Today I read an article my friend sent to me. The article was something that went viral on social media. When I finished reading it, I felt so bad that I had to take some Pepto-Bismol and lie down.

It was depressing. The writer complained about nearly everything. Politics, religion, pollution, crime, taxes, pesticides, SUV’s, pop stars, the price of gas.

And worse, thousands of people agreed that this world is a terrible place.

Well, who am I to say that it isn’t? Nobody, that’s who. Even so, all that reading left me asking myself an important question:

What about chocolate?

Can this world be all that bad as long as we have milk chocolate? Have you ever had a Hershey’s bar when it’s room temperature? It’s a little soft, and it tastes like a Gaither Homecoming special.

It’s hard not to believe that everything is going to be okay while you’re eating chocolate.

And how about pimento cheese? Has the writer ever tried homemade pimento cheese? If he hasn’t, he ought to. Today, my wife just made a fresh batch. I took one bite and I started shaking my leg like Elvis at a revival.

What about daylilies? Or peonies? Or tulips? The colors of summer are almost overwhelming. A pink peony is reason enough to believe life is good.

And there are also the mystical things of life. Things so beautiful that they are hard to name because they are too vast, too immense, and too wistful. Namely, I am speaking of beer.

Have you ever tasted a Budweiser after spending an afternoon mowing your lawn? Your skin is burned, your head is wrapped with an old-man bandanna. And here comes your wife with a beer that’s cold enough to crack your teeth.

How about all-night-singings at church? I don’t know if you’ve ever been to one of those, I don’t even know if people still do them.

Young folks might not know what I’m talking about. But long before Sunday-morning rock bands, there used to be all-night-singing in the country.

We didn’t really sing all night long, of course. But we sang until maybe ten or eleven thirty. We’d sing the old songs. Like: “Down by the Riverside,” and “In the Sweet By and By,” and all fifty verses to “Rock of Ages.”

And has the writer of the article ever watched an old man dance with his granddaughter at a wedding reception? I’m guessing not.

Last week, I went to a friend’s reception at a seafood restaurant. I saw an old man take the dancefloor with a nine-year-old girl whose hair was in ribbons. The song was “You are so Beautiful.”

Niagara Falls.

And what about the Gulf of Mexico? Isn’t the article even going even mention that?

I am a product of the Gulf Coast. There is something magical within our water. Something so incredible that it transcends space and time. You think I’m exaggerating?

Here’s something a foreign language professor once told me:

Hundreds of years ago, when Choctaw Indians still lived on the Gulf Coast of Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi, they had a word in their language. It was a short word.

It was a great word, a happy word, sort of a utility word that you could use in all kinds of scenarios. The word was “okeh.”

Missionaries loved the word right off the bat. After they learned to speak the native language, they started using “okeh” all the time. They even started using it in place of “amen.”

Thus, while missionaries were busy teaching the Choctaw natives not drink, cuss, or touch Cosmopolitan magazines in the checkout aisles, “okeh” crept into the English language.

Missionaries started writing this word in their journals, their Bibles, and writing it in postcards sent home. And since there was no official spelling for this new word, they abbreviated it:

“O.K.”

Over time, the word became a big hit. Today, it still is. It is the most used word in the world. It is used in one hundred and ninety-five countries, and almost six thousand languages.

Six thousand.

And just think, it all started here in the South Eastern Conference. Maybe even within eyeshot of the Gulf of Mexico.

Who knows, maybe the native guy who invented the word sat where my backyard is located. Or maybe he sat on the beach.

Maybe he looked at the Gulf of Mexico and was reminded of all the wonderful things in life. Things like wildflowers, children’s laughter, clouds, pasta, saturated fat, and the ”Cha Cha Slide.”

Sunrises. Trees. Babies. Old men dancing at wedding receptions with granddaughters. And love.

Perhaps this Choctaw native thought about these things and declared to himself that this world was not so bad after all.

Maybe he decided that no matter what kind of hell breaks loose, no matter what newspapers say, no matter what viral articles claim, everything—and I mean everything—is going to be “okeh.”

Maybe all we need is just a little bit more chocolate.

30 comments

  1. Elizabeth - June 27, 2019 9:42 am

    Chocolate makes everything better! Okeh?

    Reply
  2. Jean - June 27, 2019 10:25 am

    I agree! There are far too many good things in our world to let the bad ones take over. Most of this reporting of bad comes from the media. Turn em off and all things will be Okeh again!

    Reply
  3. Van - June 27, 2019 10:28 am

    Chocolate doesn’t ask silly questions…….chocolate understands….. 😉

    Reply
  4. Naomi - June 27, 2019 10:38 am

    It’ funny that you mentioned chocolate today. I have always eaten Hershey’s chocolate. I have even been through the Hershey factory in Pennsylvania twice. I that that it would be a wonderful way to die–falling into a vat of chocolate. I always had a package of Hershey’s in my carry-on bag. One time the young man at the Atlanta airport who scanned my bag took out the package of chocolate because they are wrapped in aluminum. I said, “Please don’t take my chocolate. My husband and I are going on a mission trip and I need my chocolate”. He replied, “Really; my parents are missionaries” and then put the chocolate back into my suitcase. However, after spending time in Germany and Switzerland, I discovered dark chocolate so that’s what I eat now but sometimes it’s hard to find. Our local drug store used to sell it but since they changed hands, they don’t have it anymore. I have a bad back but I can’t always get prescription pain medicine. As I was paying for my bars of dark chocolate, I told the cashier that I couldn’t get pain medicine so chocolate will have to substitute; it probably better for back pain than medicine anyway. .

    Reply
  5. Jones - June 27, 2019 10:54 am

    Amen!👍👍

    Reply
  6. Debbie Harbin Hining - June 27, 2019 11:16 am

    This article is definitely one of your best!! Loved it!! I’m glad my sweet husband introduced me to your writings! He knows a good thing when he sees it!!

    Reply
  7. Sissy cooper - June 27, 2019 11:24 am

    Love love this but I’m substituting the majesty of the Mts. My OK place!

    Reply
  8. Ella Herlihy - June 27, 2019 11:26 am

    Here we are at Blue Skies – just a few miles away from you in the Gulf Coast, in beautiful Windmark Beach in sport Saint Joe. We are here with eight families, each with a child who has cancer, and a whole bunch of volunteers. We are here to love, to serve, to eat Oreo ice cream pie (a close cousin to the Hershey bar), play in the sun and sand, and just plain forget about cancer for one week. When you look at this group of people, you would have no idea that most of them have spent more of the last year in the hospital than out, and some are on chemo even as they are putting in sunscreen and jumping in the waves of the Gulf. They are the epitome of Okeh. They know that life is full of challenges and hard things, but that if you keep going, there is good to be had. A hoe down with line dancing, the belly laugh of a kid on hospice who gave his new buddy a pie in the eye, the wonder of a 9 year old seeing the ocean for the first time, a couple with a toddler with cancer who are acting like newlyweds while volunteer mamas love on their sweet baby, a bald teenager unafraid to be without a wig in a group of people who see her beauty without hair. These are all okey. Amazing even. This is Blue Skies. Come join us and see what okey is all about.

    Reply
    • Terri - June 27, 2019 11:51 am

      Love this. God bless you all. Enjoy your break.

      Reply
  9. Nala - June 27, 2019 11:36 am

    I say…CAN I GET AN AMEN! Well said, I needed this this morning!

    Reply
  10. Marilyn - June 27, 2019 12:42 pm

    Thank you for reminding us that there is still so much good around us! The media is full of the other stuff, so I rarely listen to news anymore. I can pick and choose from the internet and read very little of that news. Keep up the good work and giving us positive reinforcement each morning – Okeh?

    Reply
  11. Barbara Buckner - June 27, 2019 1:02 pm

    I have a beautiful story to tell, but I won’t take up space doing that other than to say I love my life and am thankful for every day I open my eyes and get out of bed. I love God, my family, my friends, my job and life in general. I love my country and pray for whoever is in office, and I always vote! What a privilege that is!!
    I am 69 years old, I had a great education and I have been employed most all of my adult life, still am for that matter. On July 13th I am marrying my high school sweetheart. Everyone is happy and we are over the moon. Life is good. I know everyone doesn’t have such blessings in their lives and their life maybe isn’t as good as mine has been. But I just wanted you to know Sean that there is much reason to applaud, celebrate, say thank you, and above all love one another.
    I love your writings and read them almost every day. And….I love dogs and have had one all my life. My sweetie now is Daisy and she’s the love of my life, so we have that in common.
    Have a blessed day Sean. And thank you!
    Barbara

    Reply
  12. Jan - June 27, 2019 1:05 pm

    Another message on life that came at just the right time …. just when I was feeling sad and lost, you wrote and told me it was going to be okeh! Thank you!

    Reply
  13. Shelton A. - June 27, 2019 1:15 pm

    Milk chocolate is certainly one of nature’s wonders…it cures almost everything. Thanks for a very “okeh” column!

    Reply
  14. Betty F. - June 27, 2019 1:17 pm

    Thanks

    Reply
  15. Susan - June 27, 2019 1:27 pm

    I love that you always focus on the positive. A wonderful way to live!

    Reply
  16. Jack Darnell - June 27, 2019 1:48 pm

    OK, thanks for the history lesson along with the thought that, yeah thinks are OK , BUT OF COURSE COULD BE BETTER. You chocolate folk should think Butter Pecan once in awhile! LOL. Or maybe even WALNUT!, P-nut log or even a Zagnut! My girl even loves dark chocolate and that is hard to believe.
    But even with all the chocolate lovers, life is good! LOL
    Sherry & jack over in North Carolina

    Reply
  17. MermaidGrammy - June 27, 2019 2:00 pm

    The world probably just needs more Sean. But thanks for reminding us of all those wonderful things. Add cookies. And ice cream. No one can possibly stay in the dumps while eating cookies and ice cream.

    Reply
  18. Dianne - June 27, 2019 2:15 pm

    I love today’s column.

    Reply
  19. Linda Moon - June 27, 2019 3:25 pm

    Viruses on social media need more than Pepto-Bismol can provide. Dark Chocolate is the remedy: D.A.R.K. All-night singings at church or the Boutwell Auditiorium, with some Jerry Lee Lewis thrown in, was and still can be a remedy for the state of the world. It’s OK, Sean. Really, it’s “okeh”.

    Reply
  20. Susan Swiderski - June 27, 2019 3:36 pm

    The writer of that article your friend sent you is not a happy man. Two people can live in the exact same town, and one can complain bitterly about how unfriendly the people are and how miserable he is living there, while the other has nothing but good things to say about the friendly people and beauty of the area. It’s all a matter of attitude and appreciation. Life’s too short to focus on the negative. Besides, there are way more blessings and marvels in this world, and I believe that appreciation for those things is the secret to happiness.

    Reply
  21. Charmion - June 27, 2019 3:52 pm

    I went to all night sings and sacred harp sings with my granddaddy☺️
    I miss him!

    Reply
  22. Edna B. - June 27, 2019 3:55 pm

    I agree, there’s still an awful lot of good in this world for us to give up on it. And yes, chocolate does seem to help. You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

    Reply
  23. Janet Mary Lee - June 27, 2019 5:15 pm

    Mexican chocolate is life affirming also!! I had it first in Germany!! A life lesson can be learned in unusual fashion. You just need a big heart!! Like yours!!

    Reply
  24. Pat - June 27, 2019 6:01 pm

    Or in the spring when you see the first green sprouts of your perennials breaking ground! Just makes my day!

    Reply
  25. Harvey Roberts - June 27, 2019 7:39 pm

    Another good word si “aight” as in “aight thin.” I’m not sure of the word origin, but that’s okay.

    Reply
  26. Glenn - June 27, 2019 7:41 pm

    Enjoy the day with the simplicity, joy, and love of young grandchildren. It’s all going to be OK.

    I needed this today.

    Reply
  27. Sandra Bates - June 27, 2019 11:25 pm

    Dear Sean, I enjoy reading your article everyday. A friend of mine got me hooked on it when she sent an article you wrote about Alabama. I am a native of Alabama, but have lived in Ga. for 52 years. But Alabama will always be home. ROLL TIDE ROLL. Keep up the good work. Sandra

    Reply
  28. Joe Patterson - June 28, 2019 1:18 am

    Thanks for your view of things I always look at the bright side of the moon too

    Reply
  29. Mary - July 1, 2019 6:02 pm

    Count your blessings. Name them one by one. Thanks for being one of mine today, Sean!

    Reply

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