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 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…