A cafe. I’m drinking coffee, typing on a laptop. I am trying do some writing. But it’s hard to concentrate.

Namely, because I am sitting beside a group of middle-aged women who are having a conversation about Tupperware.

“Do you remember my friend Martha?” says one woman. “Martha has a Tupperware container, she got it at Target, she can put anything in it.”

“Anything?”

“Yep, anything she wants, she just puts it in the container.”

“Martha does?”

“She got it at Target.”

“They have good containers at Target.”

“Martha just loves it.”

“I’d love a container like that.”

Shoot me.

Across the cafe, I see an old man. He’s alone, eating a sandwich, sipping coffee. He wears a ratty ball cap and gazes out the window. I have a soft spot for old men who gaze out windows.

Over to my left are teenagers—boys and girls. One boy is wearing a Boy Scout uniform, a girl sits beside him. They are holding hands. These kids are so happy they belong in padded cells.

Also, an elderly couple sits behind me. He’s talking into a cellphone, using a voice loud enough to register on the Richter Scale.

Cellphone man shouts, “My doctor said my heart is looking good, darling! There’s nothing to worry about! I don’t need surgery after all!”

And the woman beside me keeps saying:

“Oh, Martha told me the lid just unscrews off her container.”

“The lid unscrews?”

“On and off, just like this.”

“How does it go back on?”

“When you wanna put the lid on, you screw it on. When you wanna take it off, you unscrew it.”

“Whose container is this again?”

“Martha’s container, she got it at Target.”

For the love of Hank.

The old man in the ratty cap is still looking out the window. He wears a tired face, it looks like he hasn’t shaved in days, his shirt has stains on it, and I can’t help but wonder who he belongs to.

Cellphone Man’s wife leans forward and shouts into the phone. “We’re so grateful your father’s heart is okay! We miss you, darling!”

Laughing from the ladies beside me.

“Well, I’ve never had a lid that unscrews,” one woman says. “I’ve only had containers with lids that pop off. ”

“Me, too. My lids have always just popped off.”

“Whenever I wanted to take my lids off, I just popped them off, and that was how we did it.”

The man in the ball cap has finished his sandwich. Now, he is sipping his coffee with both hands. He stares out the window with the same eyes you’d find on a bloodhound.

His eyes follow a red SUV that rolls into the parking lot. A young woman steps out. She is tall, blonde, and well-dressed. The old man is obviously taken with this woman because he is glued to the window.

“Yep, Martha just walked right into Target and told that man, ‘I want a container with a lid that unscrews.’”

“Target has containers like that?”

“They most certainly do.”

Teenagers laugh. The Boy Scout and his girl are closer now. She’s leaning on him. I wish you could see how uncomfortable, but sincere they look. Norman Rockwell, eat your heart out.

No matter how old I get, there will always be something about young romance that gives me hope for the human race.

The old man in the cap stands. The blonde woman from the SUV walks into the cafe, she makes a beeline for the old man. They embrace. Hard. He is facing me. He pats her shoulders and closes his eyes. He is fully in the moment.

“Daddy,” I hear the blonde say. “Have you been waiting long?” she says.

He grins. “Nope, just got here.”

Liar.

Cellphone Man and his wife are still sharing the phone. It’s on speaker so everyone in the restaurant can enjoy their conversation. “We’re coming to see you tomorrow! We can’t wait to see you! We love you so much!”

The old man in the cap is still embracing the young woman. She is pressing her cheek against his. If I’m not mistaken, he is crying. Soon, they leave together, arm in arm. He crawls into her SUV and they disappear.

The Boy Scout presses his forehead against the girl’s forehead. They are closing their eyes, smiling. She kisses his cheek ever so slightly. This sends the boy into orbit. They’re perfect.

Anyway, I guess I’m not going to get any writing done today. I’m too busy people-watching. But who cares? I’m seeing the mystery of the universe unfold itself right here in a small cafe.

Though, it’s not just in cafes, it’s in supermarkets, high schools, airports, Waffle Houses, fellowship halls, trailer parks, county prisons, living rooms, hospitals, rehabs, classrooms, and nursing homes.

People who love each other are everywhere.

Lord, may I be one of those people.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to swing by Target on the way home.

40 comments

  1. Christopher Spencer - February 22, 2019 8:27 am

    Thank you, thank you very much.

    https://www.target.com/p/twist-and-store-large-food-storage-containers-2ct-up-up-153-compare-to-ziploc-174/-/A-14695656

    Reply
  2. Marilyn Ward Vance - February 22, 2019 10:55 am

    I hope you found one with a lid that unscrews….mine just pop off…..please don’t ever stop writing!

    Reply
  3. Meredith - February 22, 2019 11:17 am

    Lids that screw on, lids that pop on, doesn’t matter……when you need the container you won’t be able to find the lid!! Love your writing SD!! ❤️

    Reply
  4. Debbie - February 22, 2019 11:39 am

    What’s the world coming to?!? Tupperware containers with screw-on lids……blaspheme… nothing seals better than a Tupperware container lid, properly installed.

    Sweet moments happen every day. Thank you for reminding us of that, when the news is so full of the bad things that happen.

    Reply
  5. Elizabeth - February 22, 2019 12:04 pm

    don’t go to Target, you’ll go in for 1 thing that costs $5 and come out with 30 having spent $100. Good one!

    Reply
  6. LeAnne Martin - February 22, 2019 12:12 pm

    Sean, this is a gorgeous piece of writing. I’m laughing out loud one minute, teary the next. Hope to see you at a show one day.

    Reply
  7. Annak - February 22, 2019 12:22 pm

    Rats, Sean! Now I can’t get those screw-top containers at Target out of my mind. Gotta check it out. Love, love your people-watching and observations. You have a gift for seeing the rest of the story behind the obvious things that most of us see, and remind us to stop and look for the things that matter. Again, thanks!

    Reply
  8. Sue - February 22, 2019 12:25 pm

    Loved this. Hope you found the container you’re looking for😂

    Reply
  9. Lucretia Jones - February 22, 2019 12:40 pm

    . . .yhank you, Sean, for a “slice of life”, the real world. . .

    Reply
  10. Gerri Johnson - February 22, 2019 1:07 pm

    I have several containers with lids that screw on. I found mine at the Wal-Mart. You just have to know where to look – and you most certainly do, Sean. Thanks for sharing. “Let him who has eyes to see and ears to hear…”

    Reply
  11. Connie Havard Ryland - February 22, 2019 1:32 pm

    My favorite thing to do is people watch. I wish I could see them the same way you do. Great read today.

    Reply
  12. Mitsy Wilbourne - February 22, 2019 1:56 pm

    My daughter’s introduced you to me. I read your article every morning. Watching the news I almost lose hope for our country..then every morning you restore that hope. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Emjay - February 22, 2019 4:23 pm

      Succinct–and exactly how I feel, Mitsy.

      Reply
  13. Jan - February 22, 2019 2:01 pm

    Another winner! Your gift of seeing, truly seeing the people who cross your path in everyday life is amazing. Your ability to then translate your vision into language which allows your reader to see through your eyes is so special. Please don’t ever stop seeing and reminding us of the truly important things in life. And I do include even mundane things like Tupperware containers because that conversation is important to someone!

    Reply
  14. Barbara Pope - February 22, 2019 2:02 pm

    Live and learn!

    Reply
  15. Jess in Athens, GA - February 22, 2019 2:16 pm

    Interesting. I want to know more about where to buy Tupperware with lids that screw on and screw off; where are those sold?????

    Reply
  16. Debbie Britt - February 22, 2019 2:28 pm

    I loved it! ❤️

    Reply
  17. Judi Lawrence - February 22, 2019 2:38 pm

    Dear Sean, I just wanted to let you know how much your uplifting writings mean to me. My hometown was hit hard by hurricane Michael and sometimes it’s hard to get up and cope with the day but your wonderful stories give me hope/thank you. Judi Lawrence Panama City FL

    Reply
  18. Edna B. - February 22, 2019 2:55 pm

    Sean, I loved today’s story. I also love watching people. You see much more than I do, so I’ll have to try harder. My heart went out to that old man who was waiting for his daughter. You have a wonderful day Sean, hugs, Edna B.

    Reply
  19. Carolyn Allen - February 22, 2019 2:56 pm

    Don’t have time to say much….gotta get to
    Target. Thanks Sean….you’re the best!

    Reply
  20. Carol - February 22, 2019 2:58 pm

    Personally, I prefer the snap on . The screw on bothers my arthritis! So if you see any snap on let me know !
    It’s hard to go shopping now , my syiatic nerve pain is acting up!! Thanks ! I’ll put the check in the mail , just let me know what you find!!
    Love ya!

    Reply
  21. Donna - February 22, 2019 3:07 pm

    I am still laughing out loud…thanks again for the best way to start a day! Tupperware, indeed. Tell those ladies I still have my original “cake keeper” from 1966 with a pop-off lid!!

    Reply
  22. askguy - February 22, 2019 3:10 pm

    Yeah, so sorry you couldn’t get any writing done. But this musing on love, healing and screw on lids will do until you get past that block! Thx.

    Reply
  23. Jon Dragonfly - February 22, 2019 3:29 pm

    “People who love each other are everywhere.

    Lord, may I be one of those people.”

    Reply
  24. Mark Hausman - February 22, 2019 3:34 pm

    Good one!

    Reply
  25. Kay Alina - February 22, 2019 3:41 pm

    Thank you for filling my gratitude meter Sean.

    Reply
  26. Shelton A. - February 22, 2019 5:30 pm

    Intentionally buying Tupperware is the beginning of senility-even if the lid does unscrew. Thanks for your observations. I’m left wondering what happened to the old man and the woman in the SUV…I hope she takes good care of her dad.

    Reply
  27. Diana Williams - February 22, 2019 5:39 pm

    I love your “People Watching” days… We are fearfully & wonderfully made!

    Reply
  28. Susan - February 22, 2019 7:36 pm

    I truly wish you had a show scheduled for where i live! You do make me laugh and smile and think about the good things life has to offer… people everywhere could use that.

    Reply
  29. Mary - February 22, 2019 7:44 pm

    Good one! I was truly laughing out loud!!! Thanks, Sean.

    Reply
  30. Jack Darnell - February 23, 2019 5:02 am

    You are lying, you ain’t about to go by Target! Just sayin’.
    I enjoyed the post, wish I could hear That well, i’D BE A WRITER! lol…… Thanks old man!

    Love from NORTH CAROLINA

    Reply
  31. kathleenivy - February 23, 2019 5:03 am

    I giggled (giggled!) so much fun. Glad the man reunited with his daughter. I was a bit worried about him. Also glad the other man did not have to get heart surgery. I don’t need to go to Target because I have a lot of “heirloom” tupperware (the real stuff) from my mother. So glad I discovered your writing Sean. I love what you do. Thank you

    Reply
  32. Diane Nelms - February 24, 2019 10:59 pm

    Be sure you pick up one of those containers with the screw on lid. I hear you can put anything in it.

    Reply
  33. Barbara - February 26, 2019 4:01 am

    Sean, you always put tears in my eyes, a smile on my face and gratitude in my heart.
    Thank you for sharing your wonderful incite of the world and it’s inhabitants.

    Reply
  34. Leana L’Hoste - March 1, 2019 3:45 am

    Mr. Dietrich, rest assured, you are one of those people! Thank you for being a man that truly sees those around you. You are a blessing to the world. Please keep writing!

    Reply
  35. CELINA Branton - March 22, 2019 6:26 am

    Sean, you are totally awesome….. I still NEED your BOOKS! I have Tupperware that pops on and off, and I have to “burp” the lids for the assurance of a complete “seal”, thus the “SEAL” trademark on Tupperware. I have had mine since 1960… have never gotten rid of any of my original Tupperware that I have to “burp.” When you go back to Target, ask for a Tupperware bowl that screws on and off and also ask if they have the type that pops on and off that one must “burp!” You know, that also assures one all of the air is out for freshness, but the main thing I like is when you “burp” it and hear the little bit of air (the burp), it’s sealed and nothing can enter! I just love your writings…. please keep on “keeping on!” I’m 79 and look forward to each provocative thought you share with us, we who love you and your immense talent unlike any other writer! Look in the mirror and be proud, young man! I could have been on of those women discussing Tupperware at the table near you. Be patient with us ……

    Reply
  36. turtlekid - March 22, 2019 11:30 am

    Even without listening to conversations, I love to watch people. Waiting for friends to finish shopping, just sitting, it never bores me to wait and watch. We humans are so diverse, so unique, so interesting. What we wear, how our hair is, how we walk, it is all compelling, and gives our minds great appreciation. Thank you this reminder. People need people!

    Reply
  37. Donna - March 22, 2019 12:08 pm

    Every single day is just so awesome, if we only open our eyes and hearts. Thank you Sean, you have a blessed day!

    Reply
  38. Kathryn - March 22, 2019 1:26 pm

    You made me LOL with that last line! See you at Targetl

    Reply
  39. Gail Campbell - March 22, 2019 6:46 pm

    My sister and I are going to go messing around tomorrow, shop a little, make a return at Lowe’s, use the Kohl’s cash for something for the grandkids, and now that you mentioned those screw on lids, I guess we’ll go to Target too!

    Reply

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