I was going to write something else, but I changed my mind. And I know this is corny—believe me, I know—but I like you.
No, It’s true. We probably don’t know each other, but I really like you. In fact, I sort of love you to death. I swear it. And I just have a feeling that you need to hear that today.
Anyway, if you do, I’m your guy.
You know what else I love? Minnie Pearl. I love the way she always greeted audiences by saying, “How-DEE!” I would’ve married that woman if she would’ve been, say, seventy years younger.
I also love the cashier in Winn-Dixie. Her name is Linda, she’s from North Alabama, and she talks like it. She and her husband moved here for his job.
She showed me cellphone photos of her parents, brothers, and sisters. She wears a strong face when she talks, but I know homesickness when I see it.
“My mother is coming to town,” she told me. “For vacation, on Monday.”
She was so excited that it was blasting through her green eyes.
I love the boy selling magazine subscriptions at my front door. I didn’t want to buy magazines, but that kid deserved a few bucks for being brave enough to knock on a stranger’s door.
I asked why he was selling them. He told me it was because he wanted to earn enough to buy a cutting-edge smartphone.
For his grandmother.
I love Cracker Barrel. In the early morning. With the triangle-peg game. Coffee. Bacon. And an old friend.
And I love Brigette. You’d like her, too. She’s a four-foot-nine stick of dynamite with silver hair. Her husband had Alzheimer’s. Brigette was his caretaker. She gave everything to him. It’s just who she is. She gave until he flew away. Then she gave some more.
I love the white-haired man I saw today. He sat at the intersection with a backpack and a cardboard sign which read: “Going to Tallahassee.”
His name was Gary. His skin was sun-darkened. His son lives in Tallahassee.
I love my neighbor’s dog. The dog has liver cancer. She’s named Libby. Libby has been alive four years longer than the vet predicted.
Libby takes a short walk every day, by herself. Sometimes I see her on the road, limping.
I love my niece. I love my mother-in-law. I love the World Series. I love autumn. And even though it’s taken a long time to feel this way, I love my old boss, who fired me years ago because he happened to be the greasy Pawn of Satan. No. I’m only kidding.
I love the hoodlum who busted my truck window in a restaurant parking lot, trying to steal my stereo.
And I love the policeman who stared into my shattered window and said, “Why would ANYONE want to break into THIS ugly truck?”
Pretty trucks are just about worthless if you ask me.
I love my father. His last days on this earth were a sort of living hell. A period which I sometimes write about, because if I don’t, who will?
I love my mother, for helping me survive that hell.
I love my friends, for making me believe in my own written words. Words like this. You know who you are. I love my wife. My sister. I love our garbage man.
I love the lilies in our front-yard ditch. I love collard greens, fiddle music, and the smell of Granddaddy’s pomade.
I love clean-smelling laundry, campfires, and Conecuh Quickfreeze sausage. Biscuits, when they’re homemade. Cocktail lights, and older women with pricetags dangling from their big hats who say, “Hooowwww-DEEE!”
Anyway, maybe I shouldn’t have written this. After all, there’s no real point to it.
But in case you need to hear it today…
Well. You know the rest.