Way Out In Wyoming

Today I had a phone interview with a 6-year-old from Wyoming. The reason for this interview was because this boy has alleged magical powers. I had to get to the bottom of these claims.

Of course I was excited to meet someone possessing supernatural abilities. But if I’m being honest, I was more excited to meet someone from Wyoming. I’ve never met anyone from this state. I was beginning to wonder if Wyoming existed.

Have you ever seen satellite images of the United States at night? The photos show lights from major cities, stringing across North America like a giant glowing vascular system. There is always a huge dark spot over Wyoming.

This is because Wyoming only has 579,000 residents. And to give you an idea of how few that is: the Atlanta metro area has 6 million.

To put it another way: Wyoming is 97,914 square miles, but within the entire state there are only two escalators. This is absolutely true. They’re both located in the town of Casper, and they’re both in banks.

So it was important to investigate these magic claims. You can’t have 6-year-old Wyoming residents going around professing otherworldly capabilities. Next thing you know, you’ll have 6-year-olds in Michigan claiming Detroit has a professional baseball team.

This whole thing started last week when an ordinary 6-year-old boy learned that his uncle was going through a painful divorce. The boy became so concerned about his uncle that he told his mother he wanted to use his “magical powers” to make his uncle feel better.

“Magical powers?” his mother said. “What?”

The boy’s powers consisted of dictating a message to his mother who typed an email that read:

“You’re an awesome uncle and I love you so much because you’re the best! I’m thinking about you today!”

The uncle was so touched by this magic that he almost cried. Except that men from the Cowboy State don’t cry per se. It’s a genetic thing. Instead they have routine testosterone runoffs through their eye ducts.

The tough-guy uncle was so inspired after this email that he sat at his computer and sent a few similar messages to his friends. The messages all went something like:

“You’re in my thoughts today… I want you to know that I care, and I truly love you. Merry Christmas.”

He received 23 replies in an hour. Many of his friends responded by saying that after reading his kindhearted email, they too were suffering from male pattern optical discharge syndrome. These email recipients went on to send identical heartfelt emails to THEIR people. On and on it went.

Magical powers.

This leads us to me. Here in Florida I received one of these messages, which is what originally prompted my curiosity. The well-wishes arrived yesterday morning in the form of a text message from someone I barely know in Montanna.

The thing is, I woke up feeling pretty crummy yesterday, and a little downhearted. Our region has had a recent surge in coronavirus cases. Virtually everyone within my social circle is sick. Isolation has me feeling bummed.

Then (ding!) a random text pops up.

The person said they were thinking about me. My mood was instantly altered. I couldn’t believe how a single message could affect me. So I spent the day tracking down the source of this mini-domino effect and it led me out West, to a kid.

This morning I called the boy to discuss his magical powers. When his mother put him on the phone, our interview immediately became sidetracked. Because if there’s one thing I have learned over the years from interviewing children, it’s that kids rarely stay on topic for more than .003 nanoseconds. All you can do is follow their random neural firings.

For some reason this 6-year-old was confused and thought I was going to put him on TV. And no matter how many times I insisted that I was not with TV people, his hyperactive brain did not receive my message.

“I’m nervous about being on TV,” he said.

“No, you’re not going to be on TV, I called to ask you a few—”

“Do I hafta dress up?”

“You’re not going to be on TV.”

“I have a tie.”

“Look, I’m not with any TV people.”

“A green tie.”

“I called because I wanted to ask you about an email you sent.”

“With little stripes on it.”

And so it went.

After our short, disjointed conversation, this kid got me thinking. If a cheerful 6-year-old can possess magical abilities, what about a middle-aged guy with high cholesterol and an upside-down mortgage?

So I tried a magical experiment of my own. I sent text messages to people who I haven’t spoken to in years. I told them I was thinking about them. I even texted my old boss, who—how do I put this?—has not always been my favorite American.

To my surprise, my old boss was the first to reply. He texted: “Me? Seriously? Wow, I needed this today, man.”

More texts flooded in. In fact, my phone hasn’t quit vibrating.

One reply said: “I didn’t think anyone ever thought about me.”

Another: “This totally made my day. Merry Christmas.”

And another: “Do these magical powers work on the ladies? Asking for a friend.”

So although this whole Christmas magic experiment was aimed at making other people feel better, do you know what happened instead? What happened is that for the first time in a long time, despite the state of our sad world, despite all the problems in society, right now this writer feels as sunny as a 6-year-old.

Wyoming. What a downright magical place.

54 comments

  1. Katherine Karsten - December 22, 2020 7:06 am

    What a great story! For some reason, your story reminded me of Dave Barry’s writings.

    Reply
  2. Sandi. - December 22, 2020 7:38 am

    Fantastic idea to send messages to friends far and wide just to say “Thinking of You”! I do hope that 6 year old Wyoming boy with the green striped tie reads your column soon and is further encouraged by your kind words.

    Reply
  3. Ms Mickey deZlaup - December 22, 2020 7:59 am

    ❤️

    Reply
  4. Melanie Johnston Levy - December 22, 2020 9:06 am

    Thank you, Sean…I have a son named Sean and my husband is an older version of you…i’d send a picture but I’m afraid you would probably not see it…

    Anyway, I was young once and now am in the 3rd tier of getting the vaccine…im still 25 on the inside!!!

    Reply
  5. Te Burt - December 22, 2020 10:07 am

    I don’t need sunny magical emails, from Wyoming or otherwise. I am your eternally, obnoxiously, disgustingly cheerful happy person – maybe the only one in the entire country besides the kid from Wyoming. But that’s because i retired — and I am the ultimate “crazy cat lady.” Do you suppose cats are magical, too? I have one named Magic. She’s black, of course. I think cats are as good as magic in Wyoming. I can send you a cat if that will help. Do you think Thelma Lou would like a cat?

    Reply
  6. Ann - December 22, 2020 11:34 am

    I think you may have started something today….brilliant and magical!

    Reply
  7. Debbie g - December 22, 2020 12:07 pm

    I’m in !! Wonderful idea from our friend in Wyoming. And thank you for sharing Sean. You do have a way with words 😀😀😀

    Reply
  8. Heidi - December 22, 2020 12:36 pm

    You & your buddy from Wyoming have inspired me. Going to send out emails this morning. You know how being cooped up at the beginning drove you crazy? Well, I’m getting used to it now. I think that’s what happens to caged animals. They give up. I need to make an effort to get some normalcy back.

    Reply
  9. Kate - December 22, 2020 1:13 pm

    Sean, if you and Jamie truly have never been to Wyoming, you should go, because it is magical, and stay in Cody. Cody is a charming town and has an amazing museum, the Buffalo Bill Museum. (The Buffalo Bill Museum is actually five museums – Western Art, Buffalo Bill – who had quite a history, the Plains Indians, a natural history museum and the Cody Firearms museum.) The town was founded (at least in part) by Buffalo Bill Cody who had the famous Wild West shows. Cody still has a rodeo and you can enter Yellowstone from the eastern entrance from Cody. I don’t live in Wyoming but wish I did.

    Reply
    • Linda Goaf - January 28, 2021 10:54 pm

      Sooo many people wish they lived there after one visit … me , I live in the Rockies, in a very small Colorado town … I feel blessed, but, after many trips into WY, I, too, wish I lived there 😄

      Reply
  10. Kate - December 22, 2020 1:16 pm

    Te Burt, I have two friends like you, and I always wonder how they got like they are. They light up a room when they come in, are so happy and jovial, and have always been like that. I always wish they would blow some of their pixie dust on me.

    Reply
  11. Jan - December 22, 2020 1:20 pm

    Love this! Thank you!

    Reply
  12. Joan Crowson - December 22, 2020 1:26 pm

    I’m ashamed to say I did not discover your writings until a couple of weeks ago when Erin Napier of Hometown reposted one of them. I immediately signed up for your emails and have been diligently working through your archives. You lift spirits and make your readers think. I cannot imagine having a more satisfying outcome in you profession. Thank you for your words. They do produce magic.

    Reply
  13. Ralph - December 22, 2020 1:59 pm

    Sean; YOU have two choices every day; feel good or feel bad! Your choice! One day it will not be your choice! So… you decide! Every day is a good day; some are better than others!!

    Reply
  14. billllly - December 22, 2020 2:17 pm

    Sean, you are a wonderful writer and help get my days off to a great start. billllly (from way up North almost all the way to Alabama)

    Reply
  15. Mary Burns - December 22, 2020 2:36 pm

    I needed this today. Thanks for sharing your experience. And thanks to a 6 year old from Wyoming.

    Reply
  16. Phil (Brown Marlin) - December 22, 2020 2:46 pm

    You are right – Wyoming is not heavily populated, except during tourist season (not so much this year, I imagine), but it is a magical place because it has Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, and Jackson Hole, setting for those great old movies, Shane and Spencer’s Mountain.
    You are also right about kids on the phone. When I speak long distance with my 5 year old grandson, his attention span is shorter than my toenails. I can be chatting away and my son will come on and say, “Give up, he’s left the building to go ride his bike.”
    Going to try your plan of reaching out with Christmas texts and e-mails, which leads me to say to and Jamie and all your family and your readers, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

    Reply
  17. MermaidGrammy - December 22, 2020 2:55 pm

    Your magical powers start my day. Every day. So many people think of you during the day. You are our light. Wyoming is breathtakingly beautiful

    Reply
  18. Linda - December 22, 2020 2:58 pm

    Love this! Wyoming is a magical place and I am proud to call it home.

    Reply
  19. Josh S Baldwin - December 22, 2020 3:12 pm

    I live in Wyoming. It does exist. And us Wyomingites truly live in a magical place. Cheers to the rest of you people living in non magical places. I am sprinkling magical Wyoming dust on all of you. This will make you day better. Promise.

    Reply
  20. Christina - December 22, 2020 3:45 pm

    Wyoming is magic, come for a visit! But not during winter because the roads are closed half the time for snow. Start in Rapid City, South Dakota and drive your way west to Cody as the person above suggested. Head south to the Teton mountain range. You won’t be disappointed.

    Reply
  21. Tracy - December 22, 2020 4:02 pm

    Once again Sean you moved me to email a former coworker who may be hurting during these hard times..sending her love 💘..what a gift you have. Thank you for sharing..

    Reply
  22. Nick Fullerton - December 22, 2020 4:04 pm

    Commenting from the mythical City of Casper, WY where today the weather is 50/50. Check a weather report … 50 degrees and 50 mph. You’re article was inspiring.

    Reply
  23. Helen De Prima - December 22, 2020 4:16 pm

    Magic is more like to occur in places where people aren’t jammed together like chickens on their way to becoming parts and poultry by-products. Southern Wyoming has been a magical place for me since I was fourteen years old.

    Reply
  24. Jackie Wolfe - December 22, 2020 4:41 pm

    So I’m watching a Christmas movie on Lifetime and I see this commercial. There’s this guy with a great red beard (my husband has a great beard) and the server calls him “Sean of the South”. I’m wondering if this is a real person and So I Google. And I find this! Just exactly what I needed! I’ve been to Wyoming and it is magical! And so is your writing!!!
    Merry Christmas!!!
    Jackie from Chattanooga

    Reply
  25. John Tate - December 22, 2020 4:56 pm

    Wyoming is, indeed, magical. I came to teach in Wyoming and I’m still here over 46 years later!😁 I’m pretty sure we have some other six year olds with magical powers, too! Great read and idea. Merry Christmas!!

    Reply
  26. pat Tweddle - December 22, 2020 5:18 pm

    Being from Cody Wyoming, you are right, it is a Wonderful Beautiful Magical place.

    Reply
  27. joan moore - December 22, 2020 5:27 pm

    Y’all should go, it is a magical place.Get a milkshake at the drugstore in Chugwater and pick up the famous Chili mix.Go see The Plains hotel in Cheyenne. Visit the Buffalo Bill Museum in Cody and be amazed.Marvel at Yellowstone and fee I’ll broke in Jackson Hole. But you must go.

    Reply
  28. Susan - December 22, 2020 5:31 pm

    I’m originally from Montana. Moved to Wyoming a little over a year ago!! Yes, we have magical powers out west! It’s all about the wide open spaces and Big Sky Country! Sending magical dust to the East and South!!

    Reply
  29. Linda Moon - December 22, 2020 5:32 pm

    I’ve travelled Out West several times, but never got to Wyoming nor met anyone from there. I’ve been to Atlanta a lot, and someone I know and love resides there in the midst of the many millions. One little 6-year-old boy’s words were magic. I rarely text, but if I did here are words I’d send to you: “I’m thinking about you. You make many of my days. You are a magician of the written word. You are wonderful. Your live events and podcasts are exciting. You, Sean, possess magic.”

    Reply
  30. Kevin Foley - December 22, 2020 6:53 pm

    What a great, great story! And computers in Wyoming, who’d have thought?

    Reply
  31. MR - December 22, 2020 6:57 pm

    Get ready, Sean, your fan base is about to triple! Please, don’t change a thing and stay humble😊

    Reply
  32. Jackie Powers - December 22, 2020 7:15 pm

    Jackie–Dec 22. My family has lived in Wyoming for over 100 years. It is truly a wonderful, magical place. (Only 2 escalators, really?) Thanks for your smile inducing story. This is how I want to remember ending 2020.

    Reply
  33. MARYLIN ANDERSON - December 22, 2020 7:24 pm

    My first visit to Wyoming was with my Mom and Dad when I was almost 15. We stayed in a cabin at the Old Faithful Lodge in Yellowstone National Park. Our cabin had sinks with running water, but no potty. The toilets were a few steps from the cabin. When we saw bears digging in the trashcans for food, Mom and I decided we would NOT need the facilities that night.

    The geysers were amazing, especially Old Faithful. We entered Yellowstone from the Colorado side, which is near The Grand Tetons and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. BEAUTIFUL! One day we left the park through the north gate so we could say we went to Montana. I think it was Gardner Mountain. When our visit at Yellowstone ended, we left through the west gate into Idaho. A former boyfriend (I think we were 11 or 12 then) told all his friends his girlfriend from Texas had come all the way to Idaho, just to see him. Yeah, right. Guess it gave him an ego charge.

    One thing I must tell you is beware of the mosquitoes. You have told us about the treacherous mosquitoes in the Florida panhandle, but these things were HUGE and jet-propelled! While trying to change a flat tire, Mom got out of the car to try to wave the mosquitoes out of Daddy’s face, so he could see what he was doing. I stayed INSIDE the car and tried to kill as many as I could with something, maybe a magazine or roadmap. A vacation to remember, for sure.

    A few years ago counselors at high schools were invited to visit WYO Tech. Hey, a free trip to Wyoming! Why not! Our trip started with a flight from El Paso to Phoenix to Denver, then a bus ride to Wyoming. We enjoyed touring the campus of WYO Tech and brought back some information to share with students interested in studying automotive technology and such.

    The scenery in Wyoming and Colorado is gorgeous. My husband is from Alabama (Semmes) and has never seen Wyoming, Montana, Idaho or Utah. So that road trip is on our bucket list.

    Merry Christmas, Sean and Jamie and Mother Mary. I look forward to reading your stories and hope to see you again someday when you start performing for live audiences again.

    Reply
  34. Peggy Jones - December 22, 2020 8:44 pm

    This was delightful as were all the comments. It certainly brightened this blustery “Mary Poppins” type day out here on the prairie of nowhere Wyoming. I live some where out between Billings Montana and Cody Wyoming and love the small town, slow pace, friendly folks. Such a difference from California!! It is a beautiful state. Come out and visit us after life gets back to normal y’all!!

    Reply
  35. Justin Lawson - December 22, 2020 9:55 pm

    Living in Wyoming, I can confirm that our genetics prevent us from crying. We are also immune to freezing winds and the psychological effects shitty cell service.

    Reply
  36. Justin Lawson - December 22, 2020 9:56 pm

    Living in Wyoming, I can confirm that our genetics prevent us from crying. We are also immune to freezing winds and the psychological effects shitty cell service. We are also continuously screwed by ISPs who charge us way too much for pretty much dial-up so send help.

    Reply
  37. MAM - December 22, 2020 10:53 pm

    Wyoming is magic! Laramie is where my husband from New York City and I from an itty bitty town in Texas met and married. And 52 plus years later, it’s still a very loving marriage, but no longer in Wyoming where there are only two seasons—winter and July 4th—and one year we were snowed on in the mountains in Wyoming. Merry Christmas, Sean and Jamie!

    Reply
  38. Bill - December 22, 2020 11:47 pm

    I’m thinking about all the people that need to be thought of…Merry Christmas

    Reply
  39. Aaron klinker - December 23, 2020 12:29 am

    I’m from Laramie Wyoming. The town with the tallest building in the state. Our stadium is the third largest city when it is full. I’m also magical. I’m 37.

    Reply
  40. Aaron klinker - December 23, 2020 12:31 am

    Wyoming is awesome. Leave us alone. Stay healthy and leave us alone.

    Reply
  41. lynda - December 23, 2020 12:57 am

    Paying it forward, Sean………………….“You’re in my thoughts today… I want you to know that I care, and I truly love you. Merry Christmas.”
    After all ~ redheads have always been my fav-o-rite people. Always have been.

    Reply
  42. MS FRANCES B CLYMER - December 23, 2020 1:02 am

    I live in Wyoming and was delighted to read what a profound effect a six year old Wyoming boy can have on others. As the author notes, we live in difficult times. May the joy continue to touch many people.

    Reply
  43. Patty - December 23, 2020 1:59 am

    I moved to Buffalo, WY seven years ago because I had experienced this magic every time I visited and I wanted to be a part of it. Thanks for sharing your story, and come visit us soon. But not today. Today we are having a blizzard. 🌬️❄️

    Reply
  44. Al - December 23, 2020 6:06 am

    Just reading your article made me happy!

    Reply
  45. Della Holmes Drews *Born Southern Turned Western - December 23, 2020 3:43 pm

    SOOOOOOO GOOOD!! Thank you Sean. This made my heart smile super hard. Sending you love from wild and wonderful Wyoming !

    Reply
  46. Bruce (Detroit to Mobile snowbird) - December 23, 2020 5:57 pm

    Sean, I love your daily commentaries, and I hope you keep doing them for decades, but let’s get one thing straight here: any six year old from Michigan knows that the Detroit Tigers are real, and they may even get better in this decade. On the other hand, not even a six year old is going to claim Detroit has a professional football team …

    Reply
  47. Jeannie C. - December 24, 2020 3:36 am

    Ah! Wyoming! We live in western Nebraska, but have a farm in Wyoming and go across the line quite often. I can tell you that my Wyoming man’s parents were among the most incredible people in the world. When we lived on our farm after we got married, I could feel the stress level ease out of me as the wind blew the stress off across the high plains. But Wyoming is much more than Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, and Cody. It’s also Cheyenne Frontier Days, the Granddaddy of them all. It’s Fort Laramie, the first settlement in Wyoming. (A fascinating place, especially on the 4th of July!) It’s down the road a piece to Guernsey where you find the names of the pioneers inscribed in Register Cliff, and then the Oregon Trail Ruts. It’s Rawhide Butte near Lusk, and the Wyoming Territorial Prison at Laramie. (NOT the same as Fort Laramie.) Wyoming is a land that is rich in heritage, and the people who live there will stay by you through thick and thin. It’s the Natural Bridge near Douglas, and Laramie Peak. It’s also Thermopolis and Flaming Gorge. It’s a wild beauty all over the state, and no two places are the same. Soon, my husband and I will retire and move home again, and I can’t wait!

    Reply
  48. Patricia Gibson - December 25, 2020 1:10 am

    Amen and Merry Merry Christmas 🎁🎄

    Reply
  49. Lorraine - December 26, 2020 1:43 am

    I am a transplant from Montana & I agree Wyoming is magical!!!!

    Reply
  50. Frances Drube - December 29, 2020 5:18 am

    Well Sir you may only see a black hole when you look at Wyoming so that tells me that you’ve never been here. You’ve never seen Heaven until you go up on the mountain here in Wyoming. I prefer the Big Horn Mountains up above Buffalo, Wyoming. A two hour drive for me. With No lights on , you walk out into a clearing and look up at the sky and the stars are like nothing you’ve ever seen in your life. Not just a few, but layers and layers of the most beautiful light show EVER. GOD LIVES IN WYOMING.

    Reply
  51. Julie - January 11, 2021 3:52 pm

    Sweet story that reminds me of the Parable of the Mustard Seed…once planted, it keeps growing and it spreads and it grows and it spreads. Thank YOU, Sean, for planting the “seed of thoughtfulness”❣️ The world needs more of what this magical 6 year old from Wyoming started‼️
    Sincerely, a Detroit Tigers fan💙🤍🧡

    Reply
  52. Katherine - January 21, 2021 7:03 pm

    Really rare human here: third generation Wyomingite. The western part of the state is gorgeous, but the high plains have charm, too. I must be a neighbor of Jeanine’s (above) as I live 8 miles from Nebraska.
    We welcome all transplants!

    Reply
  53. Steve from Wyoming - July 26, 2021 1:58 am

    Paul Havery once said about Wyoming “when people are living with space between them,they are somehow closer”. Never has anyone said a better compliment about us from Wyoming. Thank you Sean for confirming that.

    Reply

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