DEAR SEAN:

I’m 70, living in Mesquite, Texas (a suburb of Dallas). About 6 months ago, my wife (we’ve been married for 46 years) emailed me one of the articles you write. Liked it. Next day, she emailed another, then another…

One story in particular I appreciated was the one about Kiera Larsen.

Happy Thanksgiving, and I can’t get enough biscuits either.

Thanks,
YOUR-BUDDY-IN-MESQUITE

DEAR BUDDY:

I had to dig around for this one, and I almost couldn’t find it. But I finally found the story you mentioned. I remember writing it back in 2016 and that already seems like a lifetime ago. Thank you for reminding me about it, even though much of the content is ancient history now, I believe there is good in this world. Though sometimes I forget to see it.

Here it is:

Have you watched the news recently? I don’t mean to complain, but it’s a never-ending circus of sadness and horror. If they’re not reporting on mass shootings, they’re talking about the possibility of mass shootings. And when they’re done, they discuss mass shootings.

Well, I speak for millions of Americans when I say that I’m disturbed. What about the good stuff this holiday season? In our giant of briar-patch world, there are millions of strawberries that pop up every day. And if you’ll permit me, I’d like to tell you about a few.

Ahem.

I’ll begin with schoolchildren who visited a Missouri Humane Society last Wednesday. The kids are part of a program in which students practice reading storybooks to rescue dogs. The purpose: To calm traumatized animals — and because everyone hates math.

FLORIDA—Ninety-year-old lottery winner, Ruby Sorah, won forty-three million dollars. Let that sink in for a second. This week, Ruby told reporters she’s giving all her money away. Every last cent. Not even a trip to Vegas to see Celine Dion.

And my granny never even gave Christmas cards.

In other news, meet a blue-eyed newborn with a severe brain abnormality. His birth mother abandoned him in a West Virginia hospital the day after his birth. The next morning, Rhonda Farley, a stranger, adopted the baby on the spot, without hesitation. “I believe,” says Farley, “every child needs somebody. Especially kids with special needs.”

Which brings us to Kiera Larsen, who died on Monday after pushing two toddlers out of the path of an oncoming SUV. When she saw the runaway vehicle, she displayed bravery that was downright other-worldly, with no regard for her own life.

She died a hero.

Yes, our world is full of hatred, which is no shock. Just watch the news. There are killers with semi-automatics, madmen with bombs, and candidates caught in sex scandals.

But there are also saints like Kiera. Good people with a kind of purity that’s too beautiful for mankind to understand. All we can do is admire it. In fact, it’s the only thing on earth worth admiring. People like her are the ones who deserve the headlines.

Kiera Larsen was ten years old.

32 comments

  1. Dru - November 26, 2019 7:40 am

    An idea from a Hawthorne story called “Young Goodman Brown” is that we create the world in which we live by choosing on what to focus our attention. We can preoccupy ourselves with political propaganda, violence, and upheaval, or we can choose to see the world as a purehearted child sees it. What we see is what we get.

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  2. Camille - November 26, 2019 8:10 am

    Best Thanksgiving message yet.

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  3. Steven Paul Bailey - November 26, 2019 10:47 am

    Beautiful

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  4. MaryJane Breaux - November 26, 2019 11:43 am

    Lovely reminders that more often the beauty and genuine “goodness” in this word is found in the most ordinary/extraordinary folk among us. ☮️❤️🦃

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  5. Bobbie - November 26, 2019 11:45 am

    God bless her! Very few in this world who are so selfless. Thanks to your fan in Mesquite for bringing this story back. One to remember.

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  6. Cynthia Harmon - November 26, 2019 12:00 pm

    Thanks for the reminder. It was a good one.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you, Jaime, and the dogs.

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  7. Phil S. - November 26, 2019 12:01 pm

    Gospel of John, Chapter 15, Verse 13. And the whole congregation said, “AMEN!”

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  8. Steve - November 26, 2019 12:14 pm

    Wow. 10 years old. There should be a monument to her reminding people of her bravery. I hate the 24 hour a day network news. There was once a time when some say, like Walter Cronkite gave the news. Just the news. No spin, no opinion, no expert speculating what “ might occur”. Just the news, all in 30 minutes. And they still made time for “on the road” with Charles Kuralt, now it’s Steve Hartman to give us a heart warming story. Today, in stark contrast, you first pick your political affiliation. Conservatives watch Fox, liberals MSNBC, and every else that’s confused switches between those networks, but mainly ends up on CNN. All of them give us a panel of “experts” who lean one way, and another who leans opposed so they can argue. They have shouting matches on what might have occurred, and what that might mean going forward. 10% news, 90% opinionated speculation. 24 hours a day. Nothing good is ever uttered. I’ll go back to watching National Geographic and learn about the complicated dynamics within a Lion Pride.

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  9. Gayle - November 26, 2019 12:23 pm

    Beautiful reminder to notice all the good around us! Thank you! 💖

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  10. turtlekid - November 26, 2019 12:25 pm

    All the negativity on tv news has distressed me so that I have quit watching it,. Even normal shows are stupid, so I just watch Jeopardy, then turn it off. However Facebook still has blurbs on the current events, so I know what is going on. Thank you for GOOD news. There was a song by Anne Murray years ago that spoke my feelings, “Sure could use a little good news.” Thank you for helpful reality. We have marvelous humans all around us, but the minority bad ones get all the attention. Your words are comforting!

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  11. Sheri Smith - November 26, 2019 12:28 pm

    Wow! I wasn’t aware of your columns until this year. I have enjoyed getting to know you. Thank you for re-telling these beautiful stories. Also, thanks to Buddy for reminding you and us of the real heroes of this world. We are grateful.

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  12. Susan Gregory - November 26, 2019 12:48 pm

    Exhales….no words.

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  13. Pete marovich - November 26, 2019 12:54 pm

    Very good. Something to think about.

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  14. Michael Bishop - November 26, 2019 1:24 pm

    Our son was one of thirty-two entirely innocent victims of the “mass shooting”–actually, a multiple murder of that number of human beings, all with multiple friends and family members, many of whom were impacted not merely on pthat day, but for the remainder of their mortal lives–at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007, and here twelve-plus years later we still at some point in our day recall that incident and again miss our son and mourn all the human potential for creation and kindness that the disturbed young man who did then shooting took out of the world.

    In one paragraph you mention “mass shootings” three times and rue the fact that newscasters and pundits jump out on every occasion to discuss and argue over these incidents, and we rue the fact that they have to, over and over again, because the incidents have become so commonplace that we are now virtually immune to them. Unless of course one has suffered the death of a friend or family member as a direct consequence of the senseless proliferation of these shootings.

    Don’t get me wrong. We read your column every day, with amusement, pleasure, and uplift, and we don’t expect people to avoid the topic of mass shootings to keep from triggering thoughts of these horrors, but we see heroes in the midst and in the aftermaths of these horrid events, including the Holocaust survivor professor at VT who held the door of his classroom against the shooter so that his students could escape out the second-story windows of his classroom and who sacrificed his own life in the process.

    We think, too, of the three students in our son’s classroom (where as the instructor ou son was shot to death immediately) who got up off the floor when the shooter moved on to another classroom and held the door shut against his return and who survived his second assault, but not without injury, and we think of the president who arrived on campus later to comfort the university community and the survivors of the victims by saying that they were all “in the wrong place at the wrong time,” when in fact they were all exactly where they should have been, and the intruder, with weapons that he should not have had, was the only one who should never have been there.

    Other heroes, in our opinion, are those who speak out against these avoidable recurrent events, which now occur virtually every day–that is no exaggeration, although the numbers of the dead vary from shooting to shooting–and who demand action instead of merely thoughts and prayers from our often unresponsive elected officials. And although we do not dwell on these events every day, we cannot avoid coming back to them because our hope has always been that no one else would have to suffer the “loss” of a loved one as we did and everything else that that it entails, including the subtraction of valuable human lives from the pageant of our history.

    Forgive me. We know you meant to bring uplift and hope this Thanksgiving week, and we will continue to read you because you so often do, but we hope that no one will dismiss “mass shootings” from our vocabularies until we take the sensible actions that will end or significantly reduce them. Thank you.

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  15. Kay Britton - November 26, 2019 1:47 pm

    You will never know how much I needed this today. ❤️

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  16. Edna B. - November 26, 2019 2:20 pm

    I never got to read this one before. Wow, such a brave little girl! Among all the wicked awful people in this world, there are still many more folks who are heroes. Just plain good folks. And I’m thankful for everyone of them. You have a wonderful day, Sean. Hugs, Edna B.

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  17. Red from Lower Alabama, Roll Tide - November 26, 2019 2:40 pm

    God Bless you !

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  18. Maria - November 26, 2019 2:46 pm

    You should print this once a month to remind people that there really IS good in the world. Maybe someday someone will have a Good News Only News broadcast, wouldn’t that be something. I guess until then we just have you Sean. God Bless you for all the reminders.
    Maria in Baja

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  19. Connie Havard Ryland - November 26, 2019 2:48 pm

    Thank you for reminding us all, once again, that there are real heroes out there. There’s good everywhere, we just don’t always see it. Happy Thanksgiving to you and Jamie and your pups. Love and hugs.

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  20. Edy - November 26, 2019 2:53 pm

    That was worth reading again.

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  21. Shelton A. - November 26, 2019 3:43 pm

    I wasn’t lucky enough to be reading you then. You brought tears to my eyes, What a beautiful soul. Kiera, may God give you joy eternal. I don’t even watch the news anymore. Too depressing and craziness being celebrated (or so it seems). That was news that should have been national news. But it doesn’t sell. We’re getting way too much opinion and not enough facts from both sides equally, no matter what news channel is on. I wish all of those talking heads, writers, producers, and directors had to read this. Maybe they’d be moved, too. RIP Kiera.

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  22. jstephenw - November 26, 2019 4:21 pm

    Thank you Sean. The world is full of good things if we only take the time to look. Thanks for helping me want to take the time.

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  23. Linda Moon - November 26, 2019 4:33 pm

    You are good too, Sean….but not yet in Kiera’s “other-worldliness”. Thank you for reminding us of her selflessness. I hope Kiera Larson’s family has a Good Thanksgiving. And you, Jamie, Otis, and Thelma Lou have a good one too.

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  24. Maxine - November 26, 2019 4:45 pm

    Thank you Sean, for once again reminding us that goodness exists in the midst of all the evil out there. I pray you continue to bring rays of sunshine often to a world that is too often cloudy.

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  25. Mangomama - November 26, 2019 6:35 pm

    I am so terribly sorry for your tragic loss. Yes we do need to hear horrific news so that we can do something to help.

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  26. Patricia Gibson - November 26, 2019 7:34 pm

    Always grateful for the reminders of good!

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  27. Nancy M - November 26, 2019 11:17 pm

    Thank you for the “rerun,” Sean; I hadn’t discovered you yet in 2016.
    Mr. Bishop, I am so terribly sorry for your tragedy.

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  28. Richard M. - November 27, 2019 12:35 am

    The last line brought out the tears. Doesnt take much these days I lost my wife to cancer on Sept. 27, 2019. She was sixty and put everyone before herself. She fought a long, hard battle, but lost the war after a three year battle. Until the day she died she gave love and encouragement to other victims of cancer with a smile that made you feel invincible and grateful to have been in her presence. God only takes the best and at 10 years of age she proved Him right. God bless Sean Dietrich and Happy Thanksgiving!

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  29. Beverly Wynn Bua - November 27, 2019 3:08 am

    No words😥😥😥🙏🙏🙏❤️☮️

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  30. Michael Bishop - November 27, 2019 3:38 pm

    Thank you, Nancy M.

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  31. Lita - November 27, 2019 8:39 pm

    Thank you <3

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  32. Dawn Bratcher - November 28, 2019 4:09 am

    💖💔🙏🏼👏🤟❤️

    Reply

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