Mama’s Man

And after our breakfast, I felt something. Something good. It’s a feeling I can’t explain in words—even though I deal in words.

He’s good to my mother. And in my book, that qualifies him for Catholic sainthood.

You’d like him. He has a silver mustache, blue eyes, works with his hands, and when he talks he sounds like Birmingham.

The first time we met was at his home in the sticks of Mossy Head, Florida. My mother sat on the sofa, watching us sip beer and talk baseball. She smiled—she smiles a lot when she’s around him. We hit it off.

Later that night, my mother told me, “I think I might love Mike.”

I looked at my five-foot-two mother and my eyes got blurry. For twenty years after my father left this world on purpose, my mother wouldn’t even date a Dorito. She’d sworn off love altogether.

Instead, she worked. She served food, cleaned houses, or threw newspapers. There was no time for anything but raising kids.

After my baby sister left home, my mother became seriously ill. It felt like the greatest tragedy of the twenty-first century. I visited her in Atlanta and hugged her frail body. The Emory Doctors forecasted the worst, and I cried for weeks.

But the worst did not happen. She got better. It was a genuine miracle. In fact, I considered it to be the biggest miracle I’d ever seen.

But I was wrong. Heaven was only warming up. Because then she met him.

He built a sewing room for her in his house. There, she quilted, knitted, and used her old Singer sewing machine like she’d done long ago. My mother can sew the pants off the Pope.

They made a life together. She decorated his place; he built her a fire pit. She adopted stray cats; he worked outside.

He’s a quiet man—he won’t speak too loud. And this makes him very different from the hot tempered man who raised me.

And he tells a good story. He’s quick to laugh, cry, or do both—if the story calls for it. There’s a lot to be said about a man who isn’t afraid to let his eyes leak.

He is Alabama football to the bone. A Paul Bryant disciple. If you cut him with a pocketknife, you’ll see crimson and houndstooth spill on the floor.

He can look you in the eye and tell you about the ‘82 game against Georgia Tech—Bryant’s farewell season. Or the ‘79 Sugar Bowl against Penn State—Alabama took the lead because of a 62-yard punt return.

He is a “good ole boy.” And if you don’t know what that is, you owe it to yourself to find out. Take me, for instance, I aspire to be a “good ole boy.”

Anyway, I just had breakfast with him. It was a crowded place. My mother was there. We sat together, talking over coffee. My mother wore a smile. He did, too. And I couldn’t help but grin.

When my mother is with him, she looks younger than the hard-working widow she once was. She looks like a woman who never suffered a day in her life.

She has become the woman she was always meant to be. The woman she couldn’t be after grieving for a man who nearly ruined her life.

And after our breakfast, I felt something. Something good. It’s a feeling I can’t explain in words—even though I deal in words.

I think what I’m trying to say is: I believe that no matter what happens, and no matter what sort of private hell you might suffer, I believe it’s going to get better. I believe you’re going to get your turn. I truly do.

My mother is getting hers. His name is Mike, and he’s a good man.

No. He’s more than that.

He’s my family.


  1. Sandi in FL - April 5, 2018 6:52 am

    Sean, I’m very glad that your mother met a good man who makes her happy, after being a widow for many years. She and Mike are good for each other and deserve one another. This story literally made me weep, for all those folks who yearn for a love like that and have to wait so long to find it.

  2. Dolores Fort - April 5, 2018 8:35 am

    I envy your Mother, Sean. I have not been a widow for as long as your Mother, but I understand the loneliness she felt. Maybe there is someone out there who can fill my loneliness the way Mike took care of your Mother’s. I’m very happy for her, and for you! God bless you both.

  3. CaroG87 - April 5, 2018 9:37 am

    I love this SO MUCH. Your mama is precious, as is Mike. And so are you.

  4. Pam - April 5, 2018 9:52 am

    How wonderful ♥️??
    I’m very happy for your Mama!

  5. Pam Bishop - April 5, 2018 10:19 am

    Thank you Sean

  6. Sherry - April 5, 2018 10:29 am

    Love this…it’s faith! Things will get better.

  7. Leigh - April 5, 2018 11:30 am

    I have a mike ❤️

  8. Leia Lona - April 5, 2018 11:50 am

    Love ?.

  9. Keloth Anne Thompson - April 5, 2018 11:58 am

    Loved reading this and it’s wonderful your Mom has found happiness❤️
    The homemade cane syrup we put in your basket was made by my brother and he actually lives in Mossy Head!!!
    I always enjoy your stories and so appreciate your sharing them!!!!

  10. Doyt J. Richardson - April 5, 2018 12:27 pm

    I go to Mossy Head a couple times a week to play golf at Blackstone Golf Course,”in the sticks,” as one woman described it to a friend on the phone. Good folks there, good golf course — no houses, no roads — train goes by regularly and lots of fox squirrels, turkeys, deer. Nice to be there…

    • Gerald - June 11, 2018 12:20 pm

      Doyt, are you one of the Shoal River Richardsons? I married Ann Richardson of New Harmony, daughter of Hardy and Iduma (both long deceased).

  11. Terri Clark - April 5, 2018 12:28 pm

    Your story made me cry a little. At 60 years old I married the love of my life. I too was too busy working and taking care of children to worry much about men when my husband and I divorced. Life was hard. But three years ago I started dating the man who would change my life forever. I too have become the person I think I was always meant to be. I am happy. Good luck and best wishes to your mama and Mike. thanks for the story and thanks for reminding folks that it is never too late for things to “work out”.

  12. Leslie Schmidt - April 5, 2018 12:29 pm

    This story brings hope and joy to all our lives. Mike is a humble man that drips in love and servanthood. So blessed. He smoked Bob and I a Boston butt the other day:)

  13. Connie - April 5, 2018 12:33 pm

    I’m so happy for your momma. And for you all. I love the way you love your family. You bring light to my world.

  14. Tom Giddens - April 5, 2018 12:54 pm

    Love your column today Sean. So glad Mike is in your mama’s life. He sounds like a great man. Roll Tide man too! Can’t get better than that!

  15. B - April 5, 2018 1:03 pm


  16. Jack Darnell - April 5, 2018 1:16 pm

    My mama never met her “MIKE” but I wish she had! Another good ‘un! THANKS

  17. Carol ann ROTHWELL - April 5, 2018 1:16 pm

    Sean,I don’t know any other way to put it,in my words,than I wish. My son,was. Like you.
    He’s a good man,a law officer,but a self center man,&maybe I’m to blame….he. won’t change now.
    But I’m a widow,and it hurts,he doesn’t calls, no seeing if I need. Help.But God. Gave me a daughhter,& a. Son in law that help me and ck on me…What more could I want?
    A Son like You!!
    Love ya.?!

  18. Dianne - April 5, 2018 1:36 pm

    Love this story, Sean. Made my day. I’m also married, for the second time, to a man whose eyes leak easily on occasion, who loves dogs, children, the Lord, and me. Can’t get any better than that! Thank you for showing that you are a good, warm man who isn’t afraid to show his feelings or emotions.

  19. Martha - April 5, 2018 1:38 pm

    I love this story. It is so much like my own. God gave me a man like Mike and he loves God, talks about him, and gives me joy everyday of my life. We have been married now for 22 almost 23 years and I couldn’t be happier or more at peace, So thankful God gave Mike to your mother and I love your posts. Thank you for sharing and please come to Dothan and speak sometimes. You have the gift of encouragement and we all need that. Fondly, Martha Flemister

  20. Nancy S. Jones - April 5, 2018 2:19 pm

    Wow just wow! This one has made my day!! Look forward to my daily read every morning!

  21. Sue Ellen Terrell - April 5, 2018 2:32 pm

    I love to hear about love in mid and later life because it happened to me.

  22. Pat - April 5, 2018 2:37 pm

    So happy for your mama and for you! Good story!

  23. Barbara Pope - April 5, 2018 2:55 pm

    What a beautiful story–write your life story–make a movie of it-you can play youself and I’ll play your mother. Who do you think is perfect to play Mike??

  24. Edna B. - April 5, 2018 3:13 pm

    What a beautiful love story. An awesome way to start my day. Thank you for sharing, hugs, Edna B.

  25. Jayne Holland - April 5, 2018 3:21 pm

    Another. Great story that brought tears to my eyes.

  26. Jack Quanstrum - April 5, 2018 3:35 pm

    Good story! Like your perspective!

  27. Leslie - April 5, 2018 3:52 pm

    I can’t tell you how excited and joyful I felt to read that your mom has finally found a person that brings her the special type of happiness only a spouse/ boyfriend/ partner can bring. Everyone deserves that kind of love, but I feel like she’s earned it more than others. Give your mamma a good squeeze around the neck and tell her that there’s an army of people out here who are rejoicing at this good news through leaky eyes.

    • Susan Hammett Poole - April 7, 2018 11:18 am

      My sentiments exactly. Leslie. I ditto every sentence you wrote. Sean, God bless your Momma and Mike…and God bless you & Jamie ♥♥

  28. muthahun - April 5, 2018 3:57 pm

    “… aspire to be “a good ole boy”? Oh honey, do NOT sell yourself short! And I was really hoping for a pencil sketch of the happy couple, but I’ll wait for it. Keep spreading the love, please. We all need it.

  29. Pamela McEachern - April 5, 2018 4:39 pm

    Sometimes dreams do come true, your family deserves these happy times.

    Peace and Love from Birmingham

  30. Linda Chipman - April 5, 2018 4:47 pm

    I grew among “good ole boys” and I married one. They are a rare breed.

  31. Marty from Alabama - April 5, 2018 5:57 pm

    Your mama has earned every minute of happiness that Mike brings to her life. And after these years of worry over your mama, you also deserve to see her happy.

  32. Susan Shellnutt - April 5, 2018 6:10 pm

    One of my favorite stories in a long time. Mike is my favorite man’s name today, and the “good ole boy” ain’t too bad either. Blessings to your mom and everyone who loves her ❤

  33. Jo - April 5, 2018 7:13 pm

    I am very happy for your mom! Yay!

  34. Ellen in West Central GA. - April 5, 2018 8:28 pm

    I’m so happy for your mama and for your whole family. May she and Mike have many happy years together!!

  35. Ronda - April 6, 2018 1:08 am

    glorious! hallelujah!! thank you for this story of love!

  36. amazononlinestoreofficial - April 6, 2018 11:08 am

    The onion ninjas crawled in my eyes with this tale. Thank you, Sean.

  37. Lisa Donaldson - April 6, 2018 4:12 pm

    I really needed to hear this today ; it’s been pretty dark lately. My turn is coming and life will get better. Thanks for the reminder.

  38. Mary Schooley - April 6, 2018 9:07 pm

    I believe it’s gonna get better

  39. Nancy - April 8, 2018 5:20 pm

    Miracles do happen, and I am living one. And his name is Jim. He came into my life 20 years ago, via a chat line. Two lonely senior citizens, who began a new life in the country, planting endless flowers, feed a greAt variety of bird and counting deer. Yes, Sean, miracles do happen.

  40. Betty - April 12, 2018 12:45 pm

    Maybe this is God’s way of saying now is
    my time! I have been through a lot but your words speak volumes to me. Yes there is hope!

  41. brokentoyland - June 11, 2018 12:24 pm

    Oh my. This is so incredibly beautiful. The message of this story, is one I’ve been hearing heavily for a few weeks now. Then I think, “No… not me… I’ll be content to be happy for others who it happens to…” But I’ll admit, it gives me a spark of hope for the future. See, there is another kind of ‘widow’ that gets overlooked. Widow by abandonment. And those women tend to be shunned and so broken. They exist outside the scope of a happy ending. I want to be wrong about this. Because I do believe in miracles. I know God is easily capable of mending the brokenhearted. Even those with a broken soul.
    Your stories bring life, Sean. And hope. Thank you.


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