What Im Thankful For

First off, I’m thankful for long drives in the country.

If there is anything better than a leisurely drive through America’s hay bales and cotton rows, I don’t care to know what it is.

When I was a kid, we used to take Sunday drives. Around sunset, we’d all pile into the family Ford and drive. Windows down. Shoes off. Farmland whipping by our windows at 45 mph.

Mama sat up front, reading “Good Housekeeping.” Daddy spit sunflower seeds. “Unchained Melody” played on the radio. My sister and I counted cattle.

Times have changed. Today’s families don’t take many leisurely drives. When they do, the kids are busy checking TikTok while Mama keeps one finger on the wheel and snaps selfies.

I’m also thankful for Smucker’s peanut butter, 22-year-old F-150s, Levi’s, Folgers, East Bay oysters, national parks, onion rings and stop signs.

I’m thankful for babies, who erase sadness from our world. For clean public bathrooms. I’m even thankful for fools. Without them, the rest of us would never succeed.

I’m particularly thankful for old churches. I love old churches with old preachers and elderly congregations.

If you’ve ever felt like the world is turning to rotgut; if you’ve ever lost faith in your fellow human, go visit an old church. It will change your mind.

I’m thankful for animal rescues. Approximately 4.1 million dogs and cats are rescued each year in the U.S. And each year, approximately 810,000 strays who enter American shelters are reunited with their owners. Say what you will about this nation, but we rescue more animals than Europe, Asia, or any other continent.

I’m grateful for Pepé the horse. Pepé’s previous owner beat him and dragged him behind a vehicle for several miles. He is missing part of his face, and he’s mostly blind. He was rescued by a 26-year-old woman who adopted him, who sleeps beside his stall each night, lying in a cot, because she doesn’t want him to be alone.

I love two-lane highways, phone booths still in operation, flea markets, live oaks, the Appalachian Mountains, okra, and I adore “Shuffleton’s Barbershop” by Norman Rockwell.

I’m also grateful for the humble Mexican restaurant.

Have you ever walked into a Mexican restaurant hungry, thirsty and tired? Have you ever sat in your booth and listened to a brass banda play overhead as you eat salty chips and sip an ice cold Tecáte?

While I’m on the subject, I’m especially thankful for Birmingham, Alabama. My home.

Birmingham is an underrecognized, unsung and under-the-radar city. Nobody ever talks about Birmingham in the national news unless it involves a crooked politician, a greasy televangelist, a sex scandal, or all three.

Oh sure, you hear a lot of great stuff about New York, Chicago, Atlanta, and LA. But the truth is, and I mean this from the depths of my heart, no matter what anyone says, Birmingham’s barbecue can kick all y’all’s butts.

Today, I’m specifically thankful for a certain 10-year-old. This child was recently left at a rest stop by his drug addicted mother. I’m grateful that child was adopted yesterday by an elderly couple who decided their life would be infinitely richer with a sweet little boy in it.

I’m grateful for the young woman who lost both legs, but has still managed to teach herself to run again, with the help of prosthetic running blades.

I am thankful for the middle-aged woman who was abused by her father as a girl; who returned to her elderly father’s home to serve as his caregiver; who helped her father die with dignity although he did not deserve it.

I am thankful for forgiveness. Waffle House. Samuel Clemens. And my mother. For my wife, without whom I would probably be living in my car.

For my blind dog, Marigold. For my bloodhound, Thelma Lou. For my alleged Labrador, Otis Campbell. And I speak for all dogs when I say: Thank you, Lord, for squirrels.

I am thankful for November sunsets, when the sky becomes so intoxicatingly pink and gold that you feel your heart slow. I am appreciative of autumn evenings.

Evenings when you can’t help but reflect on all things you’re grateful for. When you can’t think of anything better to do than to pile your wife and dogs into the family Ford, and take a long drive.


  1. Krissybear - November 4, 2022 7:26 am

    This! ❤️

    • Sharron - November 29, 2022 2:54 pm

      I totally agee! This piece is one of a kind. Loved reading it..❤

  2. Lucinda Gentry - November 4, 2022 7:59 am

    And Sean I’m thankful for you!

  3. Debbie - November 4, 2022 8:06 am

    I also have so many reasons to be thankful. Many, many reasons. I’m sorry to say that in spite of all the many ways God has blessed me, I so often forget to tell Him how grateful I am. He showers so many loving gifts on me every day. So, thank you for the reminder. God bless you, Sean.

  4. PMc - November 4, 2022 8:47 am

    I am thankful for the memories of this life that God has blessed me with, the family, friends and my sweet pets. I was also blessed with Sunday afternoon rides and southern cooks that fed us so well. I’m thankful to have the opportunity to have your blog to enjoy and read the comments shared by some kindred souls.💞
    Peace and Love from Birmingham

  5. Trent - November 4, 2022 9:08 am

    Amen & Bless Your Heart! Nailed it again! Grateful to start each day with Sean of the South.

  6. Cathie Fowler - November 4, 2022 9:36 am

    Particularly enjoyed today’s column. Being thankful is a gift. I had a dear friend that wrote just a line or two every night about what she was thankful for that day. After she passed away, her kids found boxes of notebooks in the attic from her thankfulness each day. What a blessing! Wish I’d gotten one…

  7. Ralph Henderson - November 4, 2022 10:05 am

    Wonderfully written.

  8. Te - November 4, 2022 10:17 am

    A bloodhound, Marigold, AND Otis! Geez, all you need is an anklebiter to confuse all of them! I’m thankful to start my day with your column, and know that you are in my world even though we’ll never meet. And oak trees, the Appalachians, my genetic roots, and 3 yrs in Boston, which spoke to my soul from the minute I set foot on an icy sidewalk and immediately ended up staring at the sky. For cataract surgery so that I can see those sunsets and the incredible color of the sky.

  9. Katy Wilson - November 4, 2022 10:21 am

    I’m thankful for you! Because of all that you are, especially your heart, soul and authors pen. God bless you, you sweet wife and all you pups.

  10. CiCi Gingrey - November 4, 2022 10:46 am

    I’m thankful for you, Sean…even though you make me tear up on a regular basis. If tears are cathartic, you have me covered! Thank you. 😊 This column was a good reminder to focus on gratitude ahead of this busy season where it’s so easy for a mother to get so caught up in busy-ness that thankfulness is reordered to the last thing on our lists. So truly. I am thankful for you each morning in my email.

  11. Debbie g - November 4, 2022 10:50 am

    Bless you Sean we are thankful for you and Jamie love to all

  12. Diana - November 4, 2022 11:09 am

    Thanks, Sean. Like you I’m thankful for the simpler things. I’m so thankful that I grew up when life was simpler and that I have those memories.

  13. Bonnie Stewart - November 4, 2022 11:11 am

    Sean: Marigold inspires me. You inspire me. I am thankful for both of you as well as so many other things, innumerable for sure. God Bless You. Also, I don’t know what you ask for in the “website” part of this comment area. I am old but happy. I have the great fortune of fostering puppies for our Franklin County Humane Society here on the Forgotten Coast and caring for many dogs in the community. I am very blessed with health and God and friends. AND YOU!

  14. Julia - November 4, 2022 11:19 am

    Thank you so much Sean.

  15. Nana - November 4, 2022 11:42 am

    Thanks for the thankfuls! Ride on up the road a little ways to Odenville sometime. Come to Sunday church. We’ll feed you. ♥️

  16. Donna - November 4, 2022 11:45 am

    Yep..I am thankful for you…you put a smile on my face and sometimes a tear in my eye but you always bless my heart!

  17. jgarrison75 - November 4, 2022 11:47 am

    Yes, there is much for which we should be thankful


  18. Patsy Hudson - November 4, 2022 11:48 am

    I am thankful for you. Your writing has touched my heart many times but this morning was especially tugging at my 83 year old soul. I am thankful for the reminder of wonderful memories.God bless you🙏🏼

  19. RW - November 4, 2022 11:50 am

    Thanks for the reminder to Thankfulness!! – It truly is a healer for so many of our problems if we would just be more thankful- like the good book says… ( And above all things be THANKFUL)

  20. Ann - November 4, 2022 11:51 am

    My husband calledIt nostalgic. I call it amazing I think a lot of us feel this way as we sit and reflect on what We’re thankful for but we never say it aloud. It needs to be said out loud for all to hear. Thank you Sean!!!! For prodding us to name those things we are thankful for!!!

  21. Priscilla Rodgers - November 4, 2022 11:57 am

    We should remember what we’re thankful for every day and thank God. Thanks Sean for reminding me.

  22. Carol - November 4, 2022 12:14 pm

    Powerful, as always! A great reminder to ALWAYS be thankful.❤️

  23. Cathy - November 4, 2022 12:20 pm

    And the whole south said “amen”

  24. Sybil Dees - November 4, 2022 12:41 pm

    Love this one Sean. I am 87 and you bring back these good memories to me. After all, all I have now are memories and old photographs. Nevertheless I am grateful for that!

  25. WayneGina Yount - November 4, 2022 12:48 pm

    My husband and I still enjoy long drives almost weekly. We live near the Blue Ridge Parkway in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of N.C. If you haven’t, you and the wife should definitely visit sometime!

  26. Joy Jacobs - November 4, 2022 12:54 pm


  27. Roxanne Taylor - November 4, 2022 12:58 pm

    I am so very thankful for you Sean, for your warm loving heart and your wonderful stories that bless us. My hubby says you can write a story about anyone and anything! Meeting you one day is at the top of my bucket list! God bless you!

  28. Pam Williams - November 4, 2022 1:00 pm

    Thank you for the reminder to look for things to be thankful for! I’m thankful for you!

  29. Anne Arthur - November 4, 2022 1:00 pm

    Yes to all these. And I am thankful for a terrasse surrounded by flowers, golden sunlight filtering through the trees in the garden, happy birds chirping, and a bunch of joyful grandkids climbing a tree for pure fun. Our world is beautiful. I wish some people would take the time to open their eyes and see.

  30. Betsy Batho - November 4, 2022 1:00 pm

    I absolutely love these stories! And for this one…. You are so correct! I belong to one of those small country churches! Friendsville United Methodist, Friendsville Tennessee! It’s the Best. I am thankful for you and your stories that put a smile on my face! May God Bles you!

  31. MermaidGrammy - November 4, 2022 1:12 pm

    I am grateful for you

  32. Beth Wannamaker - November 4, 2022 1:21 pm

    One of the best you have ever written! We all have so very much to be thankful for – and most of it is not the “big” things that people think about – it is the small everyday things that so many people don’t bother to even notice. If we would take time out from the hurriness and busyness of life – just stop and take note of the simple pleasures and gifts that are there for us – we would never find the end to thankfulness!

  33. Patricia Gibson - November 4, 2022 1:24 pm

    Amen is all I can say❤️

  34. Trudy - November 4, 2022 1:25 pm

    So many others have already said it, but I’m especially thankful for you, Sean. You’re a good man and an old soul. You bring joy to me each day. Love to you, Jamie, the fur babies, and to your momma.

  35. Melissa Caudill - November 4, 2022 1:26 pm

    I’m thankful for your incredible gift of writing ♥️

  36. Donna Wageman - November 4, 2022 1:29 pm

    Sean, I am thankful for you. You put into words what so many of us feel but we are verbally challenged. I thank God for putting you in my life. Yes the autumn sunsets warm my ancient heart.

  37. Debbie Gillespie - November 4, 2022 1:34 pm

    And I’m thankful for you, Sean

  38. Michael Hawke - November 4, 2022 1:39 pm

    You keep touching my heart. Thank you. Missing you in Dothan brother.

    One of my favorite old churches is the UMC in Darien, GA. They have a plaque that says John Wesley preached there. That helped me a lot.

    God bless you.

  39. Suzanne Mitchell - November 4, 2022 1:48 pm


  40. Charlotte Halford - November 4, 2022 1:51 pm

    Love this

  41. David - November 4, 2022 2:12 pm

    Thank you Sean for reminding me to be thankful!

  42. Paul Mccutchen - November 4, 2022 2:18 pm

    Morning Sean,
    I grew up in a town that was so small it had only one Four way stop to handle all the traffic. The church I grew up in is down to four members, a lay preacher and his wife, who plays the piano. I am in Georgia now but I miss my small town, which has gotten so small the school closed along with most of the business.
    My cousin lives outside of Birmingham but he agrees with you but he likes it that way.
    We have a rescue also. She looks to be a mix of every small dog around but identifies with a pit bull. She thinks she is to good for a little retractable leash but put her on a ski rope and she is ready to walk.

  43. H. J. Patterson - November 4, 2022 2:38 pm

    There’s not enough ink or paper at Office Depot for me to list what I’m thankful for.

  44. Peggy M. Windham - November 4, 2022 2:40 pm

    I’m thankful for you and your stories! Have a great weekend!💜

  45. Mary R Easterling - November 4, 2022 2:49 pm

    Love this! I’m thankful for you and your stories.

  46. Jayne Loetkeman - November 4, 2022 2:56 pm


  47. Pubert Bozemann - November 4, 2022 2:58 pm

    So damn good Sean. You sure know how to pluck the heart strings! And I agree with you about Birmingham. I don’t live there now but did for 9 years while I was at UAB (SOME FOLKS ARE A LITTLE SLOW) Great city!

    Your friend


  48. Pondcrane - November 4, 2022 3:26 pm

    Also you and your writing:)

  49. Pamela Talbert - November 4, 2022 3:45 pm

    Undo grateful for all of these things and for you for reminding us to be thankful!

  50. Ken P. - November 4, 2022 4:49 pm

    Thankful for your writings! Seen on a church sign one time. “What if today, you woke up with only the things, you thanked God for yesterday.” Food for thought.

    • Susie - November 5, 2022 8:38 pm

      That’s a good one, Ken P! Point taken!!

  51. Dottie Doherty - November 4, 2022 5:13 pm

    You make me smile each time I read your articles. I’m thankful that you give us the gift of your musings each day.

  52. Cathy McGregor - November 4, 2022 5:26 pm

    I am thankful for you.

  53. Linda Moon - November 4, 2022 5:42 pm

    Thank you for reminding me of my gratitude list. You and your wife are on it, and so is the under-recognized city I grew up in. Long drives with pets and long road trips without pets have always brought me great joy, too. The front-porch with its views is calling me now, so good-bye and have a great day!

  54. Ginga - November 4, 2022 6:22 pm

    I’m thankful for Sean of the South!

  55. Dawnie B - November 4, 2022 6:38 pm

    I am thankful I’m from the South. Mobile, Alabama- gumbo, fresh shrimp, oysters, Flounder, crabs. Home of Mardi Gras, Senior Bowl, the Azalea Trail Maids. So much history here, it is always evolving, changing, growing into something better, we pray.
    I am thankful for my family & kin, lots of good folks, God-fearing people who love helping others ❤️

  56. K. D. K. Jones - November 4, 2022 6:54 pm

    Sean – Wonderful to read that you are settling down into your new home in B’ham! Congratulations!
    Sounded like you and Marigold have already “sniffed out” some of the really fine things about life in the AL countryside.
    Am looking forward to hearing more about your new neighbors and what all Life tosses your way ‘neath the Vulcan’s gaze in that Fair City! – Take care and stay safe (Covid is still around!). – DiAn

  57. Karen - November 4, 2022 8:04 pm

    Sean, thank you for reminding me of the many things for which i am grateful.

  58. Ann King - November 4, 2022 9:08 pm

    We took Sunday drives when I was a kid and we loved it! We always got ice cream in Trussville. What a treat!

  59. Pattie Riethmaier - November 4, 2022 9:19 pm

    Thank you Sean. You bless me everyday!

  60. Evelyn Brantley - November 4, 2022 9:21 pm

    I love you!! Thank you for making my day brighter every time I read your column.

  61. Susan W Fitch - November 4, 2022 9:25 pm

    We’ll said, Amen

  62. Robert - November 4, 2022 10:26 pm

    Thankful beyond words for my memories and especially for you Sean for reminding us of better times and what really matters in this world.

  63. Melanie Johnston Levy, LPC - November 4, 2022 10:43 pm

    You’re the best, Sean! I’m grateful for YOU and your writing.

  64. MAM - November 5, 2022 12:10 am

    I’m thankful for the memories, such as the Sunday afternoon drives. What a treat! and we usually ended up at a friend’s house, popping in unexpectedly. They did the same to us. No one does that anymore. Now you always have to call first. What fun is that? I journal every morning and the first sentences I write are all my “thankfuls.” And we love old F-150s, too. My husband’s is 23 years old with more than 200,000 miles on it. Old vehicles just lasted longer! As always, thank you, Sean, for another good reminder in a wonderful article.

  65. brucehrogers1 - November 5, 2022 12:19 am

    I am thankful that we still have people who take the time to share what they are thankful for; it warms my heart and gets me out of a funky attitude toward everything. Thank you.l

  66. April McGough - November 5, 2022 12:29 am

    Don’t ever quit writing!

  67. Tawanah Fagan Bagwell - November 5, 2022 2:14 am

    You weave such colorful stories together. The way you describe the different items makes me see the same think in my mind’s eye. I am thankful for you Sean!

  68. Stacey Wallace - November 5, 2022 2:51 am

    Thanks, Sean. I sure needed to read this. My sweet Mama would have turned 90 on November 2, but she left for Heaven this past May 19th, and I am missing her something awful. You reminded me that I have a lot for which I am thankful. And I loved Sunday afternoon rides with my Mama and Daddy many years ago. Love to you, Jamie, and Marigold.

  69. c lyn burnette - November 5, 2022 3:05 am

    Your cows are dead, there’s a cemetery on your side. & you start counting again…

  70. Anne Trawick - November 5, 2022 4:10 am

    Nailed it.

  71. Steve Winfield (lifer) - November 5, 2022 6:03 am

    Sean, Sean, Sean, Sean, Sean. Boy do you inspire so many to comment & share their feelings. I don’t comment every day but I certainly could. I’m usually content reading your thoughts & the others that reply.
    I’m not sure if comparing you to Grizzard is a compliment or an insult but I often think that you are him re born. (I mean that with the sincerest respect)
    You’re actually Grizzard & Mark Twain combined for the 21st century. Touching hearts & entertaining every day.
    Until we meet again consider this a virtual hug.
    Really hope I get to pet those hounds some day.
    Lifer Steve.

  72. Barbara - November 5, 2022 2:48 pm

    We should all recognize the number of gifts from God in this world. Living in Alabama is looked down upon but we can find beauty from our mountains to the beaches. Drive highway 31 and you get a good glimpse of the real Alabama. Try Highway 231 from Montgomery to TROY, then visit the square in the town and drive around the campus of TROY University where the professors and the Deans still know you by name. I am glad my children and grandchildren were born in Alabama.

  73. Linda Summers - November 5, 2022 3:10 pm

    Dear Sean, I so enjoy your columns, but this one really resonated with me. Thanks for sharing yourself with us. God Bless you and your family.

  74. Linette Wright - November 5, 2022 8:32 pm

    Thank you so much, Sean, for helping us look for the good. I appreciate you so much. God bless you and Jamie as you continue to enrich our lives with your words.

  75. sflouden - November 6, 2022 1:02 pm

    I am grateful to you Sean…you brighten my day a little each day and many others that I know. You have no idea how much your words cut through the unsavory of today’s world. It lightens my heart and for that I am grateful. Your words take us away from the hard things of life and allow us to live in a world where all is right for a few moments…and sometimes for even a whle day until your next article. So thank you from all my heart.

  76. conkledavid - November 7, 2022 12:23 am

    Reminds me of my childhood Sundays in West Virginia.

  77. Sharon Benoit - November 7, 2022 11:41 pm

    Love it! I was among those whose dad and mom took them for rides. I’m eternally grateful for my upbringing

  78. Karen Snyder - November 9, 2022 3:51 am

    Somehow I missed this on Friday – I will be beyond thankful when my broadband service is finally connected and things no longer fall through the cracks ‘cause the DSL’s acting up again – but, late or not, I need to say how thankful I am to have found the treasure that is Sean of the South! Your daily offerings always trigger laughter, tears, or precious memories; sometimes all of them on the same day. This was no exception. Thanks.

  79. kat - November 9, 2022 7:48 pm

    I am grateful for all the blessings in my life, including you, Sean.

  80. Harry Lopp - November 10, 2022 11:36 am

    We do not miss it until our water dries up.

  81. Sharron - November 29, 2022 2:59 pm

    Sean you CHEATER. You thought I wouldnt find out? Were over. Bye forever have a great life with your new girlfriend!!😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡

  82. SHarrrons - November 29, 2022 3:01 pm


  83. Renee Welton - June 4, 2023 1:18 pm



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