My family was represented by three. My mama, my sister, and my uncle. Mama’s mascara was running. My sister was in a dress.

I’m on I-65, just outside Birmingham. I’m in the passenger seat, writing. My wife is driving.

It’s early. The sun is still low. In the last three days, we’ve been in four different cities. We just ate breakfast at Cracker Barrel.

Now, more driving.

I remember the day we married. I was standing in the groom’s dressing room. I wasn’t nervous until I unzipped the tuxedo bag.

Then, my body got cold. My forehead developed a thin film of sweat.

There was a knock on my door. It was my future father-in-law.

“I’m here to tie your bowtie,” he said.

I stood before this man, rocking on my heels while he secured my neckwear.

Then, he slapped my shoulder and said, “Couldn’t ask for a better looking son, if I do say so myself.”

Son.

The preacher arrived. He straightened my collar and whispered: “I have to say this to every groom: it’s not too late to change your mind if you’re not sure…”

I told him he was wasting his time. Granted, I might not have been a smart man, but I’d never been more sure of anything.

“Alright,” he said. “Let’s go make history.”

And we did. I stood in a small chapel. Half of Brewton, Alabama, had driven an hour and forty minutes to watch the putz in a monkey suit marry one of their town’s fair daughters.

My family was represented by three. My mama, my sister, and my uncle. Mama’s mascara was running. My sister was in a dress.

The doors swung open. A woman walked the aisle.

I would tell you that she was beautiful, or that she took my breath away, but that would be selling her short. She was more than that.

She was everything.

She wore her trademark smile. The same smile she wears today. When she grins, her right eye closes more than her left. Her whole face seems to say:

“Hi, nice to meet you. I am a stick of military grade dynamite, capable of ripping mountainsides in half. What’s your name?”

The preacher opened his book. “Who gives this stick of dynamite away?” I could swear I heard him say.

Anyway, you know the rest. We made vows. We kissed. Cue the music. I was too happy to cry or breathe.

People applauded. There were a few “Roll Tide” cheers from the congregation of God’s sanctified saints.

And that’s how it happened. That’s how a kid with a sad life and a shattered family inherited a second chance.

And that’s why I’m here. That’s why I write. Because a woman I trust very much once told me I had it in me.

The same woman who tutored me through college. Who lived in my twenty-eight-foot trailer. Who edited my first book. And my second.

The same woman I once dropped off at UAB Hospital while I held vigil in the waiting room. The woman who squeezed my hand when they buried her father. Who cried for him one year thereafter.

I wish you could see her. She’s yawning. Hands on the wheel. She looks at me and grins.

I-65 is quiet this morning. Not many cars. My fingers are tapping on this keyboard. She has no idea what I’m writing about. Sometimes, I wonder if she knows how much she means to me.

So I’ll just say it:

You are everything to me, Jamie.

Everything.

52 comments

  1. Rebecca Kinard - February 13, 2019 6:48 am

    I think you are both very lucky people in this world of weirdos, cheaters and liars to find each other and it’s so real. May God Continue to bless your marriage.

    Reply
  2. Janet Mary Lee - February 13, 2019 6:49 am

    I am just ever so happy you found each other, love each other and appreciate each other!! It is one of the joys of this life and so precious!! never ever lose this please!! You are both so Blessed!! And you make my day!! I wish you more love and happiness every single day!! You all are precious to me and all of your readers!! Smooch the pups for me!!

    Reply
  3. Karen - February 13, 2019 7:16 am

    I love how you love her, and that you are able to convey that to all of us.

    Reply
  4. Judy Broussard - February 13, 2019 7:47 am

    Well said Sean. Y’all have something that some people look for all their life

    Reply
  5. Nancy - February 13, 2019 10:46 am

    Oh Sean, you make my heart ache with joy with your love of writing, your love of life and especially your love for your wife. You are blessed!

    Reply
  6. Steven P Bailey - February 13, 2019 10:48 am

    I know how you feel.

    Reply
  7. Jean - February 13, 2019 11:32 am

    Oh sweet!!! Sean..you and Jamie are very lucky people to have found each other. Some look all their lives but never find that one special person.

    Reply
  8. chatfield84 - February 13, 2019 11:53 am

    You just make me smile. Thanks so much for sharing. Blessings to you and your Jamie.

    Reply
  9. Charlie Leikauf - February 13, 2019 12:29 pm

    Good morning Sean,

    Again this is great writing! Speaking of love, I read your column each morning so I can start my day with a brighter perspective of life.

    I saw something I think you would love and appreciate! While reading your column and also getting my dose of CMT Music, I saw music video with Brett Eldredge called “Love Someone” the Edgar Cut that reminded me of you and Jamie.

    Track down on You Tube or elsewhere on the World Wide Web you will love and appreciate it.

    Enjoy and have a great day!

    Charlie

    Reply
  10. Carolyn Kelley - February 13, 2019 12:36 pm

    Beautiful love story

    Reply
  11. Peggy Savage - February 13, 2019 12:56 pm

    God has blessed you both, and you are sharing that blessing through your writing. Thank you.

    Reply
  12. Debbie - February 13, 2019 12:57 pm

    Awww……I just LOVE a good love story……!

    Reply
  13. Amy Morissette - February 13, 2019 12:57 pm

    Sweet story! And I wouldn’t say you and Jamie are “lucky” I would say you are blessed! The Lord brought you two together as a part of His plan for your life, not by luck! I recently learned of you and Sean of the South from a dear friend! I love how you write and look forward to reading your stories each morning! You are blessed!

    Reply
  14. Maria Linkhart - February 13, 2019 1:20 pm

    She knows….

    Reply
  15. Cheryl Monroe - February 13, 2019 1:29 pm

    I love how you write about Jamie. You can feel the love just ooz off the page. Not many people have a love like that or are lucky enough to find a love like that. I’m glad y’all found each other. Keep the love oozing

    Reply
  16. Phillip Saunders. - February 13, 2019 1:45 pm

    Sean, you are one blessed guy, as I am. We could argue all day about who has the best wife. Any who will smile and drive while her hubby types is very special. On the eve of Valentine’s Day, what a nice message to all of us truly blessed husbands. We don’t deserve our beautiful, wonderful spouses, spice, spices…whatever. We don’t deserve God’s grace, either, but He showers us with it. Check out Proverbs 31:10-12.

    Reply
  17. Connie Havard Ryland - February 13, 2019 1:52 pm

    Beautiful. I hope every day that this man-child who is marrying my child next week loves her with the intensity and absolute adoration you give Jamie. No woman could ask for more. Love and hugs to you both.

    Reply
    • theholtgirls - February 13, 2019 2:38 pm

      Connie, I pray God’s richest blessings on your daughter. I suspect the Mother of the Bride has done a good job of teaching the Bride how to love and adore her man, and to be worthy of the same from him. Enjoy your front row seat during her special day!

      Reply
  18. Barbara Pope - February 13, 2019 1:53 pm

    Probably should have saved this one until tomorrow–another day another valentine message.

    Reply
  19. Pat Thomason - February 13, 2019 1:55 pm

    One day Jamie should write your column and let us know what’s in her heart, too. I’d love to hear her thoughts. I’ll just bet you’ve made her heart sing for all the years you’ve been married. Happy Valentines Day a day early.

    Reply
  20. Alice - February 13, 2019 2:01 pm

    What a sweet sweet letter Sean I love reading your letters they always lift me up although sometimes they make me cry too❤️God bless you and yours

    Reply
  21. Ala Red Clay Girl - February 13, 2019 2:02 pm

    Absolutely beautiful. Your best writing ever!

    Reply
  22. Carol Heidbreder - February 13, 2019 2:06 pm

    Beautiful! I can almost reach out and touch your love for this lady! And from Brewton, Alabama! I have people from there and the rest of us(most of us anyway) are from right down the road in north Baldwin County!

    Reply
  23. MermaidGrammy - February 13, 2019 2:11 pm

    She knows. You’re everything to her, too. What a wonderful pre Valentine gift you’ve given us all. Especially the ones like me who were never anything to anyone- much less everything. I ❤️ ? ? you

    Reply
    • theholtgirls - February 13, 2019 2:43 pm

      Oh, MermaidGrammy ~ You are EVERYTHING to Someone! If you were the only one who needed Him, Jesus would have come for you! Happy Valentine’s day to you especially!

      Reply
  24. Edna B. - February 13, 2019 2:13 pm

    What a beautiful Valentine for your wife. God has blessed you both with such love. I hope today is a great day for both of you. Hugs, Edna B.

    Reply
  25. Joan Raines - February 13, 2019 2:20 pm

    That I could have been so lucky. I am crying for what will never be for me but also for the joy of your sonnet.

    Reply
  26. Jerenell Gorbutt - February 13, 2019 2:28 pm

    Happy Valentines Sweethearts ?You Two Gave Me Liquid Smiles ??

    Reply
  27. Jess in Athens, GA - February 13, 2019 2:31 pm

    Sean, you and I are lucky men in that we are married to our perfect spouses. No, my spouse isn’t necessarily perfect in every way; she’s perfect for me. And I try to let her know that I love her more today than I did 56 years ago when we met, and more than the 52 years we’ve been married. You did much better at your wedding than I did at mine. I was so scared I couldn’t have spit had someone offered me a thousand dollars if I could. For years my wife has thought I didn’t want to marry her. I’ve told her over and over I was scared silly, I didn’t know if I had it in me to be a good husband. I felt overwhelmed by the challenge ahead of me. But we’ve made it and I love her more than I can describe.

    My regards to Jamie and you…Sean, you and I are lucky men indeed.

    Reply
  28. Jack Darnell - February 13, 2019 2:42 pm

    I’m with Jess above. He hasn’t been married long enough to be sure, but I hope his marriage lasts. LOL What I meant to say I was sure you were talking about my wife, you were, you just got the name wrong, it is SHERRY, SEan.
    Love stories like yours I like, because I do know they exist. Now if I could just play a guitar I would sing my girl a love song after that entry. YOu, me and Jess are three lucky guys!
    Always enjoy this visit.

    Reply
    • Jess from Athens, GA - February 14, 2019 3:22 am

      Amen to that, Jack!

      Reply
  29. Carol - February 13, 2019 2:45 pm

    She is a special lady!!
    I’ve sent notes back and forth and I can tell you I think she is so special. I never expected to hear or for her to take the time for a nobody she ever met. But really appreciate her so much. And I plan to stay in touch and I know she’ll do the same. Cause that’s just who she is ,WONDERFUL!!
    Love ya.,Jamie & Sean

    Reply
  30. Donna Manchester Korbe - February 13, 2019 2:45 pm

    You are truly blessed!
    And you deserve such happiness Sean!
    You bless our lives with your gift of writing and helping us see beauty in this world!❣️

    Reply
  31. theholtgirls - February 13, 2019 2:47 pm

    Sean, Jack, and Jess – your words inspire me to love my husband better, and to keep trying to show him how much he means to me. Thank ya’ll for being gentle men! The world needs you!

    Reply
  32. Debbie Britt - February 13, 2019 2:49 pm

    You both are very blessed to have each other! Hold on tight because life goes way to fast!

    Reply
  33. margefromnaturesgift - February 13, 2019 2:51 pm

    Made my monitor all misty, you did. thank you for starting my day with love.

    Reply
  34. Carolyn Allen - February 13, 2019 3:25 pm

    Wonderful Sean. Every time you talk about Jamie
    this thought always comes to my mind, “She is
    wise beyond her years”.

    Reply
  35. Nikki in AL - February 13, 2019 4:04 pm

    WOW! I think that is the best story yet!!! Beautiful!!

    Reply
  36. Janie F. - February 13, 2019 4:16 pm

    Once again you’v written something from your heart to touch ours. Beautiful! Bless Jamie for knowing you could write & for all her love and support. You are both a gift to your readers. My husband is a dear who doesn’t often expresss his love in a note or letter but when he does it’s priceless to me.

    Reply
  37. Steve Winfield - February 13, 2019 4:44 pm

    My eyes got mushy for a sec. I know that feeling and so pity those that don’t.
    Love you both. Please, please be careful out there. Especially around Birmingham & other cities. “Jungle” don’t begin to describe it these days. We need y’all around for a long time. Steve

    Reply
  38. Judy O'Bar - February 13, 2019 4:51 pm

    Such a sweet tribute to your wife. I just forwarded it to my wonder husband of almost 40 years. Happy Anniversary to you and Jamie!

    Reply
  39. Barbara - February 13, 2019 5:10 pm

    Sean
    Love is a special gift from God that many people never experience, you and Jamie, are truly blessed to have each other.
    As I stated in a previous note I lost my husband a few months ago. We were married 56 years and I know that man loved me in a way that was ordained by God, I always knew how he loved me, with the same love you have for Jamie, it warms my old heat to hear of a love like that, it makes my eyes fill with tears and my heart smile and give thanks to God for the special gift of that deep love.
    Oh, how I miss him and that all consuming love he gave me, some days I feel like the longing for him will be to much. I know God is with me because he helps get me through each day. Thank you for sharing your story, I needed it today.

    Reply
  40. Sharon W Dunson - February 13, 2019 5:22 pm

    What a wonderful tribute

    Reply
  41. David S Doom - February 14, 2019 6:20 am

    We have something in common, we both married uphill.

    Reply
  42. Robert Chiles - February 14, 2019 4:51 pm

    It’s all in picking the right one

    Reply
  43. Shelton A. - February 14, 2019 10:18 pm

    You got it right, Sean. I know you found a way to make her Valentine’s Day. God bless you both.

    Reply
  44. Paul J LeBlanc - February 14, 2019 10:44 pm

    Awesome and heartfelt column, Sean. Well done.

    Reply
  45. Judy Cobern - February 15, 2019 3:46 pm

    Well, this one left me with a sniffling nose & blurry eyes… There is nothing like a Great Love Story! Thank you

    Reply
  46. Anne Trawick - February 15, 2019 10:56 pm

    I love this all over again.

    Reply
  47. Debbie Shiflett - March 13, 2019 2:05 pm

    In every one of your stories there is at least one line that gets me. That’s the gift of a the writer, to me, of course I’m no literary snob or anything. But, “That’s how a sad kid with a shattered family inherited a second chance”, absolute PERFECTION. I love you and Jamie.

    Reply
  48. Rochelle Thompson - March 13, 2019 2:17 pm

    Jamie is so very blessed.

    Reply
  49. Susan Emerson - March 13, 2019 7:07 pm

    Best. Post. Ever.

    Reply

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