Little Girl

The Peanut Festival. We listened to music that makes grown men thirsty for Budweiser products. We spent our money on junk we’ll never use. We rode rides we were too old for.

It was a good year for a Peanut Festival. Sunny. Blue skies. A little chilly.

My wife and I walked rows of arts and crafts. We ate the kinds of food that give cardiologists panic attacks.

We listened to music that makes grown men thirsty for Budweiser products. We spent our money on junk we’ll never use. We rode rides we were too old for.

And I saw a girl.

Eight or nine years old, maybe. She was wandering. She had no adult with her. Her face looked worried.

I approached the girl and asked if she needed help.

She did not answer. She only took a step backward and started to run.

My wife squatted low and asked, “Honey, are you lost?”

She said, “I can’t find my mom.”

No sooner had the girl gotten words out than her face busted open. She soaked my wife’s shoulder.

It was enough to break a stainless steel heart.

My wife asked if the girl was hungry. She yes-ma’amed.

So, I offered the girl my bag of deep-fried peanuts.

The little girl made a face and said she didn’t care for peanuts. I informed her she was at the wrong festival. Then, I bought her a nine-dollar deep-fried Snickers bar.

Nine dollars.

My wife took the girl to get her face painted while I went to find an official-looking person for help.

I found a man in uniform and brought him to the girl.

The uniform asked the girl where she’d last seen her mother.

Then, we walked in circles, trying to find the places she remembered.

She held hands with my wife.

I had heard the girl say: “Can you hold my hand? I don’t wanna get lost again.”

We saw many things on our jaunt across the fairgrounds. Things you’d see at Anytown Festival USA. We saw young couples carrying oversized Panda bears. We saw families pushing strollers. Men in John Deere caps. Old women wearing country-music T-shirts, and perms.

The girl screamed. “Hey! I see my sister! There’s my mom!”

The girl dropped her nine-dollar Snickers-on-a-stick and ran toward a woman in cutoff shorts.

The woman sprinted toward the girl.

They embraced in a crowd. And it bears mention: I’ve seen a few nice things in my life. I’ve watched a sunrise on Cheaha Mountain, I’ve slept on a sailboat in the Gulf of Mexico, I’ve seen the place where Hank Williams learned to play guitar.

But few things could be finer than a mother-daughter reunion.

The woman hugged my wife, tight-eyed.

She said, “I thought the absolute WORST had happened to my baby.”

The lady offered to give my wife money. She flashed a wad of cash and told my wife to take it.

My wife swatted her away and told her not to be ridiculous.

The little girl gave me a final hug and said, “I was so scared, but I was praying SO hard, and I knew God wouldn’t let me down.”

That was a long time ago. I’m older than I was then. I haven’t been to a peanut festival in several years.

But I believe that little girl was right.


  1. Dave Helms - August 11, 2017 1:57 pm

    God is good. Most days.

    • Donna Holifield - August 11, 2017 2:05 pm

      God is good EVERY day!

    • Mary C - August 11, 2017 4:40 pm

      God is good ALL the time. We’re the ones who mess up!

  2. ricardo gonzalez - August 11, 2017 2:00 pm

    I have come to the conclusion that the world is divided into three groups..the people who got lost and were found…the people who were lost and never found…and the people who were neither lost nor found..they shall be called clueless….
    Lon ago, I came to this country and there was supposed to be a person waiting for one came..I was lost…and a miracle happened and I found my way to a school where I met a lot of other kids that were lost and found and lost, and never found…
    God stayed with me even when I was found…and carried me most of the time…to where I needed to be….so I could not ever be lost…I am a very lucky old man….ric

    • TN Lizzie - August 11, 2017 3:23 pm

      Ric, I don’t know you, but I know a lot of people like you. How sad that no one met you when you first came to this country; It was their loss. I praise God for finding you, and for you knowing that you are forever found. Welcome home, my brother. I look forward to meeting you someday!

  3. Melodie - August 11, 2017 2:01 pm

    Wonderful story with a great ending and a great message. I remember on more than one occasion, and once, being at the county fair, my youngest son finding someone, to tell them his parents were lost, while I was in a panic. He was quite the adventurer, and things seemed so much safer then. He’s grown now, still adventurous, and will still hold my hand. ♥ God never lets us down, either. ♥

  4. Donna Holifield - August 11, 2017 2:04 pm


  5. Carolyn Huggins - August 11, 2017 2:26 pm

    Almost every time I read one of your posts…I have that “good feeling” feeling..or perhaps a tear or two. I absolutely love the way you write, Sean! Thank you for sharing!

  6. Gail Stewart - August 11, 2017 2:53 pm

    Thank you! I needed that today. I know he want let me down either but sometimes I forget ?

  7. Kay Keel - August 11, 2017 3:18 pm

    Few things are more frightening than realizing that your child is no longer by your side where he was just a moment ago. I know, I had a “wanderer”. He’s grown now, but I’ll never forget the fear in that moment. God is good! All the time!

  8. Jack Quanstrum - August 11, 2017 4:29 pm

    Amen! To that.. Great story! Love the style of your story telling. It continues to captivate me and the ending is always so good . It is always written in a way that I can remember and as a result keep it my pocket all day and take it out when I need it.

  9. Susan in Georgia - August 12, 2017 4:51 am

    Yep, you’ve done it again: taken us to the festival; we’ve smelled the hot fried peanuts and tasted the $9 fried Snickers bar on a stick — and felt the fear in that child who was lost, plus the joy of finding her mom. Thank you, Sean, for sharing that day with your readers in such a tangible way.

  10. Joey - August 13, 2017 3:05 pm

    I loved this. It was so beautiful I sent it to a few dozen people. It made me teary eyed.

    You really have a divine gift. Thank you for what you write and how Ro fully you go it.

    God bless you,

  11. Sandy - August 14, 2017 2:05 pm

    Thank you, that was me…5 years old at a fair. Watching my cousin on a motorcycle merry-go-round – it seemed to go on a long time. Turned to say something to my dad., but he wasn’t there. I looked around a bit, but didn’t want to go to a policeman. I kept hearing, will so-and-so come to the blahblah office, your child ___ is here. But didn’t hear my name or know how to get to this office to ask them to find my parents. So, went to the parking lot, as we were to go to the car for lunch. up and down the rows. Had just found the pink opal station wagon, but wanted to check out the other rows in case. and then would go up to the man directing people for parking. Then I saw dad and ran into his arms!
    Moms everywhere say, “where were you!? ”
    Glad you helped the little girl.
    Sandy now in the UK – not lost.

  12. Lucretia - August 18, 2017 6:47 am

    I know she was right. . . .thank you, Sean.

  13. Delane Duncan - October 3, 2017 3:09 pm

    I grew up in Dothan. Graduated from Rehobeth High School. Love The Peanut Festival!! My brother operates the Dothan Fire Department concession stand. If you go this year go by there and try their Ribeye sandwich and be sure to introduce yourself to him. Duane Godwin. ?

  14. Karen Bethea - October 3, 2017 3:27 pm

    Ahhh… the National Peanut much fun for so MANY years…I grew up with it. There was also a Peanut Festival Parade. In 1953-54 we lived with my Grandmother in Campbellton , a dot in the road – first town South of the Ala-Fla. border on 231. Went to the parade in Dothan every year. This particular year, went to stand in front of the Woolworth’s Store on a downtown corner. My Mother, Grandmother & Brother went into the store for a minute and during that long minute, here came a man on horseback…dressed in a shining cowboy outfit and the horse was decorated with silver and leather – Johnny Mac Brown. I was standing still and gaping at him and the next thing I knew, I was in the saddle in front of him, riding IN the parade. When my Mother finally located me after a long search, there was no running into her arms. My Dad was in the USAF and in Greenland for a year and she had just about had enough of the “wild child” that I was at the age of 5….all I remember are the words “you just wait until we get back to Mama’s…you are going to get it.” Got back to Mama’s (my Grandmother) and slipped away, into a bedroom closet – to the far back – went to sleep. After a few hours I was found and THAT was when she was SO happy to see me…I think….

  15. Gage Durbin - September 24, 2018 3:11 pm

    that was such a kind thing tank you!


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