Heavenly Bodies

I was at a truckstop, eating breakfast. It’s a good feeling to eat eggs in a room full of handle-bar mustaches.

I feel good. Maybe it’s the way the sun is hitting this farmland I’m driving past. The scalped fields. The blue skies.

Or maybe it’s the way my waitress kept smiling at me this morning.

I was at a truckstop, eating breakfast. It’s a good feeling to eat eggs in a room full of handle-bar mustaches.

Shaniqua was my server. It was on her nametag.

“I’m happy today,” Shaniqua said. “Just told my husband he gonna be a daddy. He started crying. He’s a big ole Teddy bear.”

She was pure euphoria.

I wish I would’ve had a wallet full of fifties.

Maybe it’s the semi-truck, carrying pallets of bricks, ahead of me in traffic right now. There’s a giant tarp. It’s tattered, flapping in the wind. It’s a disaster waiting to happen.

The driver must know this because his hazards are on. He’s driving slow—probably looking for a place to pull over.

God love him.

There’s a sticker on his bumper which reads: “How Am I Driving?” and a phone number.

I dialed the number before I hit Pintlala, Alabama.

“Hello,” the woman’s voice says.

“Yeah, I’d like to report that one of your drivers is quite exceptional.”

“You wanna what, sir?”

“That’s right, just wanna inform you that one of your drivers deserves a fat raise.”

More silence. “Is this real?”

“It is.”

“Okay, I’ll write it down, sir.”

“Happy New Year, ma’am.”

She’d already hung up.

Maybe it’s the way my dog is sleeping in the passenger seat. She’s snoring.

Why can’t I be more like a dog? It takes so little to satisfy them. A belly rub, dry food, a quick roll in a foul-smelling substance, and (snap!) euphoria.

I love that word. Euphoria. For years, I used it wrong. I thought it was a continent that Napoleon conquered after he sailed the Ocean Blue in 1897. But I know what the word means now.

It means:

The way summer air turns into winter air, almost overnight. Or how you feel when you see people you grew up with, shopping in a department store.

Or when you see sharp kids who will one day grow up to be astrophysicists—or if they’re lucky, truck drivers.

And farmland. Average scenery that isn’t average if you know how to look at it. Sprawling pastures that make you say, “Ain’t that pretty?” even though your third-grade teacher threatened to gut you with a pitchfork for using “ain’t.”

An old man once told me: “Good days get harder to come by the older you get. Just wait. One day, everything on your body hurts, and life is lousy. You’ll see.”

Maybe. But that doesn’t change the prettiness of today. It doesn’t erase the small farms along the highway. Or the sparkling frost on my truck hood this morning.

It can’t change the way fifteen-year-old Arnold, who has cerebral palsy, wants to be a world famous chef one day.

It won’t change the way seventy-two-year-old Percy felt when he graduated from online high school last week.

Or the way twelve-year-old Dean sang “In the Garden,” for his step-father’s funeral.

Or the way a simple grin from a pregnant truckstop waitress can make fifty truckers look like they just discovered teeth.

Heaven is real. Sometimes it’s hard for me to see.

But not when I look at Shaniqua.


  1. Susan Hammett Poole - January 3, 2018 9:10 am

    Truly, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
    And I think Euphoria must be the emotional result of the appreciation of that Beauty.

  2. Teresa - January 3, 2018 10:35 am

    Every day. Every dang day you make me want to try reallly hard to be better. And that’s saying something. You are a ray of sunshine, Sean!

  3. Shirley Jo - January 3, 2018 12:17 pm

    You very often touch my heart! This morning warmed me to my soul. We buried my husband of sixty-one years yesterday at our small but “filled with love” Episcopal Church. The first hymn was “In the Garden. God bless you for your thoughts and words.

  4. Mike Pelosi - January 3, 2018 12:32 pm

    Good stuff man!!

  5. Susan - January 3, 2018 12:35 pm

    I love you. That’s all I can say. I just love you.

  6. Gigi - January 3, 2018 1:06 pm

    I tell my kids every day, well almost, life is in the small things. Your post today is spot on- euphoria comes from where you least expect it. Thanks for the reminder…

  7. Connie - January 3, 2018 1:14 pm

    I love your daily reminders to see the small things as the blessings they are. Thank you.

  8. Rhon Smith - January 3, 2018 1:39 pm

    Your blog always starts my day with a smile – today you & Shaniqua gave a smile and a warmth to my soul. Thanks bunches !

  9. Jan - January 3, 2018 1:59 pm

    You speak the truth, Sean. Heaven is all around us, closer than we think if we just open our eyes and quit staring at the television or computer screen. Thank you!

  10. Larry Blumen - January 3, 2018 4:28 pm

    A more earthly, but depressing thought: truck driving as a career will become obsolete in the not distant future, owing to the advent of driverless vehicle technology. Self-driving trucks are already on the road in several States.

  11. Lynda - January 3, 2018 5:44 pm

    Yes, a ray of sunshine. Thank you, Sean. You are the best.

  12. Mary Embler - January 3, 2018 6:26 pm

    You make me smile! Thanks!

  13. Shirley J Brown - January 3, 2018 11:57 pm

    Miss Kitty was the third grade teacher at Pintlala who held that pitchfork. Moving from Dalraida in Montgomery to Pintlala felt like my parents had pushed me into the gates of hell. Miss Kitty keeping Moe and me after school for six weeks to catch us up on the math skills I was lacking was truly the punishment given to those who were going to hell but obviously needed extra math skills to make their escape to the heavenly plain. Looking back, it was the best of times and an extra mile today’s teachers wouldn’t think about doing. Pintlala was heaven but I had to grow up to realize it.

  14. Dru - January 4, 2018 12:46 am

    The perfect word for driving through Alabama on a bright, cold winter day!

  15. Mignon Croft Watson - January 4, 2018 2:10 am

    Loved today’s post. Thanks

  16. Barbara Weldon - January 4, 2018 2:15 pm

    You are a awesome writer!!! I Believe the good Lord gives us all gifts in our life and I truly believe he’s gifted you with the art of telling stories that make people smile!! God Bless you my friend!! I really enjoy your stories!!! You make my heart smile!!!


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