He’s single father. A widower, to be exact. But that’s not the story here.

He waits tables for a living. And on his off-days, he works at another restaurant.

Sometimes, he works with his brother’s power-washing business for extra cash. He does handyman work, and installs home sound systems. He is a busy man.

He does it for his kids.

The money goes out the window as fast as it comes. And he’s away a lot.

His children are used to fending for themselves. They’re used to preparing their own suppers, watching television alone, and tucking themselves in.

But not since she started coming around.

Let me back up.

Nine months ago, he met her. She’s a receptionist at a doctor’s office. She was at his restaurant for her coworker’s birthday party.

He saw her and couldn’t stop looking at her.

By the end of the night, his friends in the kitchen knew he was smitten. They teased him. “Go talk to her,” they said, shoving him.

But, confidence doesn’t exactly grow on trees, and our Lone Ranger has been out of the saddle since high school.

He didn’t know how to approach her. He was—according to his coworkers—a big, fat, hairy chicken. So, without his permission, one of the waitresses spoke for him.

“See that guy over there?” the waitress whispered into the receptionist’s ear. “He’s the best guy you’ll ever meet. He likes you, but he’s too scaredy-cat to talk to you.”

Ouch, Kemosabe.

But that’s how it started.

A little bout her: she was married once. The doctor told her she couldn’t have kids. It broke her heart, all she’s ever wanted were children.

She likes long walks on the beach, Mexican food, Trisha Yearwood albums, chocolate ice cream, and any book that wasn’t written by Danielle Steel.

They went on a first date. It lasted for sixteen hours. But they darkened no bedrooms, rustled no sheets. In fact they didn’t even kiss.

Instead, they sat on his balcony, talking. They watched the sunrise together. When his kids awoke, they ate breakfast. Thank God for simple pleasures.

Since then, she makes him keep nights and weekends free. The four of them do everything together. They go hiking, fishing, ice-skating. They do movies, concerts, board games.

Sometimes, they have sleepovers on the living-room floor. Sleeping bags and all. The eat popcorn and watch black-and-white movies.

But nothing will ever top this weekend.

This Friday is going to be a doozie. They will buy a tree from a nearby farm. They will decorate it together.

There will be a giant Tupperware crate of ornaments, lights, and garland. Tucked in the bottom of this crate is a tiny clamshell box made of felt.

She will find the box. She will reach for the box. She will open the box.

She will see an unassuming diamond ring.

He and his children will have already taken a knee—they’ve been rehearsing this—and say:

“Whenever we’re with you, we’re a real family.”

He will ask her to be his.

“Hey, Sean,” he wrote me. “I’m so nervous, man. Just wondering if you’d ask your friends to put out good vibes today?”

You don’t need any help, brother.

But I’ll tell everyone I know


  1. Peggy C - December 12, 2022 6:18 am

    Good vibes definitely coming your way!

    • Mary D - December 16, 2022 9:31 pm

      Wonderful! Keep us updated plz.
      I’m invested, as usual, Mr Dietrich!
      All the very best💙

  2. Arabella Williams - December 12, 2022 7:12 am

    I don’t have just a birth day, December is my birth month and along the way I collect presents & reading this tear inducing story, Sean you have gifted me on this day – (9) days away!

  3. Arabella Williams - December 12, 2022 7:15 am

    I don’t just celebrate my birth day but my birth month and along the way I collect presents, I count this tear inducing story as a gift, (9) days going forward! Thank you, Sean.

  4. Kathleen Jun Magyar - December 12, 2022 8:34 am

    Please tell him everyone is cheering.

  5. Susan - December 12, 2022 8:38 am

    Man, you had me at the “tiny clamshell box made of felt” ~ my tears started. God bless this precious new family.

  6. Summer Carrington - December 12, 2022 10:56 am

    I just finished doing my makeup for work , Sean. Like mascara and everything. Then, I read this . That is the sweetest story, I’m overjoyed for all of them . Now, off to remove mascara tears . 🙂

    • Melody Wright - December 12, 2022 3:02 pm

      Yes!! I’m with you on this one. My heart is still so full and I can’t stop smiling. But I’m older, retired and not wearing mascara. So I don’t mind crying. Any minute now.❤️

  7. Ed (Bear) - December 12, 2022 11:07 am

    Good vibes, definitely! Going and coming!

  8. Chrisanne L Banks - December 12, 2022 11:12 am

    Sending ‘good vibes’ (and prayers!) his way!

  9. Roxanne Taylor - December 12, 2022 11:21 am

    Sending prayers for this special guy and his kids, that his proposal will be as exciting and wonderful as he is. Isn’t God’s timing always perfect! Congratulations to this precious family!

  10. Gwen - December 12, 2022 11:29 am


  11. Julie - December 12, 2022 11:39 am


  12. Diana - December 12, 2022 11:47 am

    I think he’ll do just fine on his own, but sending good vibes his way. Lovely story.❤️

  13. Kim H. - December 12, 2022 11:59 am

    Don’t be afraid, Hard Working Devoted Dad!! She’ll say YES!! Just take a deep breath, and ask her!! Sending you TONS of good vibes from Illinois!!💞

  14. Marilyn - December 12, 2022 12:40 pm

    Your stories are so uplifting! Thank you for being positive when so much of what we read and hear is just the opposite. I’m cheering for this man and his children that the lady says “yes”, and they move forward as family. Blessings to all.

  15. Anne Arthur - December 12, 2022 12:41 pm

    We are sending the good vibes and prayers for a beautiful life together.

  16. Celia - December 12, 2022 12:59 pm

    You’ve got this! And you’ve got so many of us, some like me with tears dripping down our cheeks, sending you good thoughts for courage, and sincere hopes for a fantastic future!

  17. Penny Price - December 12, 2022 1:05 pm

    Wow. You touched me with this one!

  18. David - December 12, 2022 1:18 pm

    Awesome story Sean, God is good all the time. I hope they will have a great life together with God right up in the middle of them all.

  19. mccutchen52 - December 12, 2022 1:18 pm

    He and the kids are swinging for the fence and I see a home run in their future.

  20. cordell - December 12, 2022 1:26 pm

    She will surely say yes.

  21. Frank Wirtz - December 12, 2022 1:26 pm

    We are gonna need a follow up.

  22. Becky kaufman - December 12, 2022 1:29 pm

    Sending many good vibes and wishes!

  23. Patricia Gibson - December 12, 2022 1:52 pm


  24. Darlene Leadingham - December 12, 2022 2:01 pm

    Oh we need a follow-up on this one. Does she say yes? We need to know.

  25. sjhl7 - December 12, 2022 2:05 pm

    Beautiful! Best of wishes to this new family. May God bless them and keep them always!

  26. Jayne - December 12, 2022 2:37 pm

    Best wishes, good vibrations, and prayers for them!

  27. DJMaz - December 12, 2022 2:44 pm

    Great Christmas present–a whole new loving family=

  28. David - December 12, 2022 2:45 pm

    Dude, you’ve definitely got this! I hope you have many long and happy years together!

  29. David - December 12, 2022 2:47 pm

    Dude, you’ve definitely got this! I hope you have many long and happy years together!!

  30. Helen De Prima - December 12, 2022 2:50 pm

    You got this!

  31. Gigi - December 12, 2022 3:05 pm

    What a wonderful story! Praying that she say’s “YES!” Please let us know how it turns out Sean.

  32. Peggy M. Windham - December 12, 2022 3:08 pm

    Sending good vibes to this father, his children and new bride! Beautiful story!💜🎄

  33. Jane Sparacio - December 12, 2022 3:09 pm

    There is a big lump in my throat… Again.

  34. Susan - December 12, 2022 3:13 pm

    Sending many good vibes their way♥️♥️♥️

  35. dmgtomlin - December 12, 2022 3:13 pm


  36. Stacey Wallace - December 12, 2022 3:41 pm

    Sean, thanks so much for making my husband’s and my day. Prayer said. Please tell your friend not to worry; he’ll hit it out of the ballpark. Love to you, Jamie, and Marigold.

  37. Lin - December 12, 2022 3:54 pm

    Love this column today, Wednesday will be our 53rd anniversary. Marriage isn’t always easy and maybe not for everyone, but this sounds like a match made in heaven! I’ll be thinking of them all on Friday.

    • Linda Everett - December 12, 2022 10:06 pm

      Happy, happy Anniversary to you snd your hubby!

  38. Debbie g - December 12, 2022 3:54 pm

    To Sean’s friend
    I’d like to be the first to wish you and wife to be.
    Happy first anniversary next year !!!! Prayers and happiness for you both
    Love you Sean and Jamie
    And to us all

  39. oldnole1958 - December 12, 2022 4:10 pm

    Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. Of course she will say yes. Tell us about her acceptanace and the wedding. Tell him to forget his nervosness. No need. She has already shown her love.

  40. Carol - December 12, 2022 4:26 pm

    Love all the way around! Thank You! May Happiness Abide With Everyone This Holiday Season!

  41. Pat - December 12, 2022 4:33 pm


  42. LynnB - December 12, 2022 4:43 pm

    Please! If you get a picture from them, can you post it on your Facebook account? You can’t leave us hanging!

  43. Tom Wallin - December 12, 2022 4:43 pm

    Good luck brother. If she doesn’t say “YES”, she is not the ONE. Thinking of you and hoping along with you.

  44. Hopeless romantic - December 12, 2022 4:55 pm

    100%🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼💕Please let us know when she says yes!

  45. Dianne - December 12, 2022 5:00 pm

    I thought I had unsubscribed to your posts but this showed up. So glad I got to read it.

  46. Penny HC - December 12, 2022 5:42 pm

    Tell your friend Yay! Good luck, happy joyous day.

  47. Mickey - December 12, 2022 5:48 pm

    Good vibes and please tell us if she says Yes! Sweet, happy story!

  48. lmackillop - December 12, 2022 5:52 pm

    Praying for him!

  49. david - December 12, 2022 6:01 pm

    I third the calls to let us know what happens — don’t you DARE not follow up!

  50. Ruth - December 12, 2022 6:16 pm

    Yes please, I love a happy ending!

  51. Roy j - December 12, 2022 6:20 pm

    Pádraig Ó Tuama says our world is “interested in being comforted by the damp blanket of bad stories.” He goes on to call for, conversely, “stories of belonging that move us towards each other, not from each other; ways of being alive together.” He boldly wagers, “This is what will save us. This is the work of peace. This is the work of imagination.”
    Sean, thank you for sharing these stories that bring light!

  52. pattymack43 - December 12, 2022 6:39 pm

    You must write the “follow-up” someday!!!! We, your loyal public, can’t wait to hear all the details!!! Christmas Blessings to all!

  53. Jeff Oliphant - December 12, 2022 7:05 pm

    Beautiful story. Beautifully written. Looking forward to reading the follow-up.

  54. carolanne78 - December 12, 2022 7:37 pm

    and happy tears : )

  55. gaffstergal - December 12, 2022 8:03 pm

    God is good.

  56. Bob Troutman - December 12, 2022 8:08 pm

    Sean, I discovered your immense talent a couple of months ago. You write some really, really insightful “stuff”. The late Dennis Rogers wrote columns for our local paper (The News & Observer, Raleigh NC) before blogs and social media were things. He was my favorite and now I have a new favorite. Thank you for motivating, inspiring and moving me and others!!

  57. MermaidGr - December 12, 2022 8:10 pm

    Please tell us she said yes and when will it happen

  58. Linda Moon - December 12, 2022 8:12 pm

    I like her taste in books….or should I say, non-books. And I love the vibes from this real family’s story too, Sean!

  59. Susie - December 12, 2022 8:49 pm


  60. Karen - December 12, 2022 9:11 pm

    What a beautiful love story. I hope we get to hear about the wedding.

  61. Chip - December 12, 2022 9:12 pm

    My best wishes for this family to be! Assuming she says YES!

  62. Donna - December 12, 2022 9:59 pm

    Wow. Thanks. Crying at work again. 🥹 We are with ya’ bud. As is the entire host of heaven, I imagine. Go get ‘em’ tiger!

  63. Melissa Brown - December 12, 2022 10:13 pm

    WOW-you sure know how to bring tears to my eyes. I will surely be praying that thing will just work out wonderfully for this family !!!!

  64. Roma Gayle Kabes - December 12, 2022 10:24 pm

    So special!

  65. Cathy M - December 12, 2022 10:24 pm

    I needed a happy story today and I am praying that she accepts and this little family can begin a bright future together. What a merry Christmas for those four❤️🙏🏻🎄

  66. Trisha Tillman - December 12, 2022 11:12 pm

    This brought tears to my eyes. I pray for a wonderful family life for this family!

  67. William J Webb - December 13, 2022 12:38 am

    This is the way it should be. After all, they are all asking her come in to their lives.

    Best of luck for a YES.

  68. Tawanah Fagan Bagwrll - December 13, 2022 1:40 am

    I know she will say yes!

  69. Sandi. - December 13, 2022 2:49 pm

    Sean, when you first published this story under the title “Christmas Trees” five years ago, in December of 2017, I’ve wondered since then what the outcome has been. Hopefully they are happily married and still continue to enjoy life as a family of four! Do you have an update?

  70. Ginga Smithfield - December 13, 2022 3:33 pm

    I hope she said yes!

  71. Mary Leach - December 13, 2022 4:25 pm

    Thank You God for the do-overs! Good vibes and prayers headed their way!

  72. Sean of the South: Trees | The Trussville Tribune - December 13, 2022 6:59 pm

    […] By Sean Dietrich, Sean of the South […]

  73. Karen Jordan - December 14, 2022 3:40 am

    We need the “rest of the story” please.

  74. Cm - December 14, 2022 4:15 am

    I feel a big ‘YES’ coming….

  75. Jan Brainard - December 14, 2022 9:25 pm

    Please let us know she said “YES” and make our Christmas a little brighter!


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