Christmas comes earlier each year. It wasn’t but a few weeks ago that children in pirate costumes were at my front door, panhandling for candy. Now it’s Christmas lights in November.

It’s eight days until Thanksgiving. The neighbor’s house is buzzing. There are vehicles lining the street. Minivans, trucks, SUV’s, Fords, Kias.

My neighbor’s family is in town to celebrate an early holiday. His grandchildren just arrived from Georgia. They’re playing in the front yard. I overhear them screaming, “TAG! YOU’RE IT!”








Just yesterday, a cantankerous elderly man up the street asked if I would help hang his Christmas lights. I reminded him that it’s too early. He insisted. So, I pointed out that I’ve had two back-surgeries, one tonsillectomy, and I’m Southern Baptist.

He is Pentecostal and doesn’t believe in tonsillectomies.

It took three hours on a ladder to hang those god-forsaken lights. He stood below and preached my ear off for the entire time.

When we were through, I was sweating. He opened a garage refrigerator and asked if I wanted an ice-cold chocolate milk.

“That depends,” I said. “Is it manufactured by the Anheuser Busch Company?”

Some Pentecostals can’t take a joke.

“Chocolate milk will be fine,” I remarked.

Christmas comes earlier each year. It wasn’t but a few weeks ago that children in pirate costumes were at my front door, panhandling for candy. Now it’s Christmas lights in November.

And if you ask me, the holidays can’t get here quick enough.

My wife has already started cooking to get a jumpstart on Thanksgiving. She’s practicing. Our little home is alive with aroma. It smells like cornbread dressing, allspice, and sweet potato pie.

There are candied pecans on the counter—fresh from the baking sheet. My wife will brain any man who ventures near them. This I know from the trial-and-error approach.

A ham is in the oven. And a poundcake is in the immediate vicinity. I sampled both without permission this morning and got neutered with a melon baller.

She also made cheese-straws, lemon squares, chocolate chip cookies, peanut brittle, and peppermint bark.

And before bed tonight, she will boil a bushel of peanuts. She will place them on the stove before we turn the lights out.

Her boil-pot is the size of a Lincoln Continental. I love her so much it makes my eyes blur.

The truth is, I used to hate holidays. They made me remember how lonely I was. They made me feel like an orphan. But I don’t feel that way anymore. Instead, I feel lucky. Lucky and grateful.

Anyway, you ought to see this rainy November sunset. The sky is dreary, the air is a crisp fifty-eight, and I can see twinkling lights in the distance, belonging to a Pentecostal.

My neighbor’s grandchildren are done playing with him. My neighbor’s adult son is my age, he walks off the porch. He hugs his dad. The two grown men embrace for awhile.

“I love you, Dad,” says the son.

“Love you, son.”

I won’t lie. Sometimes, I wish I had a father to hug for the holidays. But I don’t. So if you happen to have one, you ought to hug him so hard you hear his bones pop. And I mean soon.

If you don’t have a father.

Find me. I could always use a good hug.


  1. Nancy Rogers - November 15, 2018 10:40 am

    Watch out for Jamie and that melon baller. Ouch!

    • Rebecca Kinard - January 4, 2019 9:19 pm

      I have a Daddy that doesn’t want me I’m 58, you’d think at this point I wouldn’t care or want a hug, but I do. You hugged me a few months ago in Marianna when you did a show, first time i have every been able to come see you. I would come to every show ?

  2. Marilyn - November 15, 2018 10:43 am

    Here’s a great big hug for you Sean! Look forward to your written word every morning as it’s a great way to start off my day.

  3. Jan Bruck - November 15, 2018 10:58 am


  4. Kristine Wehrheim - November 15, 2018 11:03 am

    I wish I could hug my Dad he just died a few months ago so hugs to you!

  5. Joy - November 15, 2018 11:30 am

    I too wish I could hug my Dad….I am grateful to be receiving your writings again. Thank you for getting me back on the daily postings.

    What I am really thankful for is to have my wonderful husband home. He has been in the hospital or rehab since October 12th and yesterday (November 14th) he came home. He is on Hospice, but God willing he will get better and stronger each day. The hospital bed in in the living room and he will be able to watch the Alabama football game Saturday….so glad the game starts at 11 am. Roll Tide Roll!

    Thanks for this opportunity to share my feelings.

    • Beverly Wynn Bua - November 16, 2018 4:08 am

      Prayers for your hubby improving each day and of course a win for ‘BAMA?☮️?

  6. Tonya - November 15, 2018 11:31 am

    It’s my first holiday without my Dad here in the flesh.
    Always in my heart.
    Thankful for the great memories I have to treasure.

  7. sparkerlpc - November 15, 2018 11:53 am

    Hugs to you and Jamie, Sean! My parents are in Heaven, getting all the hugs they can stand. So I am hugging y’all tight, from over here in Texas! Happy Thanksgiving!

  8. Jean - November 15, 2018 12:03 pm

    Your wife cooking reminds me of my mother who would start cooking and hoarding stuff for the holidays. Good grief man, it must smell wonderful at your house! I wish I could give my dad and mom a hug but they are in heaven. If you were closer…you can bet you would get a hug from me. Ok…sending your bear hug over the net!!

  9. flkatmom - November 15, 2018 12:12 pm


  10. Connie - November 15, 2018 12:38 pm

    Sending hugs!

  11. Michele Toni Marshall - November 15, 2018 12:54 pm

    Sean, many hugs to you and Jamie. We southerners know how to do the Holidays and it sounds like Jamie is right on track! Food. Family and friends.. I wish you both a blessed Thanksgiving! Thankyou for always helping me start my day… SEAN of the South and Jesus Calling, a powerful duo for a good day?

  12. Janet Holliday - November 15, 2018 1:00 pm

    With a grateful heart to have your story to enjoy this morning …..consider yourself hugged by another follower of your writings! Blessigs n a Happy Thanksgiving to you n your family! SC

  13. Connie Havard Ryland - November 15, 2018 1:39 pm

    Sending hugs and love. I don’t have anyone but my kids to hugs and I do that as often as I can. And I hug my mom, very gently, because she is so very fragile, every time I see her. Always be thankful. No matter how little one has, someone else may have less.

  14. Jack Darnell - November 15, 2018 1:54 pm

    YOU ARE IT! Now drink your milk!
    I enjoyed the visit, I will check back in tomorrow to see if your back is still hurting! LOL

  15. Dottie doherty - November 15, 2018 2:17 pm

    Hi Sean. I might not be a dad but since I was mom and dad to my kids I’m sending you one great big hug and lots of holiday love. Dottie ( Pete Wong’s mom)

  16. Roxanne - November 15, 2018 2:28 pm

    Thankful. Blessed.

  17. Douglas Russell - November 15, 2018 2:29 pm

    Hugs to you today. My dad passed away ten years ago today. So I know how much I’d love to give him a big old hug. Thanks for your writing. You are a blessing to me and so many others!

  18. Courtney Roberts - November 15, 2018 3:21 pm

    your words make me homesick and grateful at the same time. i’m from the panhandle and if i were there now i would hug the stuffing outta my Pop (and mom)—Happy Thanksgiving—and get those lights up!

  19. Linda Chapman - November 15, 2018 3:29 pm

    I love you, Sean. Hugs from Texas!

  20. Edna B. - November 15, 2018 3:51 pm

    Hugs are soooo wonderful! Pogo and I are sending you a big one! You have an awesome day Sean. Hugs, Edna B.

  21. Marinan Brewer - November 15, 2018 3:57 pm

    come for after Thanksgiving Breakfast Friday at 8:30 AM— You will get more than a few HUGS.

  22. Leslie - November 15, 2018 4:10 pm

    My Daddy died 2 days before Christmas last year. I would absolutely love to be able hug him again! Thank you for sharing your life with us!

  23. Shelton Armour - November 15, 2018 4:12 pm

    Wish I could hug my dad, too, Sean. Christmas comes too early for me. There ought to be a law that doesn’t let anyone put up lights or a tree and the stores can’t put up ‘holiday sale’ signs or put up decorations-same for car commercials! I love Christmas, just not so soon.

  24. Kathy Wolfe - November 15, 2018 4:23 pm


  25. Barbara N - November 15, 2018 4:38 pm

    Sean, we are All Hugging You EVERY DAY for your writings that remind us of each other and a more peaceful time. It brings us Home to God, Love, Care, and Concern for Each Other. THANK YOU! ??

  26. Cheryl Clem - November 15, 2018 4:43 pm

    Janie sounds just like me. I’ve got 2 cakes plus 2 pies in the freezer. Turkey stock from a small Turkey I baked last week
    Stock is for gravy. Homemade cranberry sauce and collard greens with smoked hog jowls
    I’m well on my way to being done with my part. All 3 children are coming home with their families for Thanksgiving. We had to rent the annex st our churh for the day. Grandpa and I are looking forward to our children coming home.
    Here’s a Pentecostal hug for you ((((((((((((HUG))))))))))

  27. LeAnne Martin - November 15, 2018 5:54 pm

    Shawn, this has put me in the Thanksgiving mood. I would love a tiny slice of pound cake made by the Pound Cake Lady or a bite of her peppermint bark, but I’ll have to settle with what I can get here. I’m thankful for you and your writing. Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

  28. Liz Watkins - November 15, 2018 9:30 pm

    I just love your writings!!!
    Hug hug hug hug hug hug hug hug

  29. Janet Mary Lee - November 15, 2018 9:39 pm

    Biggest (HUG) ever to you and yours!! I have been without parents a long time.I feel Blessed when I can share the holidays with loved ones! And eats lots too!! 😉 Kiss your pups for me!! Mine decided pork rinds are the greatest Thanksgiving treat ever- silly dog!! 🙂

  30. Norma Norton - November 15, 2018 11:00 pm

    Sean- I know how you feel. My father passed away when I was only three. There was always the spot where I knew was missing something-a Dad

  31. Donna - November 15, 2018 11:56 pm

    I don’t have a daddy. Never saw him. Parents Divorced when I was a baby. Was always told he just didn’t love me. I found him after he’d passed. They told me he always carried a picture of a little girl in his wallet. Her name was Donna Jean. His daughter. That was me. I was nearly 60 years old when I heard that, but I cried like a baby. Wish I was close to you. I could definitely use that hug. So, {{{hugs}}}, best I can do online!

  32. Michael Hawke - November 16, 2018 3:12 am

    I miss my Dad. Thank you.

  33. Sandi in FL. - November 16, 2018 4:31 am

    Hi Sean, hugs from south Florida, and best wishes for a blessed Thanksgiving.

    • Cathy Moss - November 16, 2018 2:24 pm

      I wonder if you know how many
      Lives you are touching. This Thanksgiving I am grateful for too many things to list . One of those things is being introduced to you. Don’t stop what you are doing. You are making a difference in so many lives and the world just needs a little more Sean. Your dad would be proud. Love and blessings, a grateful grandmother❤️??

  34. Patricia Gibson - November 17, 2018 12:28 am

    Happy Thanksgiving, Sean!!!

  35. Sandra Smith - November 19, 2018 5:45 am

    My Dad always added a very enthusiastic “Mmmmmmwuh” with his hugs….I miss em…..anyway…
    ((((((MummmmmmmWuh))))) !!! ❤

  36. Cindy Godwin - January 4, 2019 1:59 pm

    Not anyone’s dad, but I would be happy to give you that hug!

  37. Laura Leeds - January 4, 2019 2:19 pm

    This reminds me of my son-in-law so much. He grew up moving from relative to relative. Never much of a home. He started dating my daughter and stayed. He loved the family closeness he needed. Those kids married after graduation he joined the USMC, she the USN. He was in the Corps for 12 years, she injured her knee. They have been married 18 years 2 beautiful children. And his most special time of the year is Christmas. Lights, yard decorations, but his most precious prize is The Christmas Village he adds to every year. And the wife could be my daughter down to the melon ball maker no joke. 5′ tall and tough. Yes, this story is about my son-in-law and family.

  38. G. Mitchell - January 4, 2019 5:00 pm

    Hugs to you and yours for the happiest of Holidays and blessings for a fantastic 2019. Sean, if I had an Annheiser Busch chocolate milk on me, it’d be all yours. ;-D


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