I am camping. It’s cold outside. I am about to freeze.

The elderly people in the campsite beside me are from Pittsburgh. Mary and Herbert are their names.

Mary has white hair. She wears a pink sweatshirt and Velcro tennis shoes.

Herbert has two hearing aids, no hair, and he wears a khaki jumpsuit—the kind auto mechanics wear.

Herb putters around his campsite all day, doing things that don’t actually need doing. Like picking up pinecones and tossing them into the woods.

I wave to Herbert on my way to take my morning shower in the bath house.

“Have a nice day!” I call to him.

He smiles. “Nope!” he says. “Haven’t seen him!”

“I said, ‘Have a nice day!’”

“When was that?”

This is getting me nowhere. So, finally I shout, “HAVE A NICE DAY, HERB!”

He smiles. “Dangest thing! Haven’t seen any of those all week!”

And he resumes throwing pinecones into the woods.

I guess I’ll have to forget about communicating with old Herb today, and wish YOU a good day instead.

I know we don’t know each other, but I can still wish you well. It’s a free country, you can’t stop me—not even if you threatened to tickle me to death.

So wherever you are, I wish you the best day you ever had. Ever. I really mean it. I hope the weather is bright, sunny, and warm. I hope someone you haven’t heard from in years calls you unexpectedly.

That’s what happened to me yesterday. I got a phone call from a friend I haven’t heard from since I was 10 years old. We were buddies back then.

Once, he and I got in trouble for putting frogs in the girls’ restroom sinks at school. Before the principal interrogated us, he made us place our hands on the Bible and swear to tell the truth.

He asked us flatly: “Did you put frogs in the girls’ bathroom sink?”

We denied all allegations. And we were telling the truth, I swear to you. We did NOT place frogs in the girls’ bathroom sink.

We placed them in the girls’ toilets. I have no idea how they got into the sink.

Anyway, it was good hearing my buddy’s voice. I didn’t recognize him. We are middle-aged men now, we’ve lived very different lives.

He told me he had a serious fight with colon cancer, and he’s in remission. Ever since his brush with the “C” word, he’s been making a lot of phone calls to reconnect with old friends, just to wish them a nice day.

“It changed me,” he told me. “I’m not the same guy I was two years ago.”

A person changes a lot over time. A fella grows into a different man altogether just by living.

After all, life beats you up a little bit more every day. It ages your skin, takes a toll on your mind, gives you arthritis, back pain, and sometimes it steals things you love.

But it goes so fast. One day, you’re standing beside Camp Creek, gigging frogs with your buddy. The next day you’re thinking about buying a pair of Velcro shoes.

Some days it can feel like the whole world is against you. It seems like people are getting more selfish, and angrier. Folks on TV are less happy than they used to be. The price of gas is rising. Modern country music couldn’t get any worse.

There is nothing easy about the business of living. This is why I hope you have a good day. A perfect day, even. The best you’ve ever had.

Just one day. That’s all it would take to change a person forever. One magnificent day that makes you feel so good you feel like doing something crazy. Like buying a pink sweatshirt. Or a khaki jumpsuit.

Or maybe you will step outside your tent at midnight and stare upward at the stars. Maybe you’ll wonder what lies beyond the sky. Or what love is made of.

Maybe you will feel so good you’ll start doing senseless things like picking up pinecones and throwing them into the woods even though, technically, you are already in the middle of the woods.

After my shower I walk back to my campsite. I arrive to see Herb and Mary loading backpacks. They are about to take a nature walk this morning.

She’s adjusting the straps on her shoes, Herb is pulling the zipper of his jumpsuit and adjusting his hearing aids.

Herb waves his arms at me. He’s trying to get my attention.

Hey!” he shouts. “Can’t you hear me? I’ve been yelling at you this whole time, ‘I hope you have a nice day!’”

Well, how do you like that?


  1. Brad B - February 19, 2019 7:16 am

    A resonant story for my day today, all the way from bumping into an old work colleague to the “C” word. (My 5 second evangelical – get your recommended colon cancer screenings. A promise I made to my surgeon.). >> Also wishing you a great day, Sean.

    P.S. I saw a picture of you and a couple of high school classmates when you were in/near Dothan recently. They enjoyed the show.


  2. rantsandravescom - February 19, 2019 7:39 am

    May you live to be old with a red Alabama sweatshirt and Velcro shoes. ??

    • Susie - February 19, 2019 2:34 pm

      Haha, good one ??

  3. Katherine - February 19, 2019 10:40 am

    It’s a delight to read your posts daily. You write with such warmth and compassion about folks. I hope you have acquired similar sensitivity to other creatures. I grew up in Alabama, too. I knew folks who went frog gigging. The victims know agonizing and slow deaths. To consider it fun to spear a critter demonstrates a dark place in someone’s heart, even if you later eat them,

  4. Jeanne Butler - February 19, 2019 12:09 pm

    Thank you Sean. I haven’t had a nice day in a long time. Hope today breaks the bad day syndrome. And you are so right about modern country music. Love you Sean. You have a nice day.

    • Janet Mary Lee - February 19, 2019 9:45 pm

      Jeanne,I hope you find a couple of days you can call good!! I am praying you do!! You have someone here praying you some shineshine and lightness of heart thru love and faith!! sweet Blessing to you today and every day!!

      • Janet Mary Lee - February 19, 2019 9:46 pm

        that was Sunshine, lol…Shining took over!!

  5. Lucretia Jones - February 19, 2019 12:15 pm

    I will, Sean. Thank you ever so much. I am smiles inside and out now!!!

  6. Jess in Athens, GA - February 19, 2019 1:15 pm

    I just exchanged emails with an Army buddy that lives in Virginia. They’re suppose to be getting snow and and an ice storm today….so he’s not going to have a nice day. Here in Athens, GA, we’re suppose to be getting heavy rain, but it’s still dry…..so maybe we’re going to have a nice day. Sean, I hope you’re going to have a grand day no matter where you are, or what you’re doing….you deserve the nicest day possible.

  7. Cathy Moss - February 19, 2019 1:58 pm

    I love this message. I am soon to be 71 yrs old and having a nice day has taken on a new meaning. The days are more important than they used to be in so many ways. One day your life is going just fine and then something happens that you had not expected and your life is forever changed. Your friend who battled colon cancer got the message. Reach out to someone and re connect. Several yrs ago I reconnected with a friend at a high school reunion in Mobile. We used to double date and laugh a lot. I have always loved this person. Life has thrown her some curve ball but she is a survivor. Every time we speak on the phone, she lifts me up. Faith, Family and Friends. That’s all any of us need to have a nice day. Thanks Sean , for reminding us of so many things that really matter. You are a gift to so many?

  8. Linda James - February 19, 2019 2:33 pm

    Beautiful story that naturally reminds me of my dear old Dad. His hearing loss happened as a result of a torpedo strike near to his WWII ship. His navy nickname was plowboy and it meant to be an insult. But when Dad took his farm know-how to the machine shop, he created the desperately needed deck gun part that restored their missing defense. After that, he was an instant hero. He made up his own nickname after that to Honest John. Any war story he told was so thrilling that you didn’t want him to stop. The male nurse that attended him in the ER said so.

  9. MermaidGrammy - February 19, 2019 2:44 pm

    I imagine just running into YOU would give anyone the best day ever. What a joy you are.

  10. Jack Darnell - February 19, 2019 2:48 pm

    Well there you have gone and done it! We live in camp grounds, full time. I had two hearing aids, now I have two implants. You wuz wishing me a good day and making fun all at the same time. It is fun being 80 now nobody expects you to hear. hahahaha I do have a jump suit, but don’t get it out anymore. One day you will appreciate ’em velcro shoe laces. LOL
    Love the entry dude, you have a nice day, I gotta go out and bother some young camper! WHAT DID YOU SAY? Did you hear me, ‘Have a nice day!’

  11. Shelton A. - February 19, 2019 3:02 pm

    May you have the best day you’ve ever had! Have fun throwing pinecones!

  12. Taylor Carnley - February 19, 2019 4:35 pm

    Light, airy, beautiful. Live on, old country music.

  13. Edna B. - February 19, 2019 4:40 pm

    Sean, I hope you have a spectacular day too. And yes, I’ve been wearing the Velcro sneakers for quite a while now. God Bless you, hugs, Edna B.

  14. Carol - February 19, 2019 4:56 pm

    Sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees!!
    Good day to you!!
    Love ya!

    • Janet Mary Lee - February 19, 2019 9:40 pm

      Hope your entire day is wonderful!! I feel so young…till I stand up. Then I can’t believe it..I feel 66 and arthritic. It comes as such a shock!! I wear slip on shoes or flip flops if I can..Still have to maneuver velcro!! Keep your sense of humor!! And astonishment!! You are such a Blessing!!

  15. Judy Broussard - February 19, 2019 10:16 pm

    I am 79 and I treat everyday as a gift. The aches and pains are a sign of a good life well lived. I look forward to all of your posts. Thanks Sean

  16. Mounier Brenda - February 21, 2019 5:57 pm

    Thanks, Sean. You make me smile, think, evaluate, cry, reflect, reminisce, ponder or laugh out loud – – -every day.

  17. Susan Emerson - March 19, 2019 1:10 pm

    Loved this post. But I beg you not to say “Modern country music couldn’t get any worse.” The universe might take it as a dare.

  18. Steve W. - March 19, 2019 1:58 pm

    I heard from a guy this past weekend that was a best friend in the Navy, 78-82. I’ve often searched him out with no luck then Saturday, out of the blue, he Facebooked me. I knew he’d be back in Dallas. One thing Texans & Alabamians have in common, they always eventually go home.
    I hope your day is stellar as well.
    I’m on the last pages of Small Towns… & just started Volume One. Completely hooked! Love, Steve.


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