My mail-lady handed me a stack of mail and said, “Looks like mostly bills.”
Then, she lit a smoke and we talked about a whole lot of nothing. Namely: the weather. Though we do have some things in common. For example, we both have too many bills.
When she left, I opened my stack of mail. She was right. Bills. Coupons, real-estate flyers, a Bass Pro catalog, and a gift certificate for a free chiropractic consult in a bad part of town.
And one thick envelope from Georgia. A three-page letter.
The author of the letter is ninety. She has stunning penmanship. Her name is Louise. I’ve never actually known a woman by this name. But I wish it would make a comeback.
“I am not good on your Facebook,” Louise begins. “I still write letters…”
I wish more people would.
She’s from the old world. Her husband was a blue-collar. A grease-covered face who smiled at her just right when she was eighteen.
He was rowdy, but he settled down the moment he slipped a ring on her finger. Rings do that sometimes.
“A minister came through our church,” she said. “I brought Joey to listen to a quite captivating speaker…
“And though my husband was less than impressed with Methodism as a whole, the minister made it through to him…”
The holy-roller did more than make it through. He talked about one thing in particular that evening: anonymous acts of charity. And for some reason—call it good timing—her husband took the idea seriously.
At lunch after church, he wrote a Bible verse on the back of a business card—one which he carried in his wallet for many years. It was the only Bible reading she ever saw him do.
“…A man who has two coats is to share with him who has none; and he who has food is to do likewise.”
That same year, he bought several swing-sets for needy families in town. They were delivered anonymously. He did the same with playhouses, trampolines, bicycles, and baby formula.
She estimates he gave away millions of diapers.
“But second-hand cars were his specialty,” she said. “This, mostly during the Christmas season… He’d hide them in his outdoor garage to work on and give them away.”
Once, he delivered a car to a widow who lived outside town. He left the car in the woman’s driveway during the middle of the night with a title in the front seat and groceries in back.
The charitable act made the newspaper. But nobody ever knew it was him.
“…Because he never divulged what he did, nor to whom he gave, that was most important.”
She goes on, “I miss him… And I often feel compelled to share him with anyone who might appreciate the kind of life he believed in living. He was my example… The first man I ever kissed.
“I thought learning his story might truly bless you today, especially amidst the news of our modern day.
Check your mailbox.
Lilli Ann Snow - June 22, 2017 12:26 pm
Every day I do just what you told Louise to do. I check my “mailbox.”
Thank you, Sean, for the gift of you.
Mollie Beth Callahan - June 22, 2017 2:21 pm
This is the TRUTH. I check my mailbox every single day.
Kay Snead - August 8, 2017 12:37 pm
I can’t wait every morning to read your articles. It’s so nicde to read GOOD reading . There are many left that are good clean reading. Thank You again.
Connie - June 22, 2017 12:34 pm
Every day I read your words and I’m blessed. I just have to start reading them after work, instead of at my desk. You often leave me in tears and smiling inanely at the same time. Thank you.
George Brannen - June 22, 2017 12:57 pm
The sweetest most genteel truly great Southern Lady I ever knew was named Louise Majors. One of the greatest honors of my life was to be a pall bearer at her going home service. i think Louise should make a comeback too along with Martha, Mary, and Margaret.
Perri Geaux Tigers Williamson - June 22, 2017 1:12 pm
Well…that wrecked my makeup before running into Sam’s. ? Thank you Louise for sharing your husband with us.
Mary Anne - June 22, 2017 1:18 pm
Sean, your writing never disappoints. I wish I had your mailing address. I’d send you a letter or a card to read amongst those bills, offers and coupons. Although I use email all day at work, I still write letters to my friends. I even make handmade cards. While I’m making a specific card for someone, I pray for that person while I’m working on it, so by the time the card reaches them, a prayer for that person has already reached much higher than the mail man can. (People don’t know that I do…I sort of do that anonymously too.) Our world today needs your good news. I love how you see a story in people’s lives and your gift for sharing it with others. Whether your article makes me smile or tear up, it always blesses my heart. Your writing is a gift to your readers. Thank you, Sean.
Camille Atkins - June 22, 2017 1:32 pm
We need more of Louise’s husband!
Cathi Russell - June 22, 2017 2:12 pm
Got me again. See you tomorrow.
Jim Roberts - June 22, 2017 2:18 pm
What great story of faith Louise shared. Blessings and prayers to all.
Marlene Willis - June 22, 2017 2:19 pm
My husband was a giver, although not always an anonymous one. He especially had a heart for the elderly and for children. He passed this characteristic down to my daughter who finds joy in serving others. I do not believe this is a rare trait. I know many who share God’s bounty with others. By the way I still write long letters, but I confess to using the computer and only hand write notes of thanks and encouragement. God bless you. Your writing brings me joy.
Mollie Beth Callahan - June 22, 2017 2:19 pm
Your writing makes my day. This precious man could have been my grandfather, who was also Methodist. He gave anonymously and often. This impacted me in a big way when I was just a young thing and today I still give the way he did, anonymously. Now my school teacher pay doesn’t afford me the ability to give huge gifts like Pop did, but that feeling that I get is priceless. I don’t see the results of the giving very often. Just like my Pop, I don’t hang around for the happiness. It sure does my heart good to know that some child has clothes and food, if only for a day. We need more folks willing to give for the thrill of blessing someone instead for the glory of having given to someone and getting a news article written about their “generosity”. We just need to see people in need and bless them the best we can. I believe our hearts and spirits were built for this kind of thing. Thanks for finding the good stuff to write about. Let the 5 o’clock news cover the negative mess. You keep on sending us the goodness that’s out there. I appreciate your stories. Write us a book!!!
Teresa terry - June 22, 2017 2:28 pm
Oh what an inspiring story and what an example.
Julie Gentry - June 22, 2017 2:36 pm
I want you to know what a comfort and inspiration your writings are to me each day! As Louise stated, the world can look so scary and unkind…..we have to remember the good and the good in people. I look forward to reading your posts, I always feel better and smile! I live in Alabama too, northeast, in Scottsboro, and I teach children, they make me smile too. Life can be hard sometimes, as you well know, but God has given you a gift, so keep it up! I want to share one of my “kid” stories with you…..one day one of my 5 year old students asked me if God picked his Momma out just for him. I said ” well yes, when you were in heaven I imagine God held your hand and said ‘look at that sweet lady down there, she is going to be your momma!'” He smiled really big and hugged me, then he looked as if he was thinking really hard, and said…..” you know I must have been asleep, because I just don’t remember that!” Bless his sweet heart and so Precious, as we say in the South! I hope you will remember how uplifting your writings are for me when you write, my husband is pretty sick, I am retired. Working 3 part time jobs, still have one in college, and finances get me down sometimes, but the sweet things in life keep me going! Your writings are one of those sweet things!
Have a good day…..and bless your heart, precious!
Judy Miller - June 22, 2017 2:45 pm
Beautiful! People used to do things like that, back in the day.
paula jones - June 22, 2017 2:49 pm
Love, love, love.
Marty - June 22, 2017 3:47 pm
Oh for the days when folks cared more for others than they did for self. I’m not saying some don’t exist, just not as many and usually those that do these good deeds want all kinds of recognition. Aren’t you supposed to do your charitable deeds secretly? That’s the way I was “raised” back in the day.
I know some people say there are no good old days and maybe comparatively speaking there aren’t. Not when you realize the hardships of those days – no electricity, no inside water or plumbing and lots of other no’s. But there was an abundance of love, love, love. In good times and bad.
We had a special neighbor, one of momma’s best friends. Her name was Louise.
Marty - June 22, 2017 3:53 pm
I never read the posts until after I make my comments. Should have today. Seems a lot of the people had the same ideas. Great minds run alike!
Jeannie - June 22, 2017 4:38 pm
So many good people in the world. Thank you for reminding us on a daily basis. We NEED to be reminded and do some of that goodness ourselves!
James Thomason - June 22, 2017 5:31 pm
My 83 year old mother’s name is Louise. My wife and I planned to name a girl Katherine Louise after her mother and my mother. We had three sons so never used the name. Someone who knew we would use our mothers’ names for a girl asked if we were going to use our fathers names for a boy. We said no because Constantinus Cleveland Thomason would be a tough name for a kid. Her dad was Greek and my dad was the last son in a family that named all their sons with a name starting with a C s the good ones were taken.
My dad passed away a little over a year ago not long after their 65th anniversary. I talked with my mom last and asked how her day had been. She said that she had been gotten lonely and thought of my dad a lot so she got out her old love letters from him.
Michael Bishop - June 22, 2017 10:06 pm
It would be good (forgive me for this one quasi-political comment) if some of the good people in the world were in the US House and Senate. Many of them seem to have forgotten the verse that goes “…A man who has two coats is to share with him who has none; and he who has food is to do likewise.” I am referencing the GOP health bill unveiled today, which appears to fly in the face of the verse quoted in your excellent story.
Bobbie - June 23, 2017 12:28 pm
My Mom’s name was Louise, and she and my Dad
could have been twins with your Louise and Joey.
Thank you for sharing!
Jack Quanstrum - June 25, 2017 6:57 am
Unbelievable story. Previous woman as well as her husband. Both lived a graceful life. I wish I had that kind of graciousness. Thank you for your down to earth and motivating stories.
Dianne - August 8, 2017 12:01 pm
I’ve made you part of my morning devotional. What
a joyous blessing I get from your writings.
Darlene Vale - August 8, 2017 12:08 pm
Honestly, I have tears brimming over the edge of my eyelids making it hard to see what I’m typing so excuse any mistakes, please. I can just SEE Louise writing this letter to you. I can hear the voice in your head, hers, as you read it to yourself. Thanks for this reminder, I’m going through something right now that is sometimes hard to give, it’s for my ex-husband (as of last November). We were married for 12-ish years, some really good, the last ones….well, not so good. Our divorce set him back “quite a spell” (in southern speak) but I have committed to giving him rides to and from work until he gets his first new paycheck. I get up at 4:30 now to get him to his job at 5:45 then drive in Atlanta rush our traffic to pick him up between 3:00 and 5:00, 4 hours of driving time for me. I’m doing this since his transmission fell out of his $700 used car he purchased after he totaled the Ford Expedition we bought together. Oh, and there was another car in the middle there that someone else totaled for him when they rear-ended him, none of that car’s fate was his fault. Makes you think about what they say about bad things happening to good people. I can at least drive. I can’t give any more financially because I’ve already done that part, for 5 marriages my counselor suggested. Long way around to what I’m saying. Your stories remind us all to embrace our life for what is is TODAY and also to give to others as much as we can. It’s always more of a gift to ourselves when we gift to them, sometimes we have to sit quietly and read something like this to remind ourselves. You, Sir, are a gift to me on this day. Thanks for reading this if you do happen to. All the best, Sean of the South!
Deanna J - August 8, 2017 1:15 pm
Love your mail!
Tommy Simmons - August 8, 2017 1:16 pm
Dang. Your good man. Your good
Nikki Gwin - August 8, 2017 1:38 pm
Your stories are my mail. Thank you Sean.
Katrina Dewrell - August 9, 2017 1:17 am
James 1:27New Living Translation (NLT)
27 Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.