To You and Yours

To whom it may concern:

I wanted to say this in person, but this whole social distancing thing makes that impossible. So I decided to write you a letter. I won’t take up too much of your time.

I just wanted to say that I’ve been so moved by the work you’re doing lately. During this whole coronavirus thing you’ve really gone the extra mile. I wish I could write each one of you. Sadly, there are bajillions of you, and only one of me. So this will have to do.

Anyway, you don’t know me. I’m one of the faceless Americans you’ve been helping when you wake up every morning and do what you do.

Yesterday, for instance, I saw you through the burger-joint window, manning the grill. You wore a surgical mask and latex gloves. You had a line of to-go orders a mile long. Cars were lined up in the drive-thru lane stretching back to Bangladesh. You just did your job.

This letter is for you, and your fellow cooks, cashiers, and even your grumpy manager, Kate, who made you work last Fourth of July because she is about as much fun as getting slapped with a spatula.

Also, to the woman who wrote to me yesterday whose daughter is a nurse, treating people with COVID-19 in New York. Even though her daughter is young and healthy, she puts herself on the front lines every day.

This is written to hospital custodial workers who clean every inch of every surface. Even the ceilings. To the cafeteria workers. The greeters. The security guards. Maintenance men. Triage. ICU. X-ray techs.

To the guy who drives our local UPS delivery truck. That guy is my hero. Every day he’s making deliveries around town. It makes me wonder how many hundreds of millions of gazillions of people are working every day, packaging boxes, loading trucks, driving forklifts, fulfilling online orders, and organizing the complex microcosmic symphony of daily deliveries.

While I’m at it, this is also for my mail lady who is always on time. Even on weekends.

To janitors. To anyone who mans a mop and a pushbroom. To people who keep public places disinfected even though the world is anything but disinfected right now.

To grocery store employees, who wear face masks for nine hours per day. Who deal with the General Public. We, the public, who aren’t exactly sunshiny customers right now, if you catch my drift.

To the cashiers. To the bag boys. To grocery delivery services. To the guys in the loading department, wearing back braces.

To anyone who has to scrub themselves down with rubbing alcohol before taking a simple lunch break.

To the man who still operates his Massey Ferguson tractor on a 480-acre farm in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, or Mississippi. To men who till the plains of Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Indiana, Texas, and Illinois.

The farmers of Louisiana, Tennessee, the Carolinas, and every other wonderous state I didn’t mention. Even South Dakota—although, technically, I am not sure anyone actually lives there.

I write to those who raise beef, pigs, cotton, wheat, corn, alfalfa, carrots, iceberg lettuce, and—even though I could go the rest of my life without eating another godforsaken stick of the stuff—celery.

To poultry farmers in Ohio. Dairy farmers in Wisconsin. To anyone who makes it possible for me to eat a tomato.

To all South Dakotans who resent the cheap joke I just made about them.

To the guy who scrubs the public buses with bleach after every use. To the Marines, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the National Guard, the Coast Guard, the Civil Service, and their spouses.

To Tyler, a 9-year-old who colors pictures and sends them to random nursing homes with the enclosed words: “Thinking of you!” He’s sent 400 pictures so far.

To school teachers. Men and women who deserve a break, but are taking none. Many of whom wake up early each morning to sit in front of a cheap, school-district-issue, unflattering webcam that could make even Sophia Loren look like a walking corpse.

To childcare workers. To road crews. To out-of-work factory workers.

To emergency workers, who know that the world doesn’t stop for viruses. John Q. Public still has toaster-oven fires that need a fire department. Dads still injure themselves on table saws and call EMTs. Children still break their arms when climbing trees and need ER docs.

To police departments, nationwide, who make sure that anyone with criminal intentions, who tries to take advantage of others during this unusual time, will not succeed.

To those who perform church services via the internet. To the tireless church ladies who still bake hot casseroles and deliver them to elderly shut-ins, and have been doing this long before “coronavirus” was a household term.

To my friends who have been sending emails and text messages reminding me to get out of bed and put on real pants.

To anyone who has been video-phoning loved ones just to let them know they love them. To my mother who checks on me and reminds me that she’s praying for me.

To artists. Engineers. Struggling musicians. To foster parents. To those in nursing homes. To the underprivileged kids whose only meals were the ones they got at school.

To the lady on the sidewalk, walking her dog, wearing her surgical mask. Who, when she passed me this morning, said, “Gosh, I wish I could thank the whole world for coming together and helping their fellow man, don’t you?”

Yes, I do.

Thank you. From the bottom of my heart. And may God bless you.


  1. Grant Burris - April 19, 2020 6:42 am

    From the bottom of my heart. Sean, thank you for your words.

  2. Ceci Andrews - April 19, 2020 7:02 am

    I am missing my granddaughters so much and your words help me realize how many others are sacrificing so much to get us all through this horrible time. Thank you for putting things into perspective for me.

  3. Hazel c. King - April 19, 2020 7:24 am

    Like many others in the “most vulnerable” group, I am serving time in solitary confinement to avoid being exposed to infection. The hardest part of this confinement is missing my children and grandchildren. I am thankful for texts, phone calls, video calls, and porch visits with a storm door between us, but these weeks and months of separation is time we will never get back, assuming that we get through it. 2020 is a year I will never forget, at least not until the Alzheimer’s kicks in.

  4. Sandi. - April 19, 2020 7:29 am

    Bless your thoughtfull, big heart, Sean, for thanking the folks who are keeping our communities going during this virus pandemic. Without each of them, what would the rest of us do? I think you covered everyone, and how I hope you’ll submit this article to your local newspaper for publication. It needs to make headlines on the front page.
    You and Jamie stay safe, well and optimistic.

  5. Sharon Lawson - April 19, 2020 7:59 am

    Wonderful!!! Thank you.

  6. Toni Keeling - April 19, 2020 8:02 am

    Yes, thank you Sean from the bottom of my heart, also. Beautiful.

  7. Lita - April 19, 2020 9:03 am

    The sun is shining on this tiny patch of England. I’m comforted that the same sun shines on us all, and links me and mine to you and yours and everyone who shares your thoughts here and beyond. I send a link to my sister, so she can read them, too. She loves them, Sean – and we all love you, your wife, and your dogs.

  8. Rebecca Kinard - April 19, 2020 9:10 am


  9. Rebecca - April 19, 2020 9:39 am

    Well said! Thank you!

  10. Hawk - April 19, 2020 9:56 am

    Thank you, Sean. I am a neighbor of yours in a sense. I live in the Blackwater state forest just down the road from you. I love the peace and quiet of the forest. And I love sunrises. You bring peace to so many people. And you are like the sunrise over the misty dark forest that brings light and hope to this world.

  11. Richda McNutt - April 19, 2020 10:52 am

    And thank you, Sean, for reminding us safely at home of how fortunate we are to have all of these people who keep this old, fragile world with all of its fragile people, still spinning around. And you’re included in those who keep our spirits lifted and our souls grateful.

  12. Sandy Snowden - April 19, 2020 10:55 am

    And to columnists who remind us of the good.

  13. Nell Thomas - April 19, 2020 11:09 am

    Sean you touched alot of bases in this recognition of people in our everyday that we take for granite. It took something to the magnitude of a world wide pandemic to bring it to light for many of us. We take so much for granite.
    One thing that really stood out to me- the underprivileged children that depend so on the food the schools provide. I was aware of this- but not to the extreme this event has brought to light.
    I pray that parents recieving the extra financial help will use it to put some food on the table.

  14. CK Deitch - April 19, 2020 11:09 am

    And may God bless you, also.

  15. Keloth Anne - April 19, 2020 11:13 am

    And thank you for taking time to say thank you during this very difficult time. And thank you and Jamie for being incredible
    You are loved and appreciated 🥰

  16. Dianne - April 19, 2020 11:47 am

    And, thank you, too, Sean for making the world a little brighter every day for all of your readers.

  17. Pam Pellegrino - April 19, 2020 12:04 pm

    Every morning I read Center for Action and Contemplation and Sean of the South. Also my Enneagram Thought of the Day. Thank you for your humor and your big heart. I will be 70 on Earth Day. Your post will be a gift I will find in my inbox, and that makes me happy. My friend Mica told me about your posts. We live in the Charlotte area. Wishing you and your family all the best. Pam Pellegrino

  18. Phil S. - April 19, 2020 12:15 pm

    And the whole congregation said, “AMEN!!”

  19. Arlene from Alabama and now California - April 19, 2020 12:19 pm

    Thank you for your honesty and gentle humor. Don’t ever stop being the wonderful you; we appreciate you every day.

  20. Curtis Lee Zeitelhack - April 19, 2020 12:28 pm

    Yes. And thanks to every person who tries hard to stick to the “rules”, even when it hurts. You are saving lives.

  21. Sylvia from Florida - April 19, 2020 12:34 pm

    This post is definitely worthy of being published in every newspaper in the country. I, who have no power whatsoever, deem you the “Prince of the South”. God bless.

  22. Brenda - April 19, 2020 12:39 pm

    And… Thank you Sean, you are so appreciated for your caring touch everyday ❤️

  23. Gail Pollock - April 19, 2020 12:46 pm

    Bravo, very well said. Thank you for putting my thoughts (and many more things I hadn’t thought of ) into words.

  24. Judy Cobern - April 19, 2020 12:53 pm

    Thank You Sean for what you do. I always look forward to hearing from you Ole Friend!

  25. Ann - April 19, 2020 1:03 pm

    THANK YOU for all your thank yous that we would all like to pass on….great front page story! Hopefully everyone will remember the sacrifices all these wonderful people have made!

  26. Katherine Smith - April 19, 2020 1:10 pm

    Knowledge of the Enneagram has helped me to give grace to those who do not heed self distancing, masks and gloves. I’m a One

  27. Linda - April 19, 2020 1:11 pm

    Thank you, Sean! ❤️

  28. berds - April 19, 2020 1:12 pm

    I’d like to say I wrote your letter because it so beautifully resonates in my heart. THANK YOU for your compassionate and caring heart. You make me smile and or guffaw on a daily basis! THANK YOU, Sean!

  29. Jan - April 19, 2020 1:15 pm

    Amen and Amen! Bless you, Sean!

  30. Landa - April 19, 2020 1:17 pm

    And, thank you for saying this for all the rest of us. Well done!

  31. Bobbie E - April 19, 2020 1:26 pm

    Nothing to add today except a big “Amen” and thank you. I know your mama is proud of you! A heart such as yours is a rarity. Thanks to you for the kindness, the laughter, the compassion and the love you share with us every day.
    God bless you and your sweet family. ❤️🇺🇸🇺🇸

  32. Johnnie Tayloe - April 19, 2020 1:45 pm

    Each morning I look forward to reading the words of “Pajama Man”. This is much easier that driving from North Carolina to Dothan to see you in person, but wanted to do something for my wife so she could see you in person. Well, that got me hooked and now each morning I look forward to reading your words of wisdom. No matter our age you always make me stop and remember something that has occurred in my life. Look forward to you being in the Winston Salem area in the future …

  33. Barbara Newsome - April 19, 2020 2:04 pm

    Thank you So Much for today’s post. We have several family members and friends that are doctors and on the front lines now, taking care of others. These are Scary Times for All. Your Post was Very True and Moving. 🙏

  34. Adair Michael - April 19, 2020 2:26 pm

    Beautiful. Thank you – I am a Home Depot employee helping people with appliances that are needed due to older appliances breaking down – which makes me feel I am really serving and helping our clients. God Bless you and God Bless all countries to heal from this.

  35. Sue Ellen Terrell - April 19, 2020 2:28 pm

    Thank you Sean for saying thank you for all of us to all of the essential workers. One question, how come no one ever mentions North Dakota???

  36. Alice Roose - April 19, 2020 2:34 pm

    thank you Sean for caring it is so hard to not be able to see my family i miss them so much i pray this virus will go away soon God bless you and God bless all the workers who are on the front line thank you for the bottom of my heart i love yall and pray for your safety everyday!

  37. Margaret Jackson - April 19, 2020 2:35 pm

    God bless you, Sean, for helping keep a little normal in a world that is for from normal.

  38. Lindylou - April 19, 2020 3:17 pm

    I have been upset at having my “freedom” taken away by this quarantine,but have come to realize that true freedom is not doing whatever you want to do, but choosing to do what is right and good for the whole country. Thank you for your words of appreciation to all those who are truly giving of everything they have to help save this wonderful country and our freedoms. God bless you Sean as you continue to share your words of love and wisdom for us all!

  39. Mary M Berryman - April 19, 2020 3:41 pm

    Thank you,Sean, for expressing what we all want to say.

  40. Everyday Joe – Happenings at the Eagle's Nest - April 19, 2020 3:42 pm

    […] It’s always an uplifting way to begin my day and so far, I’ve never been disappointed. Today’s column was an acknowledgement of everyday people doing everyday jobs during this virus […]

  41. Linda Clifton - April 19, 2020 3:48 pm

    Sending light & love right back at ya! I hope to be able to see & hear you in person one day. Thank you to everyone who keeps this world going. I just hope we learn how to take better care of her. And soon! ❤️🙏

  42. Linda Moon - April 19, 2020 3:49 pm

    As we say in the Deep South, “Bless your heart.” Yours is a very good one, Sean, from top to bottom. Please add my “Thank You” to all these everyday heroes and also to you for reminding us of them. God Bless Us Everyone!

  43. Marilyn J Barnard - April 19, 2020 3:49 pm

    Today’s column inspired me…

  44. Lisa Lawless - April 19, 2020 4:04 pm

    Thank you!❤️

  45. Gordon - April 19, 2020 4:07 pm

    Well stated, Sean. Perfect for these times.

  46. Ann Marie Bouchet - April 19, 2020 5:27 pm

    You, Sean, are a truly good man. Thank you for your words. We love you.

  47. cajuntiger74 - April 19, 2020 5:31 pm

    To the guy who makes my day a little brighter and puts a smile on my face each morning. To the guy who observes life and the people who live it and writes about it as if he is channeling Mark Twain or Lewis Grizzard. To the guy who shares Christ with his readers in many varied and “oh so subtle” ways. Many times I do not think even he realizes the powerful witness he is for his readers.

    Yes, to you, Sean! Thanks for all you do to make this world a better place. May God bless.

  48. Marian Jordan - April 19, 2020 6:10 pm

    Also, to so many, many quilters who have used up their material and thread to make masks so others can be safe when they have to leave the house for groceries and medicines

  49. Robert M Brenner - April 19, 2020 6:56 pm

    Sean, usually I have to smile and I get a kick out of your columns. Today was different, it made me sit back and appreciate even more of the people that are making sacrifices for the rest of us.

    P.S. South Dakota will be just fine! Eventually…

  50. Riger Estill - April 19, 2020 7:28 pm

    Sean great article and as I read it I couldn’t help but think, that in times like these it really shows who is important to us and many if them earning very little. While actors, athletes, entertainers earn as you would say gazillions of dollars but they weren’t on the list, we can get along without them. Wish we could funnel some of those big bucks To all these people who are really important to us. (Although I do have to say I kind of miss seeing the Braves)😄 All the best to you and yours.
    Roger Estill

  51. Becky Souders - April 19, 2020 7:54 pm

    And bless you, Sean, Please continue to do what you do very well: give us smiles and hope for the tomorrows. Thanks.

  52. Ginger Clifton - April 19, 2020 8:31 pm

    Looks like this one was a real hit, Sean. Maybe the networks will get a whiff of this and stop reporting fake news, dismal news, the worst of every single thing when there is so much good in this world. Even the “feel good” TV might could come up with a different story that would entertain us right now (no Christmas stories right now or stories about cookies, recipes, and saving the farm. Reading is still my best option; next to praying, of course.

  53. Anna Jo - April 19, 2020 9:52 pm

    Just about says it all. Thank you. And don’t worry about the real pants.

  54. Martha - April 19, 2020 10:00 pm

    Hardly anyone mentions the Pharmacist that are working the front lines. My daughter is a hospital pharmacist. I pray she will be safe each day. There are others in the drug stores that must show up every day. Just want to thank them too along with all the others you mentioned.

  55. Martha - April 19, 2020 10:06 pm

    I don’t know but my granddaughter and her Air Force husband were stationed in Grand Forks for a few years. They loved it and the people were grand. They hope to get assigned there again one day. Being from the deep South, it was somewhat of a culture shock to them but they adapted well.

  56. Martha - April 19, 2020 10:10 pm

    My comment above was for the person that asked why North Dakota was never mentioned.

  57. Pam Sawyer - April 19, 2020 11:00 pm

    Thank you for giving the world a big giant hug.

  58. Kathleen Guthrie - April 19, 2020 11:38 pm

    Today is Divine Mercy Sunday! Jesus King of Mercy I Trust In You to show Your Mercy to our country. Thank you Sean for recognizing all those that are in the front line of this war. Through work and prayer we will win this war on COVID19. Keep up your excellent work, Sean! Blessings 🙏🏻🇺🇸❤️🙏🏻

  59. cekey44 - April 20, 2020 12:07 am

    And a great big thank you to you for writing this.

  60. Linda Broyles - April 20, 2020 12:16 am

    Thank you so much, Sean❤

  61. Tammy S. - April 20, 2020 2:11 am

    How wonderful!! A resounding “Thank You” from all of us!! We are so proud of you all, clapping and cheering you on, and praying for you all daily!! And Sean, thank you for being our voice and writing what is in all of our hearts! You are simply the best!

  62. Lily Wright - April 20, 2020 5:07 pm

    ❤️This is one of the most beautiful passages I have read through these hard times. Thank you 🙏. May God bless us all.

  63. H J Patterson - April 21, 2020 7:49 pm

    Yes Sean D., people do live in the frozen midwest State of South Dakota and they’re a tough hearty bunch and they are what built this country and still make it work. Never been there but would love to drive through it.

  64. Barbara - April 21, 2020 8:11 pm

    Thank you for the e-mail I look forward to every day!

  65. Maxine - April 23, 2020 1:51 am

    Sean, thank you from the bottom of my heart for the messages you send each day, that make me laugh, cry, feel the pride of being part of a country, not always correct, but IS my home. Thank you for seeing, hearing and putting into words that we are still alive and together will get through this very serious time.

  66. Steve (Lifer) - May 29, 2020 2:29 pm

    I feel ya on the celery. I wouldn’t eat it raw at gunpoint. It is a necessary ingredient in chicken & dumplins though.


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