My wife is asleep on my shoulder. She is out like a light. This is a sweet moment between husband and wife.

Wait a second. Is she drooling? If she is, so help me, I will gag.

Yes. I can clearly see saliva on my shirt. My gag reflex kicks in.

But I decide not to wake her because she is sleeping too soundly. And because I enjoy watching her sleep.

Long ago, before her, I dated girls who never seemed to like me. One girl in particular forced me to attend a fancy New Year’s Eve party at her aunt’s house. She told me to wear a sport coat. When I showed up, she chewed me out.

“What’re you wearing?” she shouted. “You didn’t wear a tie! I told you to dress up.”

“You told me to wear a sport coat.”

“But where’s your tie?”

“You just said ‘Wear a sport coat.’ So I bought this at a thrift store.”

“I can’t believe you didn’t wear a tie. You’re gonna have to borrow one from my uncle.”

“This is genuine Scottish tweed.”

“How could you do this to me?”

“This jacket smells funny.”

“Why do you dress like a slob?”

“I think whoever wore this jacket before me must’ve died in it.”

She fitted me with a necktie. Before her aunt served salad, I was already in my truck on the way home. Her uncle’s necktie died a slow death on I-10.

But the woman who I married actually likes me.

We went to Charleston for our honeymoon. We had a famous time in South Carolina. Charleston is one of the most historic cities in the world—second only to Rome. On every corner you see American history.

You can visit the place where George Washington slept, or where Thomas Jefferson hung out, or where Garth Brooks once ate cheese danishes for breakfast.

On our first night in town, we were about to eat at a fancy restaurant. I changed into dress clothes in our hotel bathroom. When my wife saw what I was wearing she giggled.

“Why’re you wearing a necktie?” she said.

“I thought you might want me to.”

“You look weird in it. Take it off before you suffocate.”

And I knew we were made for each other.

After dinner we were walking Broad Street, talking in the happy way that newlyweds do. I don’t know if I’ve ever been in a better mood.

We bought a handmade basket from an old woman who was weaving them out of sweetgrass. Her baskets cost a small fortune.

Then, a young man approached us and asked for spare change. I told him I had no money. But my wife reached into her pocketbook and gave him a twenty.

“Why’d you do that?” I asked her.

“Because he looked hungry.”

“What if he just blows it on liquor?”

“What if he buys a sandwich?”

They don’t make them any better than my wife.

After the honeymoon trip, we made a long drive back to Florida. On our way home, she fell asleep in the seat beside me. She drooled. I dabbed her sticky chin with a handkerchief and tried not to gag.

And I kept watching her sleep, covered in the moonlight shining through my windshield.

It was hard to keep my eyes on the highway and watch her at the same time. This woman might have been the first person who ever truly saw me. A man can go his whole life without being seen.

All my life I felt overlooked. I was the kid who stood in a line, waiting to be chosen for the backyard football team.

The team captain would choose his team and you would wait, holding your breath. Your entire boyhood reputation rested on this moment.

The captain chose Ben first. Then Andy. Then Nelson.

Nelson? The human stink bomb? Instead of me? That hurt.

And you reminded yourself, “Hey, it’s alright, being chosen fourth or fifth ain’t bad.”

Next, the captain chose Chad, Randy, Billy, Nick, Tom, Michael, and Harrison.

Pretty soon, you were left standing alone with Charles Walborski, who you were pretty sure ate his own boogers. The team captains didn’t want you or him. So you and Charles went home.

Your mother asked about this at the supper table. You were too embarrassed to talk about it. You’ve gone through life feeling a little like that.

But then came her.

She doesn’t just like you. She chose you for her team. That’s what I was thinking about when leaving Charleston. That’s what I’m thinking about now.

About this woman, her head on my shoulder. I’m thinking about how she has never—not even once—asked me to wear a necktie.

I’m thinking about the sweetgrass basket on our coffee table. I’m thinking about going back to Charleston this year for a visit. I’m thinking about how if anyone, for any reason, ever appointed me as team captain, I would choose Charles Walborski first.

And I’m thinking about how I am going to gag.

Because this woman is drooling on me.

22 comments

  1. Meredith Smith - June 13, 2019 6:54 am

    You are a great husband.

    Reply
  2. Janet Mary Lee - June 13, 2019 7:20 am

    She is probably less drooly than the dogs…it’s okay!! I love how you both love, need, listen and appreciate each other! Never ever stop!! You are both blessed! And you are an exceptional man..with an exceptional wife!!!

    Reply
  3. Judge Jimmy Pool - June 13, 2019 11:24 am

    I reckon she loves you! Isn’t “reckon” a good word?

    Reply
    • Caroline Conner - July 15, 2019 4:40 am

      I certainly think so. Reckon I’m glad to know someone else thinks so.

      Reply
  4. Jan Fincher - June 13, 2019 11:30 am

    Come to Charleston and do a show!

    Reply
  5. Connie Havard Ryland - June 13, 2019 12:31 pm

    I say this often, I know, but I love how you love Jamie and are so open and honest about sharing that. Y’all give me hope for the human race. Love and hugs.

    Reply
  6. Shelton A. - June 13, 2019 1:12 pm

    Think of her drool as heavenly dew…maybe you won’t gag.

    Reply
  7. Linda Moon - June 13, 2019 1:43 pm

    Liking one’s spouse is a very good thing. So is Charleston, Broad St., and sweetgrass baskets. And….feeding the hungry. That woman, your wife, can drool on you all she wants!

    Reply
  8. Edna B. - June 13, 2019 3:13 pm

    A little drool is a small price to pay for her kind of love. You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

    Reply
  9. DM - June 13, 2019 4:20 pm

    I’ll take drool over lyin and cheatin any day. Amen?

    Reply
  10. Deborah claypool - June 13, 2019 6:45 pm

    Very sweet.

    Reply
  11. Jess in Athens, GA - June 13, 2019 7:22 pm

    Sean, I didn’t think any female/girl/woman understood me quite like my chosen one does. We were meant to be together forever. It sure makes all the difference in the world when you’re married to your soul mate. I know that sounds corny, but it is so true. I can’t imagine being with any one other than my wife…she’s perfect for me and I love her sooooo much. I’m one of the luckiest men on the planet.

    Reply
  12. Jack Darnell - June 13, 2019 10:11 pm

    Mine chose me for her team 60 years ago, ok 62 years ago. I think she still likes me! I am sure jamie still likes you a little! If you gag she should smack you! 😉 just sayin’.
    Sherry & jack

    Reply
  13. Ann Marie Bouchet - June 14, 2019 5:14 pm

    You are a fruit loop and Jamie is a fortunate woman. Your love for her literally jumps off the page.

    Reply
  14. Ina - June 14, 2019 10:52 pm

    Love the story.

    Reply
  15. Joe Patterson - June 15, 2019 3:32 am

    You know she loves you I was never the last one chosen but I hated to see the pain in the kids who were chosen last and I will always fight for them just like you do that’s why we are here.

    Reply
  16. Ginger - June 16, 2019 1:55 pm

    There is not supposed to be lip-smacking when someone messes up, but you have to wonder what the “Where is your tie?” girl is thinking now. She is probably drooling because her kind speaks money, and now that you are a celeb she would like a taste of that; but too bad, love is kind, patient, sees the good in others, etc. Nothing like discovering true love.

    Reply
  17. Angie - June 21, 2019 11:16 pm

    You’re a lucky man, and she’s a lucky woman. I wish someone felt this way about me and me about them.

    Reply
  18. Marci Welker - July 5, 2019 6:46 pm

    Making me cry again.

    Reply
  19. Keloth Anne - July 14, 2019 9:57 am

    Oh so sweet!! It’s wonderful how you and Jamie love each other♥️♥️♥️♥️
    Thanks for making our world better and for sure “Miss Wear a necktie” truly missed out!!!!

    Reply
  20. Matilda Wille - July 14, 2019 12:06 pm

    All his life my husband felt overlooked. He was the skinny boy who got pushed around in school and shoved into lockers. He took up the guitar to cope and was an avid reader who knew odd facts about things. Others thought he was strange. I thought he was fascinating. He said he knew I was the one for him on our first date. I asked, “How did you know?” He said, “You hopped right into that long, 4 door, yellow, 1970’s Buick Electra with the white top and didn’t say, Is THIS your car?” Little did he know that I was thinking, “Oh, thank God he isn’t turning out to be just another jerk in a sports car.” Those men are a dime a dozen. But when you have the ability to see the often overlooked, you find the one of a kind man every heart dreams of. Thirty eight years and a little black Subaru later….he still fascinates me.

    Reply
  21. Debbie Johnson - July 14, 2019 4:01 pm

    Sweet.
    She sleeps deeply because she is in her most favorite place. The place she feels safe and loved. My husband of 41 years holds me every morning for 30 minutes before we start our day. It is without a doubt the best sleep I very have with my head on his shoulder and his arm around me. And he never complains about my drool or snores.

    Reply

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