Savannah, Georgia. I am walking upon 300-year-old cobblestone streets with my coonhound.

It’s perfect October weather. This antiquated downtown is a trip inside page 124 of your grade-school American history textbook.

Yes, this town is touristy. It’s a little gaudy in some places, sure. It’s pretentious, certainly.

Yes. There are hordes of eccentric art-school students walking around, wearing clothing that looks like it was made expressly from repurposed Wonderbread sacks.

But this town is also heartstoppingly gorgeous. And it’s one of my favorite American cities. Hands down.

It’s Savannah.

My dog’s name is Marigold. Marigold is blind. She walks beside me on the cobblestones, taking it all in.

People stop and stare at her because she bumps into things a lot.

We stop at an outdoor cafe for supper. I figure this joint must accept dogs because it’s Savannah.

The hostess is a woman who is wound tightly and probably needs regular fiber supplementation. She asks how many are in my party.

“Two,” I say.

She tells me—not politely—that she needs to ask her manager about my canine date. I tell her Marigold is a blind dog who needs assistance. I’m Marigold’s “Seeing Eye” human.

The woman just looks at me.

The hostess returns bearing the grim news. “You can’t bring a dog in here.”

I thank the woman, sincerely, and tell her that I’ve been kicked out of much nicer joints than this.

My dog and I keep walking the old streets. But I’m not fazed by rejection. I’m an author. My whole life is fraught with rejection. I get rejected four or five times each day whether I need it or not.

We finally arrive at another outdoor cafe. This hostess is much friendlier. She says Marigold is welcome to sit in the outdoor dining area as long as she doesn’t chew or pee on anything.

I order a turkey and Swiss on sourdough. I order a burger for Marigold.

“What do y’all want to drink?” the server asks.

“Budweiser for me,” I say. “Bud Light for the dog.”

She returns with a dog bowl for Marigold, filled with water. My Bud Heavy is immobilizingly cold. And life is okay.

They’re nice here in Savannah. At least a dozen people see Marigold’s “Blind Dog” vest and want to pet her.

They approach in droves. One 7-year-old girl tells me, straightforwardly, that she is going to steal Marigold when I’m not looking.

An elderly woman, wearing a sequined T-shirt that says “Wine is the only fruit I eat” explains that she is mostly blind. She has been legally blind since birth. She says she can relate to Marigold’s plight in life.

The woman’s accent is from the old world. She was born and raised in Chatham County.

And I’m falling in love with Savannah all over again.

Savannah is the city where I got one of my first real writing gigs, a long time ago. A magazine hired me to write a series of short pieces on the history of baseball in Savannah.

Me. Of all people.

It was the dream job. The job paid squat, but this didn’t matter. You’ll never meet a bigger baseball idiot than me.

Besides, being underpaid to write about baseball is a lot like dying from a drowning accident in a brewery.

I got to interview elderly persons in Savannah. I toured Grayson Stadium, which was then home to the Savannah Sand Gnats.

I listened to wizened men in ratty ball caps tell meandering stories about seeing Babe Ruth play in the Hostess City of the South.

I wrote about Sportsman Park, located on Savannah’s west end. I interviewed elderly Black men with dandelion-white hair about the Negro leagues. Men who talked about Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, and Willie Mays like they were household names.

It was one heck of an experience. I’ll never forget it. I spent my mornings driving around the County Seat of Chatham County. I spent evenings in a tent at the KOA in Richmond Hill, pecking out stories on a typewriter, nursing a PBR.

Savannah held promise for me. I don’t know why. Back home in Florida, I was a big nothing. I was a grunt worker who installed gutter on commercial buildings.

But up in East Georgia, I was a journalist. A real writer. And so Savannah will always hold a piece of me in its clutches.

A few more people stop by our cafe table to introduce themselves to Marigold.

A group of college boys from an Oklahoma Baptist university.

A middle-aged woman and her husband, who tell me they are empty-nesters, out for their first date in 20-odd years.

A young woman wearing a neuroprosthetic hearing implant.

“This dog is my spirit animal,” remarks the young woman with the implant.

Marigold and I are soon finished eating. We pay our tab, and tip generously.

I thank the waitress for dealing so kindly with her canine customer. The woman says it’s nothing.

“Are you kidding?” the waitress remarks. “This is Savannah, sweetie.” And she says this as though this explains everything.

And, well, I guess it does.


  1. Lucretia Jones - October 6, 2022 7:07 am

    I too love Savannah💗Thank you Sean for writing and sharing so many of your experiences and feelings.

  2. Andrea. - October 6, 2022 7:54 am

    I ❤️ Savannah. I lived on Tybee island for three years. I wish I had neveroved away. But Ioved to California 33 yrs ago. Tybee was Magical . But I a nomad I guess. I miss the south but Love the West too. I’m torn. Enjoy your Musings. Thank you.

  3. Debbie - October 6, 2022 9:18 am

    Love Savannah. It is definitely Old South. Yay for Marigold living her best life now with you.

  4. Ann Thompson - October 6, 2022 10:54 am

    Enjoyable read. Thanks

  5. mccutchen52 - October 6, 2022 11:03 am

    It is a beautiful place and living in Georgia I haven’t been as often as I would like to. I previously lived in the Arkansas Delta close to Memphis and was always asked what I thought of Elvis’s home. They would look at me like I was crazy for not ever going. Just never got around to it. I also wanted to go to Sturgis on a Harley but life got in the way and time ran out.

  6. Zachary Ousley - October 6, 2022 11:26 am

    Hello, Zach Ousley here! I subscribed to your articles about a month back. These stories give me nostalgia, and inspires me to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) so to say. I read them every single day and it reminds me of why life is so precious. Thank you sir, I look forward to the many more articles coming my way.

  7. AlaRedClayGirl - October 6, 2022 11:50 am

    Savannah is a beautiful old Southern city. Now you need to head to Charleston.

    • Wes Chapman - October 6, 2022 1:56 pm

      Savannah is a favorite city as well. I’ve always felt that Charleston was Savannah’s older more pretentious sister. Look but don’t touch. Savannah most always felt as if it was reaching out to take your hand and say…”let me show you around” and “lets stop by Pinkie Masters for a swig” Thanks for your thoughts Sean.

  8. Ed (Bear) - October 6, 2022 11:55 am

    In light of all the disturbing things going on in the world… your writings are an oasis from the turmoil.

    Go Sean!
    Go Marigold!
    Go Braves!

  9. Trish - October 6, 2022 12:00 pm

    Lovely to share my morning coffee with you. God Bless.

  10. Leigh Amiot - October 6, 2022 12:20 pm

    You know you’re growing older when you stop, count, and realize it’s been forty years since you’ve been to Savannah. One of my brothers lived there then, managed a World of Records store, lived in a camper. Vinyl has gone and come back in that time.

    I’ve enjoyed your coastal city visits and recollections, Sean.

  11. Anne Arthur - October 6, 2022 12:32 pm

    My next vacation trip needs to get me to Savannah. It’s on my bucket list since a long time and your writing brings me closer to doing it.

  12. Pat Deas - October 6, 2022 12:41 pm

    Do you ever stay home ? Are you and Marigold visiting these Southern cities because you have speaking engagements or just out and about exploring…either way it’s very enjoyable reading… Could you please explain?

  13. Sean of the South: Savannah | The Trussville Tribune - October 6, 2022 12:45 pm

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

  14. Trent - October 6, 2022 1:01 pm

    Now we all hold Savannah a bit more dearly and thank her for helping give us you Sean…

  15. Rhonda Chavers - October 6, 2022 1:23 pm

    Love ❤️ this story! Marigolds are everywhere if people will just take time to just look!!

  16. Stephen Sauer - October 6, 2022 1:25 pm

    I’ve been reading you every day since I read Eliza’s Run. Since then, I read your column first thing every morning. So much more than a column. Anyway, I didn’t know until today that you are a “baseball idiot.” So I have to ask, who is your team? Who do you think is going to make it to the World Series? Who do you think will win?

  17. Matt Trice - October 6, 2022 1:57 pm

    For some odd reason, I’d never heard of you before Monday. Monday seems like a year ago as I’ve made it my pastime to “catch up” on what I’ve missed. Kudos, young man. Kudos. Savannah dirt holds two souls that were Father and Brother. I visit them often.

  18. MD - October 6, 2022 1:58 pm

    Go see the Gingerbread House if you never have.

  19. Patricia Gibson - October 6, 2022 2:12 pm

    Neat story!

  20. David Britnell - October 6, 2022 2:16 pm

    Thanks for sharing!

  21. sjhl7 - October 6, 2022 2:27 pm

    One of my favorite places in the world. Oh, by the way, my grandson is a student at the “art-school” there too!

  22. Sean of the South: Savannah - carsalad - October 6, 2022 2:40 pm

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

  23. Richard Owen - October 6, 2022 2:55 pm

    Visited Savannah only once and thought it was okay. But your recent musings on Apalach sparked some great memories!

  24. Debbie - October 6, 2022 3:08 pm

    Reading your daily columns are the highlight of my day. your words make me feel like I am sitting next to you experiencing everything.
    “…a lot like dying from a drowning accident in a brewery” – definitely adding that nugget to my lexicon!

  25. Carol - October 6, 2022 4:40 pm

    Thank you for the Savannah Visit…

  26. Lindsay - October 6, 2022 4:42 pm

    Have you seen the Savannah Bananas baseball team?

  27. pattymack43 - October 6, 2022 4:54 pm

    Long live Savannah!! Blessings!

  28. April McGough - October 6, 2022 4:54 pm

    My honeymoon from many years ago was in Savannah. I love it, too, and enjoyed your story. I am glad Marigold got to share your experience!

  29. Kit - October 6, 2022 5:05 pm

    Savannah is my home, and it’s where I had my first writing gig too, at the Savannah Morning News back when Archie Whitfield and Tom Coffey were the stars. It’s the best place on Earth apart from Sewanee, Tennessee and St. Teresa, Florida. Glad you like it there too.

  30. Suellen - October 6, 2022 5:24 pm

    I beg to differ. My husband has to be the biggest baseball idiot. Lives and breathes the New York Mets. Through the season we are prone to say that we lost him to Mets World because he becomes oblivious to the world around him. He only makes it through winter by scouting the prospects and listening to podcasts hashing out what went wrong this year and planning the next season.

  31. Vic - October 6, 2022 8:19 pm

    Had a guy tell me once on Tybee Island, “ in Charleston they ask, who is your family?. In Atlanta they ask, what do you do?
    In Savannah they ask, what you drinking?”
    I live a couple hours away, but my son and family live there and I go often. Beautiful time of year to visit

  32. anndeck - October 6, 2022 8:41 pm

    I spent 20 of the happiest years of my life in Savannah — you nailed it!

  33. Cathy M - October 6, 2022 10:00 pm

    I liked “ an oasis from the turmoil”. I find myself longing for a quiet retreat every Friday. I love Birmingham like crazy but it’s much busier than when I moved here 50 yrs ago. Sounds like you and Marigold are having all sorts of fun in great places. Just tell me that you have not kicked Jaimie to the curb. 🙃

  34. Jo Ann - October 6, 2022 10:03 pm

    Born and raised in the C-port! I love it and I’m glad you do too. Cmon back anytime ❤

  35. Bkr - October 6, 2022 11:03 pm

    I know I say it all the time but I do love yoir stories. And im so excited -my daughter just got us tickets to see you in Birmingham oct 13. My husband passed away aug 20 and this will be the first fun thing ive wanted to do. This will be the 4th time ive been to one of your shows. The other times he was with me…. So if you see a crazy lady crying in the audience it might be me. Cant wait. Take care

  36. Pat Wallenborn - October 7, 2022 12:03 am

    I am in Savannah right now too. I spent much of my life here but live in North Carolina now. My heart and my home are in Savannah though. It gets under your skin and no place else is quite like it. I lived downtown on W. Gaston St. during the days of which “Midnight” was written. It was a much crazier and endearing place than in the book.

  37. Mike+Bone - October 7, 2022 1:40 am

    Savannah appreciates the arts………and the artists.

  38. Steve Winfield (lifer) - October 7, 2022 2:22 am

    I worked there for a week about 30 years ago. Always wanted to go back. Out walking one night stumbled into a band playing a private party.
    Can’t remember their name but they were the original band that played “Build Me Up Buttercup”. My co-worker & I stood outside the window for an hour at least. Had just had a $50 meal on the company along with a few cocktails so seeing this band was the finishing touch to a perfect evening.
    I’d really love to go back one day but probably never will.

  39. Steve Winfield (lifer) - October 7, 2022 2:23 am

    ☹️ I don’t see my comment.

    • Mark M Wright - October 9, 2022 4:14 pm

      Clary’s Cafe Abercorn & Jones one block south of the Cathedral of St John the Baptist caters to dogs & puts up with their people too. Expect your dog to be greeted with a bone shaped treat upon arrival
      My Uncle Earl Combs #1 played center field for NY Yankees and coached them too

  40. Barbara F - October 9, 2022 12:40 am

    Loved the Sand Gnats and the 7th inning food discounts.

  41. Kevin West - October 10, 2022 2:59 am

    We live here in Shawnee GA just north of Savannah about 30 miles.I used to do K-9 on disasters in the Midwest for 20yrs I totally know how u feel when business won’t allow a service animal yes a SERVICE Animal in to the business.I would love to have those folks in our shoes and just see what these animals do for US And THEM.Some Day they will SEE THE LIGHT I PRAY.IM ON YOUR SIDE ANY DAY ANY NIGHT ANY TIME.Be who u are and don’t let some business SEE For u and Marigold.

  42. keith giles - October 12, 2022 10:00 am

    Great article sir. I’ve been in the savannah area most of my life and you encapsulated savannah perfectly. Keep up the good work and come back and see us again.


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