There is a lot I don’t know about this world. I don’t know why society gets colder. I don’t know why families break up, why good people get cancer, or why the self-centered get promoted.

It’s early. I am on the road this morning. I stopped for breakfast at McDonald’s. I know the food’s not good for me, but Egg McMuffins and I have a long history.

There’s a man here with his daughter. They’re in the booth behind me. He talks to her with so much sugar in his voice it’s hard not to smile.

He asks if she had a fun weekend.

She tells him she doesn’t want to leave him and go live with her mother. He tells her she must go. She cries. He holds her.

“Don’t cry,” he says. “We still have weekends together.”

In a nearby booth is a group of Mexican boys. Their voices are happy. Their clothes are filthy.

A jokester in the group attempts a stunt for entertainment value. He leans backward and balances a full cup of coffee on his chin.

This is a bad idea.

A few tables over: a woman. She has a service dog. She doesn’t appear to be blind, but then what do I know?

The dog sits while she eats. A man comes out of the restroom and pets the dog, but the dog doesn’t even acknowledge him. The animal is all business.

“Pretty dog,” the man says.

The woman answers, “He’s my everything.”

A few kids burst through the doors and stand in line. They are breathless, like they’ve just covered fifty miles on their bikes.

I wish more kids rode to town on bikes.

The man behind me is still talking to his little girl. “Your mother’s here,” he says.

A tall woman walks through the doors. She makes a beeline for the man and daughter. There is no small talk. She’s cool and collected.

They head for the parking lot. The man pops the hatch of an SUV and unloads pink backpacks, roller skates, a scooter, and flower-print luggage. The tall woman shoves things into a minivan.

He gives the girl a hug, kisses her forehead. He watches the minivan roll away. He hangs his head.

Well.

There is a lot I don’t know about this world. I don’t know why society gets colder. I don’t know why families break up, why good people get cancer, or why the self-centered get promoted.

I don’t know why news anchors use excited voices to talk about bad things. I don’t know why mass shootings earn more camera-time than people who change tires for strangers.

But I’m no fool. There are a few things I do know. Real things.

I know, for instance, that dogs are loyal. And holy. I know Mexican boys stick together and try to make each other laugh.

I know kids still ride bikes. I know people still make music on porches, and that mornings are still the best time of day. I know some fathers fight tooth and nail for weekends with their little girl.

I know this Egg McMuffin isn’t half bad. Neither is love. I know that I love you.

I know that I am your brother.

And I know that no matter who you are, where you’re from, or what kind of hell you’re going through…

That means we’re kin.

53 comments

  1. muthahun - April 27, 2018 5:49 am

    Two kids flying and mom’s white knuckling it for them… and now, because it’s 1:45am, both have landed, and my cream puffs for tomorrow’s concert/desserts are done, I’m headed to bed. I don’t know either, bro, but an Egg McMuffin every once in a while soothes the soul. Not as much as our hounds, but that’ll come. Be well.

    Reply
  2. Pamela McEachern - April 27, 2018 6:27 am

    You are the type of kindred soul that always seems to make me feel better. I hope you have a peaceful weekend and feel the love we all are sending you and Jamie. It’s going to get better.

    Peace and Love from Birmingham

    Reply
  3. Leslie in NC - April 27, 2018 7:09 am

    Sean, I’d be honored to call you brother. A brother of tender heart, one who sees goodness, beauty and hope in this world. A brother who can put what you see, experience and feel into words which form pictures such that so many of us feel we are right there with you, seeing what you see, feeling what you feel, hoping what you hope. That’s what a great writer does. My brother, the writer.

    Reply
    • Wendy - April 28, 2018 2:53 am

      Excellent

      Reply
  4. candyalso - April 27, 2018 9:52 am

    I don’t have a brother, but you Sean are the best brother I never had!

    Reply
  5. Jennifer L Sekella - April 27, 2018 10:10 am

    Yes we are.

    Reply
  6. Gordon - April 27, 2018 10:15 am

    Love you too, brother.

    Reply
  7. Julie - April 27, 2018 10:51 am

    Well, I love you too and I’m happy to have you for a brother!

    Reply
  8. Carol ann ROTHWELL - April 27, 2018 11:16 am

    I Love you,too my brother,and do you know how much I want to hug you and if not take away your pain,but let you know I care…God cares,& he cared so much for Ellie too.He won’t leave you alone…There’s your Jamie,Thank God!!
    I Love ya.👼

    Reply
  9. Penn Wells - April 27, 2018 11:22 am

    Still the 3 most powerful words in the English language. Even when they come out of nowhere and even if they are undeserved. And you are still the best closer in the business. 👍

    Reply
  10. Leigh - April 27, 2018 11:23 am

    You’ve been on my mind ….

    Reply
  11. Debra - April 27, 2018 11:34 am

    People have service dogs for all kinds of reasons; and not all disabilities are visible. Just sayin.

    Reply
  12. Diane - April 27, 2018 11:56 am

    I love you back. There is so much love in this world that the chatter of bad things trys to drown. Sometimes it almost succeeds. And I know that when my kin hurts, I hurt. My husband, some friends and I will be coming from Middle Tennessee to Alabama for “An Evening of Songs and Stories” early next year. I will be the crazy elderly lady with arms outstretched looking for a hug from my brother.

    Reply
  13. Kathy - April 27, 2018 12:01 pm

    Bless you, brother.

    Reply
  14. Dianne - April 27, 2018 12:05 pm

    This would be a good one for all of our elected officials to read, plus some other people, too. Our world and the people in it do seem to be getting more callous and cold…………what a shame!! By the way, Sean, I have a friend who has a service dog………..she has PTSD, and the dog keeps her calm and awakens her from the nightmares she has. I also know a family who has a service dog for their daughter who has severe diabetes. The dog “alerts” her and the family sometimes 30 minutes before her number is visible in a blood reading. There are many types of service dogs, and they are all a blessing. Have a peaceful weekend!

    Reply
  15. Jan - April 27, 2018 12:09 pm

    So glad to see the world through your eyes! You have been on my heart … glad that you still see all those good things out in this big world. Bless you!

    Reply
  16. Michael Bishop - April 27, 2018 12:14 pm

    Well, who gives a rap about society? What doesn’t grow colder — this is meant to be solace and consolation, not rebuke — are neighbors, and friends, and incidental fellowship, like the sort you invariably find in your travels, when even strangers drop their hoodies and show you faces that reflect your own, no matter their color, the geometry of their features, or the telltales of their age.

    And you show US that every morning, Sean, even when loss has your ears pinned back and your spirit squaring its shoulders against a new constricting coat. In showing us your humanity, you show us yours, and so, yes, also the brotherhood connecting us all. God bless you, as God, even when sorrowing with you and with us, seems to do every day. What you do, what you say, makes a difference, every day.

    Reply
  17. Michael Bishop - April 27, 2018 12:15 pm

    I meant, you show us OURS. Have a terrific day.

    Reply
  18. Marty from Alabama - April 27, 2018 12:16 pm

    If we would look at others as kinfolk, maybe, just maybe, we could have more love floating around us. It is not easy getting close to some people. May be that we are some of those people at times.

    Reply
  19. Mike Guilday (Pensacola, FL - April 27, 2018 12:16 pm

    I’m still not over the loss of Ellie. I know you aren’t either. Know that all of us out here in Boggerville, are praying for you and asking the Saint Peter of The Dog Gates to welcome Ellie with peanut butter and an old shirt of yours to comfort her time without you. I can’t imagine my life without my Molly, Cockalier and Princess.

    Reply
  20. Connie Havard Ryland - April 27, 2018 12:29 pm

    Love and hugs. I don’t have much to give, but I give those in abundance. Be safe out there.

    Reply
  21. Ann - April 27, 2018 1:21 pm

    I read your stories every day and enjoy all of them. Some of them made me cry (especially the one about your precious dog. I,too, am like you in that I see the good all around me. Please keep those stories coming.

    Reply
  22. Edna B. - April 27, 2018 1:36 pm

    Every morning, you put a smile on my heart. I love how you see the good in people. I would be proud to call you Brother. God bless you and have a super day, hugs, Edna B.

    Reply
  23. Mary - April 27, 2018 1:38 pm

    Thank you. I look forward to your letter with my first cup of coffee.

    Reply
  24. Lorita Oswalt-Peiffer - April 27, 2018 1:39 pm

    I love you too. Thank you for making this world a better place by sharing the good things still left in this world. It gives me hope until Jesus returns for us.

    Reply
  25. Sharin - April 27, 2018 1:40 pm

    God bless you brother Sean. Praying for you and thankful for your kinder, more true view of the world we live in for now, till we go home.

    Reply
  26. Tawanah Fagan Bagwell - April 27, 2018 1:53 pm

    Amen!

    Reply
  27. Nix LaVerdi - April 27, 2018 1:56 pm

    This means a lot to me, Sean. My brother passed a few months ago. Thank you for being a brother. Thank you for being kin. Your stories, and you, make me feel less alone in this world and bring me light, everyday. Thank you, so very much.

    Reply
  28. Linda Lou - April 27, 2018 2:13 pm

    Enjoyed your special talent last night! Laughter is good for the soul! Keep up the good work and excellent writing, Brother!

    Reply
  29. Pat - April 27, 2018 2:13 pm

    Well said brother!

    Reply
  30. Melissa - April 27, 2018 3:20 pm

    Amen Brother

    Reply
  31. Kathy - April 27, 2018 3:34 pm

    I know there’s a huge hole in your life right now, and I feel it. Thank you for being some of the good in the world. Love.

    Reply
  32. Kathy - April 27, 2018 3:36 pm

    I don’t mean to disagree with Mike from Pensacola, but I don’t think there’s a Dog Gate. Actually, Mike has a good heart. I believe we all go in together.

    Reply
  33. Eleanor - April 27, 2018 3:44 pm

    I was at the grocery store this morning when I saw a sweet man I went to high school with. He was picking out a bouquet of flowers. I said, how nice. He said there was a cashier there who had worked there for years and he had become friendly with her, and today she was graduating from college in accounting, and the flowers were for her. He called it an angel touch. I set myself nearby so I could watch unobserved. She rang up the flowers and then he told her they were her. She came around and gave him a big hug and I wiped sweet tears from my eyes, it made my day much better, too.

    Reply
    • Gordon - April 27, 2018 5:32 pm

      Thanks for that story, and smile, Eleanor.

      Reply
  34. Jack Quanstrum - April 27, 2018 4:04 pm

    I hear ya!

    Reply
  35. jnearen - April 27, 2018 5:41 pm

    Which, by the way, is why I hurt for you over the loss of Ellie Mae. We foster small dogs. My wife has saved about a dozen of them so far. The idea is to find them someone that will love and care for them the way you did Ellie Mae. One, Izzy, was so frightened that we could hardly catch her. Had to keep a leash attached to her at all times so we could step on it as she ran past. Today we took the three dogs and our two cats for their morning walk. Izzy now walks without a leash, comes (sorta) when she’s called and just goes all wiggly when I come home at night. Saturday is her big adoption event in Pensacola. It’s taken 9 weeks to “normalize” her life. Can’t imagine what it’s going to do to her to have to start over. Think I’m going to send a check to the adoption agency instead of a dog to adopt. Guess the wife has saved a dozen plus 1.

    Reply
  36. Garnet Faulkner - April 27, 2018 6:20 pm

    Thank you for making me
    smile and have tears in my eyes at the same time! Have a great weekend!

    Reply
  37. Jdollsmom - April 27, 2018 7:02 pm

    The world is indeed cold, but we can’t stop looking for the lovely and the good. It is there. Bless be the tie that binds. Love you right back Sean. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  38. Janet Mary Lee - April 27, 2018 7:21 pm

    I love having extra kin!! Especially when it is someone as wonderful, sensitive and talented as you!! Thankful to you for your writings!

    Reply
  39. Pat - April 27, 2018 7:26 pm

    Oh those delicious Egg McMuffins! My little chihuahua, Lola, shares with me. She lets me eat the egg and bread and she gets the meat. When she looks at me with that complete adoration for me and the Egg McMuffin I don’t have the heart not to share. You, kind sir, are a fine example of love. We indeed are kin and if you are ever in this neck of the woods Lola and I would be happy to buy you breakfast!

    Reply
  40. Anna walley - April 28, 2018 12:28 am

    Love you and all your beautiful stories about everyday people!! So sorry about your precious girl dog- I love my fur babies and my real baby (he’s 24) but the furry ones love you unconditionally!!!

    Reply
  41. Karen Ranney Wolkins - April 28, 2018 12:58 am

    How is it, that no matter what, I almost always end up in tears by the end of your post? You truly are a gift Sean Dietrich.

    Reply
  42. Wendy - April 28, 2018 3:18 am

    I love you, Sean! My “real” brother had the same parents as I, but you’re definitely my 2nd brother. I’m pretty darn sure you won’t mind being runner-up to this saintly man. I am truly blessed to have you both!
    May our loving Father God comfort y’all always … but especially as you grieve for your precious Ellie Mae.

    Reply
  43. Judy - April 28, 2018 3:29 am

    We could all use a brother like you. No matter how many we may already have…

    Reply
  44. Michael Hawke - April 28, 2018 3:39 am

    Thank you.

    Reply
  45. Lynn - April 28, 2018 5:10 pm

    That outlook is why I love you. You find beauty in everything and everyone. Ellie Mae will always be at your side in spirit , she’s in your head and your heart.

    Reply
  46. Karen Fluharty - April 29, 2018 3:00 am

    Sean, I am amazed you are able to write. I know you are going through hell missing Elly Mae. I feel like I know you. I read your writings everyday. Some days, I just
    Want the world to stop and read your stuff. Some days I almost am in tears and just want to sit and be quiet. You are part
    Of my daily life. I love you back brother.

    Reply
  47. Barbara Schweck - April 29, 2018 7:01 pm

    I love you too, Sean. Thank you for writing and sharing your beautiful stories. We are all the same but different.

    Reply
  48. Arlene - April 30, 2018 8:25 pm

    So nice to hear about good things for a change. Thank you. Divorce is hard on all concerned.

    Reply
  49. JoAn - April 30, 2018 10:06 pm

    Thank you for your honest heartfelt writing..I needed to be blessed and I was..I am sorry about Ellie Maes passing and happy to know you found Thelma Lou…in Gods time…love

    Reply
  50. Joe Patterson - May 1, 2018 11:11 am

    I have been there thank you we are all kin

    Reply
  51. Mary Jane Sepmeier - May 8, 2018 11:59 pm

    Thank you, Sean, for putting your heart into your words, every time you write. You are a gift to each of us who are blessed to know you, and to have grown up in the Old South of 50 – 68 – years ago, who holds in our own minds the memories you write so eloquently about, Thank you for being my kin, Brother.

    Reply

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