They are holding hands. I like it when young couples hold hands. I don’t see many kids do this very often anymore.

They are sitting on the same side of the booth. I like it when they do that, too.

This is why I loved the bench seats in old cars and trucks. God bless the bench seat. It’s extinct now. But before automobiles lost these long seats, young men and women would sit close when driving. They would love up against each other.

If ever my mother spotted a truck window in traffic with two heads leaning close, she would remark, “Aw, look. That girl’s holding him up so he can drive. Ain’t that sweet?”

It sure is. For a boy, there is nothing sweeter than the feeling of driving a truck with a pretty head resting on your shoulder.

The couple in the booth is somewhat of a rarity. They are not holding cellphones, they aren’t texting. They are saying things in soft voices. And it’s great.

I came here this morning for breakfast, I brought a newspaper with me. But I can’t seem to read it. Not when I am people-watching in a classic American scene.

I flick open the newsprint. I watch the couple from the corner of my vision.

They talk to each other. She is your typical teenager—happy and rosy-cheeked. He is your basic high-school boy. Skinny, a little awkward, a touch of Norman Rockwell to him.

The waitress refills my coffee. I am grateful for hot joe this morning. I didn’t sleep well last night. The folks in the hotel room above me were having a jump rope competition that ran until the wee hours.

“Anything good in that paper?” the waitress asks, nodding to the front page.

“Not today.”

“Yeah, I can’t read the news anymore, it’s too depressing, makes me sad.”

She’s right. The newspaper is just one disaster after another placed into sentence form, with pie charts to explain it. Even the weather reports look bleak.

She goes on, “My grandfather used to say, ‘No news is good news.'”

My waitress has a smile that tells me she knows what she’s talking about. You can tell a lot about someone by how they smile.

“I got enough problems to deal with,” she goes on. “I don’t need more problems to read about.”

“What kinda problems you got?” I ask.

She laughs. “Mostly, my crazy family, you know how families are, they’re freakin’ nuts, know what I mean?”

My uncle once spent five days in his attic during the boiling Atlanta summer, assassinating invasive squirrels with a high-powered military rifle. Yes, I know.

The young couple is now leaning into each other. Foreheads pressed together. I like it when young people do that.

Would that all people could love so sincerely.

It’s too bad that I can’t see them better. I don’t want to be too nosy. I can see that they aren’t eating, they aren’t touching their coffees, either. They are only inhaling the morning together.

Two old men come through the door. The bell dings. They are hobbling on old legs. They could almost be twins. I wouldn’t be surprised if they still have bumper stickers that read, “I like Ike.”

They get a table in the corner. They order two hot mugs. They hardly speak to each other.

They are old men from Everytown, USA. They are here because of routine. Words aren’t important. The waitress refills their mugs and one old man flirts with her.

Just because he’s old doesn’t mean he’s doesn’t remember how to be charming.

She is good with him. She flirts back. I can see the years leave their faces. Something tells me she isn’t doing this for a tip, but because these are regulars. I’d put money on it. You can tell a lot about people by the way they flirt.

The young couple stands to leave. They pay their bill at the register. The young man buys Juicy Fruit chewing gum. I didn’t know they still sold Juicy Fruit.

He leaves cash on the table. They walk toward a white truck in the parking lot that looks like a vehicle half the country grew up in. They are still holding hands.

“More coffee?” says the waitress, looking at me.

But I’m too busy watching young love in a Ford, outside the window. And I am thinking that this world isn’t as bad as the news claims.

The waitress sees what I am looking at. She grins at the couple.

“Would you look at that?” she says. “She’s holding him up so he can drive. Ain’t that sweet?”

It sure is.


  1. Carole Moormann - October 20, 2021 7:27 am

    This was so sweet. I was up late so I read this. It made me feel good. Thank you.

  2. Dean - October 20, 2021 8:42 am


  3. perryteri4gmailcom - October 20, 2021 9:54 am

    Dear Sean,
    My heart feels so good after reading about young love and holding hands! My husband I were just talking to our 20’s son and and his girlfriend about cars and trucks with bench seats. How couples sat next to each other in the car- especially in the days before seatbelts! My “ Greatest Generation” dad said they used to wax the leather seats to help slide their girlfriend over close at sharp turns! (I never knew if that was really true!). Thanks for another great start to my day. I hope your day is special! Teri

  4. Susan - October 20, 2021 10:57 am

    I remember…

  5. Josie McCamish - October 20, 2021 11:18 am

    Good one, Sean!!!

  6. Ann - October 20, 2021 11:41 am

    This is soooooo refreshing and as ugly as some things seem it’s nice to know basic Americana is still alive.

  7. Tonya Davis - October 20, 2021 11:54 am

    Thanks for this. I needed a story like this today. So sweet…so inspiring. Also, thanks for adding that small bit about the Juicy Fruit gum. Juicy Fruit always reminds me of my Mammommie. She kept a never-ending supply in her purse (which she called her pocket book). She worked for an insurance company and would give it to children along her route during the work week as well as to children at Riverview Baptist Church on Sunday mornings.

  8. Peggy - October 20, 2021 12:18 pm

    “They are only inhaling the morning together.” Pure poetry.

  9. Melanie - October 20, 2021 12:31 pm

    I want to go for breakfast there just so I can hear the bell 🔔 ding when the door opens. Thought those were extinct. And about those bench seats. Ford neglected to think about the many women who love driving their trucks but need a place to put their purse. Here’s to all the husbands and boyfriends now left holding the bag, so to speak 😄.

  10. John in Texas - October 20, 2021 12:34 pm

    My dad would say “would you look at that! It takes two people to drive that old truck!” Lol

  11. Johnny Wheeler - October 20, 2021 12:44 pm

    When I was a child our barber would give me a piece of Juicy Fruit if I had been still. Lately, I found out that his grandson who is a year younger than me got free haircuts but no Juicy Fruit. 😁

  12. Jan - October 20, 2021 12:55 pm


  13. Annie - October 20, 2021 1:15 pm

    My grandchildren are robbed by the bucket seats. They’ll never know how sweet it is to have an armful of love riding beside you! <3 I explain it to them all the time. 🙂

  14. Sam & Ann - October 20, 2021 1:20 pm

    Perfect nostalgia. 52 years ago we were that couple.

  15. Sam & Ann - October 20, 2021 1:23 pm

    PS: We used to go around COD curves a little fast for the effect. Come Over Darling!!!

  16. Cathy - October 20, 2021 1:42 pm

    Those were great days and I wish things were as simple as they were then. Holding hands needs to make a comeback. Just the best. Thank you Sean

  17. Carter Anthony - October 20, 2021 1:43 pm

    I had a friend in a bench seat car with a date who got stopped for not using both hands. He said, “No sir, I’ve got to use one to drive”.

    Will Rogers said, “If you don’t read the paper, you are uninformed; if you do read the paper, you are misinformed”.

  18. Keloth Anne - October 20, 2021 1:57 pm

    My Daddy always said “that car takes two to drive” when folks sat up close—(I remember a few cars that I was a passenger and had to assist with driving)
    and my Mother always said “no news is good news” and I hold to that thought often.
    A wonderful post that just made me feel happy—love is a beautiful thing♥️

  19. Sue - October 20, 2021 2:00 pm

    I love this!

  20. Nancy Crews - October 20, 2021 2:22 pm

    ❤your writing.

  21. AlaRedClayGirl - October 20, 2021 2:45 pm

    What a sweet story!

  22. Tim Peace - October 20, 2021 3:39 pm

    When my wife and I were dating…I drove a 79 Olds 98 Regency, which had the old 60/40 bench seat with a foldable arm rest that enabled her to sit close me. A gentleman at our church followed us into the parking lot one evening and asked as we were going into the service if my power steering was working okay. I replied yes…and he said, “Well…just checking…since she was helping you steer…” LOL!

  23. Karen Snyder - October 20, 2021 4:38 pm

    Thanks. A sweet story like this helps to smooth the edges of all the sharp and ugly that seems to be everywhere lately. ❤️

  24. Peggy ALEXANDER - October 20, 2021 7:07 pm

    I never notice boys and girls sitting close like that now days in cars 🚗 😂

  25. Bob E - October 20, 2021 7:57 pm

    Down with bucket seats…
    Just kidding.
    Bench seats (used to) rock.
    Many fond memories.

  26. Becky - October 20, 2021 8:05 pm

    Your writing brought back so many sweet memories…of bench seats and “holding up cute guys while they drove”. Other than feeling that spark of electricity when your hands touched for the first time, nothing was better. Except when it finally happened with “the one” and you knew it.

  27. Linda Moon - October 20, 2021 8:57 pm

    Americana…so beautiful. Bench seats in old vehicles were beautiful, too…and so is the talking couple. My Old Guy would’ve liked to have spent some time shooting squirrels in our attic, but the Critter Gitters got the squirrel before he did. His flirty & flashy green eyes didn’t charm me to go along with his plan for a ladder-climb up the chimney in his 8th decade of life to “git” the squirrel. His charm’s still here, but it didn’t work on me that time! And we’ve still got a lot of grins left in us, too.

  28. Steve McCaleb - October 21, 2021 1:16 am

    I love the way you see things that most people miss. And somehow what you see is things that make our lives worth living. I don’t zactly know what it is you’re infected with…but I wish it was a worldwide pandemic. We could all use a little hope.

  29. Sandra - October 21, 2021 12:20 pm

    A sweet story to start my day. Thanks

  30. Debbie g - October 21, 2021 12:53 pm

    Steve. Love your comment. Whatever Sean is infected with. I want it toooo
    Beautiful Sean !!!love to all

  31. Larry J Wall - October 21, 2021 8:41 pm

    Sean, this was pure joy reading. Perhaps the best one of the month. No, I am sure it is. Sure brought back some sweet memories of bench seats with my honey of 53 years with 6 more before we hitched up together. Pickup trucks should still be able to have benches. And we still like to hold hands when we sit in the swing in the evenings. And maybe even sneak in a little smooch now and then. And then we both laugh at ourselves.
    Thanks from all the lovers, from 15 to 75.


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