I hope you think about the simple things they gave us. A hamburger with pickles. Whittling. Will Rogers. Baseball games. Pajamas. Smacking ketchup bottles. Hank Williams music playing on kitchen radios. Childhood porches.

I hope you have a good day. The entire day. Start to finish. Not the Best Day Ever—that’s too much excitement crammed into twenty-four hours.

No. Just a plain-old, good day.

I hope you wake up to smells you love. Like: donuts, bacon, a fireplace, or halitosis from a kitty-litter-eating bloodhound.

I hope you have nothing pressing to do. No schedule. No appointments.

We do too much, you know. Long ago, our ancestors practiced the noble art of being worthless. A lot of folks won’t do that anymore.

Today, I hope you’re as worthless as a waterproof dishrag.

I hope you remember your ancestors. Your grandparents, and their grandparents—even if you’ve never met them.

I hope you think about the simple things they gave us. A hamburger with pickles. Whittling. Will Rogers. Baseball games. Pajamas. Smacking ketchup bottles. Hank Williams music playing on kitchen radios. Childhood porches.

I hope you close your eyes and recall the best pieces of childhood. The days when you played hard, and the best games happened in backyards.

I hope your smartphone quits working—just for a few hours. I hope the absence of a digital screen takes you outdoors. I hope you hear the sounds of the earth all at once.

I hope you sit for hours with nothing but a cold drink and your best ideas.

I hope you meet someone who inspires you. A kid who’s had kidney cancer. A girl who got pregnant too young, who just finished nursing school.

A woman who lost her husband to an overdose. A child whose daddy is in prison. A hillbilly who put himself through the GED course. A homeless woman, selling parched peanuts. An EMT. A school custodian. A lonesome grandmother. Anyone who’s adopted a child.

I hope you look at them and feel proud. After all, they are the only ones worth being proud about. People like them. People like you.

Heroes aren’t people on television. They aren’t celebrities who have designer clothes and silicone thighs. Neither are they the sorts of fools who use teleprompters and beg for your support. They aren’t athletes, news anchors, televangelists, pop stars, or reality-TV contestants with pink hair.

And they sure as hell aren’t the kind of folks who do acts of charity for film crews.

No. You are the hero. You, the single mother in a single-wide trailer. The school teacher in Brewton. The woman delivering pizza to the Pensacola cancer ward every Tuesday.

The man buying KFC for the homeless veteran in Baton Rouge. The volunteer greeter at Children’s Hospital in Birmingham.

You are the real thing. I know it might be hard to believe, but it’s true whether you believe it or not.

The things you’ve gone through, the things you’re about to go through, the things you’re going through now; there’s meaning to them all.

Your life means something. Today means something. This millisecond means something.

I don’t know you, but if you’re reading this right now, we’re here together. I wish I could sprinkle fairy dust over you and remove every bad moment that’s ever happened to you. But I can’t.

So this will have to do.

I hope you have a good day. You deserve it.


  1. Connie - October 27, 2017 12:09 pm

    I wish you a good day too. For being here with us, celebrating the things that matter. Thank you for the bits of life you bring us, and the heroes you share with us.

  2. Juanita Ruth One - October 27, 2017 12:14 pm

    Beginning the day by reading your column helps make every day a good day. THANKS! And blessings…

  3. Trina Vest - October 27, 2017 12:15 pm

    I hope you have a great day too! (And thanks for the shout out to teachers. ☺️

  4. Sharon Lewis-Saliba - October 27, 2017 12:33 pm

    This sounds like a great ending to the play!

  5. Taammi May - October 27, 2017 12:39 pm

    And it is a red headed furry fellow, a young man with an old soul and a amazing gift with words that reminds us that the world is still a beautiful place with beautiful hero’s.

  6. Cheryl - October 27, 2017 12:42 pm

    You are one of the heroes, too. Thank you! Now go and have a beautiful day.

  7. Kelly - October 27, 2017 12:53 pm

    Thank you! Woke up late because I forgot to set my alarm so I have been running backwards. Stopped for a second to read your column and so glad I did. Have a great day and thanks for helping me restart mine.

  8. cornelia w raper - October 27, 2017 12:56 pm

    Thanks for the down to earth sentiments each day.I read and remember so many of the things you speak about. Keep it up, it really starts my day along with a cup of coffee. Connie Raper in Middle Ga.

  9. Jo Ann - October 27, 2017 1:03 pm

    Thank you, Sean. Hope you have a good day, too. You are a blessing to your readers, me, especially.

  10. Barbara Jones - October 27, 2017 1:26 pm

    Thank you , I so needed these words today . God bless you.

  11. Roberta - October 27, 2017 1:39 pm

    Thank YOU and I hope you have a great day Sean!!

  12. Tish - October 27, 2017 1:45 pm

    As one of Howard’s volunteer greeters at Children’s, I thank you.

  13. Debra Gardner - October 27, 2017 1:49 pm

    Thank you!

  14. Amanda - October 27, 2017 2:04 pm

    Thank you for the reminder about the good things in life that have been, are now and always will be if we just take a few minutes to pause, listen, see and reflect. A robin was talking to me this morning as I had my coffee in front of an open window. Would have missed him and what he had to say if I had not just finished your article and took a moment. Thanks again.

  15. Yeates Karen Lee - October 27, 2017 2:20 pm

    Thank you, Sean. I really needed this today.

  16. LARRY WALL - October 27, 2017 2:32 pm

    And so do you, Sean Dietrich. Thank you and we hope that you and Jamie and Ellie Mae have a very good day. 🙂

  17. Susan Hatfield - October 27, 2017 2:49 pm

    Hope you have a Good Day too you redheaded Angel!

  18. Pam Bishop - October 27, 2017 2:57 pm

    Thank you

  19. Jady - October 27, 2017 2:58 pm

    Literally, I woke up late today, later than normal to the smell of bacon. It was working its way up the stairs in this old creeky farm house I’m staying in in South Dakota. It’s 23 degrees outside and the wind is howling. I’m planning to do as you say, nothing. And I’m gonna love it, with hot coffee and about four hours of backgammon and my book.

  20. Jakki - October 27, 2017 3:11 pm

    Thankyou and back at you!

  21. Janie Fuller - October 27, 2017 3:21 pm

    I hope you have a good day too Sean. You deserve it, for reminding me about all the good in my world.

  22. Sandra - October 27, 2017 3:28 pm

    Thank you so ooooo much.

  23. Pamela McEachern - October 27, 2017 3:31 pm

    Thank you Sean I think everyone that is lucky enough to be here with you and your’s has a bit of fairy dust on our shoulders. Peace and Love from Birmingham

  24. Jack Quanstrum - October 27, 2017 3:55 pm

    Inspritional story! Practical and down to earth as well as a beautiful list of hero’s and simple things to be glad about. One of your best yet!

  25. Gail Stewart - October 27, 2017 4:08 pm

    Thank you ?

  26. Sandy Smith - October 27, 2017 4:10 pm

    I hope the same for you, Sean.

  27. Dee Frances Wichman - October 27, 2017 4:10 pm

    Love this, thank you for it! I hope you have a great day as well! 🙂

  28. Sarah - October 27, 2017 5:24 pm

    Thank You! Have a great day yourself ?

  29. Janet Mary Lee - October 27, 2017 5:55 pm

    Every day should have this moment of nothing- to listen, to bask, just to be! Thank you and I wish it for your whole family, too!

  30. Marty from Alabama - October 27, 2017 6:04 pm

    Good afternoon Sean. Yeah, I know I’m late today, but Friday is my date that I become a hospital volunteer. My job is not a noble one like surgery waiting, patient information. But it is my calling. It’s the gift shop! You get gifts, of course, but you can also come and just mingle around -that gets you out of surgery waiting for a while and the worry that goes with it. We also have snacks, items you forgot to bring, you get the idea. I started this journey almost eleven years ago and I don’t see retirement from it any time soon. Get up folks and go to work.
    Thank you, Sean, for keeping us all motivated to better things.

  31. Winona Clark-Colvard - October 27, 2017 6:40 pm

    Enjoy your writing! Can’t believe I only “discovered” you quite recently! Two days ago, I found out about your coming visit to Chestnut Creek in Chilton County! I plan to be in the audience with as many of my friends as I can round up! Write On! Play On! Carry On!

  32. Cindy - October 27, 2017 7:51 pm

    When you run your own retail and wholesale business…sometimes you forget to take care of you. There’s A LOT to accomplish in a day – a week – a month – there’s a lot. I woke up today exhausted from a really crazy demanding week and I wasn’t really looking forward to another day of being pulled in 85 different directions and then this showed up in my inbox and I almost didn’t read it…but I did and I’m glad because it changed everything. Thank you from my heart.

  33. Patricia Schmaltz - October 27, 2017 7:55 pm

    Sean, as usual, your message is lovely. However, I do not wish to erase the ‘bad things’ that have happened to me. They are a source of growth. And I must have some of your dust in my eyes, as my eyelashes keep sticking together today. Or, maybe that’s a sign of an upcoming nap! Happy day to you too!

  34. Laura - October 27, 2017 10:06 pm

    You did it- wished it and it came true! I woke to the sell of coffee (I set the timer on the pot so it would be ready). I had to get up and leave early for the drive to Columbus. Years ago I met a sweet woman named Janet who has been my friend since then, though we see each other no more than twice in a year. Despite the distance between us, and the fact we rarely talk or even text, we love the times we meet to catch up. In late October it’s always at “Christmas in the South”. There craftsmen set up booths to sell everything from Benne Wafers like you find in Charleston to the coolest handmade cutting boards with at least 2 kinds of wood incorporated (excellent craftsmanship) to greeting cards that are 3 dimensional. It is there we meet others filled with as much enthusiasm as we are for the crafts we see- candles, soap, Christmas ornaments, jewelry- perfect place to Christmas shop (yep- it still is “CHRISTMAS” in the south -not “Holiday”). There is laughter, compliments for the craftsmen and women, food to sample and buy (jams, cookies, mixes for dips…But mostly there is sharing. We hear one woman talking about a sick grandchild with her friend commiserating, another sharing info about a new boyfriend and so on. What a wonderful day! For a brief period, I could forget about friends with cancer, families who lost loved ones, a world filled with too much hatred, media focused on the “bad” out there. For a few hours it was bliss in an ordinary place filled with ordinary people. Thank you for wishing me the great day!

  35. Pam - October 27, 2017 11:56 pm

    Parched peanuts – haven’t heard that in a long time. It’s what my daddy used to say. Good article.

  36. Pat Maruca - October 28, 2017 1:30 am

    Bless you Sean, I needed this today. I’ve had a rough day, but I plan to wake up tomorrow with an attitude of gratitude. I’ll also spend the morning with a couple of cups of good coffee with my beloved hound at my feet.

  37. dottie doherty - October 28, 2017 3:42 am

    It’s the end of the day and I’ve sat on the porch and listened to the birds, learn how to crochet, played games with old friends and did a little work around the house. It’s been a good Day and made more so by your wonderful writings. Thank you have a great tomorrow too.

  38. Cathy Carson - October 28, 2017 1:31 pm

    I just finished reading I Hope. This is one of my favorite so far and it is so true of who the real Heros are. Love reading your post everyday.

  39. Al - October 28, 2017 2:51 pm

    You too, Sean. You too.

  40. Patricia Gibson - October 31, 2017 9:50 pm

    Thank you!!

  41. gingembre - November 5, 2017 12:21 am

    Thank you so much for caring. My best to you.

  42. Jack Ray - December 28, 2017 6:26 pm

    Sean, you never seem to stop with the stories that touch my heart. I’m a writer myself but can’t capture the thoughts as easily as you seem to be able to do.
    Jack Ray

  43. Mike welch - March 15, 2018 12:00 pm

    That’s a good one to start off my birthday day!


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