You were my childhood obsession. This began in earnest the week after my father’s funeral. My friend brought me a stack of your comics he’d gotten at a flea market for a few bucks.

Dear Superman,

I awoke way too early this morning. It was still dark. This morning, I was missing my late bloodhound.

Last year around this time, she was still alive, and she would sit beside me while I fiddled with the coffee pot. But she’s not here. Pancreatitis took her.

I’ll never forget it, last year we checked her into the pet hospital, they put her in one of those cones. They locked her in a cage. They shoved needles in her.

I was able to wedge my hand through the kennel door to pet her nose. It was the last time I ever saw her.

My mother always told me, “Don’t just tell someone you love them, write it down for them, then they can remember it always.”

Too bad dogs can’t read.

But then, Mama was full of country wisdom. I think she was a little like your Mama, Clark.

She’s the one who told me: “A bumblebee is faster than a John Deere.”

And: “Never judge a family tree by the nuts falling off it.”

And: “If you ever start to think you’re somebody, try telling a house cat what to do.”

Anyway, the reason I am writing you is because yesterday afternoon I opened the mailbox to find several bills, junk mail, real estate advertisements, and one manila envelope with no return address. Inside was an Action Comics comic book.

“Great Ceasar’s Ghost!” I thought to myself.

It took me back in time. I used to subscribe to Action Comics when I was a boy. I kept my subscription until I was 27 years old.

You were my childhood obsession. This began in earnest the week after my father’s funeral. My friend brought me a stack of your comics he’d gotten at a flea market for a few bucks.

There must’ve been a hundred of them. They dated back to June, 1938. God, the smell of those wonderful books. They were the greatest. You were not just a hero to me, you were an escape from my real life.

During that hellish year of grief, I read those comics a hundred times over. I knew every picture, every word-bubble, and I could get lost in the colors.

There’s one particular drawing I remember. You were swooping from the sky to save a dog from an explosion at a gas station. You were just in the nick of time.

And that’s what gets me about you, Clark—or do you prefer Superman? How does a man who can fly, who sees through walls, who can bench press a middle school, decide to help dogs? You didn’t have to do that.

You don’t HAVE to do a lot of things. You don’t have to dress in street clothes, or be so humble. You don’t have to act like a meek reporter, or wear eyeglasses, or work a nine-to-five job, or watch your cholesterol. You’re Superman.

You could be king of the universe, you could be rich, political, all-powerful, or you could appear on this season of The Voice and blow the competition away—literally, I mean you could use your heat vision.

But here you are, caring about dogs. What a guy.

I was 12 years old when I sent off for a subscription to Action Comics. I filled out a little postcard and sent my money via U.S. Postal Service. The cost was 9 bucks for 24 issues in the mail.

Batman didn’t do it for me. Spiderman was nothing special. But you. You were worth 9 bucks.

I can still remember one night, years before my father died, when my mother hosted a bunco tournament at our house. She’d outfitted the den with card tables and invited a hundred million church ladies over to eat finger food and play cards.

That night, my father and I stayed out of her way. We sat in his shed with a radio on his bench.

I remember this evening very clearly because it was a leap year, your birthday, February 29th. The local radio station played Superman serial shows back-to-back until midnight.

When it was all said and done, my father fuzzed my hair and said, “Old Superman was something, wasn’t he? All that power, and he always helps the little guy.”

Then he hugged me and said, “You always be sure to help the little guy, you hear me?”

I wish you could’ve met him. He liked you, too.

So right now I am reading a comic book, sent to me anonymously, sipping coffee, thinking about little jewels in life that have meant a lot to me. Like the way my dog loved me. And the memories of my father.

I just wanted to say that I’m grateful for you. People might not thank you enough for all the times you’ve saved the world.

You probably don’t get many letters from adults, but my mother told me that if I loved someone, I ought to write it down. And well, I guess that’s what this is.

Happy 81st birthday, Superman.

32 comments

  1. Rogene martin - February 28, 2019 7:20 am

    Superman comics . Good memories. Thanks for sharing both the memories and the,love of such a good companion. Back then Tip was my buddy, my four legged companion . I told him all my thoughts and oh he listened so patiently. Thanks for those memories too.

    Reply
  2. Karen - February 28, 2019 7:33 am

    My parents used to buy comic books for us to read in the back of our station wagon. Whenever we took a trip, they would flatten the entire back area of the car, and spread blankets and pillows. We would stretch out and read Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, Archie & Veronica, Little Richy, Little Lulu, and Baby Huey. There were six of us. Comic books were a treat. Drinking Cokes & eating candy was something special at our house, but mama would pack some Cokes and candy bars, and some grapes and sandwiches. We would get into fights and my dad would warn us that he had better not have to pull over.
    Superman was my favorite superhero, too.
    Thanks, Sean. 😊

    Reply
  3. Bernadette Wyckoff - February 28, 2019 8:27 am

    Thought I would just write this down…recently started following your writings and I love them and your memories. Looking forward to many more. This one made me think of my 2 older brothers. I am 72 and they have gone on before me but the days of us living our childhood with Superman will never be forgotten. I loved them too. Thanks for the memories ❤

    Reply
  4. Sandi in FL. - February 28, 2019 9:57 am

    I had a crush on Superman when I was in 4th grade. It lasted until 7th grade when I started liking a boy in 8th grade at school!

    Reply
  5. Marilyn - February 28, 2019 10:46 am

    Thank you for the positive words again this morning. A great start to the day! Keep on writing…

    Reply
  6. Gary - February 28, 2019 10:59 am

    I always liked Batman. He didn’t drive a ’64 Mustang but the Batmobile was the next best thing .

    Reply
  7. Champ837 - February 28, 2019 12:40 pm

    Now, that was a good story. Thank you Sean (See, I wrote it down.)

    Reply
  8. Brenda - February 28, 2019 12:40 pm

    Sean, I love you, and I am writing it down.

    Reply
  9. Nancy Wright - February 28, 2019 12:48 pm

    Thanks Sean. Old dogs, comic books and good memories are the best way to start a day!

    Reply
  10. Joretta parker - February 28, 2019 12:53 pm

    Another sweet story. Brings back so many sweet memories. Thank you Sean.

    Reply
  11. Patricia Pope - February 28, 2019 1:45 pm

    I loved Superman too! Thanks for the memories Sean💖

    Reply
  12. Jess in Athens, GA - February 28, 2019 2:21 pm

    Sean, whenever you mention your bloodhound I think of my dog Bailey. No, Bailey wasn’t a bloodhound, I don’t know for sure exactly what she was. Thelma Lou was your special dog and Bailey was my once-in-a-lifetime dog. She’s been gone for about four years now, but she’s never far from my mind.

    Bailey was 95 percent white and 5 percent black spots and black patches of fur. She had a nub where her tail should have been. She was so lovable and sweet. I loved her soooo much. She could run like the wind, and I used to play tag with her in the backyard. I never could get close enough to tag her and she loved that fact. Show-off!!!!

    Cancer was the cause of me asking the vet to put her down. That was an emotionally painful process, but fortunately Bailey didn’t feel any pain as her life ebbed away from the shots that were administered. The first shot relaxed her and my wife and I spent some few minutes with Bailey telling her how much we loved her. Then I asked the technician to administer the second shot. Once the solution entered her bloodstream she drifted away almost instantly….and it was over.

    I wrote words to and about Bailey for several years because I missed her so much. A couple of years ago my sweet wife got me a replacement pal I named Belle. She’s such a sweet dog. I love her so much, but like you are about memories of Superman, I still have my memories of Bailey even though I love Belle soooo much.

    Thanks for all that you do to us readers. You’re really special, Sean. Have a great day.

    Reply
  13. Karen Irby - February 28, 2019 2:39 pm

    I love you, too, Sean! And I thank God for old dogs and cats that are no longer with us, and for those that are, too!

    Reply
  14. Edna B. - February 28, 2019 2:41 pm

    My brother and I loved Superman too. Thanks for the beautiful memories. I hope your day is awesome, Sean. Hugs, Edna B.

    Reply
  15. Carolyn Allen - February 28, 2019 2:45 pm

    Sean, this one is one of your best. I think it’s because you brought back one of my favorite
    memories….you writing about Superwoman….
    Ellie Mae. Sure miss her.

    Reply
  16. Laurie Ulrich - February 28, 2019 3:21 pm

    “Little jewels in life that have meant a lot to me”–that’s what I LOVE about your writing: it’s full of those jewels every day, regardless of the main subject. I read scripture, devotional writings of the apologists and Sean Deitrich every day; sometimes you speak to me more meaningfully than anything else. Thank you~

    Reply
    • Kelly Ray - February 28, 2019 4:38 pm

      Ditto

      Reply
  17. Clark Hining - February 28, 2019 3:39 pm

    Superman was always my favorite too. But that’s to be expected from a boy named Clark. My last name, Hining, has been hard for people to pronounce correctly so I always told people it’s like “shining” without the “s”. And the S was on my chest. Ha!

    Reply
  18. Phillip Saunders. - February 28, 2019 4:02 pm

    Faster than an old rusty pickup, more powerful than a 16 gig laptop, able to leap tall dogpen fences in a single bound. “Look! Up on the stage – it’s Willie, it’s Hank’s ghost; no, it’s SuperSean!” Yes, SuperSean. who came to earth with talents and abilities far beyond his own expectations. SuperSean, who can bend words into complete sentences in his own feeble brain, change the course of hearts and minds with one stroke of the keyboard. And who, disguised as a mild-mannered redneck, entertains thousands with only a guitar, a song, and a country story.

    Reply
    • Judy - February 28, 2019 7:25 pm

      That is so good, Phillip!

      Reply
    • Sandi in FL. - February 28, 2019 11:15 pm

      Phillip, what a heartwarming, true comment that makes the reader grin!

      Reply
    • Janet Mary Lee - March 1, 2019 8:36 pm

      LOL, Phillip!! So good and right on!! And Sean, thank you for my Superman memories…I loved his dog!!! And memories of my son flying around the house in his Superman P.J.s!!! Love you Sean!!!!

      Reply
  19. Gloria Knight - February 28, 2019 7:01 pm

    I’m quite a bit older than you but many of your stories take me right back to childhood & teenage years. I used to trade comics with my cousins. It was always fun to buy a new one and smell the ink on those pages as I read.

    Reply
  20. Ann M Syfert - February 28, 2019 8:58 pm

    Phillip Saunders, I absolutely love what you wrote, too. Great job!!! And Sean, I second everything that Phillip wrote. All my love to you, Jamie and Ellie Mae.

    Reply
  21. Barbara - February 28, 2019 11:15 pm

    Only Phillip’s SuperSean could say so much just to wish Superman happy birthday.
    But that is what love dose.

    Reply
  22. Linda Moon - March 1, 2019 12:34 am

    Love to ALL the fathers in my family who have gone before the rest of us. Love to yours, too, Sean!

    Reply
  23. Debby Haddock - March 1, 2019 2:28 am

    I am a 65-year old female who has been in love with Superman my whole life. I drive a “Superman blue” Mustang, with a Superman license plate on the front. My husband understands.

    Reply
  24. Debbie Britt - March 1, 2019 3:21 am

    I didn’t know Superman’s birthday was February 29th….. that is soooo fitting because another SuperMan is 71 today! My husband is a leap year boy too and he is the Super guy in my life! So Happy 71st and 81st to two Super guys!

    Reply
  25. Shelton A. - March 1, 2019 3:53 am

    Happy Birthday to the Man of Steel. May he always be there for you to save a dog just in the nick of time.

    Reply
  26. Jack Darnell - March 1, 2019 4:02 am

    Thanks dude. I didn’t know Superman was a year older than I am. I tried flying today, I still can’t leap tall buildings in one leap. But I will keep trying. We do have a son who collected comics of super heroes for years. He is now 62 yrs old.

    Reply
  27. Jack Darnell - March 1, 2019 4:11 am

    PS I think he quit collecting last year. 😉

    Reply
  28. johnallenberry - March 1, 2019 7:32 pm

    As a long time fan of the comis, you just made me cry like a baby. Thankully, not like superbaby, as I’d have flooded the house. Gotta love Superman. I particularly respect the dog thing.

    Reply

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