My life has changed considerably since that night. So have I. And I don’t want to be melodramatic here, but it’s because of my ice-cream eating bride.

The sun was coming up. We rode toward Charleston, doing sixty-five miles per hour in a two-seat truck.

“I can’t believe we’re married,” said my new wife.

“Me neither.”

In my wallet: two hundred dollars cash. It was all I had. I earned it by selling my guitar, one week earlier.

My late father told me once, “If you ever get married, marry a woman who don’t care about money. Happiness and money are of no relation.”

Well, she must not have cared because I had none. I was a blue-collar nothing with a nothing-future ahead of me. I had no high-school education. No achievements. No pot to you-know-what in, and no plant to pour it on. And not much confidence.

Until her.

She unfolded a roadmap on the dashboard. My truck radio played a Willie Nelson cassette. I was married.

Married. Things were looking up.

We arrived at a cheap motor-inn. She took a shower while I watched the idiot box. Andy Griffith was on.

I’d seen the episode a hundred times. Barney makes Otis jump rope to prove he’s sober. You know the rest. Crisis. Cliffhanger. Andy saves the day. Roll credits.

I made reservations at an upscale restaurant where the waiter pulls the chairs out for you. I wore the only necktie I owned.

We ate food I could not afford. I paid a hundred bucks—plus tip. We walked the streets, arm in arm.

“I can’t believe we’re married,” she said.

Then: the sound of horse hooves. A carriage. A man stepped out and groomed his animals on the sidewalk.

My wife remarked how pretty the horses were.

I asked how much he charged for rides.

“Hundred bucks,” he said.

I handed him my remaining wad of cash. “How much will this buy?”

He thought about it. “How’s ten minutes sound?”

We covered ourselves with a blanket. He carted us through the streets. We saw hotels where George Washington slept, buildings older than my grandaddy’s grandaddy’s grandaddy.

That nice man gave us an hour ride.

Later, that night, my wife said, “I feel like ice cream.”

We stopped at a grocery store. I was out of cash, so I wrote a personal check while whispering The Twenty-Third Psalm.

My wife sat on my tailgate, eating from the carton. I laid in the pickup bed, watching the moon.

“I can’t believe we’re married,” I said.

And I still can’t.

My life has changed considerably since that night. So have I. And I don’t want to be melodramatic here, but it’s because of my ice-cream eating bride.

She’s done things for me. She let me cry on her shoulder when my boss fired me. She held my hand, in an ambulance after I totalled my truck. She tutored me in college algebra.

She helped me piece together my education. She told a fatherless flunky he was every bit as smart as anyone else. She loved me.

It’s not a holiday. It’s nobody’s birthday, either. I just felt like telling you about the reason I believe in God.

Happy anniversary, Jamie.


  1. sparkerlpc - December 19, 2018 7:10 am

    Happy anniversary, y’all!

  2. Debbie Phillips Hughett - December 19, 2018 7:25 am

    Happy Anniversary!

  3. Brenda - December 19, 2018 8:10 am

    Happy Anniversary!!

  4. Nancy Rogers - December 19, 2018 9:43 am

    Happy Anniversary! Now go enjoy some ice cream.

  5. Marilyn Ward Vance - December 19, 2018 9:46 am

    Happy Anniversary! Obviously, you two complete each other, as it should be. Hug the pups (and each other) for me!

  6. Sandi in FL. - December 19, 2018 10:13 am

    Happy Anniversary, Sean and Jamie. It was nice reading this post again.

  7. Steven P Bailey - December 19, 2018 10:43 am


  8. Karen - December 19, 2018 10:51 am

    You have such a rich and amazing life. God has blessed you both. The thing I like most is that you recognize and value what a special woman you have. May you celebrate many happy anniversaries.

  9. Jean - December 19, 2018 11:06 am

    I think you both won in this lottery!! Happy Anniversary you two….God bless you both!

  10. Aletha - December 19, 2018 11:08 am

    Happy Anniversary. Life is short…take time to smell the flowers, and enjoy the love in your life.
    Hope you keep on writing forever. It’s like a breath of fresh air!

  11. Camille - December 19, 2018 11:20 am


  12. W. Gary Smith - December 19, 2018 11:29 am

    Happy Anniversary Sean and God Bless you both!

  13. Carol Stern - December 19, 2018 11:52 am

    Happy Anniversary Jamie and Sean. You are an awesome team!!

  14. Connie Havard Ryland - December 19, 2018 11:57 am

    Happy Anniversary! Y’all are a beautiful couple, and the way you talk about her makes my heart swell. Most days, I don’t have a whole lot of faith in love and/or marriage, but you remind me of how special it can be. Many blessings to you both. Love and hugs.

  15. Brenda - December 19, 2018 12:01 pm

    Happy Anniversary! Sweet beginning……..may God continue to bless you both.

  16. Sherry - December 19, 2018 12:33 pm

    After 47 years I still wonder why he chose me! But it’s the best thing that ever happened….God bless you both and here’s to many, many more!

  17. Judith A Mercer - December 19, 2018 12:43 pm

    Happy Anniversary to a very special couple!!

  18. Mike Guilday - December 19, 2018 12:59 pm

    When you’ve been married 30 years or so, remember to say that again, “I can’t believe I’m married to this ice cream eating woman.” She’ll appreciate it and it remind you of why you married her.

  19. Ruth Killough - December 19, 2018 1:00 pm

    Happpy Anniversary Sean! What a great ride your in!❤️

  20. Liz Watkins - December 19, 2018 1:04 pm

    Happy Anniversary ❤️❤️❤️

  21. Beth Ann Chiles - December 19, 2018 1:18 pm

    Love love love. That is what you two have and will always have. Thanks for sharing that with us!

  22. Carol - December 19, 2018 1:21 pm

    Happy Anniversary you too!!
    You did it together!! I know. It takes two!!
    Sometimes one pushes and the other pulls!! But what matters is , You get there together!!
    Love toyou both. I lost mine 15yrs ago.
    Cherish every day,minute,second!
    Everyday is an Anniversary!!
    Love ya!

  23. Jo Brooks - December 19, 2018 1:25 pm

    Happy Anniversary, Jamie and Sean!! I am happy for you.

  24. Jo Ann - December 19, 2018 1:43 pm

    Happy Anniversary!!!

  25. Jill Jeffrey - December 19, 2018 1:52 pm

    Happy Anniversary! I love your story and pretty much everything you write. David and I eloped 43 years ago today and never looked back. My prayer is that someday my children celebrate their married lives with the same feels we’re feeling today. You and Jamie enjoy your day, month, year . . . lives together!

  26. Jess in Athens, GA - December 19, 2018 1:56 pm

    Sean, a lot of us men are blessed to have married good women. Women who have been the glue holding our marriage together during some very difficult times. I would be totally lost without my wife of 52 years. She’s the best thing that ever happened to me.

  27. Anne Isbell - December 19, 2018 2:02 pm

    Happy Anniversary, Jamie and Sean!

  28. Jan - December 19, 2018 2:12 pm

    Happy Anniversary to a lovely couple!!!

  29. Joy - December 19, 2018 2:46 pm

    Happy Anniversary! You didn’t mention how many years? Just curious. You two are a very special couple…may God continue to bless and watch over you both! Celebrate with ice cream! May you always feel the way you do now!

  30. Bev deJarnette - December 19, 2018 2:53 pm

    Heartfelt and precious——-as always. ❤️??‍♀️

  31. Shelton A. - December 19, 2018 2:59 pm

    Happy Anniversary, Merry Christmas, and God bless you both.

  32. Jan - December 19, 2018 3:09 pm


  33. Gordon - December 19, 2018 3:13 pm

    Happy, Happy Anniversary to you two love birds. I hope you have many, many more. Enjoy some delicious ice cream on this special day. And Merry Christmas.

  34. Jeff Corkran - December 19, 2018 4:53 pm

    Happy, happy anniversary, Jamie and Sean.

    I heartily empathize with your sentiments, Sean, having been married now for a little over 46 years to the same woman who takes great care of me and seems to love me more every year. I couldn’t ask for more.

    And by the way, it is somebody’s birthday — mine.

  35. Sara Ledger - December 19, 2018 4:57 pm

    Love your “memories”, Happy Anniversary, wishing you many, many more!

  36. Debbie Britt - December 19, 2018 5:14 pm

    She’s one blessed woman to be loved like you love her! You know because I’m loved the same!?

  37. Patricia Gibson - December 19, 2018 6:19 pm

    Sean, your view of life blesses us all!

  38. My grief hasn’t matured enough to record our names. - December 19, 2018 6:24 pm

    “We arrived at a cheap motor-inn.
    She took a shower while I watched the idiot box.
    Andy Griffith was on.”

    You’re quite the contortionist.
    Are you watching yourself while
    your bride of the day showers!
    For Andy Griffith?
    Come on Bushy Barbarossa.
    Don’t miss a moment!
    Happiness comes from marrying the girl
    you can’t keep your eyes and hands off
    between now and forever!
    We had 64 dynamic years together.
    MSA claimed her 3 years ago and no one can replace her for she was providentially created irreplacable.
    I never missed a moment for a look or touch
    and she’s still the girl of my dreams.

    I enjoy your articles ‘cause
    like a country gospel musician
    you get to the heart and soul of the matter!

    Thanks, Brother!

    Chaplain H

  39. Edwina Williams - December 19, 2018 7:04 pm

    Preciousness! ???

  40. Estelle Davis - December 19, 2018 7:55 pm

    My husband and I have been married 58 years. He is the rock that has held me together and thus us. Marriage is not always easy but when you love each other it always works.

  41. Estelle Davis - December 19, 2018 7:57 pm

    Forgot to say HAPPY ANNIVERSARY and may you have many more.

  42. Edna B. - December 19, 2018 8:20 pm

    Now this is what I call true love! Happy anniversary to you and Jamie. I’m wishing you many many more beautiful years together. You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

  43. Betty - December 19, 2018 8:40 pm

    Happy anniversary Sean & Jamie. How blessed you are that she saw all that was in you & brought it out so now we can all enjoy you. Have a wonderful anniversary & many more to come.

  44. Ann McCray - December 19, 2018 11:09 pm

    This is lovely. Come next Wednesday my husband and I will complete 66 years of marriage!
    Congratulations Sean!

  45. Rita - December 20, 2018 1:46 am

    Happy Anniversary Sean and Jamie. And many, many more >3

  46. dogsdolls - December 20, 2018 2:41 am

    lovely! Happy Anniversary to both of you! I am married to my best friend and my hero. 44 years and still glad and proud to go thru life with him.

  47. Jack Darnell - December 20, 2018 4:16 am

    You are in luck. My wife likes Ice cream too! It has lasted 62+ years. So you are in it for the long haul son. BUT it is a great ride! And stay in that trailer the taxes on a house will eat you alive. But I am sure the money art if covered now. The best to you . I love love. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY dude, be good!

  48. Amy - December 24, 2018 12:03 am

    Actually, my birthday is December 19th! Hope you had a wonderful day of celebrating.

  49. Peg - December 24, 2018 10:09 pm

    I’m from your neck of the wood, both sides of my family, for many generations. I’ve lived all over San Diego, LA, DC, and more…you bring home back every time you write!
    Continued blessings for your marriage, your life and of course, your beautiful inspirations of southerness!

    Peg from Orlando-Merry Christmas

  50. Pecos Kate - January 27, 2019 5:14 pm

    What a beautiful story!

    It warms my heart and restores my faith in love.


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