T-minus one minute until eclipse time. And here I am, writing you. Ellie Mae and I are about to step outside and view the magnificent event through twenty-dollar NASA-approved plastic glasses. The moon will block the sun—it will be horrifying and pretty at the same time.

Monday, 1:29 P.M.—my coonhound is at my feet. The eclipse is seven minutes away. I am reading emails.

Rhonda writes:

“Dear Sean, I’m at a Georgia rest stop, typing on my phone… I just had to tell someone that I finally DID IT!”

She did it.

She left the man who’s been abusing her for thirteen years. He broke her cheekbone once. He busted her neck a few months ago.

“For a long time, I kept saying, ‘He’s not a bad guy,’ And I defended him… Yeah, I know, I’m the dumbass stereotypical victim, right?”

Wrong. She’s no stereotype. She’s a graduate from the University of Alabama, a nice-looking girl, and one tough biscuit.

And now she’s free.

She made the drive to South Carolina to watch the eclipse with her sister.

Meet Jaden—he writes to say that he just got married to Yasmine.

Jaden is twenty-one. So is Yasmine. They wanted to go somewhere special for their honeymoon. They scheduled time off work, reserved a hotel room, saved money. Two days ago, their car broke down.

“My wife and me both don’t have parents,” says Jaden. “That’s part of why we understand each other. My dad’s dead and my mom’s in jail. Yasmine never met her real parents…

“This was supposed to be our for-real honeymoon, during the eclipse, but now we’re making it a stay-cation. We’re a little disappointed… But I want her to know that I’m so blessed and grateful and I really love her, can you give Yasmine a shout out?”

Yes.

Then there’s Charles:

“Hey Sean, just want to invite you to my eclipse party if you’re near Little Rock, Arkansas, it’s going to be awesome!”

Charles has no legs. He hunts turkey, dove, deer, and squirrel. A drunk driving accident did this to him a decade ago.

“My dad was driving,” writes Charles. “I don’t remember anything but waking up and they said my dad was gone.”

He started hunting again—only one year after being introduced to his wheelchair. He rolled along trails with a rifle.

Since then, he has been learning to use carbon-fiber prosthetic legs.

“…We got plenty of beer man, it’s going to be a cool party.”

I don’t doubt.

“Dear Sean,” writes Samantha. “I was a teacher for twenty-six years…”

Samantha retired this year because of health reasons. She hasn’t told anyone that she has cancer. She doesn’t want to ruin this week for her family. Her husband took everyone to Tennessee to see the eclipse.

“I’d appreciate you asking people to pray for me.”

Samantha. Consider it done.

T-minus one minute until eclipse time. And here I am, writing you. Ellie Mae and I are about to step outside and view the magnificent event through twenty-dollar NASA-approved plastic glasses.

The moon will block the sun—it will be horrifying and pretty at the same time.

I don’t know where you are right now. I don’t know if you’re happy or sad. But I know one thing. No catastrophe, no broke-down car, no abusive person, no shallow bank account, no past-due bills, no breast cancer can block out the sun. At least not forever.

And I have one more thing to say:

Yasmine, Jaden loves you more than life itself.

22 comments

  1. Roxanne - August 22, 2017 12:58 pm

    You, Sir, are a blessing.

    Reply
  2. Marty from Alabama - August 22, 2017 1:08 pm

    Watched part of the eclipse from my car in the parking lot of Wendy’s; had almost forgot it, but since I remembered to put mine 2000 solar eclipse glasses in the car I looked for a while. Then I decided I needed a Frosty and went inside. Asked the girls working if they had seen it. They said no, so I handed them the glasses and told them to go see what was going on up above.
    Hope all your friends enjoyed the sight.

    Reply
  3. Cynthia Saunders - August 22, 2017 1:20 pm

    You are a light…Reading your stories is like talking with a cherished friend over a Dr. Pepper. My days in DeFuniak Springs start off great with a new email notification from you first thing. I raise my glass to you Sir!

    Reply
  4. Sandra Marrar - August 22, 2017 1:33 pm

    Precious! You always know what to write. Thanks for making me smile today.

    Reply
  5. Sharron - August 22, 2017 1:46 pm

    I have started my day with a smile. Thank you for writing about ordinary blessings.

    Reply
  6. Lorry - August 22, 2017 2:13 pm

    I had to drive home from Guntersville to Laceys Spring right in the middle of all the hoopla yesterday. My view was mostly people gathering in their yards to look up. Cool sight! I did have to stop to buy chicken feed, and the man at the Morgan City Feed Store lent me his welder’s mask for a minute. Another cool sight. I thought it was gonna get darker in North Alabama. They told us we’d have 96% shadow. Good news is, even at only 4% power, the sun still shines pretty bright!

    Reply
    • TN Lizzie - August 22, 2017 6:50 pm

      Lorry, I love your observations. I’m thinking that Light wins every time! God’s just like that!

      Reply
  7. Gwen McGill - August 22, 2017 2:18 pm

    Sean, you have made me cry again. I will pray for Samantha. Your writing is just full of love for people.

    Reply
  8. Debbie Prewitt - August 22, 2017 2:26 pm

    Your stories are so inspiring. You always start out my day with much happiness and thoughtful insight.

    Reply
  9. Melodie - August 22, 2017 2:28 pm

    I was able to view the eclipse along with the rest of you. Seems we all have something in common. 🙂

    GOD Bless, Rhonda, Jaden, Yasmine, Charles, Samantha, Ellie Mae, Jamie, ……and You, for this great story. ♥

    Reply
  10. Wayne Settles - August 22, 2017 2:43 pm

    I didn’t think I had time for one more “something to read”, to add to my incredible busy days, then a friend sent me one of your post.
    Your posts are “still small voices” in an upside down world of hypotheticals Thanks for connecting us to real people with real names and real hopes.

    Reply
  11. Pamela McEachern - August 22, 2017 2:52 pm

    It was a unique experience, and here in Birmingham it was like a hugh cloud was in place and it was dusk. Crickets started going crazy then it was just the middle of the day. Thank you Sean, you speak Human Being so well. God Bless

    Reply
  12. Jack Quanstrum - August 22, 2017 3:37 pm

    Praise God! All those Real folks you wrote about are magnificently unique in there own special way. They and you lift my spirit to the Truth. Thank you. And may each experience Peace that passeth understanding including you and Jamie. Shalom!

    Reply
  13. Nikki Brown - August 22, 2017 3:54 pm

    Originally from San Diego, I moved to Mississippi 25 years ago. I adore your writing. Somehow, each story hits home with me. Short and to the point, much like me. Quite simply, you make me feel more Southern.
    Warmly,
    Nikki

    Reply
  14. Jeannie - August 22, 2017 3:56 pm

    Praying for each of the persons mentioned in your blog today. They all sound like good people. Watched the eclipse in the Publix Parking lot with a bunch of young adults. They shared the one pair of glasses among anyone who wanted to see and were all so excited. Maybe we had this eclipse on this day to bring us all together all across the country for this day! It was beautiful to see!

    Reply
  15. FRANK ROBERTS - August 22, 2017 5:49 pm

    Rhonda just graduated from the University of Adversity.

    Reply
  16. Debbie Galladora - August 22, 2017 6:25 pm

    ❤️

    Reply
  17. Janet Mary Lee - August 22, 2017 6:45 pm

    Prayers for all you mentioned! Brave souls, all. And prayers for those who deserve a mention, but we do not know their names. But He who fashioned this awesome eclipse does!!

    Reply
  18. Nancy - August 22, 2017 7:28 pm

    Sean, this one makes my heart sigh and smile at the same time! Thanks!

    Reply
  19. Trudy :) - August 22, 2017 8:36 pm

    I said a prayer for each of them. I’m not fluffing my feathers, ‘just giving fact. I believe we are put here to help others by what we can do, and if we can’t physically do for another, we can say a prayer for them, even if we don’t know them.
    Thank you, Sean for your message. God bless you, He surely has all of us who read what you write.

    Reply
  20. Sam Hunneman - August 22, 2017 9:02 pm

    Sean’s extended family. What a nice bunch!

    Reply
  21. DIANA SARAFIN - August 23, 2017 9:15 pm

    You did it again Sean, tears, but tears for the beauty you find that is still in mankind. Thank you..

    Diana

    Reply

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