you are already above him.

    You wouldn’t be the man you are today or have the ability to connect to your readers through your writing the way that you do without your past experiences. So just keep on being authentic. Those of us that anticipate your emails & value your writing do so because you are.

    Reply
  112. Linda - June 11, 2017 3:55 pm

    I would imagine people like your troll makes a lifetime of saying those things. Just because he/she says it doesn’t make it true. A fellow life warrior.

    Reply
  113. Ellen Goins - June 13, 2017 5:22 pm

    Dear Sean,
    Regarding the person who hates your work: I am a longtime journalist/editor and I really enjoy your slice-of-life stories. the detail and affection you feel for your people and your southern locales is entertaining so so very often moving.
    Keep up the good work!
    Ellen

    Reply
  114. Marian D Alday - June 16, 2017 3:15 am

    Well said.

    Reply
  115. Lynda Gayle Knight - June 18, 2017 2:42 am

    A well-writtened reply. Educated people, regardless of where that education was received, should hold their heads high and do what the plan for their life us, relishing every moment! I look forward to your writing every day. I am someone who grow up as a poor farm girl in North Alabama, received and took advantage of help from others and earned a Master’s Degree, taught 30 years, loving every day of teaching, and am now enjoying retirement. You and I were fortunate enough to have made lemonade from the lemons we were given. God Bless you !

    Reply
  116. Mary - July 16, 2017 8:12 pm

    Please don’t feel humiliated by your story.
    Your story is rich. You could be called “the most interesting man in the world”, like in those commercials.
    I see you as a renaissance man. You’re a painter, writer, poet, songwriter, humorist, musician, creative and more. I just found you and I look forward to your emails to see what you have to say and what you are going to do next. There are a lot of people who feel the same as I do. I wish more people could discover you. I think they might look at things a bit differently. Keep doing what you do and we’ll keep paying attention.
    Oh, one more thing, more jazz please.

    Reply
  117. Candie Carnett - August 1, 2017 1:19 pm

    Your stories are exceptional and you should be proud of everything you have accomplished. It’s more than I’ve done for sure. Thanks for sharing your life with us!

    Reply
  118. Steve Winfield - August 1, 2017 1:22 pm

    There are many of us who have similar stories. I respect you & appreciate what you do. I stumbled on to your column a few months ago. I look forward to it daily now. Based on the number of comments here you have plenty of admirers like me. You know, if you can’t say something nice, why not just shut up & be miserable by yourself. God loves you just the same.

    Reply
  119. Vicky - August 1, 2017 1:29 pm

    Dear Sean,
    My life in no way resembles your, except maybe also being from the South. But, I understand the humiliation. I finished HS, but then flunked out of college after one year. I will be 60 this year and it is still painful to tell people that I do not have a college degree. What I do have is 3 grown exceptional children and 4 beautiful grandchildren and a husband that loves me for me.

    Reply
  120. Patricia Coffie - August 1, 2017 1:40 pm

    Nicely done.

    Reply
  121. Rev. Steve Baccus - August 1, 2017 1:45 pm

    Amen. (’nuff said)

    Reply
  122. will maguire - August 1, 2017 1:47 pm

    There is no wise without wound.
    Its how it gets into us.

    Remember that the next time it hurts.

    Reply
  123. Janiece Keener - August 1, 2017 1:49 pm

    I detected a note of guilt in that man’s response to you. And guilt being one of the most destructive emotions we can have, I imagine this was about him, not about you. Thank you for not “biting.”

    Reply
  124. Brenda Elliott - August 1, 2017 1:53 pm

    Amazing. Humble. Over-achiever. I can think of many words to describe you and your writings, but “idiot” would not be included in the list.

    I have friends and family members with similar backgrounds. You are all to be admired. Congratulations on your success. Please continue to bless us with your writings.

    Reply
  125. Ted Sullivan - August 1, 2017 2:11 pm

    What a great story and I’m pretty sure the individual who slung the insults your way is the true idiot. Keep writing, the other 99.99% of us enjoy the short stories as a break in our day.

    Reply
  126. Becky Russell - August 1, 2017 2:11 pm

    Sean, I’m a retired public school teacher and I’ve loved on quite a few youngsters like you. Mickey comes to mind. He had an extremely high IQ …smelly little thief. I loved him. We spent lots of hours together…his thirst for learning was inspiring. I asked him what he wanted to do when he grew up. He replied…just want to live on the river in a trailer house and hunt and fish. Now my husband thought that was a fine and worthy dream! I suggested he could do just that…AND go to college. He looked at me like I had four eyes. We researched parks and wildlife, herpetologists, entomology…he was drinking it in. His daddy was a meth addict trying to get clean working at McDonalds. His mom…well, she struggled. College was not a word even uttered in his home.

    We made a T-chart…with two columns…what a good man looks like/what a good man sounds like. We described the kind of man he would want o grow up to be. He folded it up tight and stuck it in his pocket. A few days later he came into my room down hearted….he hum hawed around and finally told me his momma washed his jeans. It took me a minute to realize the chart had been in his pocket and was now lint. We made another one. His face had such a look of relief and joy. He assured me his momma didn’t wash his jeans often. This would not be happening again.

    They don’t teach you how to love on kiddos in the curriculum. It just has to grow into your soul. The good teachers teach curriculum. The great teachers teach kids. I wish I’d had you in my class. We would have gotten along so well. You are a good man! And somewhere on an old worn out piece of paper is a chart that describes you to a T! Hugs, friend…

    Reply
    • Marty - August 1, 2017 10:38 pm

      The world needs a whole bunch of your type, Becky Russell. I hope my daughter, also a teacher, is your kind of teacher and I fully believe she is. A Mom can tell when something excites her child and the kids you described are the kind that excites her. There is not a pay check big enough to pay you all what you are worth. Don’t have to worry about that in Alabama!

      Reply
  127. Dianne - August 1, 2017 2:16 pm

    That my friend is one great column. I hear so much from my Northern friends about something or someone being a “dumb southern” and we may be rual but we’re not dumb. We work hard, we’re respectful, we’re honest, we’re proud, but we’re not dumb. You write beautiful heart felt articles, you play music, you can hang dry wall that is what I call a true renaissance man.

    Reply
  128. Carole Smith - August 1, 2017 2:16 pm

    I am 80 years old.I have lived long enough to know life.I can also distinguish between a double barrel jerk and a nice guy and gr8 writer.You are the latter ,he is the former.Keep writing,I love it!

    Reply
  129. Timothy - August 1, 2017 2:49 pm

    You are an honorable man with experience far above that of any average person. Thank you. for sharing your life.

    Reply
  130. Audrey Davidson - August 1, 2017 2:49 pm

    Sean, Your story made me cry big ol’ alligator tears, it brought back so many memories of my childhood living in poverty, I just wish I would have found a way to educate myself like you did, I may not be educated but I raised two boys as a single mom that are awesome men, husbands and fathers. To say I am proud is an understatement!!
    Thank you for your stories, Audrey

    Reply
  131. Pam - August 1, 2017 2:54 pm

    Keep up the good work, some people aren’t happy no matter what

    Reply
  132. Patricia Hartzog - August 1, 2017 2:58 pm

    No sirree, Bob!

    Reply
  133. Robin Christy - August 1, 2017 3:15 pm

    Sean, thank you for sharing. Like you, at 11 years old my dad ate his pistol and changed the future of our broken family forever. I worked on my college degree for 17 years, working and worrying. I graduated prior to turning 40, which I was proud of, but couldn’t share because, well, who would care?! Amazing how others want to knock you down because you’re honest, and kind, and just plain real. People don’t like that you know. But you struck a chord with me (again) today and I just wanted to say thank you. I appreciate your column every day! God bless you.

    Reply
  134. Kate Conley - August 1, 2017 3:31 pm

    Oh my goodness Sean,I can hardly write thru the tears!! Your story is beautiful##! How dare that self righteous IDIOT that wrote you that letter judge you yo be less than because HE thinks somebody died and left Him GOD to judge!!! There is a better word in the Bible for him it is called a FOOL that what he is and he needs to crawl back under that rock he crawled out from under and stood up and barked!! We love your perspective,we love your stories!!! I grew up in Rual Alabama,and you help me remember my roots! Keep writing Sean and you hold your head high Sir, you are well edu ated and have lots of talent,it does not matter how you got there other than you had to work harder tha. most folks to get your education. Get it you did!! HOLD YOUR HEAD HIGH! You have a lot to be proud of!! Keep writing pleAse and ignore that FOOL! His day of judgement will come.
    Sincerely,Mrs Kate

    Reply
  135. Norma - August 1, 2017 3:58 pm

    I first learned about your column through a share on Facebook several months ago and have become a devoted follower. I may have missed it, but I have yet to see you give advice. Even though people have requested it, you always seem to respond with first hand experiences or first hand knowledge of events that are either directly or indirectly related to the writer’s dilemma. And that is the best “advice” of all.

    Reply
  136. Rebecca - August 1, 2017 4:13 pm

    Dear Sean,
    It is our experiences that make us who we are. Without going through what you did you may not be writing the stories you write and touching the people, like me, who you touch every day. I look forward to your stories because I relate to them. I grew up Southern in my grandmother’s house in Selma, AL, so I know a little about Southern life and you nail it every time. I know many of the people you write about, heck I am one of those people.
    You keep writing son and no, you are neither stupid or an idiot.

    Reply
  137. Glenda Weekley - August 1, 2017 4:32 pm

    Sean, you open up the world for your readers, giving them/us a glimpse into the world that we don’t all get to see. It helps us to see with your eyes and often gives us a perspective on people and things that we’d miss otherwise. Thank you.

    Reply
  138. Jonathan - August 1, 2017 4:57 pm

    I hope Unfriending accidentally trips and slams his pecker in the door.

    Twice.

    Reply
  139. Ricky Mills - August 1, 2017 5:44 pm

    Dear Sean,
    I am one of six brothers and sisters who took advantage of the Alabama GI Bill which got me almost all the way through my M.Ed. The other 5 did not. I spent 36 and a half years as an English teacher or Assistant Principal. I call all the kids I taught or came in contact with “My kids”! I love your column. It fills a hole left when Lewis Grizzard died, so it is meant as a huge compliment!! Keep writing!!

    Reply
  140. Jayne - August 1, 2017 5:44 pm

    I love your column and look for it on Facebook in my newsfeed. Your stories take me back to a simpler time and place. A place I wish still existed. Sometimes I just want to run away from it all and your stories allow me to do just that – if only for a little while. Ignore the haters – they probably hate everything. God bless and keep em coming!

    Reply
  141. Judy - August 1, 2017 7:25 pm

    My mother taught me that people go out of their way to put you down are just trying to get some company. My experience is hurting people say hurtful things. I am so sorry “Unfriending” took his hurt out on you. Please keep writing. Your words and your perspective are soothing and healing. Now, I need an extra dose after reading his blast at you.

    Reply
  142. Donald - August 1, 2017 8:20 pm

    You Sir, are no fool nor an idiot, you are wise beyond your years no matter where you received your life’s lessons. THANK YOU from ME, I have enjoyed every story you have written, that I have read, you tell stories that I have had or close enough that I feel I have seen in my 66 years. We all have known people we thought were idiots and fools and I am sorry, I do not know “I AM UNFRIENDING YOU”, but he is trying to show us what a “fool and idiot” might look like…..

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  143. Annette Bailey - August 2, 2017 1:12 pm

    Dear Sean,
    I didnt know about your Dad…and I’m sorry. I use to think I had a Dad who couldn’t keep a job and I was embarrassed to introduce him to my friends because their Dads had clean nail and hands. Dads hands were always dirty because he worked on cars. He didn’t finish 7th grade and went from job to job and we must have moved from old house to old house many times when I was a child. In my teens, Dad got a job with the L&N Railroad and began to do better. He still had big bills to pay back though and we 6 kids helped when we could. I’ll never forget the year we bought our house for $5…yes, I said $5 but it cost a $1000 to have it picked up and moved. All Dad had was $200. Where we moved to had 8 different pecan tress and that year was wonderful. Just to help Dad pay the bill, we picked up pecans every day after school and on weekends. We picked up $839 worth of pecans and Dad lay down one night and had the best sleep in years. Years later, in 1990, my husband and I built a small brick home for Mom and Dad. They’d never had central heating and cooling and for most of their lives, they had it touch raising 6 kids. And my kid brother,who didn’t know how fun it was to walk to an outhouse late at night, actually cried when they took the old house away. He just didn’t know the struggles we’d had. But we all truly turned out successful with two vehicles, we all have nice, brick homes and still love each other. I remember the very hard days when we’d almost freeze due to only one old fireplace and burn up even though all of our windows were up and both doors were open…at night. So we weren’t born successful. We’ve all worked since we were teens. We know just how much better it is to have what we have now. But the hard work taught us what we should know…that we were happy and close as a family, even when we had next to nothing and ate biscuits and butter many night for supper. We didn’t know what it was like to eat steak until we were in our later years…like 21. And that our parents did the best they could and raised us well. We lost Mom 3 weeks ago and I don’t know if I’ll make it. life was never easy when we were kids but having Mom and Dad was truly all we wanted. I know that now.

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  144. Karen - August 2, 2017 3:19 pm

    I do not believe wisdom or a life perspective comes with age, but rather the life and experiences you live. One of the most profound things I learned in life came from the perspective and experience of my three year old son. I am really fond of your writing and perspective.

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  145. Mary - August 2, 2017 5:28 pm

    There are far too many hateful idiots in this world. He’s one of them. I learned this quote a long time ago. Hope he reads it and let’s it sink in. “Better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.” Congrats to the idiot who wrote this dear Sean hatefulness. He fits the quote perfectly.

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  146. Larry Conley - August 2, 2017 5:55 pm

    Hey Sean,
    I can only surmise that Unfriending is off his meds. Your column is a breath of fresh air that I look for every day. The world could use a few more just like you.
    God bless you.

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  147. Gerald Worley - August 2, 2017 6:34 pm

    Sean, I feel sorry for the guy who gave the derogatory remarks about you. You have to experience life like you described in order to gain the ability to forgive and not let words hinder you on your daily journey. It takes a man who has integrity, honesty, manners, humility and genuine love for his neighbours to ignore this kind of verbal assault. May God inrich your shared wisdom.

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  148. Melodie - August 4, 2017 12:22 am

    What a true inspiration you are, Sean. Thank you.

    Reply

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