The Silentest Of Nights

Winter. The year is 1949. The war has been over for a while, but it’s still fresh on everyone’s minds. Which is why people are having babies like crazy. War does that to people.

This new generation of babies will be known as the Baby Boomers, and each day they are being born by the truckload. These children will grow up one day and change the world by inventing revolutionary things such as DNA fingerprinting, the World Wide Web, the portable dialysis machine, and Donny Osmond.

But not all babies are lucky enough to be born into good lives. By which I mean that some babies have fathers who don’t want them. One woman—I will call her Macy—was pregnant with a baby like that.

So Macy’s mother did what lots of small-town mothers did in those days, she sent Macy away. Macy was supposed to go live with her aunt in Illinois, but it didn’t work out. So Macy tried Kansas City. That didn’t work either. And this brings us to the beginning of our story.

Macy was alone. And penniless. Without a friend in the world. If we were to describe her situation with the blunt terms that my grandfather might have used: “Macy didn’t have a pot to [ugly word] in, or a [ugly word] window to throw it out of.”

She used her last few bucks to buy a bus ticket to Omaha, because she believed that this was a place where she could make a better life. Maybe nobody would ask questions about illegitimate babies in Omaha. Maybe nobody would bat an eye if she told them she was a widow.

So her bus was purring along when some very crummy weather hit. The weather went from snowstorm to deathstorm in only a few hours. History would later remember this weather system as one of the century’s worst blizzards to hit the Plains.

The bus rolled through several miles of snow until the horizon became totally invisible. The driver finally pulled over at a filling station that had a parking lot filled with cars taking shelter.

Macy stayed on the bus to wait it out. But the weather kept getting worse. And worse. It was like Armageddon only without the fanfare.

You want to talk about scared? Macy was scared half to death. And you know what they say; you don’t want to get scared half to death twice.

Some of the other passengers were freaking out, too. Snow started to pile up around the windows and blocked out the sunlight. The snow just kept coming, it was not looking hopeful. And to quote Shakespeare: They were basically screwed.

Things couldn’t have been much worse for Macy. So let’s review before I tell you the rest of the story:

—Middle of nowhere.
—Donny Osmond.

I just wanted to make sure you were still with me.

Macy was sitting in the back seat when something happened. The floorboards beneath her were suddenly drenched in a splash of water. And I mean lots of fluid. She looked at her dress. It was soaked.

The kid in the seat ahead of her was a young man who saw what was happening. He sprang into action.

“It’s coming!” said Macy.

This boy was a college student, attending school to become an English major, of all things. But in the heat of the moment, boys do what they have to do. He told Macy a lie. He said he was studying to become a doctor, just to put her at ease. He said he would deliver this baby.

“Are you sure you know what you’re doing?” Macy asked.

“Relax!” he said. “I’ve delivered hundreds of babies!”

Another lie.

A crowd gathered around her. An old woman held Macy’s hand. A man fanned her with a newspaper. The driver prayed the Rosary. And there, on a snow-beaten prairie, a young English major in steel-rimmed glasses helped bring a baby boy into the world.

And I’ll bet it was magic. Just think about what it must have been like for an ordinary passenger on this bus.

You’re stranded. Hungry. Thirsty. The wind is howling around you. The bus lights are dim. People are smoking cigarettes. And in the back seat, a woman is screaming at the top of her lungs, pouring sweat, veins popping in her forehead.

Then, her shouting stops. And you hear a little high-pitched voice crying. And people are clapping. You see few men shaking hands and passing around a flask. Someone is even playing a harmonica. Everyone is hugging.

So you go in for a better look. You see a lot of blood and guts. It looks like a hog killing just happened. And you see a young college boy, holding a baby. Proudly.

And everyone is taking turns rocking the child. Blue-collars, white-collars, red and yellow, black and white. And everyone is so happy. Because no matter what history says about the horrific storm outside, beautiful things do happen in ugly places.

And when you are old and feeble, and you find yourself in a nursing home, you will remember this tale. And one day, a redheaded writer will stop by to visit your next-door neighbor. Even though he’s not there to talk to you, you will grab his arm and say, “I have a story for you, young man.

So you’ll tell it. You’ll tell it all. And when you finish, you’ll be smiling. And so will the young man. And the young writer will say to this old woman, “That was a pretty good story.”

To which this woman will wink and say, “If you thought that was good, you oughta hear the one about Bethlehem.”


  1. Sharon Lawson - December 22, 2019 7:09 am

    You out did yourself this time!!! Wonderful wonderful story!!! Thank you!!

  2. Leigh Amiot - December 22, 2019 11:19 am

    Everyone has a good story to tell.
    The thing is, there are a shortage of people to listen.
    Sean blesses people by listening.

  3. Donna - December 22, 2019 11:24 am

    One of your very best Sean! Absolutely beautiful. Merry Christmas & lots of love ❤🎄✌💚

  4. Steve - December 22, 2019 11:40 am

    It worked out for Macy. Yesterday I attended a funeral. My first cousin died in an auto accident. He was 58. As I approached the widow, I gently held her face and told her the only thing I truly believed in my heart. “ Some how, some way….it will all work out”. I repeated that sentence. In that moment of grief, she gave a resigned expression. She knew it was true. It would take time, but just like Macy in your story, it will all work out. We hugged. I left her with “God still loves you, we may not understand it, but there’s a plan for you, and this is just part of it”. Another embrace. A very long one.

  5. Gail - December 22, 2019 11:45 am

    Thank you for insightful stories. You bless us.

  6. Jean - December 22, 2019 12:38 pm


  7. Kay - December 22, 2019 1:06 pm

    A precious story. Thank you

  8. Phil S. - December 22, 2019 1:20 pm

    I’m speechless. All I can utter is, “WOW!”

  9. Marge - December 22, 2019 2:04 pm


  10. Joanne Reilly - December 22, 2019 2:08 pm

    Sean, Double WOW!!! You have a gift!! Thank you for sharing it with us. Someday I hope to come to one of your shows and hear you in person.
    Amen 🙏🏻

  11. Jeff Howard - December 22, 2019 2:13 pm

    One of your best ! Keep writing, a lot of us truly enjoy your stories, they are a glimpse of your heart. Merry Christmas to you, and yours.

  12. Chuck Gerlach - December 22, 2019 3:45 pm

    Perfect. Absolutely perfect. Thank you. You most certainly are gifted with the ability to tell a great story. Just loved this one!!! (And what happened in Bethlehem ALMOST pales in comparison to what happened on The Cross.

    Merry Christmas to all who may read this. Luke 2:11 says “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”

    Amen! Amen! and Amen !!!

  13. Norman Purdue - December 22, 2019 4:02 pm

    Loved the story! MERRY CHRISTMAS!

  14. sparkerlpc - December 22, 2019 4:59 pm

    I love this one, Sean! God has truly blessed you with a talent for telling stories that reach the heart. You remind us who we are, or at least who we could be. Thank you. And merry Christmas!

  15. Linda Moon - December 22, 2019 5:18 pm

    I am a Baby Boomer. I never changed the world, though, and don’t expect to anytime soon. I’ve been with you to the end today. And I’m still with you thinking about yesterday’s Wonderful Story of Life. Keep telling the tales and writing the stories, Sean Dietrich! They will remain with me until I’m old and feeble. And I’ll be waiting for your tale of Bethlehem, too!!

  16. Betty F. - December 22, 2019 5:45 pm

    Loved it, but have to know if you found out what happened to Macy, to her son, to the young man majoring in English.

  17. Mary M Berryman - December 22, 2019 5:48 pm

    A beautiful story, Sean!

  18. fromthetexascoast - December 22, 2019 6:00 pm


  19. Shelton A. - December 22, 2019 6:31 pm

    All I got is Amen, also. God bless them.

  20. MermaidGrammy - December 22, 2019 7:39 pm

    So who told you the story? Macy? Boy in glasses? Did he marry Macy? Bus driver? Can’t wait for the next installment. Thanks for The Christmas Story

  21. Edna Barron - December 22, 2019 7:59 pm

    A beautiful story. Thank you. You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

  22. Mary T. - December 22, 2019 8:18 pm

    I am a true baby boomer. My father was in California waiting for his ship which had been hit in the Battle for Okinawa, to be repaired. My mother had joined him there. The war ended on August 15, 1945. I was born on May 11, 1946. Do the math! I used to embarrass my prim and proper mother by saying that there must have been a major party that night.

    I loved this beautiful story. Merry Christmas to all.

  23. Jones - December 22, 2019 9:19 pm


  24. Lynda Gayle Knight - December 22, 2019 11:32 pm

    What an intriguing read! Scored A+ again. Merry, Merry Christmas ❣️

  25. Nancy Wright - December 23, 2019 12:48 am

    That’s a good one, Sean! Merry Christmas!

  26. Rachel Siviter - December 23, 2019 2:49 am

    You must be southern — you tell a mighty fine story! Thank you.

  27. Kat - December 23, 2019 3:23 am

    Wonderful story! But I wonder how the mother felt throughout. Someone should have taken her in and cared for her until about six weeks after the baby was born. .k

  28. aucat76 - December 23, 2019 2:43 pm

    You bring much joy to the world! Merry Christmas❤️

  29. that's jack - December 23, 2019 3:42 pm

    Okay dude you done done it again. I am from that era. I know one daddy who sent his daughter off to ‘have the baby’. It ain;t as bad as your ‘old lady’s’ story and it ain’t a pretty story but she is still my friend today. The family never got to see the baby, she didn’t either. But I know the time and I know the ‘old lady’. But I like yours and her stories’ even better……., that is for sure. yeah I know that makes no sense…..BUT….
    Sherry & jack

  30. Barb - December 23, 2019 6:44 pm

    Bless you again for another wonderful story

  31. Debra Loftin - December 24, 2019 4:32 pm

    Such a beautiful story ❤️, but tell me,did Macy make it?

  32. Pamela - December 26, 2019 3:34 am

    It’s Christmas day in 2019, and this story pleasantly drew me in. What a poignant journey you took each of us on! All I can say is “ Thank you for this blessed Christmas gift.”


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