When In ‘Bama

The anti-Alabama letters keep coming in.

“I read that you’re moving to Alabama, Sean,” the email began, “and I’m not trying to talk you out of it. But last month my family visited Florida for a seminar… We drove through Alabama and saw a billboard with a red devil that said ‘Go to church or the devil’s gonna burn your butt’ or something similar.

“I was so disgusted, I was like, ‘If this is how dogmatic Alabamians are, I don’t want any part of this.’ Again, not looking to start a fight, but personally, I’m sticking with Ohio. Live and let live, I always say.”

Okay. For starters, you’re talking about the billboard on I-65 near Prattville. And the sign actually says “Go to church or the devil will get you.” As far as I know, the sign has never included the word “butt.” This is because the sign was erected by fundamentalists, and fundamentalists do not use the word butt.

Take me. I was raised in a strict fundamentalist household by fervent people who denied the existence of butt. In fact, I did not use this particular four-letter word until I was 29 years old, and even then I wasn’t technically sure what the word meant.

A few other things I was not allowed to do as a churchgoing child:

—Say “gosh”
—Watch “Charlie’s Angels”
—Or “Fantasy Island”
—Or any TV show containing females
—Including segments of the “Lawrence Welk Show”

So anyway, the highway sign the author of the email is talking about is not just a run-of-the-make billboard. It’s considered a historic Alabamaian landmark, on par with the U.S. Space and Rocket Center, the Civil Rights Memorial, and the childhood home of A.J. McCarron.

The Devil Sign was originally erected in the ‘80s by a guy named W.S. “Billy” Newell. People say Newell was an eccentric character who kept deer and buffalo in his front yard, right in the middle of downtown Montgomery.

You read that correctly. In Alabama’s capital city, a metropolis with roughly 200,000 residents, home of Alabama’s esteemed legislative body, there were actual buffalo roaming the Newell yard, leaving fragrant buffalo surprises in the grass. So that tells you what kind of a fun guy Billy was.

The red devil figure on Newell’s sign, however, is sort of an inside joke among Montgomery’s elderly folks, inasmuch as the devil predates the sign itself.

Back in the early 1920s a Montgomery man named Mose Stuart opened a chain of Tan-Kar gas stations. He used the long-tailed red devil on his gas pumps as a sort of mascot.

The devil icon became famous in Montgomery County, akin to the Pillsbury Doughboy or the Michelin Man. Except, of course, the Pillsbury Doughboy won’t drag you off into everlasting fire and pluck out your toenails with a flathead screwdriver.

So when they tore down the old filling station, Billy “Buffalo Guy” Newell got a hold of the old tin devil. He stuck the devil to his sign, came up with a catchy fundamentalist slogan, and the rest was history.

Interstate Beelzebub was a big hit. He stood in the same spot for over a quarter of a century, greeting interstate motorists, until a storm knocked him down in 2016, whereupon there was no sign for a few years.

And what do you think happened next?

I’ll tell you what happened. People freaked out. They wanted the sign back. Not just Alabamians, either. People all over the Southeast went ape because we all loved that sign.

That sign represented the all-American childhood road trip. And not just fundamentalist childhood road trips. I’m also talking about the childhoods of unchurched kids who grew up getting tattoos and watching “Three’s Company.”

Still, I feel I should point out that Alabama doesn’t have a corner market on dogmatic religious billboards.

Recently my wife and I traveled through Missouri, for example, and I saw a Baptist billboard which read: “Who in Hell said you shouldn’t get baptized?”

And there was the billboard I once saw outside Louisville, Kentucky, which read, “Where are you going, and why are you in a handbasket?”

Then there was the billboard I saw last summer in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, which read, “Are you going to Hell?” Directly below this billboard was another ad reading: “Ask about our hand-dipped ice cream!”

My personal favorite was a church sign I once saw in Jackson, Tennessee. It said: “Do you want to know what hell is? Come hear our preacher.”

And there was the church sign my friend and Episcopal priest erected in front of his chapel doors one Sunday. “Lent is coming, so get your ash in church.”

Even so, no discussion about religious billboards would be complete without mentioning the story sent to me by a man named Randall, from Mount Pleasant, Michigan.

Randall says that there was a billboard on his childhood schoolbus route that read, “You can’t hold hands with Jesus when you’re in Hell.”

“This sign used to terrify us kids,” said Randall.

One year, shortly before the Michigan-Ohio State game, some kid with a spray can altered the sign. The next morning, children on the schoolbus read the sign aloud and laughed until their gums bled.

The sign read: “You can’t hold hands with Jesus when you’re in Ohio.”

But hey, like you said, live and let live.


  1. Christa Gettys - February 6, 2022 7:20 am

    I’ve been to Hell….Norway. Gorgeous place…and it freezes over frequently

  2. Billie Padgett - February 6, 2022 7:53 am

    I hate to see you leave the Florida Panhandle. You are one of those rare writers who loves his neighborhood enough to write about it. In this case, your neighborhood is our neighborhood. And it brings a smile to our face to read about familiar faces and places! I guess I am afraid you’ll find “someone new” and we’ll be forgotten. I guess I am a little jealous…

  3. Connie - February 6, 2022 8:33 am

    I think it’s funny how the letter writer said “live and let live” but puts our whole state down because of a billboard. I personally wouldn’t want to live that far from the Gulf but I love Alabama as a whole. It’s been home for most of my 67 years. It’s not perfect but no place is. Welcome to Alabama. I hope you and Jamie and your pups enjoy it here.

  4. r greg glass - February 6, 2022 8:44 am

    Been here 74 years and if theres a such a thing as reincarnation I can only hope the Good Lord don’t reassign me to Alabama. Of course I live in Phenix City

  5. Rhea Wynn - February 6, 2022 9:38 am

    It seems “live and let live” only applies if one believes the same way as the person who utters that statement.

  6. Ruth Ledyard - February 6, 2022 10:34 am

    A classic! You have outdone yourself. We could not be any prouder than to have you and Jamie join our citizenry. Alabama certainly has its characters but so does every other place in the world. That’s what makes life so interesting and keeps us laughing. Welcome!!

  7. Martha - February 6, 2022 11:03 am

    As a fourth generation Florida native, I hate to see you go. But I’m sure you love Jamie so much you would go anywhere for her. Bless your travels and you new life.

  8. Leigh Amiot - February 6, 2022 11:06 am

    My late in-laws moved south from Ohio, the story goes that my father-in-law got fed up with the cold and snow and frozen diapers on the clothesline, closed up the house he built, loaded up the family vehicle with five (at the time) kids and drove to Florida. My late mother-in-law said most days were cloudy in Ohio and she loved having lots of sunshine down south, it cheered her. I’m glad they made it south so I could marry the love of my life, good transplants from Ohio. Maybe your concerned reader has seasonal affective disorder?

  9. Linda - February 6, 2022 11:19 am

    I always wondered about the “backstory” of the red devil sign, now I know. Thanks, Sean. I am a Northern transplant, actually noted as a damn yankee, a yankee that came down & didn’t leave! 😊 And, I couldn’t be any happier than to live in a warmer climate, with friendly, kind & full of character folks. Yep, I will take good ole’ sweet home Alabam over ice & snow and, well you know some folks in Ohio.

  10. Mart Martin - February 6, 2022 11:54 am

    Years ago I saw a sign in front of small grocery store on Hwy 49 in Pearl, MS, that said “JESUS IS COMING. Big Grocery Sale 20% Off.”

  11. Patricia Collins - February 6, 2022 12:10 pm

    All I can say to that lady is “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” I live in lower Alabama, 13 miles from the Florida line, and it’s a small town called Rehobeth, Al. I can tell you, we don’t want anyone to go to hell, but then again if that’s the way you live, then “live and let live. “

    • Ken Hosey - February 6, 2022 3:45 pm

      Hey Patricia! I live just up the road from you in southern Dale County. Half way between Dothan and Ozark. Rehobeth is a great community to live in.

  12. Debra Bures - February 6, 2022 12:14 pm

    Here’s Billy Newell’s obit.

    • John (in Texas) - February 6, 2022 12:24 pm

      Thank you Debra for the link to Mr. Newell’s obituary. He must have been an interesting man.

    • Cindy - February 6, 2022 5:50 pm

      I’ve wondered about that sign over the years and look for it returning home from the beach. Sean, I always find your unique responses to these sarcastic people quite humorous. Also thanks to Debra for providing the obit for additional information. That man was quite an interesting fellow.

  13. Zapper in Fairhope - February 6, 2022 12:16 pm

    Go get ‘em Sean! If everyone loved the South as much as I do, it would be waaay too crowded down here. All those Bama disparagers can stay up there and shovel their snow

  14. sheilla - February 6, 2022 12:20 pm

    I once saw a sign in the front of a church that said “stop, drop and roll” doesn’t work in hell.

  15. Barbara - February 6, 2022 12:27 pm

    If nothing else, the critics provide fodder for you to turn negativity into interesting reads for your followers. You have a gift for responding cleverly. The New Hampshire state motto is “live and let live”. But as one commenter pointed out, it only applies if it agrees with you. Congratulations to you & Jamie on your decision to make a move. May your home be blessed with joy.

  16. Anne Arthur - February 6, 2022 12:40 pm

    Hahahaa, this post is hilarious. Love your answer. Go, my friend, and make your new life as happy as your heart desires. I am looking forward to reading every morning how things develop.

  17. Jana Killen - February 6, 2022 12:51 pm

    God Bless you, Sean Dietrich! Indeed. Love who you are!!!

  18. Jana Killen - February 6, 2022 12:52 pm

    Welcome to the Heart of Dixie, Sean & Jamie!!! We will take you anytime!!!

  19. Pat Deas - February 6, 2022 12:56 pm

    Let that guy and his family stay In Ohio….Alabama’s much better off without his kind!!!

    • Tracy - February 6, 2022 6:46 pm


    • Wanda - February 12, 2022 5:19 pm


  20. Lisa - February 6, 2022 1:07 pm

    I’m a realtor in Texas. I have buyers dying to get out of Ohio.

  21. Vivian Holmes - February 6, 2022 1:16 pm

    High Five to you Sean and thanks for the history on the “devil” billboard. Have a blessed day and I wish you and Jamie all the best during this big move.

  22. Linda Lewis - February 6, 2022 1:27 pm

    As a longtime resident of Alabama, I’m really enjoying all the hullabaloo about your move to Birmingham.

  23. Alison Crosby - February 6, 2022 1:36 pm

    Ha! I’ve adored the devil sign for as long as I can remember! I favorite landmark on our way from Huntsville to LA. Thank you for the history…. I always wanted to know. AND, Alabama welcomes you and your wife! ❤️

  24. Pam Yates - February 6, 2022 1:40 pm

    A little intimidating to write to a writer, but here goes. I’m delighted to know you and your wife are moving to Alabama, and especially glad to know the city will be Birmingham. My husband and I grew up here on the West Side of the city in a modest neighborhood called Fairfield. My Dad was a mechanic at Hayes Aircraft, and my Mom started working when I started school. She worked hard to get a degree in accounting and worked at Birmingham Trust National Bank, I think it is now Wells Fargo after changing names many time. My Dad worked a lot of over time during the Vietnam War and was able to pay for me to go to college. Steve, my husband also grew up on that side of town, and his family owned a dry cleaning business. Hard work for them too.

    I enjoy your childhood stories, and share so many of the same silly memories. I was fortunate to have a grandmother that lived on the street behind us, and she was a huge influence in my life. My Mom and Dad both worked hard, and did so much for others. Great examples they gave to me. I will always be grateful for that.

    Steve and I both went to the University of Alabama and his degree was in engineering, but back then there was not a degree in computer science. For some reason that world of computers worked for him. In 1970 not a lot of jobs available, so he stayed and got his master in industrial engineering, I taught school while he finished his degree. He started a career in information technology that brought us to many different cities. First move out of college, took us to Dallas, which just driving there was impressive. We took pictures of the freeway interchanges that looked like spaghetti. Loved it, had the first baby there, and had great friends there. Our lives became more and more like gypsies, the only difference, we could” fly” to our next city where we would start over. I mean we moved a lot, Dallas twice, Houston twice, Atlanta, Milwaukee and Cleveland, and SanAntonio. In this journey I found people and places that always had a good and bad mixed in there. Living in Cleveland (and this Ohio), not Tennessee, I attended a newcomers meeting when the person sitting next to me said, they are telling us to “bloom” where we are planted, but she responded, I need a little more dirt! However, at a historic home event, my husband said something, when a person attending the event said, ” Oh my gosh, where are you from”? You sounds like Jimmy Carter, ouch! We said from Alabama but a lot of Texas in there, so we/I was invited to join GRITS. Girls Raised In The South. Loved it, and we could talk to one another without an interpreter!

    So, all this is to say, when it came time to retire guess where we ended up? Birmingham, Alabama! Still a little family here, our children are in three different time zones, so this is home. Yes, there are quirky things, but I enjoy them all. I chuckle when someone complains about 280, and I think back to living in Houston and the freeway had 22 lanes that could come to a halt! It’s all relative.

    Hope you enjoy the “Magic City” and welcome.

  25. Judy - February 6, 2022 1:41 pm

    Love this! Now I need to get ready for church… 🌻

  26. James Payne - February 6, 2022 1:42 pm

    Not a religious billboard but the one on I-65 outside of Louisville which read “TATTOOS WHILE YOU WAIT” was my all time favorite!

  27. Paul McCutchen - February 6, 2022 1:45 pm

    I don’t take the Interstate much anymore so I guess I miss the signs. I usually travel the back roads so my road rage won’t act up and it is easier to pull off the road to get ice cream or local restaurant food. The fuel is a little higher but my blood pressure is lower.

  28. Kaye - February 6, 2022 1:46 pm

    Love this message! God is good!

  29. trigger warning - February 6, 2022 1:53 pm

    I’m a WV native. WV shares a state line with OH. We used to say “if you’re a good person in this life you go to Heaven; if you’re bad, you go to Ohio.” As a teen, I was actually arrested at gunpoint and jailed at 2AM (until my friend could sell his Mom’s spare fire to pay off the cops) in Proctorville OH for “profanity in public”. ‘Nuff said.

  30. Meg - February 6, 2022 1:54 pm

    I remember the first time I saw that sign I made my friend slow down on 65 so I could get a picture, I still have the photo somewhere. Whenever we go to Gulf Shores I always look for the sign and smile when drive past. Its statement is Bold, frightening yet humourous too. Best wishes on y’alls move!

  31. Deborah Jarvis - February 6, 2022 1:57 pm

    Sean, so glad to have you and Jamie as Alabamians! I loved how you explained things to the person from Ohio. And you did a great job with “In Defense if Alabama” post last week.
    Hope you make your way to Sand Mountain sometime soon.

  32. Larry Ratliff - February 6, 2022 2:04 pm

    What would the South be like without our religious signs posted everywhere? I’ll tell what it would be like, like anywhere USA, dull, boring and down right Un-American. I’m not saying I like the fact that your leaving our great state of Florida but I am happy for this new chapter in your life. And I need a little reminder every once in awhile that the Devil is out to get me while enjoying some Priester’s pecan delights while driving down I-65.

  33. Debbie - February 6, 2022 2:05 pm

    Had to Google to see the sign. It is fabulous. Glad they put it back up. Live and Let Live is a great motto. Personally, I just try my best to stay in my own land. Heavens knows handling me is enough of a job. lol

  34. Kathy - February 6, 2022 2:16 pm

    The Ohio sign makes me laugh because I’m a Buckeye by birth. And by college. But I’ve lived in Alabama 33 years. There are things that aggravate me, but Ohio could be a very conservative (dare I say, “stodgy” at times). I like how you point out that all states have their quirks. But as Julia Sugarbaker used to say, in the South, we put our crazy people right out on the front porch.

  35. Alva Barksdale - February 6, 2022 2:17 pm

    Welcome to Alabama! I hope you and Jamie and the fur babies are happy here! Love this sign on I-65! Hope it stays until the second coming!!

  36. Ruth Mitchell - February 6, 2022 2:20 pm

    I’m so glad you and your wife have chosen Alabama as your home. I’m a 77 year-old native Alabamian, and I can’t think of a better ambassador for my state than you. I’m learning Alabama facts from you I’ve never known and loving my education! Welcome to the state, and I hope you both enjoy your sweet home in Alabama.

  37. Shelton A. - February 6, 2022 2:31 pm

    Sean, some folks have way too much time on their hands. Fear not! The devil isn’t going to get you or Jamie. And if heaven is really going to be heaven, he won’t get your dogs either. God’s blessings and peace.

  38. Kay - February 6, 2022 2:32 pm

    I laughed out loud at your Lawrence Welk comment. Once we were watching that show at our grandparents’ house and when Bobby and Peggy danced together our grandfather said “ He needs to be made to marry that little girl. His hands have been all over her”.

  39. Shelton A. - February 6, 2022 2:42 pm

    Please let responder Billie Padgett you won’t forget your FL home and neighborhood. You’re just going to make some new memories.

  40. Stacey Wallace - February 6, 2022 2:46 pm

    Sean, ignore the guy from Ohio. That much snow and ice must make people act nastily. Welcome to Sweet Home Alabama, the best place to live until you get to Heaven. Love to you and Jamie.

  41. wfsuga - February 6, 2022 2:49 pm

    Ask the condescending jackass from Ohio about Quicksand Jesus (Monroe, Ohio) then tell him hit the road (or stay in Orlando with all the other yankees). And along those lines why do yankees find it incumbent upon themselves to criticize our lifestyle when they visit (invade would be a better term) the South? If they don’t like it down here then they need to go back to Saginaw, Waukegan, Trenton or wherever the hell they came from. I would never dream of being a visitor to another part of the country and have the audacity and poor manners to be critical or derogatory of their lifestyle.

    Plus, my Mama would rise from the grave and smack me.

  42. Carol - February 6, 2022 2:55 pm

    So glad to hear the story behind that sign…and Welcome to Birmingham and its suburbs!

  43. Ann - February 6, 2022 3:13 pm

    You certainly do a lot of research….these are perfect for Today…Sunday! Being originally from Michigan, I’m surprised one didn’t appear from Hell, Michigan …thanks for so many chuckles on a dreary Florida day!

  44. Chasity Davis Ritter - February 6, 2022 3:14 pm

    Sean, finally one that that made me smile and not cry (unless I think too hard on it). I loved reading about the different signs you mentioned. There is a church not far from my house on my drive to and from work and although it’s not a billboard it’s a sign front and back that they change weekly with some great sayings. I’ve taken pictures and posted them a few times too. One that really made me smile (and this is where I can make myself cry) God loves Fishermen. You catch ‘Em and He’ll clean ‘Em! I posted it with fishing pictures of my Dad and Grandpa now fishing together and heaven and I wrote I’m so truly glad HE cleaned these two. Thanks for dealing with the negative Nancy’s in such a positive way. Bless their hearts!

  45. Thomas Roberson - February 6, 2022 3:19 pm

    Hey Sean, I live in Northwest Florida most people here consider it and lower Alabama. We love Alabama. It is a great state! So, you are moving from one great state to another. Congratulations!

  46. Gayle Wilson - February 6, 2022 3:43 pm

    What a hoot. Made my Sunday morning.

  47. Robin Williams - February 6, 2022 4:04 pm

    I just want to know why are you moving so far nawth. We live in Silverhill Al. Close enough to Fairhope, and just far enough away. And then we’re close enough to my beloved Gulf. Ah, God’s Country.

  48. BEX - February 6, 2022 4:15 pm

    Sean, I gotta help you defend your move to Alabama….I was born in Mississippi (just a few years ago😆) but moved with my family to Alabama the summer before my high school senior year.
    I was the new kid, a true shy, sheltered Mississippi
    country girl. Two of my classmates befriended me and that was the beginning of my Alabama life! I have been accepted, grown, lived, learned and loved in Alabama with opportunities I might not have had in Mississippi! I met my husband of 49 years, learned to say “Roll Tide” or “War Eagle” appropriately and be kind to everyone I meet. I have daughters, grandchildren, a church and community that are priceless! I still love Mississippi and Florida on visits but I am Alabama through and through! I saw that sign you referred to just last Sunday on my way home thru Montgomery- it still makes me smile! WELCOME to ALABAMA! God bless!

  49. Theresa - February 6, 2022 6:03 pm

    I think you will love living in Birmingham Lots of good places to eat, nice people and you are still only 3 hours from the ocean. Just be ready to hear “ROLL TIDE” on a daily basis. Love your writing! Take Care.

  50. Bill E. - February 6, 2022 6:07 pm

    They .
    weren’t religious signs butt, I remember them as our family would drive from NW Indiana to our vacation in Ft. Lauderdale…the Burma Shave signs

  51. Patricia Gibson - February 6, 2022 6:35 pm

    What are people thinking? This need to criticize anything and anyone is ridiculous. Heaven help us🙏

    • Molly - February 6, 2022 7:11 pm

      I think it’s great that y’all have a new marvelous adventure before you. There will be many people and sights for your intriguing stories. Alabama is a beautiful state with good roads…in the parts I’ve traveled. Like another reader already said, just always bloom where you are planted! Blessings for all.

  52. Joy Amy Chanin - February 6, 2022 7:00 pm

    We have lived outside of Atlanta for nearly forty years. Raised in New York State, the deep south always had an image in my mind of being extremely conservative and somewhat “backward”. Perhaps this stems from owning slaves or the north being more industrialized. I don’t care where someone lives, or even what they believe. What I do care about is that people learn to accept each other’s differences and learn to realize that even though someone believes differently, those beliefs “work” for that person or family. Our country has become so polarized, more so in the past few years. It is time we respect each other.

  53. MAM - February 6, 2022 8:17 pm

    No place is perfect, and yes, one has to bloom where they are planted. No one would want to live in a perfect place, it would be too full of too many people and therefore not perfect! You’re staying South, that’s what’s important. Enjoy this next phase of life. It will be a new adventure, especially with all the changes that Jamie will want to make to the house. Have fun!

  54. Barbara McDonald - February 6, 2022 8:18 pm

    You were doing great until you called the legislature “esteemed”. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

  55. Becky+Souders - February 6, 2022 8:34 pm

    Insert your state here: If you need to call God, do it from Nebraska. It’s a local call. Happy New Home, Jamie and Sean!

  56. Lori Klein - February 6, 2022 8:37 pm

    Thanks for the history lesson. I love that sign so much, I had a young woman on Etsy embroider a copy for me. It sits in my office bookshelf and makes me think of home.

  57. Linda Moon - February 6, 2022 8:53 pm

    Your favorite sign is my favorite sign. I “get it”…and I bet you do, too. And I’m wondering now what my Ohio kin would think about the kid’s alteration of the schoolbus route sign! Anyway, I’m glad you’ll be living in Alabama. Some of my Ohio kin finally got smart and eventually moved to the old sweet family Homeplace in Alabama.

    Welcome Home, Sean!

  58. Christa - February 6, 2022 9:28 pm

    My entire life this has been a landmark and point of “Look we are almost home!” 72 miles to Birmingham. It’s a fun way for our then small kids to quick asking “are we there yet?” Thanks for the history lesson. And you’re going to love our city!! So much to explore and enjoy! Congrats to you and Jamie on your new home!

  59. Galen Brey - February 6, 2022 10:52 pm

    Don’t worry Sean, the sign is baakkk!

  60. Susan W Fitch - February 6, 2022 11:17 pm

    Too funny!

  61. BettyF. - February 7, 2022 1:46 am

    Can you explain the beautiful AL map with white splatters that came with this great daily lesson?

  62. Michelle Hollis - February 7, 2022 2:53 am


    I wanted to offer you and your lovely Jamie a sincere “Welcome to Alabama”.
    I have to admit that I have been a little puzzled as to why so many readers are “hatin’ on Bama”.

    I have lived in two places my entire almost 55 years, Florida and Alabama.

    I love Alabama, the people are friendly and nice. I hope and pray that you and lovely Jamie, will come to
    love Birmingham, and come and see us down in Columbiana, when you get a chance.

    Thanks for listening, making us laugh, and making us cry.

    Keep up the good work!

  63. Susan Ohden - February 7, 2022 3:23 am

    Omgoodness, this cracked me up!!! Thank you for the laugh this evening! I think that Alabama must be pretty, and down home Southern. I hope you and Jaime find many blessings in your new home!

  64. Bill Hollyday - February 7, 2022 3:52 am

    Hi Sean, I feel like we are friends since I have been reading your daily musings for a couple of months. I admire your work, as a fellow southerner, I know a guy that can tell a story and can properly use a Southern idiom. I lived in Ohio for many years and astonished my friends with my BS. I also lived in Birmingham for five years. I am a Tarheel but Bama is special to me. I wish you all the best and I join you in calling out the naysayers from the north who have no clue why Alabama is a wonderful place. All the best my friend I have never met.

  65. Anne Trawick - February 7, 2022 5:45 am

    Priceless beyond rubies!

  66. pdjpop - February 7, 2022 11:09 am

    Sean and Jamie,
    Welcome to SWEET HOME. It was so aptly named by some Florida boys.
    Phil J, Fairhope, AL … Formerly from Athens, Auburn and BIRMINGHAM.

  67. Patti M - February 7, 2022 2:12 pm

    Congratulations on your move! Just to add one more sign… There’s a sign in Hondo, TX that reads “This is God’s Country. Please Don’t Drive Through it like Hell”. When I was a kid, we used to watch for that sign because it was the only time we could say the naughty word “hell” and not get in trouble. Love your writing!!

  68. Jerri Matthews - February 7, 2022 2:52 pm

    All this dust up about Alabama is phooy. Hubby and I have been transferred a great bit (currently living in Texas) and I always look forward to reaching Alabama (on our way to visit relatives in NC). It’s a beautiful state – especially Birmingham. Now don’t ask my opinion of the flatlands of the Florida panhandle.

  69. Vince - February 7, 2022 7:28 pm

    Nothing say’s live and let live like, “I was so disgusted, I was like, ‘If this is how dogmatic Alabamians are, I don’t want any part of this.’ ” Irony is lost on many.

  70. Rebecca - February 8, 2022 1:10 am

    Sounds like that sign met its intended target! “People generally see what they look for and hear what they listen for.” Harper Lee

  71. Gala Harris - February 8, 2022 12:26 pm

    That tale was good guns Ms hilarious, Thank you 8 pound 6 ounce Baby Jesus for sending Sean to start my day with laughter.

    • Gala Harris - February 8, 2022 12:29 pm

      Whoa- evil siri was like the devil herself! My comment was, “ that tale was good fun and hilarious” and then credit to the 8pound 6 ounce Baby Jesus. I may need to attend church this Sunday.

  72. Belinda Byrd - February 8, 2022 7:24 pm

    Bahahahaha!!! Gets BETTER and BETTER!!! 😂

  73. johnallenberry - February 9, 2022 1:59 am

    Thanks again for takin’ up the cause of my Home State again! It’s a good place, with good people. They don’t call it Alabama the Beautiful for nothin’!

    Come to think of it, my Brother-In-Law preached in Jackson, TN for a while. that sign may have been about him!

  74. Emily - February 10, 2022 2:47 am

    I need you to write about the hay art and signs in Forkland, Alabama!

  75. Kim Jackson - February 10, 2022 3:02 am

    Welcome to the GREAT STATE of Alabama!!! You will love it here!! ♥️♥️♥️

  76. Kathy S - February 10, 2022 3:13 am

    I’ve lived in Alabama my whole life and when visiting other states, I’ve found that people are the same everywhere. There was a man from up north who came here on a temporary job and making good money. He kept bad mouthing our state and talking about how he hated it here and couldn’t wait to go home. (He didn’t seem to mind the money he was making though). Finally, a lady I know got tired of his mouth and turned to him and said, “Go home, who the hell in Alabama sent for you?”

  77. Bonida Kimbrough - February 10, 2022 3:47 am

    I don’t think this angry little person has ever read but that one story of yours. You wax nostalgic about Alabama more than you do Florida! Doesn’t surprise me at all that your wife wants to move there and being the feller you are not surprised you agreed so readily. Just know how much you love the beach and your little bit of heaven (mosquitos and all). Hope you keep it though, so you have somewhere to stay when you miss the beach!!!!

  78. Kelley - February 10, 2022 5:30 am

    Being born where the Chilton County peaches grow, I know that sign well. I have been gone 25 yrs but can remember it. Alabama is one of those rare places that you can still speak your mind in public, on a road sign, church billboard or water tank. If no lewd images or profanity, it probably won’t get painted over or a petition started to take it down. Freedom is not all of us in agreement and a cookie cutter image of each other, it’s being so very different and letting that be ok too.

  79. Allen Herrod - February 10, 2022 12:51 pm

    Welcome to Alabama! I live 6 miles from the sign and missed it terribly during its hiatus. I was born and still live in Prattville where we still have a full service gas station (which still confuses the heck out of people that have never been to one).


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