American Girls

It’s hard not to get excited about a group of hometown American girls from places like Salina, Kansas, Fayetteville, Georgia, Saint Louis, and Cincinnati, beating the pants off the whole world

The women’s U.S. national team won the Women’s World Cup. I watched it on TV with my wife. We cheered like fools. My wife crushed an aluminum can on her forehead and shouted “GIRL POWER!”

I am not usually a soccer fan. In fact, I barely know how the game is played, but I watched the World Cup, and I hollered.

It’s hard not to get excited about a group of hometown American girls from places like Salina, Kansas, Fayetteville, Georgia, Saint Louis, and Cincinnati, beating the pants off the whole world.

The whole world.

Long ago, I dated a girl who played soccer. She was tough as nails, and drank raw egg yolks for breakfast. We were not a love connection. Primarily, because I am a baseball man myself. Plus, this girl could bench press a ‘63 Buick Skylark, and she scared me.

Anyway, my wife got very excited about all the raw girl-power being displayed during Women’s World Cup. So excited that when she high-fived me, she dislocated my shoulder.

You’d like my wife. When we first married, she had no logical reason to be with a guy like me. I was a high-school dropout who had worked construction since age fourteen. She was a college grad.

But she married me anyway—against the advice of some very smart people.

My wife helped me enroll in, and finish community college. And it was my wife who tutored me through collegiate math classes. It’s a wonder we stayed married after Algebra II. Because it took me three semesters to figure out that a coefficient was not a geographical land mass.

So she’s no world-class athlete, but she is a chef de cuisine.

When I first met my wife, she’d just graduated from culinary school. She worked in fancy-schmancy joints with menus that were overpriced, and European.

The names of the dishes they made were so upscale that nobody even knew what they were:

“Sauteed Pellegrino caps with presbytery sauce and diced Mitsubishi macrame.”

She hated her restaurant job, working beneath a tyrant head chef. Which is common in the food industry.

A lot of chefs are men who are either German, French, or French-German. They often shout things like, “Zis sauce needs more lemon zest!” while discharging a pistol into the air.

Her next job was more easygoing, working at our little hospital cafeteria. She wasn’t thrilled about it. Even so, I used to visit all the time. Not only because I liked her, but because of Fried Catfish Fridays. I love fried catfish.

When I was sixteen, I once competed in a catfish eating contest at church. I won by three filets and beat Gary the “Gallon” Harding for the gold.

So if you can believe it, this girl actually married me. And somewhere along the way, my wife wanted to open her own catering business.

It was crazy. It was irrational. It was totally insane.

There was no way we could afford it. But then, this woman helped me get an education, she believed in me. I tried to figure something out.

And we finally did. It happened when we were driving through Lillian, Alabama.

We passed a travel trailer on the side of the road. It was for sale, dirt cheap. A beat-up Airstream, twenty-one feet, with dings all over it.

We pulled over and peeked in the windows. I dialed the phone number. A few minutes later, an old man showed up in a pickup. He gave us the grand tour.

The camper’s interior smelled like the varsity football team’s laundry bag, and there were holes in the floor.

“We’ll take it,” I told the man.

“Are you outta your mind?” said my wife.

“Possibly.”

I towed it home without brake lights. When the sun went down, my wife and I parked it in a Whataburger parking lot and slept in it.

We had to burn our clothes thereafter.

And for the next year, I spent every day gutting and renovating the camper. I worked in that little sardine can by lantern light, and even ate supper while manning an angle grinder.

I pulled every wire, installed each electrical fixture, built the kitchen countertops, and I welded the rear frame with my buddy’s MIG welder.

For once in my life, my construction experience was finally paying off.

After a year, the trailer was certified as a commercial kitchen. And we had built it for pennies. For the next decade, my wife worked as a chef and caterer, and every time she cooked, she kicked major butt.

For as long as I live, I will feel the same pride for her that she felt for me when I walked down a graduation aisle as a grown man.

So chances are, you wouldn’t be reading this if it weren’t because of a woman. She’s the same woman who watched soccer beside me. She is loud, animated, independent, strong-willed, and she taught me to solve for X. She can fry catfish, mend broken hearts, scream at soccer games, and crush aluminum cans.

Congratulations to the United States women’s national team.

Girl power.

39 comments

  1. terry - July 8, 2019 6:46 am

    I have three beautiful daughters! I know all about girl power! They rock!!! My world!!!

    Reply
  2. Laura Martin - July 8, 2019 9:41 am

    Amazing women! Amazing girl power! Thank you, Sean, for your salute to them all.
    My daughters and granddaughters thank u too.

    Reply
  3. Barb Fisher - July 8, 2019 10:29 am

    We lived in Lillian too, so I can envision the travel trailer – probably left behind by some snowbird who decided to buy a house in Spanish Cove and stay because they too liked fried catfish! See you in Columbiana next month!

    Reply
    • Floyd Williams - July 8, 2019 10:53 am

      You can see Sean (& Jamie) in Gulf Shores, AL this Wed. July 10 at 7:00pm at Gulf Shores United Methodist Church auditorium. Come let him “love on us all”!

      Reply
  4. Connie Havard Ryland - July 8, 2019 10:51 am

    I wish every man celebrated women the way you do. ❤️

    Reply
  5. John Fair - July 8, 2019 11:49 am

    Your wife epitomizes Psalm 31

    Reply
    • John Fair - July 8, 2019 11:50 am

      I meant Proverb 31 😉

      Reply
  6. Beki - July 8, 2019 12:20 pm

    Love the article Sean and really enjoyed hearing stories about Jamie. I too celebrate girl power whenever I can. However I did not celebrate with the US women’s soccer team as I found their arrogance and attitudes not worthy of celebrating. Their athleticism is definitely worth celebrating. Their ugliness on and off the field, hardly. As I often tell my son and his team mates before and after their games, you can win the game but still be a loser.

    Reply
    • angie5804 - July 8, 2019 1:23 pm

      agree

      Reply
    • Lisa - July 8, 2019 1:45 pm

      Amen. My sentiments exactly…..

      Reply
    • Emjay - July 8, 2019 2:11 pm

      Well said, Beki!

      Reply
      • joyce mills - July 9, 2019 1:44 am

        Ashamed of our so called winners. They do not represent my America🇺🇸

        Reply
        • Lisa - July 12, 2019 11:58 pm

          Amen

          Reply
    • Sharron - July 8, 2019 3:11 pm

      Beki – you have expressed my feelings as well. These women showed little respect for their hosts and even less for the country that supports them. I love soccer, I have two granddaughters who both were soccer players, I have a son who coached soccer for years and I was raised in Europe playing soccer. It is “the beautiful game” but some players don’t behave “beautifully” even when they win. Sean and Jamie are awesome and I can’t wait to meet them one day.

      Reply
    • Johnny - July 8, 2019 3:26 pm

      Agree with you Beki. These are not worthy examples of women representing our country. They aren’t American Girls. They are Un-American girls who freely chose to vilify our country on foreign soil.

      Reply
    • Lisa - July 12, 2019 11:59 pm

      Amen

      Reply
  7. Terri - July 8, 2019 12:22 pm

    Go Jamie, go Jamie, go Jamie!!!

    Reply
  8. Lana Jones Barbaree - July 8, 2019 12:47 pm

    I think you have a real winner.

    Reply
  9. Elizabeth - July 8, 2019 12:58 pm

    So what do I have to do to get Jamie to cater an event? I’m picturing fried catfish, homemade pimiento cheese, and pound cake!

    Reply
  10. Johnny - July 8, 2019 1:06 pm

    Sean,
    Love your blog and read it everyday. But this is one time I must respectfully disagree. I am a retired Army Veteran with 23 years of service. My oldest son is also a retired Army Veteran. My family has a long history of military service. We love America, our Flag, and our Constitution. We are Patriots. But I cannot disagree more with celebrating any soccer team, male or female, who publicly disrespects our flag, our national anthem, and our President, especially when on foreign soil. And regarding an invitation to the White House, the despicable expletive used by one player, left unchallenged by all other players, does not represent America. They are representing only themselves and their personal or political bias. And for any teammates who might have disagreed, their silence was deafening. This whole unfortunate episode in women’s sport’s history has brought shame on us all.

    Reply
    • Lisa - July 8, 2019 1:46 pm

      Well said…And Thank You for your service, Sir….

      Reply
    • Jane Prescott - July 8, 2019 5:20 pm

      I wholeheartedly agree with you, Johnny. Any joy I would have experienced at their win was tainted by the players words and actions.

      Reply
  11. angie5804 - July 8, 2019 1:22 pm

    I’m sending this one to my daughter-in-law. She’s a lot like your wife.

    Reply
  12. Lauri - July 8, 2019 1:36 pm

    Girl power…….it’s always been here, just not always celebrated, nor acknowledged. …….Go USA!

    Reply
  13. Tana Newman Branch - July 8, 2019 2:10 pm

    No “learning” ever goes unused. We all find a way to use it in the end. Good for you, Sean! Go team USA! And, I am also having a difficult time disconnecting the man from the job of President. I am not one of the women who can say; I don’t like the man but I do like the job he’s doing. That doesn’t work for me. And, I am a very proud Patriot. I weep at Parades. You wanna see me cry sing America the Beautiful! You want to see me ugly cry —let a Elvis sing Dixie! I am one of those Granny-girls who can rock a baby with one hand and shoot your a$$ if you ever threaten a child. And, oh yes, a devoted Episcopalian!. Tell Russell I said “HI” and come see us.

    Reply
  14. Janie F. - July 8, 2019 3:35 pm

    I am so grateful for your wife!!!

    Reply
  15. Ken Dunn - July 8, 2019 3:41 pm

    Jamie is da woman. You are blessed that she said yes when you begged her to marry you. She is beautiful and talented and a great cook. American girl power at it’s finest !

    Reply
  16. Linda Moon - July 8, 2019 3:49 pm

    I like your wife. I like loud, animated, independent and strong-willed women. I was raised around a bunch of them. And, I am one. Girl Power, Jamie!!

    Reply
  17. Penn Wells - July 8, 2019 3:53 pm

    These women were amazing. And there is nothing – NOTHING – more American that the right to protest. And yes, God Bless Jamie.

    Reply
  18. Shelton A. - July 8, 2019 3:58 pm

    Congrats to the US women…congrats to you to converting a beat up Airstream into a commercial kitchen for your wife…congrats and God bless to you and Jamie (the dogs, too).

    Reply
  19. Norm - July 8, 2019 5:49 pm

    We’ve known for awhile that Sean of the South runs on Girl Power. Nothing better!

    Reply
  20. Liz Watkins - July 8, 2019 7:44 pm

    Beki, Sharon and Johnny- I totally agree with y’all!
    And Johnny thank you and your family for your service to the Greatest Country in the World- The USA🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸
    Those few disrespectful ones ruined the soccer for me! But hey I salute the ones that stpod tall with their hands over their heart and represented America like they should!
    Be proud, and represent the greatest country in the world with love and respect
    And you and Jaime just sound adorable!!!
    Thanks for your article!
    God Bless America!
    And help unify our country Lord!
    Peace to all
    Liz Watkins🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

    Reply
  21. Stuart - July 9, 2019 3:42 am

    Girls have power alright.
    If I remember right, it was Eve who got us into the fix we’re in right now.

    The power of God in getting us out of this fix (sin filled earth), that’s the power we need to acknowledge.

    There is no power in pride.

    Why is it that people who attend every ball (soccer) game are called FANs and people who attend every church meeting are called FANatics?

    Sorry, that silly “girl power” chant set me off. I’ll scream if I hear it one more time.

    Reply
  22. terry - July 9, 2019 3:56 am

    I shouldn’t say anything, but I can’t help myself…

    This story celebrated the awesome achievement of the UNITED STATES Women’s Soccer Team. Deeper than that, this story celebrated the awesomeness of women in general, and the awesomeness of one particular woman to one particular man. IT WAS A CELEBRATION STORY DEDICATED TO WOMEN!
    It’s a real shame some folks felt they had to politicize it.

    Reply
  23. Jack Darnell - July 9, 2019 2:25 pm

    Good one my friend. Yep I too, as a HS dropout was able to land the BEST ONE. With her at the helm we have navigated over 60 years together. Hang in there with Jamie, you know we have winners.
    My friend Myra tells me she just heard from Jamie and SHE IS THE REAL DEAL!
    From Pennsylvania,
    Sherry & jack

    Reply
  24. Rhonda - July 9, 2019 3:17 pm

    Wow. Man writes about pride for his country and how proud he is of wife and you get comments like that jerk Stuart. You got a cherry and so did she. A man that REALLY appreciates his wife is more rare than you think. And you show it! By building her a trailer, by ALWAYS giving Jamie some kind of credit for anything good. Don’t you see, we are all looking for that man! Not Stuart!

    Reply
  25. Nancy - July 9, 2019 4:43 pm

    Sean and Jamie, what a great team! I love your writing, I look forward to it every day.

    Reply
  26. Mona - July 10, 2019 5:34 pm

    Sean
    Love your work! Cannot wait to read it each day!
    We just have to agree to disagree on the US Women’s Soccer Team. I thought their actions were repugnant . Johnny stayed eloquently my feelings regarding this article.
    I enjoyed your writing about your wife. She sounds amazing. The Bible says: Husbands love your wives as Christ loves the Church. I think you have that one covered!

    Reply
  27. Anne Robinson - July 10, 2019 10:36 pm

    I was excited for the soccer team too until the pure hatred of God, our country and the president started spewing. Disrespectful display of horses behinds. You hate America, bye bye girls. Haste la Vista, Aloha, Adios, and fifty other ways to say get the heck of this country if it is so offensive to you all. Not much in the way of role models and my great grand babies other grandma, displaying her ignorance by showing the ring leader hater kicking a soccer ball in our presidents face. Ha Ha not funny, not funny at all. People should wake up. Trump is all that stands between us and socialism and I can’t speak for all of you, but it is not my cup of tea. Go to Venezuela- I know someone who ran for her life to get out of that country. People are dying, there is nothing but disease and death and I am not sure that sweet lady made it to Columbia. When it comes to haters of my country I get fired up!

    Reply

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