It’s early. I am on the road this morning. I stopped for breakfast at McDonald’s. I know the food’s not good for me, but Egg McMuffins and I have a long history.
There’s a man here with his daughter. They’re in the booth behind me. He talks to her with so much sugar in his voice it’s hard not to smile.
He asks if she had a fun weekend.
She tells him she doesn’t want to leave him and go live with her mother. He tells her she must go. She cries. He holds her.
“Don’t cry,” he says. “We still have weekends together.”
In a nearby booth is a group of Mexican boys. Their voices are happy. Their clothes are filthy.
A jokester in the group attempts a stunt for entertainment value. He leans backward and balances a full cup of coffee on his chin.
This is a bad idea.
A few tables over: a woman. She has a service dog. She doesn’t appear to be blind, but then what do I know?
The dog sits while she eats. A man comes out of the restroom and pets the dog, but the dog doesn’t even acknowledge him. The animal is all business.
“Pretty dog,” the man says.
The woman answers, “He’s my everything.”
A few kids burst through the doors and stand in line. They are breathless, like they’ve just covered fifty miles on their bikes.
I wish more kids rode to town on bikes.
The man behind me is still talking to his little girl. “Your mother’s here,” he says.
A tall woman walks through the doors. She makes a beeline for the man and daughter. There is no small talk. She’s cool and collected.
They head for the parking lot. The man pops the hatch of an SUV and unloads pink backpacks, roller skates, a scooter, and flower-print luggage. The tall woman shoves things into a minivan.
He gives the girl a hug, kisses her forehead. He watches the minivan roll away. He hangs his head.
There is a lot I don’t know about this world. I don’t know why society gets colder. I don’t know why families break up, why good people get cancer, or why the self-centered get promoted.
I don’t know why news anchors use excited voices to talk about bad things. I don’t know why mass shootings earn more camera-time than people who change tires for strangers.
But I’m no fool. There are a few things I do know. Real things.
I know, for instance, that service dogs are loyal. I know Mexican boys stick together and try to make each other laugh.
I know kids still ride bikes. I know people still make music on porches, and that mornings are still the best time of day. I know some fathers fight tooth and nail for weekends with their little girl.
I know this Egg McMuffin isn’t half bad. Neither is love.
I know I am one of God’s children.
And I know that no matter who you are, where you’re from, or what kind of hell you’re going through…
That means we’re kin.
Mark Elder - June 14, 2017 2:07 pm
Yes, we are.
Bobbie - June 14, 2017 2:14 pm
You’re my “red headed step brother”…..we love you, Sean!
Peg - June 14, 2017 2:15 pm
Marty from Alabama - June 14, 2017 2:22 pm
This is one of your “uh oh” posts that make me get a tissue. I’ve often asked the same questions you did. Never have found the answers. Although I do know about dogs and their loyalty-unsurpassed by any human! Give me a good dog any day over a sugar-coated mouth
that won’t remember what it said five minutes from now.
Your daily dose is my get started medicine.
Jen from Tupelo - June 14, 2017 2:32 pm
A few friends recently shared some of your posts on social media. They were like breadcrumbs out of a forest leading me to your story telling. When we lost Pat Conroy, I thought there might not be another story teller as gifted. Thank you for carrying the torch of Southern Lit, Sean.
Diane Enloe - June 14, 2017 2:40 pm
I am thankful to be part of “your kind of kin”~ ?❤☺️
Chris Darden - June 14, 2017 3:05 pm
It’s funny how the older I get it seems the less I know. I thought it would be right the opposite. Great read.
Sandi - June 14, 2017 3:14 pm
How I admire your use of details and descriptions! You paint a delightful picture with your words, Sean. Keep on keeping on.
Dawn Johnson - June 14, 2017 3:19 pm
I, too, love to listen to the folks stories in fast foods restaurants. My husband start our own stories of what if! As we watch each group or individuals leave upon our faces are smiles or sadden of what we overheard. Thank you for your stories that brighten up my day ??
Jack Quanstrum - June 14, 2017 4:02 pm
Amen. I know your not preaching sermon Sean but that ending you have written is the best preaching I have ever heard. Yes we are all kin, we just need to slow down and observe it and then realize it like you have. Your story excites me to be part of this kinship. The desire in my heart to help others even in the smallest of unnoticeable ways. Thank God for your kinship.
Mindy - June 14, 2017 4:09 pm
Love your writing and how you take the time to know people and life. Keep up the amazing work. God Bless you!
Marilyn Cook - June 14, 2017 4:17 pm
Love you, Sean! God bless. Thanks for making my days better!
Jack Quanstrum - June 14, 2017 4:19 pm
Great writing, great preaching even though I know your not preaching, best sermon I ever heard. It makes me desire in my heart to be kind and kin to all creatures of God. Thank you Sean for your kinship.
Randy Prewitt - June 14, 2017 5:10 pm
There’s lots of things I don’t know either, Sean. Near the top of the list is; I don’t know why everybody doesn’t include “Sean of the South” in their daily internet reading. They don’t realize what they’re missing. And I have a hard time explaining.
Michael Bishop - June 14, 2017 5:23 pm
I’m pretty sure that “That means we’re kin” comes from the Bible, with a lot of its dramatic emphasis in the NT. I’m also pretty sure you’ve said “I’m not religious” in at least one of your pieces, but, actually, you are . . . in truly the best way, by putting JC’s teachings into practice in the real world and showing us so many others who blessedly go and do likewise.
Karen - June 14, 2017 6:35 pm
So well written Sean. So much about life, I will never understand either. Your stories are real and honest. You are right, We are all God’s children! We are all kin in some form or other, very thankful for the connection. Love having you as my kin folk.
Anna - June 14, 2017 7:46 pm
Sean, your posts oughta be required reading for all the folks who live in the United States of America, and then perhaps we would be united. Do I hear an amen . . .?
jane - June 14, 2017 8:09 pm
Please don’t ever stop. I love your stories so much. God bless you.
Elizabeth May - June 14, 2017 9:54 pm
Amen and amen. I know I belong to God is best and everlasting!
Kay - June 14, 2017 10:07 pm
And I’m proud to be your kin!
Susan in Georgia - June 14, 2017 10:24 pm
I like to sit in a restaurant and observe folks. So many scenes, different scenes and emotions, are being played out in living color. I like trying to hear God speak to me to pray for that young woman sitting with her head down; for the table full of rambunctious kids; for the older gentleman eating alone; for the couple with cellphones in their hands — paying more attention to their texting than to each other; and for the family of four who are carrying on a lively conversation. Everybody has needs and the Lord prods me to lift up each one. Not every time, but often enough that I’m learning to pay close attention to those around me. Sean, you’ve done this at McDonald’s and written about it today…observed LIFE…and shared it with us. Thank you, “my brother.”
Tawanah Fagan Bagwell - June 15, 2017 12:23 am
You speak to me with every blog you make.
Michael Hawke - June 15, 2017 3:04 am
Amen brother. Hoping you can visit Leary, GA sometime.
Sam Hunneman - June 15, 2017 3:42 am
Oh man, Sean… Wonder Woman would SO like you!
Martha Tubb - June 15, 2017 12:28 pm
Yes!! Thank you!
Martha Tubb - June 15, 2017 12:28 pm
Yes! Thank you!
Peggy Boggus - June 15, 2017 3:57 pm
Thanks Sean….you always lift my spirits…..
Marilyn - June 15, 2017 11:36 pm
I can’t wait to read your story each day!! I want to go to all the places you describe. Have you ever tried an Egg McMuffin with a folded egg (& strawberry preserves) ? Changed my life!
Sharon J. Wilson - June 16, 2017 4:05 pm
Sean I have a story you should check into. This story involves two very talented sisters, Patsy Taylor Dunn and Helen Taylor Andrews, who reside in Ozark, Alabama.
Their story of poverty filled with love and talent will fill your heart.
Kay Keel - June 16, 2017 10:17 pm
Oh my! That one filled my eyes with tears. We are all indeed kin! If we’d only grab that fact and stop this nonsense!
Susan Shebel - June 17, 2017 3:58 pm
Sean you are part of my morning devotional. Bet I’m not the only one. You were forwarded to me by a sweet childhood special lady from Dothan. Our houses were side by side in a middle class neighborhood in Stone Moontain Georgia. Five in our clan four in theirs. Our Mom’s were the only ones who worked. A nurse and a realtor. Growing up, not in the kindest of circumstances these two women ruled the world. Responsibility, faith, kindness to others were a part of our DNA. Summers were spent riding repurposed bikes, Monopoly marathons, baseball and drinking lotsa Kool-Aid with plenty of sugar. Through times of joy and sadness we were a team to be reckoned with sticking together through thick and thin. Our Mama B is 91 and is still a tower of strength to us all. My Mom left this world too soon but we all know God needed a special Nurse in heaven❤️ Thank you for your beautiful words each day and taking me to the joyous memories of childhood. God Bless.
Bruce Miles - August 3, 2017 1:40 pm
Robyn Nichols - August 3, 2017 2:09 pm
I love you!
Jon Barnett - August 3, 2017 2:32 pm
Growing up in the Missouri bootheel I consider myself a southern man.
Thanks for the stories that take me home. To the place of childhood dreams and memories.
I feel my life in so many of your stories. I lost my mother and three siblings in a house fire just before my ninth birthday. I connect with you on the loss of your father and can feel the sorrow in the words you share about your father.
I embrace the tales of church ladies and grandpa’s.
The stories of the bonds we form with our pets, those , they get me!
Thank you Sean for connecting us all with each word you share.
Mary Beth - August 3, 2017 3:45 pm
The definition of a “preacher” is a “bearer of the good news”! If this doesn’t qualify you as a preacher, then no one is qualified. Every day, you remind us of the goodness all around that we are sometimes too busy to ruminate on. Every day you cheer us on to be better than the day before. Encouragement we all need even if we’re not so bad. Thanks for the daily visit to church! You are mightily loved & appreciated!
Stephanie - August 4, 2017 12:33 am
Wonderful post. My mom sends me some of your writing. I think it’s time for me to join your email tribe. Such a beautiful sentiment here that teaches us to slow down and really pay attention to people…to life.
Sylvia Williams - August 4, 2017 10:40 am
You always manage to write something that moves everyone! Again, amazing!
Mary Anne Tomlinson - August 4, 2017 3:53 pm
Sean, you always touch my heart with your writing. Please never stop. We all need the human touch that you add to your words. We all need some good news.