And So I Thank You

Thank you. That is the​ purpose of this column. I want to say “thanks.” I don’t know you, but I believe in the good you do. Especially right now.

In public, I used to see you sometimes and think to myself: “I wish someone would thank them.” But I never do this because if I did, you’d think I was a complete whacko.

Maybe I am a whacko. But I’m allowed to be that way. After all, I am a columnist—sort of—and that means my proverbial box is missing a few crayons.

Long ago, I used to deliver newspapers with my mother. We used to deliver to a fella who would answer the door in pajamas. He had messy hair and a bushy white beard. He always gave me a five-dollar tip.

He was generous. If he wasn’t home one day, he would pay me ten bucks the next day. He was a columnist, my mother told me. And that’s why he was such a weirdo in weird pajamas. Even his house smelled weird.

I suppose I ought to thank him while I am thanking everyone.

Also, thanks to the man I once saw in the gas station, years ago, who bought a lottery scratch-off ticket. Who won thirty bucks, then turned around and gave the cash to a woman behind him in line. What a guy.

The woman thanked him in a language that sounded like Russian, but he didn’t seem to understand, so he answered: “Alright.”

Thank you, Cindy—the woman who, pre-pandemic, once translated one of my speeches in American Sign Language for the front row​. She told me I talked very fast and now she has problems with her rotator cuff. She also taught me how to cuss in sign language.

Thank you to the seventy-year-old man who went back to school to get his GED. And his forty-six-year-old daughter, who tutored him.

And you. You deserve thanks, but you don’t always get it. In fact, you rarely even get a nod. That’s a shame. You deserve the same tiara they put on Miss America. You deserve something huge like a mid-size SUV, or pony named Silver, or an RV with slide-outs, or a big plate of spaghetti with garlic bread. This has been a merciless year. You deserve something to show for it.

You deserve money, fame, and material things. But then, you would never accept these things. I know how you are.

Everything you do is outside the spotlight, not for show, and I don’t want to screw that up for you. That’s why I am not going to use your name—except Cindy. I already used Cindy’s name, and I can’t take that back now.

You deserve a helping of gratitude. Simply for surviving. Why, if I had a million dollars, I would give it all to you. Every penny. I wouldn’t keep a dime for myself.

Certainly, I might use some of the money to buy season tickets to the Atlanta Braves, but that would be it. Also a monster truck. But then you would get the rest.

I would give it to the man I once saw in Cracker Barrel, long before the global virus began. He only had the use of his right hand. He piloted his motorized wheelchair through the full dining room, and his children stayed near him.

His oldest daughter fed him with a spoon. She dabbed his chin with a napkin. The family enjoyed themselves so much, and laughed heartily, and messed around with each other. They were beautiful.

That family deserves a million bucks.

So does the woman who raised me on hard circumstances, hard work, and tossing newspapers on cold mornings.

So does the man with the speech impediment who works for the cable company, who helped me solve a technical issue last week. The man has every right NOT to be in customer service, but he has chosen to overcome his obstacle.

Your waiter. Your supermarket clerk. Your teacher. Your janitor. Anyone who has kept going to work during the COVID era. And the average fella who waits in line at a gas station to buy a scratch-off ticket but doesn’t want the winnings.

Long ago, a man once handed me five bucks while I stood on his porch, delivering his newspaper. It happened to be my birthday that day.

He said: “Are you having a good day, son?”

“Yessir,” I said. “It’s a great day today, it’s my birthday.”

His face lit up. The nutty man looked like he was going to burst. He told me to wait on the porch. He darted away then reappeared with a tiny wooden box. He gave it to me.

In the box was a pen. I don’t know if it was expensive or not, and I don’t care. To me, it was worth more than a million bucks. Still is.

“Thank you for all that you do,” the columnist said to me.

And now this columnist is saying the same to you.


  1. Beryl - February 27, 2021 2:08 pm

    You’re welcome!

  2. Betty - February 27, 2021 2:12 pm

    And thank YOU. I felt like you were speaking to me today.

  3. Leigh Amiot - February 27, 2021 2:17 pm

    How providential you’d be gifted a pen!

  4. Phil (Brown Marlin) - February 27, 2021 2:20 pm

    Remember as children what we were told the magic words are? Yep, you got it: PLEASE and THANK YOU! It never hurts to say them. Smiles and acts of kindness like the ones you described don’t hurt, either. In fact, they actually benefit both the receiver and the giver. Keep helping, everybody!

  5. Julie - February 27, 2021 2:23 pm

    For all the thanks you give to everyone, “multiply that times the stars in heaven and the sand on the seashore” Genesis 22:17. That gives you, Sean, an idea of how much WE appreciate YOU💖

  6. Te Burt - February 27, 2021 2:24 pm

    Cracked me up! Good start to a beautiful day! Communists in DC notwithstanding.

  7. Margaret E Odell - February 27, 2021 2:24 pm

    Thank you, Sean, for the smiles and the tears you’ve given me over this past year!

  8. Larry - February 27, 2021 2:24 pm

    And thank you for just being you. My morning would not be complete without your post!!!

  9. Susan Kennedy - February 27, 2021 2:25 pm

    Thank you, Sean, for being a bright light in all our lives. You are greatly loved!!💙

  10. Dean - February 27, 2021 2:28 pm

    So many people that we owe so much to. All the ones that keep working thru the virus. They are the ones that should be getting the extra money. Know people that quit their jobs to get the extra money plus unemployment. Thanks so much for writing your column everyday i look forward to it

  11. Debbie g - February 27, 2021 2:33 pm

    And.back to you Sean and for Jamie sharing you with us we love and thank you

  12. Barbara - February 27, 2021 2:33 pm

    Thank YOU, Sean, for the treasure of your column each morning!

  13. elizabethroosje - February 27, 2021 2:35 pm

    Thank YOU Sean! Your posts bless me and others every day 🥰

  14. Martha Owens - February 27, 2021 2:36 pm

    Thank YOU, Sean, for your uplifting messages, so much needed during this time in our very strange lives.

  15. Al Cato - February 27, 2021 2:36 pm

    Yes Thank You’s are so important but rarely used in our “look at me” culture! So many good people doing good things, unsolicited and mostly unnoticed and sometimes unappreciated. Your column helps greatly by highlighting Thank You. So I say Thank You Sean for your thoughts today and everyday. Your words and columns touch people’s lives in so many positive ways. Continue to make us laugh, cry and think…paraphrase Jim Valvano speech. It is a good day.

  16. Patti - February 27, 2021 2:44 pm

    And Thank You right back to you – for helping to enable thousands of people – far more than you see comments from! Your words multiply. “Cast thy bread upon the waters…”

  17. Deb Lockard - February 27, 2021 2:45 pm

    Nice! What a difference it would make if everyone would look each person in the eye that did something for them , every single time and say thank you!

  18. Suzanne M - February 27, 2021 2:46 pm

    Thank YOU Sean for always making me feel better &
    so grateful for all the awesome people you write about.

  19. Ann - February 27, 2021 2:56 pm

    And many many thank yous to YOU..
    I hope you have a glimmer of the good you do through your words!
    THANK YOU, Sean

  20. Barb - February 27, 2021 3:06 pm

    This is perfect and something we all need to remember. There is so much hate in this country right now. God has told us to love our neighbor and saying thank you is a great way of doing that. ❤️

  21. Barbara - February 27, 2021 3:09 pm

    Gratitude never gets old, outdated or undesired. It carries its weight in gold. Or a million bucks. Thank YOU, Sean of the South. Times a million.

  22. Jan - February 27, 2021 3:11 pm

    Absolutely perfect … Thank you!!!

  23. Michael McLaurin - February 27, 2021 3:11 pm

    You’re welcome! And I’m glad you finally showed up this morning. I was getting worried.

  24. Helen De Prima - February 27, 2021 3:14 pm

    People in businesses always get the deer-in-the-headlights look when i ask to speak with the manager — and then laugh in relief when I complement the service. Too few mention the good stuff.

  25. Jimpa - February 27, 2021 3:14 pm

    And, as Chip would tell Dale,
    “No, no, no, no, no…thank YOOUUU”!

  26. johnsteinbach - February 27, 2021 3:16 pm

    My all-time favorite author, Ralph Waldo Emerson, advised writing “to the unknown friend.” That would be all of us, every day, my friend. Thank you!!

  27. Susan - February 27, 2021 3:23 pm

    Thanks for your columns.

  28. Tim Fisher - February 27, 2021 3:25 pm

    No, Thank YOU!

  29. KMS - February 27, 2021 3:29 pm

    Thank you for being real. And for making me smile every time I read your emails. The world needs more people like you. Stay positive 🙌

  30. AlaRedClayGirl - February 27, 2021 3:31 pm

    And thank you, Sean, for reminding us everyday that there are good people doing good deeds. Just imagine if everyone had a more thankful attitude how nice this swirly blue marble would be.

  31. Bernadette Wyckoff - February 27, 2021 3:39 pm

    Thankyou…yes it is a beautiful day…enough said….one more thing I love you bunches ❤

  32. Sandy Fopiano - February 27, 2021 3:44 pm

    And Thank You Sean, for your columns !!! I read every one and enjoy so much. Makes my day… So — enjoy your day, and —– THANK YOU !!!!!

  33. oldandblessed - February 27, 2021 3:46 pm

    You’re most welcome! 😀

  34. Cindy L - February 27, 2021 3:49 pm

    Thank you, Sean. Again and again, from all of us.
    – a different Cindy

  35. Joey - February 27, 2021 3:51 pm

    For some reason I didn’t receive your column until much later than usual. I was SO WORRIED ABOUT YOU!!! Glad you’re okay, and THANK YOU!!

  36. Jean - February 27, 2021 3:53 pm

    No….thank you Sean….for brightening my mornings and you just being you. Love you and thank you!!

  37. Chasity Davis Ritter - February 27, 2021 4:13 pm

    Dangit Sean!! Even your thank you makes me cry because sometimes we really need to hear it. A little ways into the pandemic a customer told me Thank you and it really changed my whole day. I’m not a paramedic or teacher but I’ve been an essential retail worker. Making sure people have their toilet paper and vitamins and milk and dog food and what ever else they can think of. Wether it’s been curbside pickup or coming into the store. It’s really nice to hear a thank you so thanks to you as well. For faithfully writing everyday and giving me something to look forward too

  38. Suzanne DeBoer - February 27, 2021 4:25 pm

    Thank you.
    I am an old lady who writes a reflection every day. One of my recipients forwards me your offerings. I truly enjoy what you share and it has also brought my friend and I closer as we comment back and forth using email each morning. So thank you.

  39. Nita - February 27, 2021 4:30 pm

    And so many Thanks to you Sean for starting my days off right with a smile, a few tears at times, and something to think about each day! Such a good reminder to let people know that you appreciate what they do!

  40. Christina - February 27, 2021 4:50 pm

    Nutty or not, thank you Sean for all you do, everyday.

  41. Candy Clark - February 27, 2021 5:22 pm

    And…THANK YOU! You are a bright light to SO MANY in this sometimes dismal world!

  42. Kathryn Kelly - February 27, 2021 5:24 pm

    You put a smile in my heart. Thank you, Sean!

  43. Nancy M - February 27, 2021 5:50 pm

    And thank you to you! I’m thankful that I found your column and now get it in my email every day.
    I’m thankful for the people who shop for and bring us our groceries. I thank them in person and give them more than the minimum tip.
    I’m also thankful for the people who bring us our restaurant meals to the car, and to those who work at drive-up windows.
    I’m extremely thankful for the vaccine and for the nurse who injected us!

  44. Kathy Daum - February 27, 2021 5:53 pm

    To store clerks, food workers, all grocery workers, gas station workers, veternarians, truck drivers, people who help others schedule vaccine appointments, people who help the non-technically inclined stay in touch…

  45. Linda Moon - February 27, 2021 6:44 pm

    I’m a whacko, and I like it. You and I are not MISSING crayons. We could ADD creative colors to the big 152-Crayon box. Keep adding to the colors, 2,345,597 words and then some. What the columnist said, Sean…right back to you. Thank you, Columnist!

  46. Martha Black - February 27, 2021 6:46 pm

    And simply said, “thank you”, we adore you…….

  47. Bill - February 27, 2021 7:43 pm

    Sean, thank you for your thoughts and feelings you share with us. Best to you and hope you are staying safe from the Covid-19./ I just received my first shot, my wife too. Many Blessings

  48. Cyn - February 27, 2021 8:05 pm

    Always good to remind people to sat “thank you” and why we should be thankful. I am thankful for your daily “ramblings” that show up in my In Box early each morning. Was worried when it was not there this morning. Glad to finally see one of your blogs this afternoon. I always find words of wisdom in your pieces. Thank you!!

  49. Victoria Schwartz - February 27, 2021 9:12 pm

    Thank you for keeping me grateful and thinking of others during this tough time when it would be so easy to be grumbling and selfish.

  50. Becky Kaufman - February 27, 2021 9:20 pm

    i love this. and thank you for touching my heart.

  51. Suzi - February 28, 2021 1:50 am

    And I thank you Sean Dietrich🤗

  52. Jackie Clements - February 28, 2021 2:29 am

    Sean, thank you for all of your writings. You help us to be more considerate of others and to appreciate the small things that a lot of people do that are not really small things because they mean a lot to the ones on the receiving end. You help me to slow down and think more about my actions and inaction. You are inspirational.

  53. Mim - February 28, 2021 4:26 am

    A thousand thanks for thousands of Sean words

  54. Steve Winfield (Lifer) - February 28, 2021 6:46 am


  55. Beth Anne - February 28, 2021 9:56 am

    Thank you – I am Grateful for You!!!

  56. Bob E - February 28, 2021 11:24 am

    Yessir – a columnist who has the neatest (weirdest?) knack for words – a blessed talent.

  57. Dee Frances Hoomes Wichman from Damascus, AL but now of Ocean Springs, MS - February 28, 2021 7:24 pm

    Thank YOU, Sean! I so enjoy your writing. I once lost my oldest son at the mall, While I was paying for a purchase and had his younger sister with me, he ran out of the store and into the mall. I looked for him and when he was finally found, back at the store he had run out of, I gave him a spanking instead of a hug. And then, today reminding us to thank people who are sometimes forgotten. I am originally from Brewton but have lived many years in MS. I still have a place in Damascus and that is where my heart is, along with my youngest daughter who is buried in our family cemetery after passing away at the age of 25 in 2000 from idiopathic hypertrophic sub-aortic stenosis. I didn’t know she had that and try to remind parents every school year that if their child playing sports suddenly has chest pains they should have an echo-cardiogram which is the only test that shows it. I hope sometime you will do a post on how sneaky that problem can be before other children just suddenly drop dead. Again, Thank YOU!


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