I’ve heard people say this world is in the outhouse. The newspapers, for instance, claim civilization is in big trouble.

Georgiana, Alabama—Kendall’s Barbecue joint is not just a barbecue joint. Inside this tin-roofed place is God’s own kitchen. The pulled pork here is nothing short of Biblical.

And today I need a little pork. I’m on my way to a memorial service.

I pull over for lunch. Large pulled pork. Extra pickles. I’m eating in my truck with windows down.

It’s hot outside.

A young couple in a Taurus pulls in. Dirt on the fenders. The boy is tall and skinny. His pants are too big. She’s pregnant.

There are three kids with them—all redheads. God help those children.

The young man is covered in sweat and dust.

They get their bag of food and head toward the car. He helps kids into carseats. He kisses each on the forehead.

The woman says to him, “Hurry, come quick! Feel him kick!”

He comes to her. He presses an ear to her swollen belly. His face lights up. He kisses her.

Then, they share a look.

After they leave, an older man orders at the counter. He has white hair, overalls, sweat spots on his shirt.

When he gets his paper bag, he takes it and walks to his truck. There is a dog in his vehicle.

While the man eats in his driver’s seat, I see him through his window. His mouth is moving, and he’s smiling.

I’ll be dog if he isn’t talking to that pup.

When he finishes, he stuffs a tobacco pipe with his thumb, cracks the window, and lights it. The dog gives the man a lick on the cheek. This makes the man smile.

Which makes me smile.

Next: a heavyset man orders food. He has broad shoulders and thick arms. He is with an elderly woman who uses a cane.

He orders. She sits in the shade.

“Mama,” he says to her. “You want tea?”

She does.

He helps her to a picnic table. She sits beside him.

“Napkins,” she says. “Need me some napkins.”

“Yes ma’am.”

“And more sauce.”

“Yes ma’am.”

“I’m running outta tea.”

“Yes ma’am.”

“I need to use the bathroom.”

He’s a good man.

I fire up my truck and let the AC run. I am covered in a thin layer of Alabamian humidity. The cold air feels good. I’ve got more interstate driving left to do.

I’ve heard people say this world is in the outhouse. The newspapers, for instance, claim civilization is in big trouble.

Maybe we are. What do I know.

But I don’t mind telling you that I don’t believe it. Not because I am an ignoramoose—at least not a full-blooded one. But because I have seen things.
I’ve seen grown men caring for elderly mamas. I’ve seen seven-year-old boys deliver eulogies. I’ve seen a homeless man toss money into an offering plate. I’ve seen dogs kiss old men who smoke pipes.

Maybe the world is going to hell. Maybe mankind is in the biggest crisis of all time. Maybe the naysayers are right. Maybe the end awaits.

Maybe.

But I wish you could’ve seen that kid’s face when he listened to that girl’s stomach.

He didn’t look too worried.

24 comments

  1. Martha Owens - June 20, 2018 11:04 am

    Great stories about real people. We all could benefit from being more observant to what goes on around us. I look forward to your posts every day. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  2. Jo Ann - June 20, 2018 11:12 am

    Thank you, again, Sean. You remind us that we just need to look around us to see the good, instead of listening to talking heads screaming about the outrage of the moment. Life is good.

    Reply
  3. Linda - June 20, 2018 11:34 am

    Thank you, Jo Ann!! You are so right. The good things are right before our eyes. We just have to look and most of the time, we should look up!!!

    Reply
  4. Dianne - June 20, 2018 11:53 am

    Thank you for another glimpse at the good side and goodness of people. All the media cares about is showing the bad and evil of this world. You and reading my Bible every morning make my days begin on a good note!

    Reply
  5. Barbara Wilson - June 20, 2018 12:07 pm

    There are a lot of good people in this nation. I’d much rather watch the kindness, compassion, and love of total strangers than watch the news. Your stories have made me so much more observant of those around me. Love your stories, you definitely have a gift. You’re doing a great job!

    Reply
  6. Jackye Thompson - June 20, 2018 12:14 pm

    Thank you.Your morning readings are a good start to my day.I think that the good folks are
    a much bigger bunch then the not so good.Blessings for today.Jackye Thompson -Jensen
    Niceville,Florida

    Reply
  7. Jones - June 20, 2018 1:09 pm

    👍👍 thank you!

    Reply
  8. Ann - June 20, 2018 1:29 pm

    I absolutely would rather read your stories than listen to the news any day. It is so refreshing to read something that does not include violence of any kind. Thank you so much for your stories.

    Reply
  9. Jack Darnell - June 20, 2018 1:35 pm

    I come here because I read words from my childhood (I”m nearly 80). Phrases like ‘I’ll be dog’, Yes ma’am, and ‘ignoramoose’. I remember them all. Some of ’em with a big story in my mind. If I could put my mind in gear with yours, I would be a good writer! LOL As always…. The best!

    Reply
  10. janiesjottings - June 20, 2018 1:45 pm

    It’s all in the way you look at things. Thanks for the reminder!

    Reply
  11. Penn Wells - June 20, 2018 1:59 pm

    Maybe he wasn’t worried. But in all honesty, he should have been. Yes, there are important individual acts of kindness and respect. But that’s not really what we’re talking about? Is it? We won’t get her back on the rails by ignoring what is going on and/or leaving it to others to fix.

    That’s how we got here in the first place.

    (How’s that for an ending, Mr Closer?)

    Reply
  12. Edna B. - June 20, 2018 2:45 pm

    I don’t know about that last comment (PW) but I prefer to hear more about the good things that are happening everywhere. We don’t dwell on it enough. Yes, there are things happening that need to be watched and tended to, but the bad news is overkill.

    I love the way you look at things and people. It takes a really good person to see inside to the good in other folks. I wonder how many other folks would have noticed the love in that man’s eyes as he helped his elderly mama. Or how many would have noticed the love and happiness on that young man’s face as he listened to and felt his unborn child moving about. And when my little dog snuggles against me, oh my, what a pleasurable feeling. Thank you for starting my day with more smiles. You have a great day, hugs, Edna B.

    Reply
    • Janet Mary Lee - June 21, 2018 4:56 pm

      Amen Ms Edna! We start with ourselves in love and work outwards! Sean is like a breakfast love basket- what is important! Thank you, Sean!

      Reply
  13. Sue Cronkite - June 20, 2018 3:13 pm

    I’m with you. I see love in lots of good people’s faces. And hope.

    Reply
  14. Steven - June 20, 2018 3:47 pm

    Have stopped there many times on our runs from Atlanta to Pensacola and back. Thanks for the memory jog.

    Reply
  15. Tom - June 20, 2018 4:11 pm

    Sean- I sure wish you would find us one of those great BBQ places near Santa Rosa Beach? Any suggestions??

    Reply
  16. Debra Kuhl (pronounced cool) - June 20, 2018 4:38 pm

    I’m so happy to have found you.

    Reply
  17. Judy - June 20, 2018 5:46 pm

    Georgiana….my birthplace….lived there for 8 years….I will have to stop by this BBQ place when next driving through….
    Look forward to your posts each morning, you are the best way to start my day!

    Reply
  18. Jan Browning - June 20, 2018 7:23 pm

    Thank you for posting something daily. I have fallen in love with your writing. I’m Pensacola born and raised and love the south. You are doing well young man. Thank you.

    Reply
  19. Jack Quanstrum - June 20, 2018 8:08 pm

    Great story. Excellent real life people and their interactions. I agree with you Sean , there is alot more good going on and around us.

    Reply
  20. Linda Chapman - June 20, 2018 10:57 pm

    You are such a treat!!! We read your every word as if we were starving to death for good news! Thank you for giving us some!

    Reply
  21. Melanie - June 21, 2018 5:52 am

    There are millions of beautiful things around us all the time. We have a choice. We can darken our lives with negativity or we can uplift ourselves with the many simple wonders of this world. Thank you for reminding us to look at the good things Sean.

    Reply
  22. Anna Ehrhardt - June 22, 2018 1:57 pm

    Don’t judge a book by its cover.

    Reply
  23. cathy notaro - June 22, 2018 6:52 pm

    People like you, Penn Wells, is part of the problem. If you don’t like the positive outlook Sean has, go back to your nightly news and leave the rest of us ignoramooses to ourselves.

    Thanks for keeping me in touch with my Southern (Fultondale, Alabama) roots while I am here in Southern California, Sean. The South is calling me home; just a little longer and I will be in Tennesse.

    Reply

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