Just before midnight. Somewhere on the Texas prairie. A 20-year-old named Mark was driving on a two-lane highway on his way home.

You have to be careful when driving on an empty prairie. It’s easy to develop “prairie foot.” On a flat landscape, without landmarks, your foot tends to get heavy on the gas pedal. It’s not hard to travel upwards of 200 miles per hour by accident.

Mark saw flashing hazards ahead. A brokedown truck with a horse trailer attached. He pumped his brakes and pulled over. And in the rural tradition of all who wear roper boots, he was ready to help.

“Need a hand?”

A young woman slid from beneath the truck chassis. She had grease smudges on her face. She was holding a scissor jack. And she was the most beautiful girl he’d ever seen.

Mark felt his breath get trapped in his throat.

She smiled. “Sorry. No speak’a the Inglés too good.”

Her truck had a flat tire. In her passenger seat was a silent elderly woman. The girl had been under the vehicle looking for the jackpoint on the old Silverado, which can be dangerous business for the uninitiated.

“Allow me,” Mark said, already on the pavement.

It turned out to be a bigger problem than he’d expected. Her spare tire was shot, worn to the canvas. There was no way she was getting home on that thing.

Mark attached the horse trailer to his own truck and told her he’d take them home. But where did she live? Her jumbled English made it impossible to understand her directions.

So the girl drew him a map. And since there was no paper in Mark’s truck to write upon, she used a Sharpie to draw the route on Mark’s hand.

He presented her his hand, which was trembling when she wrote upon it.

It was 2 A.M. when he reached her aunt’s house. He led the horse into the barn, he helped the old woman inside, he disconnected the bumper-pull trailer, and promised to return the next morning.

Return he did. And when Mark arrived, he was driving the formerly brokedown truck into the driveway, newly outfitted with four all-season tires. The tires cost Mark most of his meager savings.

Then he asked the girl on a date. Her name is Leticia.

Here’s another one for you.

I got a letter from Rachel, in North Georgia, who told me about a stray dog in her neighborhood. Rachel went online to see if anyone could figure out where the dog came from. To her surprise she located the owner.

But when she arrived at the owner’s house, something felt wrong. The owner wasn’t a friendly man, and the dog seemed terrified.

The owner jokingly remarked that he wished the dog would’ve been hit by a car. The comment was supposed to be humorous, but it was not.

So Rachel made a bold move. She offered to take the dog off his hands and discovered the owner was more than happy to say goodbye. The poor dog didn’t even have a name.

So Rachel brought the old boy home and bathed him in her shower. She let him sleep in her bed. She fed him half the contents of her fridge. She named him Walter.

This might not sound like the greatest story ever told, but I bet Walter has a different opinion.

Which brings me to another story.

Shortly after I wrote that last few paragraphs, just when I thought I was finished with this shoddy column, I got an email message from an woman in San Diego, California, named Susan.

I have never been to San Diego. I have never met Susan. But we have something in common. Susan is a Sherlock Holmes freak. And I myself share the same crippling affliction.

When I was 10 years old my father introduced me to Sherlock and I became a kid forever obsessed.

In 1957, Susan’s mother gifted her a complete volume of Sherlock Holmes stories. The book was heavy, and thicker than a family Bible. The inside cover read: “Happy birthday. Love, Mom.”

Her mother died the following year.

In 1963, Susan got married and moved to Japan with her husband. Half their possessions went to goodwill and storage, the other half got shipped off to the Land of the Rising Sun. The Holmes book was lost.

When Susan moved back to the States she searched everywhere, rummaging through storage, but she found nothing. Finally she gave up.

Fifty-eight years later, Susan visited a San Diego antique store by chance. And by now, you’ve already figured out where this story is going.

In the store, Susan found a book with familiar handwriting inside:

“Happy birthday. Love, Mom.”

Niagara Falls.

The store priced the book at 40 bucks. The clerk asked Susan why she was weeping over a 40-dollar book. Susan smiled and told the cashier, “I woulda paid forty thousand for this book.”

So I know it’s been a hard year, and I know sometimes you’re tempted to think about how horrible things are on the Highway of Human Existence. But when you feel blue, pause for a moment.

Think of that antique book. Think of Walter the dog, eating a frozen burrito alongside his new human.

Think of the Texas Plains, and a 20-year-old boy in boots. Think of a girl, drawing a roadmap on the boy’s palm. And remember that the best things in life usually happen right after the worst is over.

Then, when you’re done with all your thinking, join me in wishing Mark and Leticia a happy 2nd wedding anniversary.


  1. Tammy S. - April 22, 2021 7:33 am

    Beauty from ashes! Love this one!
    Happy 2nd Anniversary, Mark and Leticia!

  2. Leigh Amiot - April 22, 2021 9:14 am

    Happy Anniversary, Mark and Leticia!
    Congratulations to Susan on her remarkable find!
    And thank you, Sean, for a wonderful wisdom nugget to hang onto: “And remember that the best things in life usually happen right after the worst is over.”

  3. Amanda - April 22, 2021 10:37 am

    Happy Anniversary, Mark and Leticia! Live long and prosper! Praying for all the best that God has to offer you.

  4. joan moore - April 22, 2021 11:36 am

    Mark y Leticia: Feliz Aniversario! And thank you Sean for the morning dose of goodness!

  5. Carolyn Sue Rhodus - April 22, 2021 11:43 am

    Five Stars !!🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

  6. Bob Brenner - April 22, 2021 11:54 am

    You had me at “Just before midnight”! Great stories with great lessons. Thanks, Bob

  7. Jo Ann - April 22, 2021 11:55 am

    Thank you, again, Sean. We sure do need your stories to remind us of the good things out there. There are good people all over the world, no matter what we read & see on the “news.” Happy Anniversary, Leticia & Mark!!

  8. Lynn S - April 22, 2021 12:01 pm

    You uplift my spirit with each blog you write! Thank you for this!
    In two days I pass the torch to another who will take my place as the most important woman in my son’s life. Our son, Jacob, will say “I do” to the love of his life. Something beautiful amidst all of the current sadness.

  9. turtlekid - April 22, 2021 12:09 pm

    Your words always bring tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing these beautiful moments. You are a treasure!!

  10. Felina Campbell - April 22, 2021 12:15 pm

    What a beautiful read this morning. Thank you Sean!!!

  11. Jan - April 22, 2021 12:27 pm

    You make my eyes water and my heart swell with joy! Thank you, Sean!

  12. Ronbo - April 22, 2021 12:28 pm

    Happy happy happy anniversary. Ronbo

  13. Sarah Nash - April 22, 2021 12:47 pm

    Sean, I think you are a brilliant thinker and you have the gift of expressing that brilliance in the perfect words. I wouldn’t want to start each day without you!!!

  14. Ginger Combs - April 22, 2021 12:54 pm

    Thank you for writing, Sean. You are very special and you have a very special gift. Thank you for sharing it with the world. You bring joy to mine. Ginger

  15. Lisa Wilcox - April 22, 2021 1:06 pm

    Truly, it’s a joy to reap the fruits of someone who is living out their calling in life! God bless you for blessing mine!

  16. Karen Holderman - April 22, 2021 1:16 pm

    Thank you for bringing these lovely stories of beautiful goodness of our fellow humans.

  17. Phil (Brown Marlin) - April 22, 2021 1:21 pm

    My bright, sunny day has become even brighter because of these uplifting stories that you tell so beautifully. Short and sweet, but, oh, so meaningful. Happy anniversary to Mark and Leticia.
    And now I’ve got to find out if Sherlock ever caught Professor Moriarty.

  18. Sammy Ford - April 22, 2021 2:03 pm

    Happy Anniversary to Mark and Lexus!

  19. Shelton A. - April 22, 2021 2:23 pm

    Happy Anniversary, y’all!!

  20. Judy Beaver Waldrop - April 22, 2021 2:32 pm

    I believe that might be the best one yet. I love you and your way with words

  21. Christina - April 22, 2021 2:55 pm

    We shall still see goodness in the land of the living. Cheers to all who are finding Hope!

  22. Dianne - April 22, 2021 2:55 pm

    God works in ways we will never understand. Thankful for His ways and thankful for your stories that remind us of His ways.

  23. Cheryl C Hill - April 22, 2021 3:19 pm

    💖 Sean, you ALWAYS ruin my mascara! Thank you for the Hope 😊

  24. Lisa Marie - April 22, 2021 3:23 pm

    As is the case many mornings, I needed this uplifting read today. Keep up the good work my friend!

  25. Linda Moon - April 22, 2021 5:22 pm

    Sharpie-drawings on hands….one of life’s little pleasures. But, who JOKES about a dog’s life ending by a car?!! My Niagara Mist came with Susan’s story of a treasured book. I’ll wish Mark and Leticia a happy anniversary. But that might take a while because I’ll be busy thinking about good things for more than a moment. Thank you for these thoughtful and good stories, Columnist.

  26. MAM - April 22, 2021 5:49 pm

    Happy Anniversary, Mark and Leticia! And thank you, Sean, for your welcome and uplifting words each and every day! How do you always find the perfect words the end with. That right there is a HUGE talent. As a reporter, my final sentence is often the plain: “The meeting adjourned.”

  27. Tom Wallin - April 22, 2021 6:03 pm

    Very sweet stories. I wish they were on the daily news. I would watch the news then. Thanks.

  28. DiAn - April 22, 2021 6:18 pm

    Wow! Thank you, Sean! I needed a pick-me-up today, and you, as usual came through. Thank you & please keep on scribbling away!! – Gratefully – DiAn

  29. lois goland - April 22, 2021 6:26 pm

    Sean I love these stories!!!!

  30. Suzanne Moore - April 22, 2021 6:40 pm

    All wonderful stories, Sean. Today is a sad day for me. I god bad medical news about my old foxhound Cream, who probably will be leaving us soon. She was a rescue who has had a good life with us, but it still will be hard to let her go. Reading these three sweet stories put some extra sunshine in my day. Tjank you so much, as always.

  31. AlaRedClayGirl - April 22, 2021 7:04 pm

    Thanks for reminding us that, contrary to what the news would have you believe, life is mostly good.

  32. Deborah Blount - April 22, 2021 8:22 pm

    Happy Anniversary Mark and Leticia!

  33. Charla Jean - April 22, 2021 9:40 pm

    Love it & Happy Anniversary Leticia & Mark! The best is yet to come!! ❤️

  34. Linda Moon - April 22, 2021 9:43 pm

    Happy Second Anniversary, Mark and Leticia! You added more good thoughts to my busy day!

  35. Donna Melikian - April 23, 2021 1:12 am

    Today, you made me smile. Thank you, Donna

  36. johnallenberry - April 23, 2021 2:30 am

    This was absolutely beautiful. Got hard to read further down because somebody was cuttin’ up onions… and the pollen is bad… and my contacts are botherin’ me… all at once.


  37. Sandra Wolfe - April 24, 2021 9:32 pm

    I love your stories. They help me see the good in people in times like these. Please don’t stop writing. I need your positive words.

  38. Patricia Gibson - April 26, 2021 12:52 am

    Wonderful ❤️


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