And I’m just skimming the surface. There’s a long list of adversities our ancestors fought. Yellow fever, smallpox, the Great Depression, World War II, gasoline shortages, Windows 98, and Barry Manilow.


All my friends have the flu, I’m seeing all this bad stuff online, and I’m worried because of it. If my friends have the flu, then that means I’m next. I got a flu shot, but I keep hearing bad things, and I’m really scared.

What should I do?


You’re not alone here. As much as I’d like to claim to be Captain Fearless, I’ve been washing my hands so often my knuckles are hairless.

But, before we go any further, first, we’re going to take a deep breath. Ready. Go.

Now, hold it. Hold it. Hold it.

Let it go.

Feel that? That total-body feeling? You know what that is? That’s us NOT having the flu.

Okay. Now, let’s turn off TV’s, computers, phones, and avoid internet headlines in all caps like:


Let’s go talk to Granny instead.

Granny will put our minds at ease by telling us that sickness like this is nothing new in history.

Case and point: before the Civil War, a worldwide bubonic plague broke out. They called it “black death.” It made today’s flu look like a day in Aruba.

Then there was the influenza pandemic of 1889. Nearly 1 million died. That was no picnic.

And I’m just skimming the surface. There’s a long list of adversities our ancestors fought. Yellow fever, smallpox, the Great Depression, World War II, gasoline shortages, Windows 98, and Barry Manilow.

Let’s start with the Depression. It was the end of the world for many people. Families without water, food, toilet, living in tents, picking cotton for pennies, dying from malnutrition.

Next, we’ll ask Granny about World War II. 80 million died during those hellish years. Let that number sink in.

Maybe Granny will tell us about boys like, Luke Jameson, who fought in that Great War.

He was a nice-looking boy. Six-foot-two. He endured measles and a Great Depression. Then, at age 16 he lied to the Army recruiter and enlisted.

Different times.

They sent him to the war in Europe. He was wounded in the spine. While being carried by medics, a military vehicle ran over him.

He crawled to safety—nearly every bone in his body broken. He was in rehab for years. Years, with a “Y.”

When he finally made it home, his family was standing on the front lawn to greet him. He was in uniform. He walked with a limp. He was different, they say.

In a good way.

I met him when he was an older man. His room was peppered with photos of bass fish, bird dogs, and buck hunts. He was a jovial thing.

I asked how he managed to stay so happy.

“Simple,” he said. “I’m not afraid of anything.”

He went on to say that he had survived two heart attacks, one wife, war, famine, spinal surgeries, the measles. You name it.

“Once you’re not afraid,” he said. “Nothing can touch you.”

I’ll never forget those words.

So, Granny will probably tell us the same things. Then, she’ll remind us to keep the televisions off. She’ll tell us not to fear flu, famine, or even death.

Because Granny knows that worry is a sickness far more dangerous than flu. And worse, there’s no vaccination for worry.

So here’s a message from an old veteran who’s no longer with us: “Don’t be afraid of anything.”

And here’s one from me:

Wash your hands until your skin bleeds.


  1. Sandi in FL - February 6, 2018 8:53 am

    Flu season does cause a lot of us to worry about getting sick. Whenever something is worrying me a lot, I remember a little poem my sweet mother used to recite (author unknown):
    “Worry never paid a bill;
    Worry never climbed a hill.
    Worry never led a horse to water;
    Worry never did a thing you thought it oughta!’

    So, worry less, and pray more!

  2. Nancy Kane - February 6, 2018 11:49 am

    Good advice! But Barry Manilow…. Man..he was music. and he wrote the songs!

    • theholtgirls - February 6, 2018 2:30 pm

      He taught the world to sing, in perfect harmony, AND he’s still doing it. Even now! 😉

  3. candyalso - February 6, 2018 12:09 pm

    Spot On!

  4. Kelly chambers - February 6, 2018 12:20 pm

    I’m not happy with the Barry Manilow slam! Just because he’s not southern he doesn’ deserve that!

  5. CKD - February 6, 2018 12:45 pm

    I love Barry Manilow, but the man can’t dance.❤️

  6. Xan Morrow - February 6, 2018 1:02 pm

    Or as Jan is so eloquently sang Kris’s words, Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose…”

    • Xan Morrow - February 6, 2018 1:03 pm

      Dang autocorrect, that is Janis

  7. Penn Wells - February 6, 2018 1:55 pm

    Does Granny make house calls? We need her bad! Seems to me we used to be more of a “Yes, we can kind”of a country – you know, like Texans. Not “No, we can’t…uh, what was that question again?” But maybe I’m just getting old and I’m fooling myself. Maybe we’ve always been a bunch of wimpy fraidy-cats.

  8. Larry Blumen - February 6, 2018 3:05 pm

    Technical observation: you mentioned the 1889 flu pandemic when a million souls died worldwide, but not the 1918 flu pandemic when over 50 million died, still in the living memory of a few lucky survivors.

  9. "Brook" - February 6, 2018 3:25 pm

    Barry Manilow. Sean, I feel your pain! I applaud your willingness to speak the truth!

  10. Michelle Cooper - February 6, 2018 3:38 pm

    Barry Manilow ???! You’re a hot mess!!

  11. Gretchen - February 6, 2018 5:36 pm

    Love love love this one! I wonder if all the readers held their breath like I did. Laughed out loud at Barry Manilow! And for the first time, Sean, I wasn’t sobbing at the end!!!

  12. Linda Chipman - February 6, 2018 5:56 pm

    OK Sean this is the first time I’ve disagreed with you – I LIKE Barry Manilow!

  13. Jack Quanstrum - February 6, 2018 6:16 pm


  14. Sandra Smith - February 6, 2018 6:44 pm

    Yep !
    63 yr old Retired Nurse, for 35+ yrs…seen a LOT of bad dying, but I’ve never seen a bad death…It took a while to “get it” but…
    Be grateful
    Be mindful
    Be kind
    Look for Grace in EVERYTHING ….It’s THERE !

  15. Jack Darnell - February 6, 2018 8:15 pm

    Good stuff.

  16. Jack Darnell - February 6, 2018 8:20 pm

    Hey, who is this Barry guy? Just askin! Oh yeah, tongue in cheek huh?

  17. Sharon Hand - February 6, 2018 9:38 pm

    To paraphrase 1 John 4:18 …”Perfect love casts out fear.” Works for me.

  18. ponder304 - February 7, 2018 5:13 pm

    The only thing worry does is make you sick….”don’t worry, be Happy..” I think I hear a tune in my head….

  19. Stuart Henderson - February 7, 2018 6:38 pm

    HEY, what’s wrong with Barry Manilow?

  20. Mignon Croft Watson - February 8, 2018 12:20 am

    I have had problems with my computer and have stopped getting your posts. Thanks


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