O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Dan Lovette became an usher at the Baptist church on Easter Sunday, March 26th, 1961. He stood at the door shaking hands, passing out bulletins. Nobody knew Dan.

Weeks earlier, Pastor Lovette had introduced Dan as his older brother.

Dan was a tall man with a soft voice and rough skin. He wore a brown suit that was too small. He hardly spoke. He sat on the front row during sermons. After service, he smoked cigarettes behind the church. People asked the pastor questions about Dan, but he was quiet when it came to his older brother.

Over the years, folks saw a lot of Dan Lovette. He could be seen pushing a mower, changing the church sign, painting clapboards, passing out bulletins on Sundays, or cleaning the sanctuary on Mondays.

Dan lived in a back room of the church. His earthly belongings were: a cot, a hot plate, a coffee pot, a transistor radio, a shaving kit, and one brown suit.

Nobody can forget the Sunday that the pastor announced he would be baptizing Dan after service. This surprised people. Most thought it was strange that the pastor’s own brother had never been baptized. But no explanation was given.

So, sixty-four church members stood near the creek, watching the tall quiet man wade into shallow water behind his younger brother.

It was a simple ordeal. Down Dan went. Up he came. Applause. Bring on the banana pudding.

But life was not all pudding and baptisms. In 1974, tragedy hit the church. The pastor was in a car accident on his way home from Montgomery, doctors thought he’d had a stroke while driving. Dan sat beside his brother’s hospital bed without sleep or food. He lived beside his brother’s bed, taking care of his brother’s every need.

The next Sunday, Dan Lovette took the pulpit with tired eyes. It was a hushed room. It was the first time any members of the church ever heard more than a sentence from old Dan.

“Most of you know me as Dan Lovette,” he began. “But that ain’t my name. Real name’s Springfield. Daniel Springfield…”

It was so quiet you could hear a Bible drop.

Dan went on to tell the story about how in 1961, Pastor Lovette had been walking into a department store when he saw Dan standing outside, begging for money. Dan was homeless, looking for handouts—or a bottle to cure his shakes.

Pastor Lovette treated Dan to supper. Then the pastor carried Dan home to live with his wife and kids. He helped Dan. He sat with him through hard withdrawals, he took Dan to sobriety meetings, he bought Dan a brown suit for Sundays.

Dan went on: “I felt so bad for all his charity, I came close to leaving. But the pastor just told me one night, ‘You can’t leave us, Dan. Why, we’re brothers, you’n me.”

Dan had never been anyone’s brother before. He’d never been anyone’s anything. All he’d ever been was hard up. But not anymore.

So he got rid of his old name, and his old habits. And if I had room to tell you the rest of the story, I would. But there’s no need. You already have the important parts.

What I will tell you is this: If you’re ever driving a lonesome two-lane highway in the middle-of-nowhere, Alabama, and you see a dilapidated, clapboard meeting house, pull over.

Go to the rear cemetery. A few graves have flowers. Most don’t. There’s a marker for Pastor Lovette, and one for his wife. And there’s a headstone for a man who died sober, with his adopted family surrounding him.

The stone reads: “Big Brother Dan.”

He was just some homeless guy at a department store. But now he has a mansion.


  1. Ann Thompson - August 27, 2022 10:04 am

    Thank you.

  2. Ed (Bear) - August 27, 2022 10:09 am

    I never get tired of reading your stories! I especially like Dan’s story. There’s hope for all of us outlined in his tale.

    • Terry Lynne Michaud - August 27, 2022 9:29 pm

      Yes, this is a great story… one of Sean’s best, I think, and certainly one of my favorites.

  3. Roxanne Taylor - August 27, 2022 10:42 am

    Your writing moves my heart and brings tears to my eyes. I am so blessed that a friend told me about you and your work. God bless you for sharing your gift of writing with us!

  4. Sandra K Hoover - August 27, 2022 11:52 am

    Beautiful story!

  5. Jody - August 27, 2022 11:57 am

    Wow-what a testimony for this pastor and his “brother “♥️

  6. Peggy slaton - August 27, 2022 12:00 pm

    What a beautiful story of of love!

  7. Norman McGowin III MD - August 27, 2022 12:06 pm

    Good ‘Urn Sean! Glad there are folks like that around. Heartwarming story. Proud to be from Alabama.

  8. imcdbw - August 27, 2022 12:07 pm

    I burst into tears when I read that final line, Sean. This is what Christianity is all about! Amen and Amen!

    • Priscilla Rodgers - August 27, 2022 12:50 pm

      Wish you were telling that story in my UMC church in the morning. A lot of us need to hear it. Thanks.

      • suzi - August 27, 2022 2:46 pm

        Yes Priscilla, I was also thinking how I could share this with my UMC🥲

        • Gigi - August 28, 2022 5:37 pm

          Suzi, you can ! Just read Sean’s story to them !

      • Gigi - August 28, 2022 5:38 pm

        Priscilla, you can share it with them ! Just read Sean’s story to them.

  9. Y - August 27, 2022 12:12 pm

    WOW! Very powerful in an understated way. Thank you for these reminiscences. A mansion, indeed!

  10. Melissa Norman - August 27, 2022 12:26 pm

    Magnificent masterpiece!!! Thanks for the Saturday Morning Blessing!!! Pastor Chalmer Miller (Grandpa) would be proud of you.

  11. Raymond Beck - August 27, 2022 12:35 pm

    Every time I read this story I am touched by this expression of love in Sean’s words. Love they neighbor. The second great commandment.

  12. robnrockin - August 27, 2022 12:48 pm

    Sean, every day i am so thankful you share your gift with us. Hugs to you and Jamie. robyn

  13. Keloth Anne 💕 - August 27, 2022 12:58 pm

    Absolutely wonderful—thanks for sharing your stories with us. Always a great way to start my morning ♥️♥️

  14. Celeste Sheppard - August 27, 2022 1:20 pm

    Oh Sean, you’ve done it again. It is so good to read about the goodness and light in our world when everything else seems so dark. I love your work. Please don’t ever stay writing!

  15. Peggy M. Windham - August 27, 2022 1:31 pm

    What a wonderful story! Thanks, Sean!

  16. Robbie Fielder - August 27, 2022 1:45 pm

    That’s really all of our stories. Thank you.

  17. Lyn - August 27, 2022 2:09 pm

    Oh, my. Another good cry.

  18. Lynn B - August 27, 2022 2:25 pm

    Sometimes I feel like we churn through your great writing too fast. We should let a story like this linger on our lips like the finest wine we’ll ever have the good fortune to taste. I think you should post this same masterpiece every day for a week. Thank you for what you do.

  19. Sean of the South: O Brother, Where Art Thou? | The Trussville Tribune - August 27, 2022 2:55 pm

    […] By Sean Dietrich, Sean of the South […]

  20. suzi - August 27, 2022 2:56 pm

    The Least, The Last, The Lost, a test for how well we served Jesus Christ.

  21. David Britnell - August 27, 2022 3:04 pm

    I always wonder if your stories are real or imagined, nevertheless they frequently bring tears to my eyes as did this one. Thank you for always helping us to have hope for the human side of folks.

  22. Christy Johns - August 27, 2022 3:17 pm

    The last line took my breath away. Thank you for writing life.

  23. dkucci - August 27, 2022 3:25 pm

    Once again, you bring tears to these eyes of mine.

  24. chrisswain3 - August 27, 2022 3:55 pm

    There is no need of comment, the story used it all up.

  25. Suzanne - August 27, 2022 3:58 pm

    Thanks once again for reminding us that people are filled with Grace. Often you don’t find out until someone writes their story. Well done.

  26. Jessica Llewallyn - August 27, 2022 4:03 pm

    I look forward to you daily writings! They always bring a smile to my face and a tear to my eye!

    • Jo - August 27, 2022 4:25 pm

      I sure go through a lot of Kleenex reading you each day. Well worth the cost! Love your stories!

  27. Mark L - August 27, 2022 4:17 pm

    There’s a bit of Dan in all of us. Thank you, Sean.

  28. Patricia Gibson - August 27, 2022 4:18 pm

    Well that brought tears❤️😢

  29. Cathy M - August 27, 2022 4:32 pm

    Love one another. God calls us to do that but it’s up to us to answer the call. May we all listen when he calls.

  30. Judy - August 27, 2022 5:02 pm

    Oh how you can touch hearts bits your gift dear son n no I love you more than you know. If you are ever in the Jackson, TN area again I will be there to give you a hug.

  31. pattymack43 - August 27, 2022 6:25 pm

    So grateful to call Dan my “big brother” as well. Blessings!

  32. Rebecca Souders - August 27, 2022 7:01 pm

    Another beautiful one, Sean Dietrich. Thank you.

  33. Terry Lynne Michaud - August 27, 2022 9:31 pm

    This was a great story and it may be my favorite of all the ones I have read so far!

  34. MAM - August 27, 2022 9:53 pm

    A wonderful story that gives all of us hope for a home in that mansion one day. Thanks, Sean, for your detailed stories that make us go from smiling to crying in a few words!

  35. Joe - August 27, 2022 10:17 pm

    Still a great story.

  36. Karen - August 27, 2022 10:44 pm

    What a story of brotherly love.

  37. Gayle - August 27, 2022 11:09 pm

    Beautiful just beautiful

  38. sjhl7 - August 28, 2022 12:39 am

    Amen and amen!

  39. chip - August 28, 2022 1:30 am

    My brother… “a mansion” … sure does my heart good to see you write this

  40. Joy Dollar - August 28, 2022 3:37 am

    Oh me….tears again! What a wonderful story, lesson, recounting of the life of a convert and the man who wouldn’t give up on him. Would that we all had that kind of heart and love for our fellow man. Thank you, Sean

  41. Janis Duckett - August 28, 2022 6:01 am

    I have heard this before, Sean. Where……?

  42. patriciasimmonstaylor - August 28, 2022 7:16 am

    What a wonderful story of love and redemption. God never gives up on any of us and neither should we. Sean, you make our day with these stories…God has blessed you with this talent and gift, and I thank Him for it! Thank you…

  43. Jenn - August 28, 2022 12:12 pm

    One of my favorites

  44. Susan H Poole - August 28, 2022 1:08 pm

    WOW.💥Just WOW.

  45. Paul Cooper - August 28, 2022 4:37 pm

    Mac – nickname for his surname McGregor – wasn’t my brother, but we were close friends in Korea in 1960. Mac was a tall, handsome, talented drummer in the 8th Army Band in Seoul. Their barracks and the one I was in were side by side, tied together like a capital H by a common latrine and shower. I was a drummer, too, just not good enough for an Army band. That’s what brought us together. When it was time to rotate back to the States, Mac and I slept side by side on pull-down racks on a troop ship for 15 nights. He played drums in a troop talent show and I was the emcee. After processing through at Oakland, we each bought tickets for home, Mac to Michigan and me to Florida. While waiting for the shuttle to the airport, I suggested we get a bite to eat and some coffee. At the cafe door, Mac stopped dead still. I asked what was wrong. His words are seared into my brain and heart. “I don’t know if they’ll serve me. We’re back in America.” Mac was Black.

  46. Steve McCaleb - August 28, 2022 4:56 pm

    And people think that one individual can’t change the world. All it takes is one person who cares. Somewhere out there Tommy Joad and Casey are smiling. Them and Pastor Lovett.

  47. Dianne - August 29, 2022 3:20 am

    Absolutely beautiful story!! Thank you!

  48. Beverly Rose - August 30, 2022 1:30 am

    Nice writing. Excellent flow.

  49. CHARALEEN WRIGHT - September 3, 2022 3:42 pm


  50. Renee Welton - September 5, 2022 3:09 am

    Love it💙


Leave a Comment