Dietrich’s Complaint

I don't know what's happening to the world. People are angry. TV personalities earn seven-digit incomes by getting peeved.

How I got invited to a corporate business convention isn’t the story here. But let’s just say there are lots of people wearing nice suits and finishing sentences with: “Did I already give you a card?”

There is a guest speaker. He is famous. I don’t care for him. His talent: complaining.

He complains about America, religion, the economy, pro-sports. About lukewarm fried eggs.

The people love him. They applaud after each purple-faced rant.

The woman next to me says, “Oh, I watch his show on TV all the time. Don’t you just love him?”

I do not. If you ask me, he needs more fiber in his diet.

I leave the main event and make the long drive back home. The sun is setting. It is a stunning sky.

I don’t know what’s happening to the world. People are angry. TV personalities earn seven-digit incomes by getting peeved.

Well, maybe I am feeling particularly inspired by the guest speaker. Because I have a mind to make a list of my own complaints.

My first complaint: sunsets.

Sunsets don’t last long enough. They only give a few minutes of sky-painted glory, then it’s goodnight, Gracie.

I know. That’s not a real complaint, but give me time, I’m new to this.

Complaint two: puppies. They grow up too fast. There is nothing half as marvelous as razor-sharp puppy teeth.

I’m also complaining that there aren’t more barbecue joints.

I don’t mean the fancy kind where waiters wear all-black and use iPads to email copies of your receipt. I’m talking concrete-block joints with ugly bathrooms, decent service, and food served in red plastic baskets.

Something else: I wish people gave more compliments for no reason.

Hardback hymnals. I’m not happy about their disappearance. Give me elderly Miss Betty on piano, and forty-six choruses of “Just As I Am.”

And speaking of old people. I’m complaining that there aren’t more old folks on television.

Yesterday, I scrolled one thousand and five TV stations, and I didn’t see one stitch of white hair. That’s a shame. The smartest woman I ever knew had sugar-white hair and answered to the name Granny.

I wish every girl loved her own body, hair-color, and personality.

I’d like to see people throw more backyard cookouts, fewer rocks.

I wish more porches waved flags. And I wish God wasn’t a dirty word.

I wish the six-o’clock news didn’t love crime scenes so much.

I want Willie Nelson to live forever. And I’d like it if the lady who throws my newspaper at three in the morning would inherit a million dollars.

I hope Bradley, a six-year-old with foster parents, finds a forever home. I pray Lonnie and Meredith get over the death of their two-year-old son.

And I wish anyone who complains about America, religion, or gas prices, could watch a sunset in Brewton, Hartford, Graceville, Wewahitchka, Fadette, Jackson’s Gap, Eight Mile, Chipley, Coffee Springs, Level Plains, or Geneva. That might cure them—at least for a little while.

I know.

I’m supposed to be complaining.

I can’t do it while I’m watching this sunset.

61 comments

  1. Connie - July 25, 2017 1:40 pm

    Amen. Fewer complaints and more thankfulness for what we have.

    Reply
  2. Marisa Franca @ All Our Way - July 25, 2017 1:40 pm

    Amen!! We stopped watching the news in the morning and at night. We would start the day depressed and go to bed upset. Who needs that?! Stay around positive people and read positive material — well, like Sean of the South!

    Reply
  3. Phil Mclaughlin - July 25, 2017 1:43 pm

    Thank you for sunsets over complaints….and hard backed hymnals

    Reply
  4. Shaneyfelt - July 25, 2017 1:46 pm

    My complaint: this wasn’t long enough. You should have expounded more 😌

    Reply
  5. Catherine - July 25, 2017 1:48 pm

    Ahh, the “NEWS”. I watch reruns of Andy Griffith instead. People need to stop complaining about everything! Things are still good in Mayberry, Union Springs, Vienna, Hico, Truxno, Laran, Cherry Ridge and Athens. We still stop for rainbows, funeral processions, old folks, and dogs in the road.

    Reply
    • Janet Mary Lee - July 25, 2017 3:45 pm

      Bless you , Catherine!

      Reply
  6. Donna Holifield - July 25, 2017 1:54 pm

    ❤️

    Reply
  7. Marsha Hammac - July 25, 2017 1:55 pm

    You are a wonderful shining light in this world. I want more people with your outlook on life. You hit on everything that is important in everything you write. Keep shining, Sean, you are so bright!!!

    Reply
  8. JANE L HUMPHREY - July 25, 2017 1:55 pm

    PREACH

    Reply
  9. Cathi Russell - July 25, 2017 1:57 pm

    Extremely heavy teary sigh. Here’s to more sunsets, sunrises and words like those. Thanks again, Sean!

    Reply
  10. Melodie - July 25, 2017 1:57 pm

    Thank you for the first smiles of my day. No complaining, here! 🙂

    Reply
  11. Elizabeth Westmark - July 25, 2017 2:00 pm

    I’m not a natural complainer, either. My first husband used to say that world war three could break out in big letters on the front page of the newspaper, but I would always find the lost puppy found story. But I guess I do have a complaint. My husband, Buck, is about to turn 80, and while he’s a fine, robust 79 right now, doctors have begun asking him how long he expects to live. (That’s my complaint.) Buck is like Labrador retrievers, who get sweeter with age. If there’s a heaven and we can be together and recognize each other and have a memory of our lives together, then okay, I’m all for it, and can bear the loss if and when it comes. Otherwise, I guess complaint #2 is that we’ll never have enough time to get it all said.

    Reply
  12. paula jones - July 25, 2017 2:02 pm

    From your computer to God’s ears––especially the Willie Nelson part.

    Reply
  13. kathy Fridley - July 25, 2017 2:09 pm

    you are awesome!

    Reply
  14. Betsy Brown - July 25, 2017 2:11 pm

    So beautiful. So much to be thankful for. I am so glad I live in Alabama and can enjoy all the glorious things you write about. Thanks for reminding me every day that we live in God’s country and most of us never forget it or Him.

    Reply
    • Jane Wasden - July 25, 2017 3:00 pm

      Amen!

      Reply
  15. Warren Callaway - July 25, 2017 2:21 pm

    there you go again Mr. S….you tell’um the real truth….. no place like “sweet home ALABAMA”…….

    Reply
  16. Norma Dunn - July 25, 2017 2:22 pm

    I lived in Westville, Fl for about 40 years. I used to stop at the top of the hill near my house and watch the glorious sunsets. Later on, my kids watched them with me and then my grandkids. We now live in NC with those same grandkids and one of their favorite things is watching the sunsets over the Big Swamp! I love your writings. Even a simple person like me can understand and enjoy them!

    Reply
  17. Diann - July 25, 2017 2:23 pm

    Ok, here’s my complaint. I’m sitting on the patio, the ceiling fans are on and it’s raining. I just finished reading my Bible and drinking a Keurig caramel macchiato. There aren’t enough mornings like this. But then again, maybe there are, so I won’t grow tired of them. Well that’s not really a complaint, but it’s the best I have. 😀

    Reply
  18. Ashley Noel McCreight - July 25, 2017 2:41 pm

    I read my hometown in that list of places to watch a sunset and teared up. Nothing better than a Jackson’s Gap sunset (or sunrise for that matter).

    Reply
  19. Naomi - July 25, 2017 2:45 pm

    My husband and I retired. We had bought the place where I was born and grew up. Three and a half miles of dirt road from a minuscule town with a gas station, dollar store, and six or seven churches in SW Arkansas. We built a large deck so that the grandkids can run and play and we can sit on the deck to watch sunrises and sunsets. Last spring we even watched the cedar trees expel their pollen. Now that was a sight. I thought the trees were spontaneously combusting, there for a bit. We watch deer and turkeys roam these hills and enjoy God’s creation. We don’t watch news, but check in on the computer to see what is going on so that we can vote responsibly. It is hard to find something to complain about when faced with such wonderful scenery.

    Reply
  20. m - July 25, 2017 3:08 pm

    Sean, if you have not had bbq at Webb’s 231 BBQ in Midland City, you should. You gave the perfect description of the place and they have great bbq!

    Reply
    • Todd - July 25, 2017 11:39 pm

      Definitely a must! Always great!

      Reply
  21. Janet Mary Lee - July 25, 2017 3:52 pm

    Amen!! I do complain the world is not plugged into the Earth! Who knew that could happen? I gave up cable for more quiet time, more quality time. The squirrels, birds, chipmunks and dogs wanted more real time, not ugly times!! And real is also Roc’s BBQ in Prattville, Al. The hole in the wall with also the best of everything that tastes like Grandma served it and kissed you too! I want to stay real myself! And you write real!!! Thank you again!!

    Reply
  22. Laurie Pallotta - July 25, 2017 4:09 pm

    And this is why I subscribe to your daily “rants.” I love how good I feel after reading them. There’s just too much negativity everywhere else.

    Reply
  23. Ernie Tompkins - July 25, 2017 4:31 pm

    Fantastic! I agree with your entire list!!

    Reply
  24. Anita Timothy - July 25, 2017 4:35 pm

    I’m sorry….You mentioned “Just as I am” and heard my grandmama singing it….and me trying…again…..all day today…

    Reply
  25. Paul - July 25, 2017 4:57 pm

    Sitting at friend’s house yesterday at sunset, full and quiet after three helpings of garbonzo and kale homemade soup, “I know. It sounds awful, but I make everything from scratch these days…” she says. And before the homemade strawberry ice cream, with balsamic vinegar (!) — “I know… Just try it.”
    The quiet is so deep, the twilight so perfect, I don’t tell her about fiend of my mom’s who brought home her new hubbie, President of the American Medical Association, and brought pizza which she insisted we try withAPPLESAUCE

    “I need to call Ann, tell

    Reply
    • Paul - July 25, 2017 5:03 pm

      Sitting at friend’s house yesterday at sunset, full and quiet after three helpings of garbonzo and kale homemade soup, “I know. It sounds awful, but I make everything from scratch these days…” she says. And before the homemade strawberry ice cream, with balsamic vinegar (!) — “I know… Just try it.”
      The quiet is so deep, the twilight so perfect, I don’t tell her about fiend of my mom’s who brought home her new hubbie, President of the American Medical Association, and brought pizza which she insisted we try with APPLESAUCE on it. “I know. I know. Just try it…”
      At length she says, “I need to call Ann. She’s about to go on that cruise to Alaska that Jesse and I went on last year. Tell her the sunset there last forever. You get up by the Arctic Circle. It’s midnight and the sun NEVER GOES DOWN. Tell her to go outside, just sit down. Look.”
      You want a LONG sunset? Want to go where (when) sun NEVER sets?

      Reply
  26. Marileen Knisley - July 25, 2017 5:01 pm

    I needed more ‘complaining’ from you. I wasn’t thru reading. Blessings Sean. Preach!!!

    Reply
  27. Laura Fryburg - July 25, 2017 5:09 pm

    Thanks Sean!!!!!

    Reply
  28. Ellen - July 25, 2017 5:20 pm

    I think the line about the guy who needs more fiber in his diet is an excellent complaint. I’m going to remember it every time the name of one of those people comes up. And I’m eating more oatmeal in an effort to avoid being tempted to launch my own rants.

    Reply
  29. Rev. Steve Baccus - July 25, 2017 5:37 pm

    Best one yet!

    Reply
  30. Debbie Galladora - July 25, 2017 6:01 pm

    yes…

    Reply
  31. Marty from Alabama - July 25, 2017 6:32 pm

    Love today’s blog. A good complaint is good for the soul. Of course, I would not call your observations complaints. Oh, the one about the hardback hymnals. That is my complaint. Why do we have to look at a screen to sing and what’s with no music only words?
    Love, love, love your blogs.

    Reply
  32. Jack Quanstrum - July 25, 2017 6:58 pm

    Amen! I heard ya Sean! One of your best! Thank you for your humor in your writing style. Keep it going!

    Reply
  33. Buck Godwin - July 25, 2017 7:07 pm

    Sean, you also mentioned hard back hymnals.
    My church choir sang “It Is Well With My Soul” to a tuneless tune that was so far from the original that it was almost unrecognizable.
    It hurt me to listen.

    Our hymnals hold testimonials from the writers that are unmatched by anything being “performed” in our modern churches and they are written in perfected tune with the melodies.

    I have always felt that most of the old hymns were inspired by the Holy Spirit because no mortal could possibly compose them on their own.

    Thanks for always reminding us of the sweetness of God’s handiwork that surrounds us every day.

    God bless you Sean of the South.

    Reply
  34. Tommy - July 25, 2017 7:43 pm

    The Barbecue joint (from the 7/25 article) needs to make your clothes smell so that people that you meet the rest of the day say, “Where did you eat that barbecue?”

    Reply
  35. Judy Miller - July 25, 2017 7:51 pm

    I would never attend one of those kinds of seminars or whatever they are called. It is hard enough to be any kind of peaceful even watching the evening news–which I now also try to avoid. Why is everyone so angry and mad about everything? I’m even afraid to make any witty remarks anymore because someone sure will be offended. This white haired granny is sad for our society and wishes the Rapture would come right now! I want outta here!

    Reply
  36. Peggy Lee - July 25, 2017 9:50 pm

    I am so thankful that Steve Latham, our dear friend, introduced me to your writing. You can say more in a 3-word sentence than anyone can in a paragraph. Your simple expressions of life, people and everyday events inspire me; often I will stop mid-stream and wonder why I can’t conjure those same thoughts. I anxiously await your next post.

    Reply
  37. Sandy - July 25, 2017 10:32 pm

    Thank you. Please don’t send them to the UK. I’d rather you keep trying to change them one little message like yours at a time.
    There are people like your down south folk here, too. and like the Maine folk I spent my growing up years with.
    Sandy in the UK
    PS record the few things on telly that make you smile – like Gardener’s World and Antiques Roadshow. Then you don’t have to watch the news.

    Reply
  38. Katy Maddox - July 25, 2017 10:33 pm

    Sean- I am almost done with a month of teaching English to Chinese English teachers … in China, to students who have never learned from a native speaker. I save your story until the beginning of my day – to remind me of home, of what’s real and why I came. Your literary voice is pure and true and you make me proud! The pure & true Chinese people love generously and unselfishly- just like you!

    Reply
  39. Bobbie Lamons Lovell - July 25, 2017 11:28 pm

    I eagerly await your article every day. You write like I think, and I love it.

    Reply
  40. Bobbie Lamons Lovell - July 25, 2017 11:30 pm

    I eagerly await your articles. You write like I think, and I love it.
    Look forward to tomorrow.

    Reply
  41. Sandra Van Dam - July 25, 2017 11:55 pm

    😁

    Reply
  42. Gail - July 26, 2017 1:21 am

    Thank you Sean – just what I needed!

    Reply
  43. Kathy - July 26, 2017 2:21 am

    Preach it!!!!!

    Reply
  44. Wendy - July 26, 2017 2:56 am

    How I miss the good old hardback Cokesbury hymnal my small town church used on Sunday nights. And whatever happened to Sunday NIGHT services?
    Thanks again for the memories, Sean.

    Reply
  45. Betty Jo Nelson - July 26, 2017 5:36 am

    I bet they complain because they live in big cities with concrete buildings blocking the view and people packed so tight they have no room to stop to smell the roses let alone see a sunset.

    Reply
  46. Debbie Smith - July 26, 2017 10:45 am

    I am complaining that I didn’t find out about your writings sooner! I love telling everyone I meet about you and sharing your thoughts! Have a blessed sunset today!

    Reply
    • Betty Jo Nelson - July 26, 2017 6:26 pm

      Debbie, you can find links to many past thoughts to keep you busy for hours. But make sure you have a box of tissues handy. I spent a rainy afternoon reading Sean’s many stories.

      Reply
  47. Cindy - July 26, 2017 10:50 am

    I just ended a20 year relationship over complaining…every day something to complain about, all day…lose a 18 year old son in a four wheel accident and then you can somewhat complain, but don’t complain just to hear your voice be heard and be angry….find some joy and more sunsets …

    Reply
  48. Judy Riley - July 26, 2017 12:21 pm

    Sean,
    Now you’ve done it…opened a can of worms. You left out the sunset coming through Marianna on Hwy 90. I really don’t think there is anywhere on this earth that a sunset is not beautiful…you know that, I know. The other thing…”gettin’ over” the death of a loved one….especially your child…or losing a parent, especially the way you did, as a youngster. There just “ain’t no gettin’ over it”. I’m not trying to be a smart aleck, I just wanted to point out a fact that you are already aware of, maybe you were just trying to gloss over the feelings of pain after the sudden loss of a dearly, loved one. I hope I’m making myself clear (probably as mud). I think a person does “get over” the loss of an elderly parent, but to lose a parent as you did or to lose a child ..those are two things you don’t “get over”, you just learn to live with the pain and the sharp edges do dull over a period of time….a long time. I know….I’ve lost two children. Keep on, keepin’ on Sean…your stories mean so much, to so many folks.

    Reply
  49. Helen Eklund - July 26, 2017 1:45 pm

    God bless you Sean of the South!

    Reply
  50. Karen - July 26, 2017 2:35 pm

    Great letter, the media and much of America have gone crazy negative. “Don’t sweat the Small Stuff”. It is the little (Big) things that mean the most. The sunset, looking at at the stars at night, burgers in a basket, country roads with fresh fruit stands and vegetables, going to the Ball Game, singing in church, paying a compliment to a stranger and making conversation. H helping an older person and listening to their wisdom. I love my Flag and it will always fly on my front door as long as I am breathing. God Bless this Great Nation. My grandfather fought in both WWI and WWII, my brother a Marine and my son a Marine and fought in Iraq, in 2003 and 2004. Our Country is in a quandary, lost at sea trying to paddle its way back to land….Sometimes I wonder and worry for my grandchildren and what they will inherit. I love positive thinkers and those that lift your spirits not bring you down. Everyday is a new day, why not enjoy and make the best of today instead of tear it down with negatives and hostility. People today that are negative are like spoiled brats that can’t have their way, so they pout and make others miserable by being mean and negative, which is non constructive. I refuse to be around them. Freedom say and speak your feelings. There is HOPE we just have to apply ourselves and pray. There is good every where we turn, we need to rise above the negatives and focus on the positives. We are still the greatest nation under God. The little things are the most precious and they are BIG to me. Thank you for writing this letter this morning. So much truth and I appreciate you very much. Keep on writing and Bless you Sean!!

    Reply
  51. Lucretia Jones - July 26, 2017 2:58 pm

    Yes, Yes, and Yes. . .

    Reply
  52. Myra Warren - July 26, 2017 6:39 pm

    Admire your writing. I’m betting T.D. Jakes was not the speaker you referred to in article. Agree , so I am not complaining. Have a great day!

    Reply
  53. Perri Geaux Tigers Williamson - July 30, 2017 12:41 pm

    You are on to something here, Sean. I have a few to add to your list.

    I don’t even know what a hand basket is, but I know we’re heading to Hell in one. Why, there is NOBODY, not one, in my circle of friends that can thunk a watermelon to check for juiciness. They can’t detect hollow from hard! They can pick out their son playing fourth chair clarinet, though.

    Nobody eats pancakes or donuts anymore. So I ask you, how can anyone be anything BUT angry? The fancy speaker you mentioned probably hasn’t graced the inside of an IHOP since gluten and carbs became public enemy number 1…..and 2.

    And while we seem to be on the subject of food let’s talk about fried chicken. Hell, you can’t even have FRIED as part of the name of your restaurant. I LOVE fried chicken. It is my spirit animal. I would marry it if it didn’t deepen the chasm of current marital problems ushered in by my connoisseurship of SEC football.

    My husband didn’t appreciate that I wanted a big screen at our wedding reception because my game was on. Well…he won that one, but it looks like all that Georgia boy’s gonna win.

    For once I disagree with you. What we need is MORE complaining. How will I ever get my restaurant that specializes in fried chicken skin without it?

    Reply
    • Jack Quanstrum - July 30, 2017 2:01 pm

      Like your fire for the way things use to be. America Wake up!

      Reply
  54. Melodie - September 10, 2017 8:30 pm

    I complain I get only one, Sean of the South in my daily email. ☺

    Reply
  55. Melodie - September 10, 2017 8:32 pm

    Oh, and not more beautiful sunsets at the horse rescue ranch. ♥

    Reply

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