Fried Chicken

I’m watching my wife cook. She’s frying okra in an iron skillet. A dog lies in my lap. The television is playing. My life ain’t bad.


Three’s Company is on. I don’t care for Three’s Company.

“Turn it up,” my wife says.

She likes this show. I don’t know what she sees in it. I’ve never cared for the trials and tribulations of Jack Tripper. I’m an Andy-Griffith man, myself.

John Ritter is no Andy Taylor.

Anyway, cooking. This is what my wife does. It’s how she’s put together. If you’ve never met her, there are only two things you should know about her:

1. She talks with a loud voice.

2. Don’t ever touch her plate.

On our honeymoon, we went to a greasy burger joint in Charleston, South Carolina. It was the kind of place with a jukebox, and burgers so thick they cause cardiologists to recite the Twenty-Third Psalm.

I made a serious attempt to steal an onion ring from my wife’s basket. It was the first and only time I ever attempted such an act. And even though it happened long ago, I never regained mobility in my left hand.

Food, you see, is important to her. It’s what she does.

I’m not saying she’s a hobbyist. I’m saying that when we first met, she’d already completed culinary school with flying colors and worked in a kitchen. She doled out orders, stocked inventory, and balanced budgets.

A “chef de cuisine” is what they’re called. She knew all there was to know about beurre blancs, chèvre cheese, semi-rigid emulsions, and beef bourguignon.

When we were dating, she cooked supper a lot. On one such occasion, she asked what I wanted for supper.

I really wanted to impress her with worldly culinary wisdom. I felt it important to appear to be a man of sophistication when courting a woman with refined tastes.

I almost suggested “cuisses de grenouilles,” but couldn’t figure out if this dish paired well with Miller Lite. So instead, I said to her: “Can you make Kentucky Fried Chicken?”

She didn’t even blink. She floured up her mother’s counter. We’re talking chicken batter made from scratch, creamed corn, grits, and sliced raw tomatoes.

And a chicken good enough to make even the staunchest Baptist take the name of Andy Griffith in vain.

I’ve never loved another woman.

I’ll cut straight to the chase for those of you who don’t want to read any further. I love her. A lot. She’s not like other people. She’s outgoing, opinionated, outspoken at times, and magnificent.

When she smiles, I see her. Fifty thousand generations of lower Alabama jump out of her eyes. Her left eye closes more than her right one. I love that.

She likes animals, stories, butter, anything spicy, sleeping late, cold beer, and SEC football. She has worn the same pair of pajamas since I met her—almost sixteen years ago. And the same hairstyle.

She doesn’t often wear makeup—she doesn’t need to. She isn’t worried about calories—there are more important things to worry about.

And she is strong enough to make a common redhead believe that he can do things. Things like writing.

I would have never started my writing career if it weren’t for her. She’s the one who helped me be me.

Whenever I tell her this, she only answers with: “You give me too much credit. I didn’t do anything.”

Yes you did, Jamie.

You told me I was somebody. And you cooked my chicken in a skillet. And I am me because of you.

So I’m watching her work at the stove right now. She has no idea I’m writing this. My bloodhound is on my lap, a TV is blaring.

And life is so short. It’s shorter than people think. I’m no fool. Life is an evaporating fog. One day we’ll be apart, and one of us will miss the other so bad it will feel worse than dying.

But that day is not today.

No, today is now. And it’s ours. And I want this woman to know, today, that I’m with her, and I’m glad she’s with me.

Even though she watches Three’s Company.


  1. Chuck - June 22, 2019 6:50 am

    you are a consummate southern boy in love with a southern bell

  2. Pam Beauchamp - June 22, 2019 7:55 am


  3. Karen - June 22, 2019 8:50 am

    You have been given such a gift, and I love that you recognize and appreciate her.

  4. Ann Marie Bouchet - June 22, 2019 9:26 am

    Y’all are blessed to have found each other.

  5. Susan - June 22, 2019 9:30 am

    Beautiful! This reminds me of a song by a fellow from nearby Green Hill, Alabama, Jason Isbell’s “If We Were Vampires.”

  6. Naomi - June 22, 2019 11:28 am

    Sean, did you ever see John Ritter on “The Waltons” when he played a stiff-necked Baptist preacher, just out of seminary, when he got drunk on the Baldwin sisters’ “recipe”?

  7. Susan Kennedy - June 22, 2019 11:50 am

    I feel like I’m missing out by not knowing both of you!! ?

  8. Phillip Saunders.left over from a hog-killing - June 22, 2019 12:11 pm

    You’ve got a GOOD woman, Sean. So do I. I thank the Good Lord for her every day, as I know you do for Jamie. We are truly blessed. Great wives, chicken, and okra.
    Also, I never cared for Three’s Company, either. Give me Andy, Barney, and the Mayberry gang any day.

  9. Rhonda - June 22, 2019 12:12 pm

    Jamie was a gift. For a boy with a broken heart through no fault of his own. And hers was someone that would appreciate and need the kind of love she had to give. A heart full of love with no one to give it to is as sad as the heart that never feels loved.

  10. bob stoddard - June 22, 2019 12:24 pm

    It is a blessing to have been a passenger on the train of your growth as a writer. It must be a French train, because it’s moving WAY faster than any train I have ever ridden on. God bless you, and keep writing! Can;t wait to see you when you come down to Gulf Shores!

  11. Shelton A. - June 22, 2019 12:37 pm

    Jack Ritter is a sorry excuse for Andy Taylor, but otherwise, you got a keeper in Jamie. So, keep her and tell her every day how much you love her and need her in your life. Plus, show her this column!

  12. Connie Havard Ryland - June 22, 2019 12:44 pm

    You and Jamie are wonderful. I loved meeting her and I love the way you are so unabashedly in love with her.

  13. Jess in Athens, GA - June 22, 2019 1:20 pm

    How do you write or do anything with a bloodhound sitting on your lap? My dog isn’t nearly as large as a bloodhound and she wants to be a lap dog, but that isn’t happening. Small dogs are lap dogs….bloodhounds and my dog are not lap dog. I love my dog dearly, just not on-my-lap type of love.

  14. Don Daniel - June 22, 2019 1:27 pm

    I love when you write about your wife and the women in your life. God is good to give us this kind of help and companionship — we need it.

  15. Linda - June 22, 2019 1:30 pm

    Well she did marry a man named Dietrich. Diet-rich. What a great name for a chef.

    • Janet Mary Lee - June 22, 2019 5:15 pm

      lol, Linda!!

  16. Emjay - June 22, 2019 1:50 pm

    Thank you, Jamie! Love, All of Sean’s followers ?

  17. Pat - June 22, 2019 2:59 pm


  18. Shannon Shelton Brown - June 22, 2019 3:07 pm

    Oh my Lord, Sean! You’re a lucky guy. She’s a lucky girl! No more words needed.

  19. Linda Moon - June 22, 2019 4:23 pm

    Iron Skillets, Andy Griffith, Jamie Dietrich with her loud voice. These are three of my favorite things. If I were to add more FAVES, they would include Charleston, Jukeboxes, and Women Who Are Not Like Other People. Tell your wonderful wife that “Uma” says Hello, and pass along my admiration, too!

  20. David Hurley - June 23, 2019 2:22 am

    Hope to see you in Fairhope …DON’T THINK OF SHOWING YOUR FACE without Jamie on your arm.
    David, Fairhope

  21. Edna B. - June 23, 2019 2:19 pm

    Yup, you got yourself a keeper! It’s so good to hear you sing her praises. You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

  22. Marcia Zuhlke - June 23, 2019 5:39 pm

    Your wife is a lucky woman. If more husbands let their wives know how much they meant to them we’d all be in a happier world

  23. MermaidGrammy - June 24, 2019 3:54 am

    Please, please, please, go get some children for Jamie to teach just how to be such a good woman and you to teach how to be such a good man. So much love and respect needs to be shared. Multiplied. ADOPT!

  24. Jack Darnell - June 24, 2019 9:54 pm

    I will be truthful. Imma tell Sherry you wrote this to her for me. You said how I feel. (you could have left out the basket ball stuff) but thats okay, her family was all sports buffs with one pro base ball dude in the mix. Down deep the girl loves sports, but since I don’t she doesn’t mention it much but seems to know all the important scores. LOL Good ‘un

    sherry & jack.

  25. Edy - June 25, 2019 12:00 pm

    I like your stories!

  26. Linda Deamon - July 22, 2019 6:41 pm

    Yes, life is short. Enjoy every day you have together. I just lost the best half of me and miss him something fierce.


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