My Angel Bud

Yesterday I received several emails after I mentioned my guardian angel, Bud, in a recent column. One of the emails read: “Are you joking about your angel, or are you for real?” Another read: “Tell us about Bud!” And yet another urgent email read: “Cure male pattern baldness in 30 days! GUARANTEED!”

So let me set the record straight. Yes. I have a guardian angel, and yes, his name is Bud. I never intended to talk about him publicly. But I will tell you about him.

It all started with my granny, who was an extremely bossy woman. And I mean very bossy. EVERYONE obeyed my granny. And I mean everyone. That’s just how she was.

When she wanted a 14-metric-ton birdbath moved, it was moved. When she told you to take your shoes off the coffee table, you did. When she told my retired grandfather to quit loafing around the house, he found a part-time job faster than you could say George Beverly Shea.

My grandmother died on a sunny day, attached to a ventilator. The commanding four-foot-eleven woman with the lazy eye was only 69 when she entered Glory. Cancer is a vicious killer. The Winston filter-tips didn’t help, either.

My mother left the funeral service without speaking. She drove straight across town to my granny’s vacant single-wide trailer. She started cleaning furiously to keep herself from crying. In a few moments she was scrubbing baseboards and beating rugs, but it didn’t work. Tears dripped from her chin.

The mobile home was filled with faded Bibles, religious leaflets, mounding ashtrays, and embroidered scripture wall-hangings. One of these hangings read:

“Angels shall bear thee up in thy hands lest thou dash thy foot against a stone…”

A few days later, my mother was holding that embroidered piece when she told me she was going to give me a gift. She made me sit still and explained that she was giving me an guardian angel.

My first question was who was going to feed it and take the angel for walks. Mama said it didn’t work that way and that heavenly beings walked themselves and didn’t need to potty like Labradors.

Then we bowed our heads and I could hear my mother praying and crying. When it was over, she blew her nose loudly. And even though I was a toddler, I held her close.

Since then I’ve had an angel who I can’t get rid of. He’s invisible and he tags along everywhere. I named him “Bud” when I was 13 because I was trying to be clever. And the name stuck.

Throughout most of my life, however, Bud was more of a running joke than anything. I would talk about him in various beer joints, and occasionally order him adult beverages for cheap laughs. People got a kick out of this, although it was never anything serious.

But in my late 20s I starkly discovered that angels were no joke. This happened when I was driving on I-65 near Georgiana, Alabama, cruising 70 miles per hour. It was sunny. The radio played.

A Chevy rammed me from behind. The driver was asleep behind the wheel and lost control. The impact sent my truck fishtailing into the opposite lane. Soon I was speeding toward an oncoming tractor trailer. There was nothing I could do. I closed my eyes. I screamed. I did not expect to survive.

But there was no impact.

What happened next has never been totally clear to me. All I know is that I awoke in a mangled vehicle, virtually unharmed. I crawled out of the wreckage, blood seeping from my brow, in such a state of shock that I couldn’t even tell the paramedics my name. When the officer glanced at my totalled vehicle, he said, “Man, somebody’s looking out for you.”

That’s when I started thinking, hey, this angel business is no laughing matter.

A few years later, my wife and I were asleep in our 28-foot trailer home. It was 1:30 a.m. when I felt a warm hand jostle me awake. I ignored the nudge and rolled over. It happened again.

“Quit!” I mumbled.

“Sean,” I thought I heard a voice say.

I thought my wife was messing with me. But when I opened my eyes she was snoring. I immediately freaked out. I thought a serial killer must have broken into our home and was going to hack us into human Chex Mix with an axe. Who else could’ve been touching me and saying my name?

I leapt out of bed on red alert. That’s when I smelled rotten eggs and realized that I was dizzy for some reason. I staggered into the kitchen to find that our oven had a gas leak. Our entire place was filled with carbon monoxide.

I started shouting. My wife and I stumbled out of the home wearing only our skivvies. And I’m lucky to be alive and writing this now.

So yes, I believe in guardian angels. And it’s ironic because during the holidays everyone talks about angels a lot. We sing about them, dangle them from Christmas trees, and they’re even on the Hallmark Channel for crying out loud. But few actually believe in them. And when the season ends angels are usually forgotten.

But that’s okay, Bud assures me. He says angels don’t do it for publicity. Although sometimes I wonder why they do it. In how many instances could my life have been extinguished but wasn’t? How many times have I almost been ruined, but was spared? Why do unseen protectors watch over humans when they could be doing anything else?

But then I remember why Bud does these things.

Because of a short bossy woman Up There who loves me very much.


  1. Christina - November 20, 2020 7:31 am

    Thank you Granny and Bud for keeping Sean in one piece. We are grateful for your services. Now, please send a good one this way? 😜

  2. Martha Black - November 20, 2020 7:47 am

    A praying mother knows what she’s doing & you are the witness. Never doubt…….

  3. Jerry t wells - November 20, 2020 10:33 am

    When my children were young I used to call out ” Help me Rhonda!” when I was overwhelmed. One day my youngest son of 4 boys, Noah, and I left our house to run a few errands. The car just stopped as soon as we turned onto the road. I cranked it back up and when we got to our red light a big semi came crossing in front of us running the light. It bearly missed us. I said to Noah, “That was our guardian angel!” He said “Was it Rhonda?” And I said,”Yes, Noah that was Rhonda!”

  4. Sandi. - November 20, 2020 10:38 am

    I hope Bud reads your column today, Sean!

  5. Meredith Smith - November 20, 2020 11:04 am

    Sean, don’t let the doubters move your faith. I’m not saying that they are but I felt the need to address your column today explaining your relationship with Bud. I’m not necessarily a religious person but I believe. I too believe that I have a guardian angel. I won’t go into all the reasons, it would take too much time. But I believe. And because of my personal belief, I believe that most people out there have them IF they actively recognize them. So that’s all. I’m happy you and Bud have each other. 😇

  6. Marilyn Ward Vance - November 20, 2020 11:34 am

    We once had a pastor who said that he would recognize his guardian angel when he got to heaven… would be the one leaning up against a tree panting! Mine has been kept pretty busy, too, for 76 years!

  7. Jeannine Lauer - November 20, 2020 11:48 am

    It’s 5:40 am. I’ve been writing in my journal since 4:30. I was counting my blessings and thanking my guardian angel for watching over me. For some reason, I checked my email and found this gem about Bud. I printed it and tucked it away in my journal along side my entry. What a coincidence to have your piece about BUD this early morning. I feel like my guardian angel and your guardian were in cahoots this morning! Thank you for sharing. Thank you Bud and Sean.

  8. Carolyn - November 20, 2020 11:48 am

    “He (God) has put his angels in charge of you to watch over you wherever you go” Psalm 91:11 NCV Thankful!!

  9. Vickie Gesellschap - November 20, 2020 11:49 am

    Sean, I read your column almost every day. And, every time, without fail, you put a smile on my face and I marvel at your talent. But today, I’m moved to comment; which if you knew me, is quite surprising. At any rate, I wanted to thank you for your piece about Bud, your guardian angel. I was raised Catholic (and still identify that way, although it is rare I attend church), but I’m not an overly religious person. However, I FIRMLY believe in guardian angels. I know that without a doubt I have several. The one leading the pack, if a group of angels is actually called a pack, is my grandfather. I have felt his presence since the day he passed in 1985, and I was 10 years old. I often offer condolences to friends who have lost someone by telling them that they have gained a guardian angel. I truly mean it, whether they believe it or not. So, again, thank you for today’s post; it is nice to know I’m not the only one who has been blessed with a guardian angel. If you’re ever over in Pensacola/Gulf Breeze, give me a shout, I’d be honored to clink a glass with you and toast our guardian angels.

  10. Judy Mercer - November 20, 2020 12:07 pm

    Bud has saved you so that you could go on to inspire those of us who read your columns, Sean.
    Judy M.

  11. Patricia Harris - November 20, 2020 12:10 pm

    Great column. I also find strange things have happened to me but for divine intervention. I love your explanation. When my husband was deep in the throes of Alzheimer’s disease, I was driving to memory care as I did everyday to stay with him. I was devastated that day as I knew he would die from this fairly soon. I heard a very distinct voice in my head say, “Don’t worry, Pat. I’ve got him. “. I burst into tears flooded with emotion. Who was that? My Angel or God himself? He died 6 months later in my arms. 56 years of marriage. The love of my life. I still cry.

  12. Charles Vianey - November 20, 2020 12:19 pm

    Sean, your columns this week have really touched me. Thanks for your daily encouraging word. You touch more people than you can imagine. Press on.

  13. Virginia Russell - November 20, 2020 12:45 pm

    I may have several. I know I had several short bossy relatives who are probably keeping the afterlife straight.

  14. rhonda - November 20, 2020 12:54 pm

    The signs are there if you no where to look. Miss Hattie said the cobwebs that glisten in the early morning dew are threads from angels wings. And I have seen with my own eyes an angel footprint. And I its not important to me that anyone believes me. You have to survive a tornado and you had to be there. But that foot stepped on something and held it down until the storm passed. and the footprint clearly visibly in the mud. No shoes. The house and everything in it was scattered in a quarter mile wide debris field. Over two days we found important things held to the ground by tiny bare foot prints. And you know what is the coolest thing of all. They protect you even if you don’t believe in them!

  15. Jan - November 20, 2020 12:57 pm

    Love this and believe it with all my heart … God has a special way of watching over us. I believe He uses angels for just that purpose.

  16. Cyn - November 20, 2020 1:03 pm

    I believe as well—whether the Holy Spirit or angels. God’s promise is with us and those bossy grandmothers or mothers are making sure we are protected.

  17. Lydia - November 20, 2020 1:18 pm

    Thank you for sharing Bud with us!

  18. Heidi - November 20, 2020 1:20 pm

    Loved your column and the responses today. I firmly believe in Guardian angels…when I was little I had Holly & George. Now I have my Mom & Dad. I’ve had a lot of near misses but they have done their jobs well. For our whole family. So grateful.❤️

  19. Donald Egan - November 20, 2020 1:34 pm

    I too have guardian angel…….I have had a stroke , and a second heart attack after my stroke . I have seen her while in the procedure room during 7 arteriograms and she was in CICU during my recoveries. She was there all along because i felt her presence many years before . And no , she doesn’t go away after the holidays……..

  20. Anne Arthur - November 20, 2020 1:47 pm

    Thanks for sharing Bud and Granny’s story with us. It’s very uplifting to read your account of Bud’s presence. I am aware of my Guardian Angel too, every day, holiday or not.

  21. Dan Wise - November 20, 2020 1:52 pm

    Sacred Harp song lyrics…’Oh come angel band, come and around me stand, bare me away on your snow white wings, to my Memorial Home’…

  22. Steve Moore Watkins - November 20, 2020 2:03 pm

    You don’t even have to believe in angels to have them. They even incarnate into those people that give you a hard time to make you a better person.

  23. Terrie Streed - November 20, 2020 2:13 pm

    I love this!!! I have a guardian angel. I don’t know his name but I have been aware of him for more than 40 years. He has saved my life on a number of occasions!!

  24. Dick Brannan - November 20, 2020 2:16 pm

    You and Max Lucado start my day out. It puts me in a happy mood that usually lasts throughout the day. Thanks.
    Your new friend.

  25. Susan Wold - November 20, 2020 2:22 pm

    Thank you for sharing this Sean. Sometimes we keep these things inside so people won’t look at us like we have 3 heads. When I was younger I would weigh my words to avoid judgement but now I don’t need everyone to believe what I know to be true, just as I don’t need everyone to like me. I just need to be me. Telling it like it is is refreshing and freeing. Weather it’s my guardian angel, the Holy Spirit, or my dad, I often am awoken with the clear calling of my name. When that happens I feel lucky, so I say “Hi, and whom might I be speaking with ?” Keep being you because you inspire so many others to open up about the things they never speak out loud.

  26. Susan Wold - November 20, 2020 2:24 pm

    I just love that!!! Thank you for sharing. Being a 60s and 70s music buff it really made me smile!

  27. Carol - November 20, 2020 2:33 pm

    My mom passed away in May 2019 at the age of 88. I still think I hear her voice at times.

  28. Steve Moore Watkins - November 20, 2020 2:36 pm

    From my daughter who is Catholic:

  29. Patricia Gibson - November 20, 2020 3:14 pm

    I have a guardian angel too and we all do if we listen to them. It is called the Holy Spirit within you but naming it Bud is cool too. God bless you Sean and Happy Thanksgiving 🙏

  30. kathdedon - November 20, 2020 3:17 pm


  31. Chasity Davis Ritter - November 20, 2020 3:31 pm

    Thank you Lord Jesus for short Bossy Women and thank you Bud for watching out for Sean. Amen

  32. Norm Purdue - November 20, 2020 3:53 pm

    I believe! I have had several experiences over the years that could not be explained other than intervention by angels. Thanks be to God’s steadfast love.

  33. Margaret - November 20, 2020 4:12 pm

    Thank you, Steve Moore Watkins, for the link. I loved the prayer at the end of the article. Sean, click on the link from Mr. Watkins and read the prayer at the end. I could almost hear your granny saying that and I never knew her! …and a huge Thank You, Sean, for sharing Bud with us. I believe in them, as well. You make my day! Hugs to Jamie!!

  34. Marge Hutsell - November 20, 2020 4:50 pm

    Thank you, Sean, for introducing us to Bud! When my cancer was first diagnosed, 30 years ago, a dear friend told me “You need to name your angel to claim your angel”. So, Hannah Martha became my angel. Have no idea where her name came from! It just did.

    Ever since, she has been at my side. She calms my fears, helps me find or remember things I am struggling to find or remember; wraps me in a warm blanket of protection whenever I ask for some; supported me when my husband was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and when he died from this deadly illness 14 months later. She was with me when I had to make difficult decisions on my own for the first time in 57 years. She remains ready and perfectly able to walk with me on the rest of my journey towards heaven. I’m glad you have Bud…I/We need you in our lives.

  35. Linda Moon - November 20, 2020 5:21 pm

    We’re lucky you’re alive and that we are reading you right now. I’m not short, but I’m just a little bit bossy. I sure can’t love you as much as your granny did, but I do love you. Angels are among us, Sean. Clarence Odbody is my favorite one of all, and I’m very, very grateful you’ve had Bud!

  36. W.Gary Smith - November 20, 2020 6:59 pm


  37. Wadena Sieler-Colbert - November 20, 2020 7:13 pm

    Loved this! It reminded me of my own 4’9” Grandma. She lived to be in her mid 80s and we always joked she was to ornery to die. It also reminded me that I do believe in Guardian Angels and that they are always with us. Don’t ever stop writing!

  38. MAM - November 20, 2020 7:41 pm

    A simple thank you will have to suffice.

  39. meg widmer - November 20, 2020 9:16 pm

    My mother instilled in all of my siblings and myself that there was always a ‘divine’ being with us..not necessarily the same one, but A divine being. As I have progressed through these 79 years I could recite to you the many, many times that I sensed a benevolent ‘being’ around me/with me. I have absolute belief in this and thank the Good Lord on a daily basis (sometimes multiple times) for this ‘good spirit’ that accompanies me. Thank you for sharing your experience and giving us all a chance to spread the word that there is a lot more going on than we can see.

  40. Mariette VandenMunckhof-Vedder - November 20, 2020 9:22 pm

    Dearest Sean,
    Yes, there is NO doubt about the fact we have a Guardian Angel and other Angels we know by name that watch over us. There are way too many freaking situations where no one on earth could explain why we did not get harmed!
    Great story and well written in honest language.

  41. Jane - November 20, 2020 9:42 pm

    No doubt about Guardian Angels walking among us, they are the reason I’m still walking around. From God’s mouth to my Angel’s ear I am protected. Amen. But first you have to believe.

  42. Donna - November 20, 2020 10:30 pm

    “Cure male pattern baldness in 30 days! GUARANTEED!” Made me belly bwahahahaha. YES guardian angels are furreal. Mine told me her name: Celeste. Happy Thanksgiving to You & Jamie!

  43. Pat - November 20, 2020 10:57 pm

    I truly believe that angels talk to babies and small children. Sometimes small children share a story with you that makes you wonder where that came from because you know they didn’t hear it from you. I’ve heard of vehicle accidents when children tell of someone who lifted them from the car, but no one else was there except those riding in the car, and it wasn’t them. Children and their “imaginary friends”, probably an angel. My parents died 4 years apart, mama went first. Several months before he died he fell, kinda slid down a door to the floor and cracked his pelvis. I asked how it happened, he said he started falling and this lady held onto him as he slid down. Mama was a brunette and I was so sure that it was her. I asked daddy if she had dark hair and said no, she was blond and she was beautiful! I just knew, and told him, that that was his guardian angel! BTW mama was beautiful also!

  44. Edith - November 21, 2020 2:52 am

    I too know I have a guardian angel and he has saved me several times. I thank God for him. I call him crooked nose

  45. Nancy M - November 21, 2020 5:20 am

    It was at the Georgiana exit where we had our wreck and my neck was broken. The C-1 vertebrae. It’s a miracle that I wasn’t paralyzed or dead during the ride home with fryeho drove to get us or during the 2 or 3 days before I could see a Orthopaedic surgeon. God sent angels to protect us then, and a few other times, too.

    I read your column every day but I don’t leave a comment every day.

  46. Nancy M - November 21, 2020 5:21 am

    With friends who drove to get us

  47. Denise DeVries - November 21, 2020 1:06 pm

    WOW!!!! Whenever you think back, I’ll bet you can remember at least 1 time yoir angel saved yoi. I can.

  48. elizabethroosje - November 21, 2020 8:17 pm

    Guardian Angels are fully in the Bible! 🙂 and there are so many cool stories like yours that I have read! So beautiful! I loved this post that I read years ago (esp the then 4 year old’s prayer) and have been a bit more aware of the wonder in our lives because of that post ( and now, also, because of yours. Thanks so much Sean! 🙂 I love your stories and each day I feel encouraged. Thanks. God bless you. And your Angel 🙂

  49. Beki D - November 23, 2020 8:55 pm

    Sean, you are so right. Angels are with us 365 days a year not just during the Christmas season. But during the Christmas season there is a book that I love to read in the early quietness of the morning on Christmas Day titled Cosmic Christmas by Max Lucado. He tells the story of how angels were involved more than we realize at the birth of Jesus. It’s my most favorite Christmas story beside reading Luke. Read it and see what you think. Thanks for sharing another piece of you life with all of us today.

  50. DiAn - November 24, 2020 4:33 am

    Sean – I LOVE your column AND all those Angels who are flowing into all of our lives because you are being obedient and writing for All of us!
    Reminds me of that classic line from “It’s A Wonderful Life” – “…that every time a bell rings, an Angel gets his wings!” So Yes – Let those Holiday bells chime on and on. – And All God’s children said, ‘Amen!”.

  51. Laura - November 25, 2020 12:27 pm

    Hey Sean, how many more good stories do you have that you didn’t put in your book? Thank you for sharing your story( well, most or some of it) i have my dad reading it now. Hes going through a rough time. Im thankful for your Bud, because your writing brings me smiles, laughs and tears (tears are good sometimes). You are on my thankful list!

  52. creativedolan - December 11, 2020 3:16 pm

    Yes! angels are real! I have one too, and discovered “her” in a similar situation as yours. I was in a car crash when I was a junior in highschool. My best friend was turning a corner in her old 70’s Ford Bronco, and she was going too fast for the curve. I was sitting in the passenger seat. The moment she went off the road I heard a soft voice in my head say, “curl up”. I don’t know why, but I automatically knew to pull my legs, arms and head into my chest and I curled up into a ball. We rolled in the Bronco 4 times into a corn field. When the car stopped, the roof, windshield and right side passenger door were all crushed in, so much so that if I hadn’t “curled up”, I wouldn’t be here today. My friend who was driving was unconscious, and my other friend wasn’t wearing his seatbelt and was thrown from the car. Luckily, they were all ok in the end, but I was the only one who was able to call for help and talk to the doctors. The ambulance nurses and hospital didn’t believe at first that I had been the front seat passenger in that vehicle because the passenger side was unrecognizable. Angles are real, and I do believe that they help us daily.

  53. Melissa Williams - December 17, 2020 1:45 am

    My grandmother gave me my guardian Angel 64 years ago when I was 5. I have not named her but she’s kept me out of jail. I got her when I got my first Angel Christmas tree ornament. The Tree Angel has powder blue hair. My Grandmother got her for me at Loveman’s Department Store in Chattanooga. I have collected lots of angels over the years to the point where that is all there is room for on my Christmas Tree. But not this year. The depression set in and I could not bear to put them on the tree. It is just covered in icicles this year. It looks pretty and it’s the best I could do, I’m sure she understands. Tell Bud I said hey.


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