Candy Coating It

Today I read an anger-fueled article sent to me from a friend. The article was nothing but 600 words of well-phrased rants, complaints and venom. It was awful. And like many truly awful things, it went viral.

When I finished the essay I felt so depressed that I had to take some Pepto-Bismol and lie down. The article bickered about everything. Politics, religion, pollution, crime, taxes, pesticides, SUV’s, celebrity culture, the price of gas.

And worse, hundreds of thousands of people had loved these articulated complaints, thereby agreeing that this world is a totally jacked-up place to live.

Well, far be it from me to contradict this well-known writer’s take on the nature of life. He probably poses some really significant points. But all this unpleasant reading left me asking myself one very important question, which I believe this essayist overlooked:

If this world is indeed in a lost cause, then how do you explain Hershey’s bars?

Let’s think about this logically. Can a world be all that bad as long as it has silken milk chocolate manufactured by the multinational chocolate and cocoa godsend that is the Hersehy’s Company? I submit no.

Has the essay writer ever savored a Hershey’s bar when it’s room temperature? Has he ever tasted a s’more for crying out loud? Has the writer ever visited Hersheypark family theme park in Hershey, Pennsylvania?

Obviously not because Hershey’s chocolate, in any incarnation, instantly makes the world better.

Certainly, I realize we as a society have our problems, I’m not saying we don’t. But has the embittered author of the seething article ever paused to taste fresh blueberries? How about a purple Cherokee tomato?

If he hasn’t, he needs to eat several. This might also help relieve some of his mild to severe constipation.

I ate an heirloom tomato today, picked from my neighbor’s garden. I had a visceral reaction. I took one bite and I started shaking my leg like Elvis at a tent revival.

As long as this world keeps pumping out tomatoes, we still have a chance.

What about daylilies? Or tulips? The colors of summer? Sundown over the beach? Homemade pickles? Oven baked bread? Biscuits? A NASCAR cup series? Little League games? What about James Brown, for cripes sake?

Don’t tell me the world is falling apart when there are recordings of “Let a Man Come In and Do the Popcorn” performed by The Prime Minister of Super Funk.

And has the writer of such dismal anecdotes ever watched an old man dance with his granddaughter at a wedding reception? Because I’m guessing not.

Last week, I went to a friend’s reception and I saw an 73-year-old man take the dancefloor with a 6-year-old girl whose hair was in ribbons. The song was “You are so Beautiful.” The child danced with her grandfather while keeping her feet upon the tops of his shoes.

Are you going to sit there and tell me this world is a giant flaming sack of dog flop when American granddaughters are still dancing on old mens’ shoes?

I simply cannot agree. I don’t care what sorts of written complaints go viral, going viral doesn’t make them correct.

You want to talk viral? Here’s something a history professor once told me about culturally viral things:

Hundreds of years ago when the Choctaw tribes were in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi, they had a singular word in their language. It was a short word. And it was among the first bits of human culture to ever “go viral.”

The word was “okeh.” It was used to express agreement, satisfaction, or approval. Okeh was your everyday all-purpose word. You could use it in all kinds of situations.

The missionaries who visited North America were among the first to pick up this word. They started using okeh all the time. They even started using this term in place of “amen.”

The missionaries began writing this word in their journals, their Bibles, and scribbling it on postcards sent across the Atlantic. They started abbreviating it: “O.K.”

Over time, O.K.’s viral status never slowed. In fact, O.K. is still pretty viral. Today, it is the most used word in the world. This tiny two-letter word is used in 159 countries and almost 6,000 languages.

And it happens to be one of my favorite words. I use it all the time, and so do you. And I think we ought to be using it more often because it’s about time we started trying to be okay with each other.

So I do not care what kinds of hate-filled articles circulate among the masses. Please don’t send these news items to me for I have decided that no matter what the essayists claim, I’m not giving up on us. I cannot give up. I will not give up.

Because as long as Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, keeps producing Hershey’s bars, I believe we’re going to be okeh.


  1. Robin Mitchell - June 26, 2021 6:53 am

    I love everything you write, but they are too long. It is probably me, but if you would cut it down a bit, I would read more often

    • Gwynn Schneider - June 26, 2021 12:03 pm

      The part where you say “As long as this world keeps pumping out …, we still have a chance,” You had me at “biscuits”. I’m okeh now.

      • Ruthe T Short - June 29, 2021 12:00 pm

        I’m gonna love you forever and ever; forever and ever, …oooh-keh!

    • MermaidGrammy - June 26, 2021 12:27 pm

      To Robin Mitchell – I always think the end comes way too soon!
      When people express their displeasure, it’s because something else is really causing their pain. I feel so sorry for these folks. Thank you for being my light first thing in the morning and something I can ruminate on all day

    • George - June 26, 2021 3:20 pm


    • Susan Kennedy - June 26, 2021 6:47 pm

      You meant that as a joke, right?????

    • Kathy Grant - June 27, 2021 1:30 am

      Perhaps read in small doses, like part of an article at a time. It takes a certain quantity of words to establish a setting and character, etc. The descriptors here help me see the people he’s describing.

    • Sharon Ollis - June 27, 2021 8:35 pm

      NOT too long!!

  2. Martha Black - June 26, 2021 7:12 am

    Preach it Brother Sean, preach! Naysayers have given up hope & esrablished their own faith in hate, but we don’t have to join their congregation! I still believe in those small glimmers of hope……. My daddy used to say your life was what you made it. Ive found that to be very truthful……..

  3. Norma Den - June 26, 2021 7:40 am

    To use an expression from a lovely movie. “Everything will be OK in the end, if it not yet OK it is not yet the end.” Keep going Sean and don’t shorten your daily inspiration to so many people.

    • Maria Linkhart - June 26, 2021 2:23 pm

      This is one of my favorite quotes!

  4. Kelly - June 26, 2021 10:29 am

    Well said!

  5. Debbie - June 26, 2021 10:54 am

    I love an optimist!

  6. Rusty Graves - June 26, 2021 10:56 am

    Amen, Sean!! An absolutely wonderful, whats happening on the ground column!!

  7. D. Green - June 26, 2021 10:56 am

    First of all, let me say your columns are not too long. AND, they are beyond OK – they are wonderful. Thanks for getting me thinking on all of the wonderful things in this world. The list is long and helps me realize everything is going to be OK!

  8. Mary Nell - June 26, 2021 11:01 am

    Thanks for your article today. We can never give up on us. OK

  9. Kevin - June 26, 2021 11:02 am

    I’ve always wished your article was longer, always look forward everyday to seeing what you have to say.

  10. suziclues - June 26, 2021 11:05 am

    We’ll Okeh then! I’m with you!

  11. Dale Edwards - June 26, 2021 11:06 am

    Great rebuttal Sean! And how does saying or thinking bad things help? Nota! Thank you for all your writings, you’re a bright star on a dark night!❤️

  12. Virginia Russell - June 26, 2021 11:15 am


  13. Christine - June 26, 2021 11:22 am

    Yes, amen and okeh👍🙏👌

  14. Harriet - June 26, 2021 11:25 am

    Love this. And your column is not to short.

  15. Craig Williard - June 26, 2021 11:46 am

    Great article Sean. We all need to be more thankful for the good things in life. The media on both sides always tries to get us stirred up about something but your column always makes me feel better about myself and life in general. Keep up the good work.

  16. Bill Harris - June 26, 2021 11:56 am

    Thank you Sean

  17. Karen Holderman - June 26, 2021 11:59 am

    Yes, as Martha B.lsaid, “Preach it, Brother Sean.” Your writings are how I start my day (along with a cup of coffee). They are definitely Okeh.

  18. Anne Godwin - June 26, 2021 12:02 pm

    Seems like what you focus on determines a large part of your output. That’s why I quit watching the news over a decade ago. I used to watch different stations, at 5, 6, and 10 pm. When I realized it was mostly BAD news, I quit. sometimes, ignorance is bliss. Thanks for sharing the GOOD news.

  19. Jo Ann - June 26, 2021 12:06 pm

    Thank you, Sean, for reminding us every day that things aren’t entirely awful. The length of your writing is just right- like Goldilocks, not too long, not too short! Some of the things people complain about are first-world complaints. We live in the greatest country in the world, with the most opportunity for all who want it. Otherwise, why would thousands cross the border, legally & illegally. Keep being you, please, Sean, we need you to keep us focused on the positive, rather than the negative.

  20. JOHN MILLER - June 26, 2021 12:12 pm

    The “Reese” camp must protest ‘we shall lead the smile parade

  21. Ken P - June 26, 2021 12:18 pm

    Good one Sean! Abe Lincoln once said “Most people are as happy as they make up their mind to be”. Thank you for not having tunnel vision of all the bad in the world, but instead having eyes wide open to the wonderful things we could all see.

  22. maxnayagus - June 26, 2021 12:21 pm

    I think I may make this viral. Okeh by you? 😉 xo

  23. W. Gary Smith - June 26, 2021 12:30 pm

    Great article. It was better than OK! Addtional “see mores” would be good for me🙂

  24. Gwynn - June 26, 2021 12:31 pm

    When you say “As long as this world keeps pumping out …, we still have a chance,” you had me at biscuits. I’m okeh now.

  25. T. J. - June 26, 2021 12:33 pm

    Sean, I am okeh with however the length of your articles. I am okeh with your sentiments. If we could just not have any news media who try to convince everyone that everything is not okeh, what a wonderful world 🌎 it could be. 😂 I too am more than okeh with Hershey bars.

  26. Sandi. - June 26, 2021 12:34 pm

    On my refrigerator door is a magnet with the letters IGBOK. These letters stand for the reminder that no matter what’s going on in your life today, It’s Gonna Be O.K.

    • Karen Snyder - June 27, 2021 2:08 am

      I have IGBOK on a bookmark, and I wholeheartedly endorse that mindset, Sandi!

      Thanks, Sean, for another day of keeping things in perspective. ❤️

  27. Joyce Anders - June 26, 2021 12:36 pm

    OK, Sean. You said it all. Thank you.

  28. Bex - June 26, 2021 12:38 pm

    Sean, after reading the comments, I cannot add anything but AMEN! You keep us grounded and true to ‘real life’ not the junk the newspapers and media want us to hear! I am at least 1/99th Choctaw
    and I am Okey with you and your articles! God bless!

  29. Faye Hutt - June 26, 2021 12:39 pm

    Friend – this morning, this 80 year old chooses to believe you. We are ok.

  30. biglar48 - June 26, 2021 12:43 pm

    Robin, we all make choices every day. If you decide not to read Sean’s article because it’s long you are depriving yourself of a wonderful gift from God. Please consider making it a higher priority regardless of length.

  31. Jesse Peel - June 26, 2021 12:44 pm

    Sean, you are wonderful. Every morning I begin my day by reading your column. This morning as usual it brought a smile to my face and helped remind me that it will indeed be OK . Thank you for reminding me

  32. Laine Thayer - June 26, 2021 12:51 pm

    I agree… everything will be OK when we are grateful for the things each offer to this world! I am grateful for you and your writings! Thank you!

  33. Lois - June 26, 2021 12:52 pm

    I hope Hershey’s sends you a truckload of chocolate bars for your kind words about their candy! We Pennsylvanians are proud of their candy!

  34. Kathy Sloan - June 26, 2021 12:52 pm

    Amen, I mean okeh.

  35. Paul Moore - June 26, 2021 12:53 pm

    It’s strange that as hard as life has been on people like you and me. We see the good and beautiful better than most. I never knew the origin of o k. Wonder if the local natives added doe keh As in okeh doekeh

  36. Sonya Tuttle - June 26, 2021 1:00 pm

    I prefer your view of this world. “Two men looked out from prison bars…one saw mud, the other, stars”

  37. Mary - June 26, 2021 1:03 pm

    Once again, Sean, thank you for helping me stay positive. And I agree with one of the previous comments. I hope the Hershey’s company sends you a boatload of chocolate! Okeh?

  38. Tami - June 26, 2021 1:06 pm

    Sean, I think a big challenge that our world today has is that we expect good things to be the exception to the rule. Case in point, a wallet was recently returned to its owner here in my hometown and a number of comments were made along the lines of “There’s still some good in this world.” There are good things happening everyday all day long in every state, city and neighborhood in this country. Your column brings a few of those to light for us everyday! Keep telling us about the good you see, Sean, in as long a column as it takes. We need you reminding us that while things may not be perfect, they are definitely okey – even good!

  39. Beryl - June 26, 2021 1:25 pm

    You are what you think. Mike Dooley says, “Thoughts become things…choose the good ones”. Jesus said the same sentence in Biblical-speak. I have completely erased the news from my life. I refuse to see this beautiful world through a viewfinder filled with hate or any other adjective that detracts from the beauty of this wonderful world we live in. I start each day thinking and verbalizing all that I have to be grateful for. I am grateful to you, Sean. You have enhanced my life on this planet. Thank you.

  40. Viann Augustine - June 26, 2021 1:28 pm

    As it’s said in one of the best songs ever – “ I’m stuck like a dope with this thing called hope & I can’t get it out of my heart “. You’re okeh with me

  41. Gene - June 26, 2021 1:32 pm

    I’m with all the others that your POSITIVE blogs are much more help than all those negative ones.
    Did your neighbor see you getting that delicious tomato from their garden?

  42. Bkr - June 26, 2021 1:37 pm

    Preach it! I totally agree with you!!

  43. Andy Andrews - June 26, 2021 1:45 pm


    Excellent and true! Here’s one to add to your list: At church on Father’s Day, I met a son who had brought (brung? driven?) his dad to church. Jimmy–the son–is 74 years old. Jim–his dad–is 95.

    Love your work,

    Andy Andrews

  44. Page Leftwich - June 26, 2021 2:01 pm


  45. Cathy - June 26, 2021 2:05 pm

    Sorry Robin, but I think you are outnumbered. I am read Sean’s column slowly every morning bc I don’t want it to end. Sort of like I eat a Hershey bar. He lifts me up even when I get weepy. The late, great Louis Armstrong’s rendition of What a wonderful world is and always will be my favorite . It says it all. It was the background for my daughter’s wedding video 24 yrs ago. One line says, I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do, but their really saying, I love you. It really is a wonderful world and it’s the little things that make it so wonderful. Thank you Sean for keeping us on track. Happy Saturday to all

    • Stacey Wallace - June 26, 2021 5:01 pm

      Cathy is correct. Sean’s articles are not too long. In fact, he probably has to write a certain number of words. I write a restaurant review column in a weekly newspaper. I was told to write 700-1200 words. Sean is right on the money. To me, Sean is amazing. He writes about an 800-word column SEVEN days a week. That’s quite a lot of great writing. This retired English teacher gives Sean an A+.

  46. Kathy - June 26, 2021 2:08 pm

    Truly, we are okay. “The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.” – R. L. Stevenson

  47. Lisa O’Connor - June 26, 2021 2:19 pm

    Make this go viral. Every little thing is going to be okeh !

  48. beachdreamer1 - June 26, 2021 2:27 pm

    Loved it! Your usual style of humor mixed in with basic truths! Also love all the readers comments…except that first one. I agree with whoever it was that said, when people criticize there’s always a deep seated issue at the bottom of it. I also agree about the news…my viewing time has become less and less. Thank you Sean for being such a bright spot in my Saturday morning. So good to start the day off with positive thoughts.
    God bless ❤️

  49. Laurie - June 26, 2021 2:32 pm

    I know you say you’re just an “ol’ country boy,” but your writing is profound. Call it PollyAnna, or Sugar-Coating, or Rose-Colored Glasses–doesn’t matter which. Today’s column is a reminder that we’re given boundless blessings every day and that we are so much better off if we “Keep on the Sunny Side” — while we do what we can to combat the omnipresent negativity and ugliness which, in truth, are also part of the world in which we live.

  50. Christina - June 26, 2021 3:10 pm

    Yes, Sean, and oke!

  51. Glenn - June 26, 2021 3:17 pm

    Okeh, Amen. I instantly transported myself into the future, hoping I’m still around to dance with my currently 8 year old granddaughter at her wedding in about 20 years.

    Oh, I’m fine if you want to make your daily affirmations of faith in this world longer. I have the time to read a few more words each day.

  52. Norm Purdue - June 26, 2021 3:22 pm

    Amen! I mean ok!

  53. Suellen - June 26, 2021 3:27 pm

    I think I’ll celebrate this column with a Hershey’s kiss!

  54. Linda Hill - June 26, 2021 4:03 pm

    Isn’t it interesting the way so many of us agree on Sean’s words? The one detractor was Robin. How sad. Just before reading this latest column I was trying to figure out how many of Sean’s books I could buy at one time-I can’t imagine his ever being able to write a word that I wouldn’t be eager to read. I’m just hoping he never runs out of them.

  55. Deborah Blount - June 26, 2021 4:05 pm

    O.K. Your rant has made my day. Thank you.

  56. Nancy T. - June 26, 2021 4:09 pm

    Thanks. You have a wonderful way of looking at our beautiful, complicated world.

  57. Patricia Gibson - June 26, 2021 4:17 pm

    I am not going to say the conditions right now don’t upset me because that would be a lie, but I like you, Sean, know That there are a lot of good people and a lot of wonderful God given treasures out there! I prefer to see the good and that by the way is a choice! Love and hugs. I love Hershey, Pa. ❤️❤️and you!

  58. Stacey Wallace - June 26, 2021 4:50 pm

    Sean, you are WAY better than okeh. Thanks for brightening my mornings. I need to watch even less news than I do. I’m so glad you’re young. The Good Lord willing, I hope you write for at least 30 more years.

  59. Rebecca Souders - June 26, 2021 4:57 pm

    It’s supposed to be over 110 F here (Portland, Oregon), so I ran to the store early before it gets too hot. But now I wish I’d bought some Hersey’s chocolate! OK?

  60. Joy Rogers - June 26, 2021 5:12 pm

    Sean I’m not eloquent at all, but I love your writings Robin doesn’t know what she’s talking about so don’t listen to her. I look forward to your writings every day and then pass them on. Keep up the writing, okeh?

  61. Linda Moon - June 26, 2021 5:13 pm

    “Went viral”. That’s a relatively new buzz-term. I’m a proud luddite, so I don’t understand why going viral would be a good thing, especially in COVID times. Aren’t viruses something to be avoided? I’d rather have love spread around from actual humans with actual faces who actually talk to one another with actual voices. I didn’t candy-coat that, did I. But I’ll be OK because I don’t hate. You don’t either, Sean. You spread LOVE. Love and dark chocolate keep me going. And so do you… do you.

  62. Ann - June 26, 2021 5:25 pm

    Robin, Why would you say that? I cannot imagine ever saying anything so negative about Sean’s writings. Haven’t you read that one negative comment negates much of all the wonderful comments and remains like a knife in the gut to a writer? Haven’t you read Sean’s reactions to hurtful comments before? You have to know that they hurt. My sweet Mom always told me that if you can’t say something nice about something or someone, just don’t say anything. Good advice!!!!!! Sean, you are a bright light every morning, rain or shine. Love your sensitive heart and love you!!!!!!! Please don’t ever change. Your readers need you just the way you are.

  63. Helen - June 26, 2021 5:31 pm

    I agree with you, Sean! Okeh

  64. Lois hager - June 26, 2021 5:37 pm

    My son was 6 years old when he asked me if there would be Hershey bars in Heaven. I answered, “when you get to Heaven and you want a Hershey bar I am sure you will get one”. Thank you for reminding me of that precious moment. I treasure your writing and your beautiful attitude.

  65. Barbara - June 26, 2021 5:47 pm

    If you watched the magnificent strawberry super moon rise over the hills on Thursday, while you were enjoying a Hershey bar, blessed! Only beauty and no negative around. Thank you Sean.

  66. Rhonda - June 26, 2021 6:12 pm

    Okeh then!

  67. Curran - June 26, 2021 6:12 pm

    Illegitimi non carborundum!

  68. Rhonda - June 26, 2021 6:13 pm

    Okeh dokey then

  69. Marilyn Mason - June 26, 2021 6:17 pm

    Nice. Thanks 😊

  70. Susan Kennedy - June 26, 2021 6:50 pm

    And pass the Hershey bars!

  71. Dorothy Kelly - June 26, 2021 7:57 pm

    Please keep writing! I am a 76 year old retired English teacher and you make my day!

  72. Bill prather - June 26, 2021 10:06 pm

    Hope the world reads this article

  73. David S Doom - June 26, 2021 10:38 pm

    Okey and Amen

  74. Robert - June 27, 2021 12:55 am

    I’d have to agree, except as a resident of Waterford, Wisconsin – just a stone’s throw from Burlington, Wisconsin; the home of Nestle’s Chocolate and thus well known as ‘Chocolate City U.S.A.’ – I’d suggest the venomous writer visit us on Memorial Day weekend and rediscover true American values down here in everyday land with everyday people as they enjoy ‘Chocolatefest’, the annual nod to the beauty of that creamy brown goodness. He will never be the same, I guarantee it.

  75. Robert L Chiles - June 27, 2021 11:46 am

    In the words of St. Julian of Norwich, the first woman to write in the English language, in the 13th. century, “All shall be well, all manner of things shall be well.”

  76. Suzi - June 27, 2021 12:48 pm

    A history and positivity lesson all in one♥️
    Counting my simple blessings this day~

  77. Martha - June 27, 2021 9:07 pm

    love it

  78. Scott - June 29, 2021 11:16 am

    I too believe that chocolate solves many bad moods. Maybe we should insist that our government leaders should have a taste of chocolate bars before they enter debates.

  79. johnallenberry - July 2, 2021 2:41 am

    Thanks, Sean. After reading this, I think we’re gonna be O.K.


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