What I Wish

You know what I wish? I wish there were free pancakes for the whole world. Call me a dreamer, but I believe that pancakes slathered in butter and syrup are one of the secrets to a rich and happy life.

Will that sugar rot our teeth? Yes. Will the calories go straight to our butts? You bet. But we will be happy.

Growing up, whenever my mother made pancakes, you just knew it was going to be a good day. Not even hell itself can stand in the way of a man who’s had his pancakes.

A long time ago, I used to volunteer at a little church that always held pancake breakfasts for the homeless, underprivileged, and lonely. Several of us volunteers would spend a week stapling flyers to hundreds of telephone poles.

The flyers’ message was simple: “FREE PANCAKES!”

The fellowship hall would be slammed with children, single mothers, old men with stained clothes, young men on their way to the work, old women who lived by themselves, all holding paper plates. It was as though everyone from 18 counties had come to have fun, eat pancakes, and get some good old-fashioned type-two diabetes.

So that’s what I wish. During the midst of the troubled world we’re living in, I wish everyone could have pancakes and forget about their problems for a while.

Since I’m on a roll with my wishing, I also wish there were more old movies on television. Have you ever wondered where all the old-time movies went? Oh, sure, we have plenty of modern movies and modern actors who cant seem to keep their clothes on for two consecutive scenes.

But where are Charlie Chaplain and Buster Keaton? Come back John Wayne and Randolph Scott. I miss you Katherine Hepburn.

There’s something else I wish, too. I wish Louis Armstrong were played on more stereos. If for no other reason than because his music makes people feel good. And I wish today’s kids could learn about jazz.

Over the years, I’ve met a lot of kids who have never even HEARD the word jazz. Certainly, they’ve experienced many other expressly American things. They’ve played baseball, they’ve studied the Constitution, they’ve learned how to drive on the right side of the road and use their American Digit when someone cuts them off. But they can’t name a single jazz standard.

I once had a friend who was a former Auburn University music professor. He was an elderly man when I knew him, and he believed jazz was the story of America.

After all, to many of our ancestors jazz wasn’t just a musical style, it was an age. It crossed boundaries and broke rules, and it never hurt anyone.

But enough about that. I see several of you have fallen asleep. So I’m also wishing that someday, perhaps in the far-off future, yellow flies will leave Florida forever. I don’t care where they go.

Also, I wish baseball would return. I hope that when this pandemic is over people will once again experience the thrill found in cheering for the same thing. It’s a powerful feeling to be sitting in the nosebleeds, hollering your guts out with 42,000 True Believers.

One time when I was a kid, I was with my uncle at Fulton County Stadium to see the Atlanta Braves. The woman beside me was an old woman holding a walking stick, eating a hot dog. I’ll never forget when Ron Gant nailed a no-doubter into left field.

The woman stood to her feet, so did I. Then we hugged each other and jumped up and down. It was a spur-of-the-moment kind of thing.

The beauty of this was that we were strangers who couldn’t have been any more different. Me, a young redhead with buck teeth and freckles. Her, an old woman. But there we were. Hugging. Shouting. That’s what baseball can do to people.

I wish that one day they would finally manufacture a vacuum that would please my wife.

A few hours before I wrote this, I finished vacuuming our den. I was very proud of myself housekeeping-wise. But when my wife got home she took one look at our floor and said, “Hey, when are you gonna vacuum?”

That hurt.

I wish that people got less excited about celebrities and more excited about elementary school teachers, EMTs, nurses, and firemen.

I sincerely wish that someday the grocery stores would carry tomatoes that don’t taste like recycled kitty litter pellets. I’d love it if they sold tomatoes that tasted like the ones from Mama’s garden. Homegrown tomatoes are powerful things. One good tomato has the power to change man’s life and make him weep openly.

I wish that someday people would listen to each other, instead of getting angry. I wish the injustices of this planet would finally be amended by the earthshaking powers of decency and gentleness. I hope the same loving force that once cut the Grand Canyon, that sculpted Yosemite, and carved the mighty Mississippi, would help us learn how to get along.

I wish that you could finally realize what a great person you are, and how important you are to the grand symphony of life itself, and how without you this world just wouldn’t work.

But until that happens, I’ll settle for some free pancakes.


  1. Christina - June 11, 2020 6:30 am

    Yes, yes and yes! And I wish you could write a new book soon! (Maybe put these columns into one chronicles of Sean the South?)

  2. Sandi. - June 11, 2020 6:46 am

    I wish mankind could live in harmony and peace. What a better world this would be … different in such a wonderful way!

  3. Cathi Russell - June 11, 2020 7:04 am

    Me too, Sean! In fact, since we’re wishing, I wish that everyone would get to hang out for an hour with a Basset Hound or a Bloodhound (the Basset’s taller cousin) & find out what true peace really is. It’s impossible be stressed while stroking the ears of either breed.

  4. Leslie in NC - June 11, 2020 7:10 am

    Sean, your words “…the earthshaking powers of decency and gentleness“ resonated in my heart very early this morning in the peace and quiet solitude as I sit outside on my porch in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Decency and gentleness seems like such a simple fix if people could just lay down their anger, fear and frustration during this unprecedented time in our lives and replace it with love. And maybe sit down with someone and eat a stack of pancakes.

  5. turtlekid - June 11, 2020 10:52 am

    I wish all those things as well. I pray that all estranged families would reconcile. Your words help!

  6. Jana - June 11, 2020 11:06 am


  7. Jan - June 11, 2020 11:19 am

    Beautiful wishes. I wish your wishes would all come true!

  8. Jerry catherine Deloney - June 11, 2020 11:20 am

    I believe you’ve hit a home run
    Free pancakes, real tomatoes, love and jazz. And I think to myself….what a wonderful world! ❤️

  9. Amy - June 11, 2020 11:34 am

    Sean your words and message are beauty in this troubled world! I wish for the same things. Let’s just all get along and be kind to one another. Thank you. ❤️😊

  10. Skip Bishop - June 11, 2020 11:39 am

    My Morning plans have been altered as I’m slipping out to Kroger (heavily masked and gloved) to garner pancake ingredients. On my return I’ll wake my family with pancakes, Miles Davis and love. I’m gonna tag it out with Steve Wonder on vinyl pumping “I Wish”.

  11. Rebecca Spann - June 11, 2020 11:44 am

    What a wonderful message to wake up to on my birthday. I too want to make a wish for gentleness and decency. Thank you for my daily story and blessing of your powerful but gentle words.

  12. Doug - June 11, 2020 12:36 pm

    Lord, Help me t o love kale, the way you love pancakes, jazz and tomatoes!

  13. Cheryl in N.GA - June 11, 2020 12:52 pm

    Well said, Leslie in NC. Our Maker allowed us free will, hoping, no doubt, that we would become super heros by using the powers He gave us of decency and gentleness. My favorite place to have my quiet time of a morning is on my porch in the mountains of North Georgia. I heard this song bu the Gaithers the other day and it has really stuck with me:

    “They pushed back from the table
    To listen to His words
    His secret plan before He had to go
    It’s not complicated
    Don’t need a lot of rules
    This is all you’ll need to know:

    Loving God, loving each other
    Making music with my friends
    Loving God, loving each other
    And the story never ends

    We tend to make it harder
    Build steeples out of stone
    Fill books with explanations of The Way
    But if we’d stop and listen
    And break a little bread
    We would hear the Master say

    Loving God, loving each other
    Making music with my friends
    Loving God, loving each other
    And the story never ends.”

  14. Sue Rhodus - June 11, 2020 1:08 pm

    I wish these things along with you. Common decency is lost among turmoil today !

  15. Ala Red Clay Girl - June 11, 2020 1:15 pm

    I wish that every person had peace in his heart.

  16. Nell Richardson - June 11, 2020 2:19 pm

    About tomatoes? What you said! Ditto decency and gentleness!

  17. Bob Stewart - June 11, 2020 2:37 pm

    Sean. When your time permits, check out the Lyrics to
    Glen Campbell’s son: TRY A LITTLE KINDNESS.

  18. Brenda McCutchen - June 11, 2020 2:44 pm

    Sean, I know you get letters, emails and perhaps pony express deliveries all the time about your columns. I can’t add anymore than what has already been said, but I agree with all the ones who encourage you and love you, and can’t wait for your next column. BRAVO, Sean, BRAVO!

  19. Karen Irby - June 11, 2020 3:00 pm

    Thank you, Sean. I needed this today! Love from Alabama!

  20. Dean - June 11, 2020 3:22 pm

    So glad I found your column it helps so much to start the day.

  21. Harriet Bryan - June 11, 2020 3:36 pm

    Remember “Knockahomer” and Rico Cardy in’s 500. center field and Hank

  22. Dee Frances Hoomes Wichman from Damascus, AL but now of Ocean Springs, MS - June 11, 2020 3:46 pm

    TCM, Turner Classic Movies has the old movies you like. I watched a great one the other day called, or close to it, Our Vines have Tender Grapes. It starred Edward G. Robinson and the cute little O’ Brian child actress. No nudity. No profanity. Just people being nice to other people. Hallmark channels also have some good movies. I have seen a lot of changes in the world during my 75 years. I wouldn’t call it progress. Where once we had respect for other people, other countries and other peoples’ things; where abortion was considered murder and homosexuality was a sin and people used to sit on the porch and have face to face conversations unless a phone rang in the house and you had to go in to answer it because it was attached to the wall, we have digressed to contacting each other by cell phones or computer and manners, morals, respect and common sense are lost in the past. I do enjoy your writing. Keep on keeping on! I love you.

  23. Robert M Brenner - June 11, 2020 4:16 pm

    This to me is your best yet! You sure do make sense! How about being President for six months and getting us all on the right track. I know you could do it, bring Will Rogers back to life! You two would be awesome as a team!!

  24. Linda Moon - June 11, 2020 4:19 pm

    I’m glad you answered that question about your wishes, Dreamer. If you had grown up in my household with my two creative kids you would’ve had free pancakes every Saturday morning. Right now I’m looking at my Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton four DVD movie set and also my guy’s old VHS of “Ride Lonesome”, starring Randolph Scott. If you’re ever in my neck of the woods when this pandemic is over, drop by…..we’ll watch movies and eat pancakes!

  25. Shelton A. - June 11, 2020 4:54 pm

    Amen, brother Sean! Pancakes do unite and maybe while we stuffed our faces we could listen to each other. I miss baseball, too. I wish TBS still carried the Braves and there were no more Yankees haters on TV games. We can dream, can’t we?

  26. Jenny Dillon - June 11, 2020 5:07 pm

    Love this! 🙂

  27. Cheryl - June 11, 2020 5:21 pm

    This reminds me of the song, “My Wish” by Rascal Flatts.

    I hope the days come easy and the moments pass slow,
    And each road leads you where you wanna go,
    And if you’re faced with a choice, and you have to choose,
    I hope you choose the one that means the most to you.
    And if one door opens to another door closed,
    I hope you keep on walkin’ till you find the window,
    If it’s cold outside, show the world the warmth of your smile.
    But more than anything, more than anything

    My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
    Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small,
    You never need to carry more than you can hold,
    And while you’re out there getting where you’re getting to,
    I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,
    Yeah, this, is my wish.

    I hope you never look back, but you never forget,
    All the ones who love you, in the place you live,
    I hope you always forgive, and you never regret,
    And you help somebody every chance you get,
    Oh, you find God’s grace, in every mistake,
    And always give more than you take.
    But more than anything, yeah, more than anything

    My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
    Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small,
    You never need to carry more than you can hold,
    And while you’re out there getting where you’re getting to,
    I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,
    Yeah, this, is my wish. Yeah, yeah.

    My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
    Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small,
    You never need to carry more than you can hold,
    And while you’re out there getting where you’re getting to,
    I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,

    Yeah, this, is my wish (my wish, for you).
    This is my wish (my wish, for you)
    I hope you know somebody loves you (my wish, for you).
    May all your dreams stay big (my wish, for you)
    Source: LyricFind

  28. allane Hybart - June 11, 2020 5:42 pm

    You are so on the right track for wishes for this country to get back to what made it great – many thanks..

  29. Judy Bludsworth - June 11, 2020 6:14 pm

    I wish all these things too !!

  30. Bill in Florida - June 11, 2020 6:23 pm

    Every summer there is a free tomato sandwich festival at the Farmers Market in Valley (Langdale), AL. Over 300 free sandwiches are given away and these are locally grown tomatoes. Wish I lived closer.

  31. Mary M Berryman - June 11, 2020 7:51 pm

    May all your wishes come true, Sean!

  32. catladymac - June 11, 2020 8:17 pm

    Ronnie Gant …and pancakes. YES !

  33. Linda Moon - June 11, 2020 10:22 pm

    P.S. I agree with Christina. One of my favorite musicians autographed his Chronicles when he learned that I got my first cancer diagnosis while I was literally waiting for his concert to begin. So I don’t wait to wait ’til another major event, like an internet crash or, God forbid, another malignancy to get your Chronicles that I can add to my wonderful collection of books!

  34. Ann - June 11, 2020 11:42 pm

    I would LOVE to make all your wishes come true!,!

  35. Kathy - June 12, 2020 6:05 pm

    Pancakes do make for a good day.

  36. Martha - June 12, 2020 9:55 pm

    Afraid we will all be eating a lot of pancakes before those wishes come true. Don’t mean to be a kill joy but right now “things ain’t ah looking too good”. Still, we can always wish and hope !

  37. Steve Winfield [Lifer] - June 13, 2020 5:39 am

    Christina, get his first couple of books. They’re collections of these stories.

  38. Jon Dragonfly - June 13, 2020 2:28 pm

    Hey, Sesn, don’t send them yella flies to Alabama, ’cause we……awww,HECK, they’re already here!

  39. Melanie - June 14, 2020 3:28 am

    Oh dear. I just looked them up “ The female yellow fly is one of the most serious biting fly pests wherever it occurs (males do not bite). It attacks man vigorously, and the bites are painful, often causing large and itchy swellings.”[UFL] Have for years been hoping to move to Florida to retire and thought that mosquitoes, alligators, snakes and flesh eating bacteria would be the worst of my concerns. Then this. 🙁

  40. Nancy Robinson - June 14, 2020 8:37 pm

    What a great statement. I love and agree with every word he said. This man sounds like a guy I would like to have
    for a neighbor, anyone would like to have for a neighbor. I wish more people felt like him, he must have had a
    great mom and dad.

  41. Benjamin Neil Gehlken - July 19, 2020 10:18 pm

    I enjoy pancakes, but to take a crusty plastic honey bear off the table and jam into the folds of a biscuit and fill until it’s running from every wrinkle then running to the sink before it makes a Mess on the floor is a little better.

  42. Sandie Lincoln - July 20, 2020 12:07 am

    I love that movie, Margaret O’Brien was almost as good in that as she was in Meet Me In St Louis. I watched Yankee Doodle Dandy on the 4th and those songs keep running through my mind. Over There, Grand Old Flag and it hurts my heart to think how far away we’ve moved from being patriotic citizens who are proud of being Americans. I don’t know know how we resolve all of the anger, hatred and evil that surrounds us, but I still believe God is blessing this wonderful country, especially during these horrific times.

  43. Steve (Lifer) - July 20, 2020 12:56 am

    A friend of mine growing up got pancakes every morning, so did his 3 dogs. His mom cooked a big stack of monster cakes. Each one as big as an iron skillet. The dogs got 2 each covered in Mrs. Butterworths. Both my friend & the dogs were a little on the “husky” side.

  44. Gina Beiler - July 20, 2020 11:52 am

    Oh how I love that movie! I’ve seen it several times and I never get tired of it. I don’t go to movies anymore. There’s too much nudity and dirty language. And mamma told me they were both substitutes for talent and intelligence. She was right. I think my mamma was always right.


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