Today is your cotton-picking day. I hope you don't blush easily, because you're about to get the biggest fanfare this solar system has ever seen.

I see a single mother loading four children into her dilapidated car in the Walmart parking lot. They’re pitching a fit, screaming bloody murder.

I’m writing this to her, and to everyone like her.

Also, to the unrecognized, who think they’re nothing. People you’ll never hear about. The unpopular, unknown, and under-appreciated.

The woman who takes her kids to school early , then cleans motel rooms. The waiter I met at Waffle House—who’s been sleeping in a recliner ever since his mother died.

To the man in Piggly Wiggly, helping his eighty-eight-year-old daddy shop.

The blind boy I saw on the beach, who said, “Mama! Listen to that water! It’s hypnotizing!”

I closed my eyes and sat at the water’s edge for thirty minutes. I’ll be damned if that kid wasn’t right.

To the lady who feeds animals at the no-kill shelter. She might not be famous, but to the dogs she’s a Messiah.

I’m speaking to the man whose wife committed suicide. To Raquel, the rape victim who lives in a halfway house. To the immigrant Mexican boys who pooled money together to buy a bicycle—then gave it to an old man.

To the girl who’s pregnant illegitimately, who doesn’t know what comes next.

To all underdogs.

To worriers; those who can’t stop thinking about money. To the lonely, widows, widowers, orphans, and caregivers.

To the arthritic, the injured, and those who can’t remember life without aches.

To addicts, who are clean. To addicts who aren’t.

To people who quit believing in Santa. To people who’re bad at math. To anyone who likes John Wayne.

To the child I met, who works after school so he can afford food for his little brother. To the girl I know, who decided to be a teacher. To my friend, Charise, who wonders where her dead little girl is.

To you.

You who aren’t certain if anyone sees you. Who hopes there’s more to life than this. Who lives from smoke-break to smoke-break. Who wonders when your sky is finally going to open up.

You’ve gone unnoticed long enough.

Today is your cotton-picking day. I hope you don’t blush easily, because you’re about to get the biggest fanfare this solar system has ever seen. I don’t give a cuss if anyone else hears your ovation or not. I hear it. And right now, I’m clapping for you.

And if that single mother should ever read this:

Ma’am, I don’t know how it will happen, and I don’t know when. But selfish people can only win for so long.

Now it’s your turn.


  1. alice cooper - September 25, 2016 12:27 pm

    I believe in Santa, am half way good at math but I LOVE me some John Wayne.

  2. Marlon Foster - October 6, 2022 10:53 pm

    Awesome, Thank You!

  3. J.A. Smith - October 7, 2022 3:44 pm

    I’m sobbing. You made my day.


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