Things I Love

There are too many things to name. You couldn’t even begin to make a complete list. You wouldn’t know where to start. The world is too big...

Andy Griffith. He would definitely be near the top of my list. I can’t think of many things better than Andy and Barney.

Next would be barbecue. In fact, it’s a toss up between Andy and barbecue.

Some of the best pulled pork I’ve ever had was at Tin Top Barbecue Restaurant, in Columbiana, Alabama. If you ever visit, tell them Sean sent you. They will look at you funny and say, “Who in the Sam Hill is Sean?”

Also, I love pictures of my friends. I recently had a picture taken with a buddy. When I saw the photo, I noticed how old I look. And it was a bittersweet feeling. It was a feeling that, perhaps, I need to cut back on carbs.

Laughter from a child. Especially a child who considers you to be their favorite non-parental adult. Like my niece, Lily.

Cowboy hats. I love them. As a child, I admired cowboys so much that I started collecting cattleman hats. My wife says I own WAY too many, and is threatening to have a neighborhood bonfire.

Good T-shirts. They’re hard to find. I don’t want slogans printed on them, or brand names. I just want a plain color, loose collar, and I need it to be soft. Maybe a few peanut butter stains on the chest.

Dogs who sleep all day. I love lazy dogs. In fact, you could say that I aspire to be one.

Typewriters, fresh newspapers, the sounds of lawnmowers in the distance, Hank Aaron, Shirley Jones singing “Goodnight My Someone,” John Wayne, and black-and-white photographs.

Garlic, cooking in a skillet. Homegrown heirloom tomatoes. Conecuh Quickfreeze sausage. The fuzzy storyboards from Sunday school class.

A good book. One that’s written by someone who isn’t trying to impress you with five-dollar words.

The color yellow.

Lamps with shades. I am serious about that. I cannot stand harsh overhead lighting. It makes me uneasy. I cannot think of a single moment in U.S. history where life has been enhanced by sterile overhead lighting.

If the Good Lord wanted us to have overhead lights, he would have given fluorescent bulbs to Charlton Heston on Mount Sinai.

Let’s see. I already said cowboy hats.

The Gulf of Mexico, which is not just the Gulf to me, it is home. I see the Gulf and my whole life comes back at once. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

It is here where I became me. It is here where I met the woman who is seated beside me right now. The same woman who is watching a movie on her laptop while I write. Who loved me enough to teach me the true meaning of putting the toilet seat down.

Flour. White. Mixed with lard, buttermilk, salt, and baking powder.

Jazz. The old kind. The same music played in the Southland before New Orleans stole Mardi Gras from Mobile.

Baseball. Freddie Freeman. Ronald Acuña Jr. Ozzie Albies. Mike Soroka. Get well, David Ortiz, I’m praying for you, so are millions of others.

Hank Senior. Seventy years ago on this exact night, a twenty-five-year-old Hank Williams debuted in the Ryman Auditorium. He sang, “Lovesick Blues,” and “Mind Your Own Business.” Admission was around twenty-five cents. He gave six encores.


Clean sheets, fresh from the clothesline. The smell of fabric softener, but not the kind that gives me a rash.

The JC Penney in Andalusia. The Circle J Western Store in Chumuckla. Priester’s Pecans. The Blueberry Festival.

The sound of a creek. Frogs at dusk. Baked beans. The feeling of warm potting soil in my hands. Did I already say cowboy hats?

A pair of jeans that’s been broken in after years of wear. Granddaddy’s fishing lures. William Lee Golden.

And that feeling when you meet someone you haven’t seen since childhood. You know the feeling. You start to think about how short life is.

As a child, you thought life was going to last forever. But at this age, childhood seems like a dream you had last night.

You’re realizing that you’re closer to the end of your own life than you’ve ever been. And tomorrow, you’ll be even closer.

And even though this thought is sad, for some reason it doesn’t feel that way. Instead, the idea overwhelms you with beauty, art, music, and poetry. It makes you want to write down every single thing you love about life.

So you try. But it’s hard to write these things without seeming corny.

Besides, there is too much to name. You couldn’t even begin to make a complete list. You wouldn’t know where to start. The world is too big, too magnificent, too wonderful, too bright, too whatever.

The one thing you do know, is that at the top of this list, somewhere between hardback hymnals, barbecue, soft T-shirts, old hats, and people who show kindness without prejudice, is love. Real love.

The kind that makes you grateful to be alive, even though living hurts. The kind that makes you grateful for good days, bad days, and every day between. For life. For family. For babies. For each other.

And of course, for Andy Griffith.


  1. Brian - June 12, 2019 7:39 am

    Sean, I love that you know that Conecuh Sausage was originally Conecuh Quickfreeze sausage. I’m from Evergreen and my dad was a butcher at the A&P, but he learned his craft when Mr. Sessions gave him a job at Conecuh Quickfreeze. I live in Germany now. Germans are pretty good at making sausages …. but there’s nothing like Conecuh “Quickfreeze” Sausage. Brian

  2. Nell Thomas - June 12, 2019 7:50 am

    Don’t get me to rattling on. I’m trying to resist. Just want to say I have many of these things on my list. One thing that really got my attention was bright lights. Thought I was the only one that they annoyed. Lamps with shades seem to provide a more relaxed atmosphere-don’t show every speck of dirt that makes you want to grap a rag and a bottle of antibacterial something.
    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Mary Ellen Hall - June 12, 2019 8:36 am


  4. Steve Bailey - June 12, 2019 10:49 am

    good stuff.

  5. Fred - June 12, 2019 11:12 am

    Sean, New Orleans did not steal Mardi Gras from Mobile. Mobile started a parade for New Years and later moved it to Mardi Gras day,

    Look it up.

  6. Meredith Smith - June 12, 2019 11:40 am

    I saw the peanut butter stains but what happened to your beloved peanuts? (Boiled I think?)

  7. kyra bowman - June 12, 2019 12:36 pm

    Love your love list. Would like to add thunderstorms (in Texas), watching birds queue up for the feeder and sitting on the porch swing in the early morning light with my first cup of tea.
    And I totally agree with your lamp comment. I have 4 lamps in my dining room and 5 in my living room!

  8. Keloth Anne - June 12, 2019 12:37 pm

    Wonderful stuff♥️♥️

  9. Joe Patterson - June 12, 2019 12:41 pm

    Well said thanks again 70 today I understand your feelings .As I get older I cherish every day and there are no bad days.

  10. Margo - June 12, 2019 12:41 pm

    Anyone who doesn’t love this man can meet me outside the schoolyard. I will be wearing a cowboy hat.

  11. Dianne - June 12, 2019 12:43 pm

    Your writing resonates with me. And although we now live in Indiana, my husband and I buy Conecuh sausage when we’re down south, and bring it home with us.

  12. GaryD - June 12, 2019 12:50 pm

    Fried field corn would be on my list. And yes, you are correct. New Orleans did copy Mardi Gras from Mobile.

  13. Shelton A. - June 12, 2019 1:19 pm

    Amen to Andy…and God and family/friends.

  14. Connie Havard Ryland - June 12, 2019 2:28 pm

    I just love this one. You have a lovely way with words. I’ve been to two funerals in the past week, from two different sides of my family. Seen good behavior and the kind that makes you cringe. But losing someone brings home the absolute wonderment of life. Love and hugs.

  15. aawgreen - June 12, 2019 2:50 pm

    When my grandson was in pre-school, the children had to name something they were thankful for. These objects of gratitude were written in neat teacher printing on construction paper and pinned up around the room. You can guess some of the predictable responses. My grandson’s parents saw his page: “Philip is thankful for yellow.” I see he was in good company, Sean.

  16. Ala Red Clay Girl - June 12, 2019 3:03 pm

    You listed many wonderful things to love but I would have to add “reading Sean of the South every day” on my list!

  17. Steve Winfield - June 12, 2019 3:10 pm

    Dogs. Pets in general but dogs 10:1. And naps. A sincere southern writer that I look forward to each morning
    Love you Sean. Keep it up friend. 🙂

  18. Shannon Moore - June 12, 2019 3:25 pm

    Fireflies, honeysuckles, jasmine, gardenia, walking barefoot in a freshly turned garden, a warm wind, deep cleansing breaths, the energy of a summer storm, vine picked tomato with a cold biscuit and maybe a green onion for lunch, the summer sky at night, bike riding, the smell of Home Depot and shoe stores…….I could go on and on. Simple pleasures are the best. Thanks for the reminder, Sean.

    • W. Gary Smith - June 12, 2019 3:53 pm

      Those all are good ones Shannon!

  19. Colleen C. - June 12, 2019 3:31 pm

    Thank you for including David Ortiz in your thoughts today Sean- I love baseball too; we lost Tony Gwynn way to soon, can’t lose Big Papi too.

  20. W. Gary Smith - June 12, 2019 3:49 pm

    Sean, I knew we had a lot in common but dang, we could be cousins. The one thing of a few that we do not have in common is cowboy hats. Never thought they looked good on me. In fact I am not much of a hat or cap person.
    My “Jamie” is Carol. She had been my “rock” for almost 50 years.
    One big thing I would have to add to my list is reading your writings. You also fit the description of a kind and loving person. Never change being Sean…
    BTW, I had a picture taken with you a couple of years ago with you and felt the same thing about myself (old) standing next to you.

  21. Joellynn Heaton - June 12, 2019 4:09 pm

    I love this…I love your writing…I love reading your writing…I probably love you! I know I love most of the things you love…well, maybe not cowboy hats.?

  22. Anne - June 12, 2019 4:58 pm

    I saw a church sign yesterday: Love is the answer. That pretty much sums it up!

  23. Brenda - June 12, 2019 6:37 pm

    Thank you for helping me out, when I have a rough day.

  24. Carol - June 12, 2019 6:58 pm

    I love everything and dislike everything you mentioned !
    But the hardest thing is when that one person you love is gone. And then it’s like you don’t have anyone to share it with and it doesn’t matter anymore.
    I thank God I did share it with someone once and I’m so happy that you and Jamie are sharing these things now.
    I guess I shouldn’t have watched the “Notebook “ yesterday for the first time.
    Love ya !

  25. Carol - June 12, 2019 7:01 pm

    P. S I love John Wayne and cowboy hats more than Andy! But he’s my second love ❤️
    Love ya !

  26. Gordon - June 12, 2019 7:20 pm

    Excellent writing, as usual. At the ripe age of 67,
    I do feel that my childhood was ages ago;but it seems as if it was yesterday. I’m heading to my 50 year class reunion (go Florala Wildcats) the end of this month and look forward to visiting with some of my childhood acquaintances. I hope I recognize them.

  27. Linda Moon - June 12, 2019 9:00 pm

    “I Love Little Baby Ducks, Music When It’s Good, And Life. And I Love You Too.”- Tom T. Hall, Singer/Songwrtiter. “I Love Fascinating Books, Movies On TCM, And Music. And I Love You Too.” – Me, Ordinary Person.

  28. Suzanne Cahill - June 13, 2019 12:58 am

    What you said. All of it. Thank you for that.

  29. Bill T - June 13, 2019 1:47 am

    I find it odd that a young man like you and an old man (84) like me, you from rural west Florida and me from rural east Alabama love pretty much the same things, except garlic and cowboy hats. Swore off hats after retiring from the Army.

  30. Jack Darnell - June 13, 2019 2:17 am

    You came very close to getting it right! But fact is Billy T above is lying, he ain’t swore off hats! Just sayin!
    Sherry & jack

    • Bill T - June 13, 2019 5:37 pm

      LOL Jack…only for car shows and military functions.

  31. Peg - June 13, 2019 11:53 am

    Sean, you are a genius. Peg of the North.

  32. petrie68 - June 13, 2019 12:49 pm

    You had me at “Shirley Jones, singing Goodnight My Someone”!
    Thank you for sharing the things you love – beautifully written!

  33. petrie68 - June 13, 2019 12:52 pm

    You had me at “Shirley Jones singing ‘Goodnight My Someone'”! Beautifully written!

  34. Donna Dicks - June 13, 2019 2:36 pm

    Your list and mine are SO much alike, but the comment about overhead lights really hit home. I can’t stand them and feel like I’ve entered a surgical suite when I go in a room with only an overhead light on. Can’t people afford table lamps that give a soft glow?
    You are the happiest part of Face Book…oh, you and Mike Rowe on Returning the Favor. Thank you for sharing yourself with us through your wonderful writing. Keep it up, Buster.

  35. Leatha Bates - June 14, 2019 12:27 pm

    This is a good one! If it doesn’t make you think about your life, your family, your friends… all the things that matter… then you’ve missed out.
    Oh, and by the way, I love Andy, too!❤️

  36. Sean Dietrich - middleSage - June 24, 2019 8:31 pm

    […] Read the rest of the story […]

  37. Janie - July 13, 2019 12:03 pm

    “The color yellow.” Yes!!!! It’s so cheerful!!

  38. Gigibeth - July 13, 2019 12:36 pm

    All of the above plus the smell of fresh cut grass and rain coming your way. Oh, and sweet baby kisses.

  39. Diana Hendrickson - July 13, 2019 1:13 pm

    I grew up in the country in Indiana, climbing old trees, riding my bike (the red one that I tried to spray paint purple) all day long and one of those rides I was being chased by a swarm of very angry bees that I disturbed while playing in an old barn! Going under a bridge and lifting up rocks and playing with the baby snakes under them, driving an old Ford tractor when I wasn’t even 10 years old and many other things that I had no business doing! One of the sweetest memories of all was singing ‘Boys and Girls for Jesus’ as we climbed the steps of the little country church to start an evening of Bible School. I was sitting here dreading mowing the lawn in this 90 degree heat, but thanks to you, I went back to over 50 some years ago and for me that is such a good place to be! Thank you for sharing your beautifully written memories!

  40. Ronda - July 13, 2019 4:12 pm

    You opened up my mind this morning, wonderful memories!

  41. Sue - July 13, 2019 6:24 pm

    I think you are my son from another mother! …even the color yellow?? Hope you will have another signing on the Eastern Shore since the weather is so bad today.

  42. Linda Ramsey - July 13, 2019 7:33 pm

    Another great one Sean! I love your lists and I love your writings….you are a true son of the South???

  43. Melaney Douglass - July 14, 2019 6:08 pm

    Barney and Andy.
    Enough said…well except maybe buttermilk biscuits!

  44. Lisa - July 28, 2019 11:00 am

    My dad was raised in Pea Ridge, Alabama and didn’t have a pair of shoes until he was 10 or 11 years old…very poor, very abusive environment as well. He ran away from home at 17 and joined the Air Force, served in Vietnam AND made it home in one piece! (at least physically). His favorite program was The Andy Griffith Show so all four of us kids would sit around the TV and record portions of it on a small reel to reel tape recorder and mail it to him there. He said it made being there almost bearable to be able to hear something familiar, something from “home”. I think Andy was his hero, the one he looked up to and aspired to be like. I can say now that for sure we were all raised by the Andy Griffith Gospel because looking back now at some of those episodes and remembering Daddy’s words to us, they were very similar. If Andy said it, Daddy said it. If Andy had a philosophy, it was Daddy’s too. For someone who didn’t have much education or instruction in life, I guess that’s not so bad to be raised by the Andy Griffith Gospel!

  45. Cathy - January 15, 2021 3:53 am

    Awesome post. Makes me want to write one like this to list the things I love.


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