My late father told me once, “If you ever get married, marry a woman who don’t care about money. Happiness and money are of no relation.”

The sun was coming up. We rode toward Charleston, doing sixty-five miles per hour in a two-seat truck.

“I can’t believe we’re married,” said my new wife.

“Me neither.”

In my wallet: two hundred dollars cash. It was all I had. I earned it by selling my guitar, one week earlier.

My late father told me once, “If you ever get married, marry a woman who don’t care about money. Happiness and money are of no relation.”

Well, she must not have cared because I had none. I was a blue-collar nothing with a nothing-future ahead of me. I had no high-school education. No achievements. No pot to you-know-what in, and no plant to pour it on. And not much confidence.

Until her.

She unfolded a roadmap on the dashboard. My truck radio played a Willie Nelson cassette. I was married.

Married. Things were looking up.

We arrived at a cheap motor-inn. She took a shower while I watched the idiot box. Andy Griffith was on.

I’d seen the episode a hundred times. Barney makes Otis jump rope to prove he’s sober. You know the rest. Crisis. Cliffhanger. Andy saves the day. Roll credits.

I made reservations at an upscale restaurant where the waiter pulls the chairs out for you. I wore the only necktie I owned.

We ate food I could not afford. I paid a hundred bucks—plus tip. We walked the streets, arm in arm.

“I can’t believe we’re married,” she said.

Then: the sound of horse hooves. A carriage. A man stepped out and groomed his animals on the sidewalk.

My wife remarked how pretty the horses were.

I asked how much he charged for rides.

“Hundred bucks,” he said.

I handed him my remaining wad of cash. “How much will this buy?”

He thought about it. “How’s ten minutes sound?”

We covered ourselves with a blanket. He carted us through the streets. We saw hotels where George Washington slept, buildings older than my grandaddy’s grandaddy’s grandaddy.

That nice man gave us an hour ride.

Later, that night, my wife said, “I feel like ice cream.”

We stopped at a grocery store. I was out of cash, so I wrote a personal check while whispering The Twenty-Third Psalm.

My wife sat on my tailgate, eating from the carton. I laid in the pickup bed, watching the moon.

“I can’t believe we’re married,” I said.

And I still can’t.

My life has changed considerably since that night. So have I. And I don’t want to be melodramatic here, but it’s because of my ice-cream eating bride.

She’s done things for me. She let me cry on her shoulder when my boss fired me. She held my hand, in an ambulance after I totalled my truck. She tutored me in college algebra.

She helped me piece together my education. She told a fatherless flunky he was every bit as smart as anyone else. She loved me.

It’s not our anniversary. It’s nobody’s birthday, either. I just felt like telling you about the reason I believe in God.

Her name is Jamie.

49 comments

  1. Linda - July 2, 2017 12:47 pm

    Sean, I was a high school English teacher, but I want you to know that when I read your writing, you make me smile and you make me cry, all within a couple of minutes. That says it all.

    Reply
  2. Donna Holifield - July 2, 2017 12:49 pm

    This is beautiful!

    Reply
  3. Diane Enloe - July 2, 2017 1:05 pm

    And your readers love Jamie, too! ❤☺️

    Reply
  4. Mary Hale - July 2, 2017 1:11 pm

    I love that you love your wife the way you do and talk about her the way that you do. Your stories inspire me to do better and give me faith in human kind when it is sorely missing. Thank you!

    Reply
  5. Laura Young - July 2, 2017 1:13 pm

    I see the wisdom of your reasoning. God knew that Jamie was just what you needed in your life. Not money or fame or “success” as seen by the world’s standards. You have discovered that relationships are more important than money. Peace comes without a bank account and sometimes ice cream is better than a fancy car and house. Love you, Sean, for helping others see that, too!!

    Reply
  6. Linda - July 2, 2017 1:19 pm

    I’m a native New Yorker but have always felt Southern inside…my father was an orphan and didn’t really speak of the past so when I retired I started working on my ancestry from that side of my family .My great grandfather was born in South Carolina…..fought at Gettysburg , survived it ( his brother didn’t ) was nursed back to health by a good woman and the rest is our family’s history…due in part to that woman – my great great grandmother…..

    Please continue to inspire people with your writings….
    God bless you and Jamie – a very good woman – and please continue to inspire your readers everyday with your writing……thank you .

    Reply
  7. Lydia Bennett - July 2, 2017 1:38 pm

    I just love how you honor your precious wife.Keep writing.Thanks!

    Reply
  8. Thomas Savage - July 2, 2017 1:42 pm

    Thanks. Ditto.🙃

    Reply
  9. Chuck Rosenthal - July 2, 2017 1:57 pm

    Sometimes less is more.

    Reply
  10. Marisa Franca @ All Our Way - July 2, 2017 2:00 pm

    You made me tear up twice in one morning. Lovely story about your wife!! I can see why you love her!!

    Reply
  11. Barry Haggerty - July 2, 2017 2:01 pm

    This has to be the most loving and inspiring story you have written. Thank your wife because together you’ll made a great writer of great stories from where you started in life. Keep sharing and give your wife a great big hug.

    Reply
  12. Judy Riley - July 2, 2017 2:35 pm

    I met your Jamie. I’ve talked to your Jamie. I believe you. She’s a jewel. And not in the rough! She has a calming affect. Don’t lose her…..keep her close.

    Reply
  13. Terri Bryson - July 2, 2017 2:43 pm

    We all need someone to believe in us. What a beautiful story! It brought tears to my eyes. Happy Stories are wonderful!

    Reply
  14. Jesse shanks - July 2, 2017 2:50 pm

    Touching story. Lost my beloved wife of 59 years last November. She and I very little when we began our life together like you did. She was alwzys my dafe place, the rock to stsnd on and the mother of three sons. North can ever repace her. Your stories help me remember the good times. Thank you.

    Reply
  15. Elizabeth May - July 2, 2017 2:54 pm

    You are both blessed! Absolutely lovely!

    Reply
  16. Sylvia Williams - July 2, 2017 3:00 pm

    Truly, beautiful story!

    Reply
  17. Judy Miller - July 2, 2017 3:11 pm

    Yeah, it sounds very much like God knew what He was doing when He placed you two together. Continued blessings!!!

    Reply
  18. Elizabeth Pickens - July 2, 2017 3:31 pm

    Simply beautifully written–brought me to tears.

    Reply
  19. Jill Shaver - July 2, 2017 4:01 pm

    You know how to make a woman cry! How sweet and you are a very luck y man, and so is she. Glad you all have each other to share the rest of your life with. Jill

    Reply
  20. Nita Stacey - July 2, 2017 4:44 pm

    ❤️❤️❤️

    Reply
  21. Michael Bishop - July 2, 2017 5:23 pm

    We’ve always loved the name Jamie and the people who bear it. In ou case, Jamie was our son, a young teacher of German slain at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007. Love your tribute to your wife, a keeper for certain. And she must surely regard you as a keeper too.

    Reply
  22. Debbie Galladora - July 2, 2017 5:32 pm

    His name is John…

    Reply
  23. Perri Geaux Tigers Williamson - July 2, 2017 6:55 pm

    ❤️

    Reply
  24. Patricia Gibson - July 2, 2017 7:00 pm

    Can’t think of a better reason to believe.

    Reply
  25. Suzanne Field - July 2, 2017 9:01 pm

    Sean — I’ve been reading you for some time now and have loved it all and believe me I’m not easy to please. Today’s story is the BEST. Never stop writing. What a gift this piece is for Jaime, whether or not it is Christmas or her birthday. Everyday gifts are best. Suzanne

    Reply
  26. Jack Quanstrum - July 2, 2017 10:13 pm

    Beautiful, beautiful story. The story is so smooth and what I think all relationships should be made of, no judgement just acceptance and support. So, so happy for you!

    Reply
  27. Anne Trawick - July 2, 2017 10:25 pm

    Oh, Lord, you’ve done it again!

    Reply
  28. Regina Peavy - July 3, 2017 12:57 am

    💜💜💜

    Reply
  29. Kathleen - July 3, 2017 1:17 am

    Touching story! God is great

    Reply
  30. Susan in Georgia - July 3, 2017 11:12 am

    Beautiful. Inspiring. Everyone should have a love like yours and Jamie’s.
    God bless you every day for bringing blessings into our daily lives with your stories.

    Reply
  31. Kathleen - July 3, 2017 12:24 pm

    I smile from your writings … thank you

    Reply
  32. Barbara Nelle Ewell - July 3, 2017 3:05 pm

    Tell Jamie I love her too. And you. I really do.

    Reply
  33. Kathy Lane - July 3, 2017 11:41 pm

    ❤️❤️

    Reply
  34. Sandra Van Dam - July 4, 2017 3:33 am

    Awww. Happy for you!

    Reply
  35. Steve Baccus - July 4, 2017 6:46 pm

    That’s the good stuff of life right there, brother. Keep on keeping on, Sean.

    Reply
  36. Janet Mary Lee - July 5, 2017 4:45 pm

    Best-est story!! Keep her forever!!!

    Reply
  37. Dora - July 9, 2017 1:21 am

    I used to have a man that loved me like that and I loved him like that as well. Your stories bring back good memories.

    Reply
  38. Dianne - August 21, 2017 12:51 pm

    Sean, another morning of smiles and tears. What a special lady your Jamie is and what a special person you are. Next to Pat Conroy your becoming my favorite writer for real life stories. Thank you

    Reply
  39. Dawn Todhunter - August 21, 2017 1:07 pm

    She is a lovely lady through and through.

    Reply
  40. Gayle Dawkins - August 21, 2017 1:26 pm

    This is go beautiful. I’m glad I’ve gotten to meet and spend some time with your Jamie. She is Southern sweetness for sure! Gayle

    Reply
    • Gayle Dawkins - August 21, 2017 1:28 pm

      Reply
  41. Annette Bailey - August 21, 2017 4:07 pm

    All I can say is, that I’ll see you in Andalusia and maybe even Greenville. You write like I think only YOUR words pour onto paper better than mine. I thought about bringing my guitar for you to sign but I’m not sure if a guitar is suppose to have magic marker on it. If my Dad hadn’t given it to me, I’d chance it…and if my husband hadn’t given me two others, I’d chance those too! Well then, there’s the banjo, but I’ll have to ask if the ink messes with my playing Dueling Banjos! Lol But don’t worry. I’m not weird or outspoken. I just enjoy good reading and pilgrim, yours is welcome in our home every day. (In fact, we take turns reading your stories to one another….and after 38 yrs. this 24th, I’ve got my shy husband reading to me and it’s like poetry). Thanks Sean….you’ve made two old folks very happy! ☺️
    Thanks Sean.

    Reply
  42. Mary Beth - August 21, 2017 5:23 pm

    Prayers said, medicine swallowed, coffee drunk, your sweet words read…now I am able to face the world with a smile & confidence that all is well. You take us on journeys & into the lives of folks with pictures so vivid we feel like we know them, feel their emotions & want to bless them. I know many women like your sweet wife in my world. Women that bring out the best in folks & make the world a better place. God bless her!

    Reply
  43. Linda - August 21, 2017 5:25 pm

    I truly believe that at this moment if you could give your wife ALL the money in the world it would mean as much to her as these words do

    Reply
  44. Jonathan - August 21, 2017 5:29 pm

    And here I was afraid I was setting the bar too high for my friends by taking my wife to Paris (where she’d wanted to go since high school) for our 25th anniversary. For the record, we currently live about as far from Paris as Charleston is from Lower Alabama. Now Sean goes and ups that one. Thanks.

    And it chokes me up to read it, too.

    Reply
  45. Brenda Gruenewald - August 21, 2017 6:10 pm

    Just love your writing.

    Reply
  46. Melissa - August 21, 2017 6:41 pm

    I am a college writing prof and your writing lifts me up and makes me cry. All of my students come from backgrounds like yours (including me). I wish we all wrote like you.

    Reply
  47. Melodie - August 21, 2017 9:40 pm

    God Bless Jamie, and You! ♥

    Reply
  48. Elva Kimbrough - August 22, 2017 3:23 am

    My husband and I also only had $200 when we married. Money doesn’t make you happy. A good man will.

    Reply

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