A Georgia Story


Do you ever write anything not about gooey, syrupy love?



I have a story for you.

It starts with a woman who pulled her Chevy Blazer alongside an ordinary Georgia gas pump. There, she noticed a teenage girl seated on the curb. Head resting against the pump.

It was the early 1980s. Blondie was still on the radio. Crimped perms were still a thing. Aqua Net hairspray was obscenely over used.

The girl at the gas pump was late teens, wearing a sweat-laden sundress, and eating an ice cream cone.

The woman in the SUV wasn’t sure whether to approach the girl and offer assistance, or whether the girl even needed help.

What was obvious, however, was that this vagrant child was on foot.

The woman thought for a few moments. Conventional wisdom says you’re not supposed to approach vagrants or down-and-outters. “Be cautious” is the mantra of all responsible suburban people.

So the woman in the SUV was telling herself to be smart. “You don’t know this young woman. She could be dangerous. Be cautious.”

The woman pulled alongside the pump and lowered her window. “You okay?”

The girl nodded and gave a quiet, “Yes, ma’am.”

But something just felt wrong.

“You sure you’re okay?”

“My boyfriend’s supposed to come get me,” the girl said, blowing her nose, dabbing her eyes.

Oh, yes. Something was definitely wrong.

“How long have you been waiting here, sweetie?”

“Since six this morning.”

The woman turned to look at the horizon. The sun was sinking behind the treeline and dusk was approaching. “You’ve been waiting here all day? Where is he?”

The girl finished her cone, then stood to stretch. She placed a hand on the small of her back and extended her very, very pregnant belly.

So apparently the girl was eating ice cream for two.

“I don’t know where he is, ma’am. He just took off and left me.”

The girl explained that all day passersby had been offering rides, but she was too afraid to accept these offers because, like I said, caution.

The girl began to cry. So the woman leapt from her SUV and moved in for the classic maternal shoulder rub. This was a woman with two teenage daughters at home. Shoulder rubs were her specialty. “Where are you from, honey?”

“Virginia. Me and my boyfriend left two days ago. And we… We had a big fight.”

She told the woman she had been riding shotgun with her boyfriend when he informed her that he didn’t want their baby. Things escalated. He got violent. The girl told him in so many words to “Get lost.”

So he did.

He left her at this station and cut out faster than a ten-cent shave. The filling station cashier had given the girl a free soda and soft-serve ice cream while she awaited his return. But things weren’t looking good.

The woman embraced the child. “Is there someone we can call? Your parents? Brothers, sisters?”

The girl shook her head.

The woman could see how truly young the child was. The ice cream smears on her cheeks only completed the picture.

“Ain’t got no family except a little brother, ma’am.”

“How old are you?”


“Where is your brother?”

“Foster home in Richmond.”

The woman helped the girl into the SUV’s cushy interior, then adjusted the AC to full blast. And here’s my favorite part of the story. It took this woman maybe 60 seconds to make a decision that would alter her life forever.

“Okay then,” announced the woman, clapping her hands on the steering column. “You’re coming home with me.”

And it was as easy as that.

The next few weeks were an adjustment. The 19-year-old assumed a new life in the spare bedroom of the woman’s home. In no time at all, the girl became a genuine part of everyone’s life, and a close friend to the woman’s teenage daughters. A sister, if you will.

Months later, the girl gave birth to a boy. And minutes after the baby drew his first lungful, the girl’s newly adopted family crowded her hospital room like a bunch of smoked oysters, snapping mile-long reels of Kodaks.

I’m compressing a lot of information here, but over the following years the girl and her infant son fit into this average suburban family like round pegs in round holes. Her brother even came to visit sometimes.

And since all good stories have a wedding, I will also tell you that the girl finally married a guy from work four years later. A good guy. And for the girl’s wedding, brother, her new family put on the dog.

A huge shindig was planned. Florists were invoked. Bridal magazines were bookmarked. Dresses were purchased. The Blazer sat in the wedding-reception parking lot the whole time.

There was a wedding band, complete with frizzed-out hair, “Flashdance” cover songs, and 70-year-olds doing the foxtrot. There were long, sappy toasts. There were tears among adopted sisters who were of no blood relation—although try telling this to them. In other words, love. Lots of syrupy, gooey, life-reorganizing love.

To answer your question, Mark: No.


  1. Mark D MACINTYRE - April 16, 2021 7:39 am

    You are just flat out awesome Sean! You are a blessing to each and every one of us.

  2. Eileen - April 16, 2021 8:38 am

    Sometimes wonder where your writing will take us. The horizon of hope is a very good place to arrive.

  3. Joe Dorough - April 16, 2021 9:01 am

    One of your best!

  4. Joe Dorough - April 16, 2021 9:05 am

    One of your best.

  5. Sandi. - April 16, 2021 10:46 am

    I think we all relish and savor stories with happy endings to remind us that hope is still alive.

  6. Suzanne Jones - April 16, 2021 10:48 am

    Love the description… reorganizing! Couldn’t we use more of that…

  7. Debbie - April 16, 2021 11:10 am

    That was SO good!!

  8. joan moore - April 16, 2021 11:12 am

    Keep up the great work!

  9. Tammy S. - April 16, 2021 11:42 am

    Not enough hearts for this one! 💗💙

  10. Leigh R Amiot - April 16, 2021 11:48 am

    I wonder what Mark expects you to write?
    I am in awe of this woman’s generosity and kindness. I picked up a stray dog from Popeye’s Fried Chicken once, named her Biscuit, she and I were pregnant at the same time, but I’ve never invested years of my life in a stray person. A new family member, oh the dividends!!!

  11. Pam King - April 16, 2021 12:00 pm

    Loved it! So thankful to read something positive!

  12. Kate - April 16, 2021 12:04 pm

    Life Reorganizing Love – definitely a keeper, my husband was blessed by that, and we have an extra “son” because of that, just never knew what it was called. 😊

  13. elizabethroosje - April 16, 2021 12:09 pm

    oh that’s lovely! and nice when you turn a (possibly hurtful) question from someone into kindness when answering. praying still daily for you, Jamie and Mother Mary. Thanks again for this lovely story, it was a joy to read.

  14. Sandra Sanders - April 16, 2021 12:15 pm

    Wow! I love this story. You’re an extremely talented writer, Sean, and bring so much joy to so many. Thank you. Sandra in Atlanta

  15. Brenda McCutchen - April 16, 2021 12:17 pm

    Well, Mark-in-Atlanta, I feel so sorry for you. In a world filled with hate, terror, violence, starvation and vulgarity I would think anyone would relish hearing that there is still love in this world.
    I pray for a for you to wake up and realize that you would not be alive if not for love.
    Keep on keeping on Sean!!!!
    Brenda in South Georgia

  16. Kate - April 16, 2021 12:38 pm

    Sean, please take 365 of your columns and put them into a book entitled, “Hope for the Morning”. Then we would always have one each morning to read. I know you probably will not do this, but reading you each morning, seems to help thousands of us remember the good things in life, which are generally “just” everyday things, but really are love, hope, encouragement and faith. And along the way many miracles.

  17. Jo Ann - April 16, 2021 12:39 pm

    We love your “gooey-syrupy” love stories!!! Keep ’em comin’, Sean!

  18. Phil (Brown Marlin) - April 16, 2021 12:42 pm

    Get used to it, Mark-o, ol’ boy. Sean is just naturally gooey syrupy. Somehow I surmise that’s not a bad thing.

  19. Patricia A Schmaltz - April 16, 2021 12:46 pm

    Mark can read CNN if he wants to be depressed or lied to. YOU tell about LOVE and all its glory! You always make my day. Thank you. Love you Sean.

  20. Dell Alison Corley - April 16, 2021 12:57 pm

    Thanks for making me cry this morning. A beautiful story about beautiful hearts….

  21. marie wildes - April 16, 2021 1:30 pm

    What real life stories you share, at some point in our life we are going to have to make a life changing decision! The question is will it be one that we can live with! Love makes the difference !!

  22. Kelley Hinsley - April 16, 2021 1:30 pm

    This act of compassion and love is exactly what my mother would do, and did do on occasion. She was a West Tennessee, red headed, blue eyed Irishwoman, a force of nature, who was never in doubt about reaching out to help…. such a good woman. I carry her family name, proudly.

  23. BJean - April 16, 2021 1:36 pm

    Good for you! Just keep them coming! Who doesn’t love an emotional, happy ending?

  24. Jan - April 16, 2021 1:37 pm


  25. Jo - April 16, 2021 1:37 pm

    Every story I read is “the best one yet”… My eyes are dripping..again. Y’all have an awesome day.

  26. Karen D - April 16, 2021 1:41 pm

    We certainly need more stories like this in our lives today!!! Thank you for that big ole tear that just ran down the side of my face! Here’s to love….in all its forms! Thanks Sean….keep up the daily love stories!!

  27. JACKIE LEON DARNELL - April 16, 2021 2:10 pm

    Good to read. Thanks for a very good story with a great ending. This is a terrible world at times, but I always say we have more good ones than bad. The same with days. More good than bad.

  28. Karen - April 16, 2021 2:19 pm

    Mark needs to just stick with the news.

  29. Steve Winfield (Lifer) - April 16, 2021 2:35 pm

    Like that old “A-Team” guy used to say, “I love it when a plan comes together”.
    I dunno. Just seemed to fit.

  30. Bob Brenner - April 16, 2021 2:42 pm

    Some people may need some gooey syrupy love! Come on Mark try seeing it ❤️

  31. Patricia Gibson - April 16, 2021 2:52 pm

    Thank you, Sean !!!

  32. Helen De Prima - April 16, 2021 2:55 pm

    Thank you, Sean, for sticking to your guns. Keep reminding us about the goodness in the world. My husband and I took in a young woman we’d never before met in a spur-of-the-moment decision more than twenty years ago; she remains loving and dearly loved daughter to us.

  33. AlaRedClayGirl - April 16, 2021 3:01 pm

    Sometimes life just interrupts your best laid plans. It’s happened to me a few times…and always for the best.

  34. Christina - April 16, 2021 3:56 pm

    Keep them coming Sean. We need our daily dose.

  35. Ron - April 16, 2021 4:02 pm

    Great comeback, Sean!! Wonderfully syrupy story!!❤️

  36. Pat - April 16, 2021 4:04 pm

    Dang it! You made me cry!!

  37. Bob Rennick - April 16, 2021 4:14 pm

    Sean, I just finished reading Will The Circle Be Unbroken?. Which of your books would you suggest I read next? I would appreciate a suggestion.
    Best to you,
    Bob Rennick, Gastonia, NC

  38. Gloria Knight - April 16, 2021 4:28 pm

    Just proves there are indeed “Angels among us” !!

  39. Linda Moon - April 16, 2021 4:55 pm

    NOT about love…..what’s wrong with Mark? What the world needs now, and back when Jackie Deshannon sang it on the radio, is LOVE, SWEET LOVE. I’m happy about the girl’s love story, and I hope the love lasts…..with all the re-organizing that comes along with LIFE itself!

  40. Chasity Davis Ritter - April 16, 2021 5:12 pm

    I could read stories like this all day long!! We need more of them in our world and I’m so glad you share as many as you do!!!

  41. Bkr - April 16, 2021 5:13 pm

    Love love love this!!

  42. Lisa - April 16, 2021 6:09 pm

    LOVE all of your stories, but this one is extra special. Thanks for smile and tug on the heart.

  43. MAM - April 16, 2021 6:38 pm

    Mark is the one that needs life reorganizing love! Maybe he will get it. Thanks, Sean, as always for a heartwarming and positive store. We love them!

  44. snortinshatzie - April 16, 2021 7:52 pm

    Good job Sean!

  45. Bill - April 16, 2021 8:31 pm

    Sean, this was one of your better stories. It could have been a tragedy, but it worked out. Thanks for telling this story

  46. Martha B Stuart - April 16, 2021 8:35 pm

    Best answer ever!!!

  47. Marilyn - April 16, 2021 8:59 pm

    It’s such a blessing to read your upbeat stories. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Sean.

  48. Grant Burris - April 16, 2021 10:36 pm

    That was a great story, Sean. I haven’t read one of your stories in a while. I’m so glad I chose this one.

  49. Debbie g - April 17, 2021 12:28 am

    Love never fails thanks for sharing these encouraging stories with us love to all❤️❤️

  50. johnallenberry - April 17, 2021 3:11 am

    And don’t ever stop! No matter what “Dead-inside Mark from Atlanta” says. Like the song goes, “What the world needs now if love, sweet love. It’s the only thing that there’s not enough of.”


  51. pdjpop - April 17, 2021 10:32 am

    Don’t you just hate love and goo?
    We need more.
    Love IS the goo that holds us together.

  52. Bob E - April 17, 2021 2:10 pm

    Please keep writing your sweet stories which are happily devoured by those hungry for happy endings.
    Looking forward to the next episode.

  53. outlawman2 - April 18, 2021 2:03 am

    Well said, Sean. With the state of things in our country, in the world, we need all these stories we can read.

  54. Cathy Cooke - April 20, 2021 4:15 pm

    A perfect answer.

  55. kathleenivy - April 21, 2021 2:55 pm

    I agree with Cathy, a perfect answer. I also agree with Kate, a book called hope for the morning. I actually would not describe this as syrupy (though admit that some would). I think this is meat and potatoes, with a side of vegetables, good for you love. God bless all who step up to support others in wholesome ways, and that includes you, Sean.

  56. Katie - April 24, 2021 12:41 pm

    This is so inspiring and heart-warming! Love it!

  57. Janet Rowland - April 24, 2021 7:21 pm

    I hope this is a true story💕 It is truly inspiring! Thank you.

    A Georgia girl

  58. Patricia Levine - April 24, 2021 8:57 pm

    Thank you!!! I love them all but this may be my favorite one so far!
    You are doing Angel 😇 work! Don’t Stop!

  59. Patricia Levine - April 24, 2021 8:58 pm

    Just wonderful!!


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