This one is from my elderly friend, Mister Boots: “Smartphones have made stupid people.”

“Don’t kiss a girl without being prepared to give her your last name.”

My granny said that.

My father once said this: “If you so much as touch a cigarette, you might as well tear up half your paychecks from now on.”

My mother’s axiom, however, is my all-time favorite: “It’ll be be okay.”

It might sound like a simple phrase, but my mother said this often. Whenever things were running off the rails. Whenever a girl broke my heart. Whenever I lost my job. Whenever I cried.

Whenever I had a common cold that I believed to be, for instance, tuberculosis, she said this—I needed her to say it.

She also said: “Cleaning your plate means ‘I love you, Mama.’”

And this is why I was an overweight child.

I could keep going all day.

“Don’t answer the phone when you got company over,” my uncle once said. “It’s just flat rude.”

This one is from my elderly friend, Mister Boots: “Smartphones have made stupid people.”

My grandfather said: “Anything worth doing is worth waiting until next week to do it.”

My wife’s mother once said: “Always carry deodorant in your truck, for crying out loud. You smell like you’ve been roping billy goats.”

Said the man named Bill Bonners, in a nursing home, from his wheelchair: “I never wanted to be a husband, I really didn’t want that. But I just couldn’t breathe without her around me.”

He died four days after his wife passed.

And one childhood evening, I was on a porch with my friend’s father, Mister Allen James who was whittling a stick, and he said:

“Boys, if you marry ‘up,’ you’ll have to attend a lotta parties you don’t wanna go to. Remember that it’s better to marry ‘down.’”

I never forgot it.

On the day of my father’s funeral, a preacher came through the visitation line and said: “No man ever truly dies. Not really.”

I’ve said this at a few funerals myself because I believe it.

Said the seventh-grade teacher named Miss Rhonda, who was passing around a basket for students to place cellphones into:

“Playing on your phone in public is like peeing in the shopping mall; unless it’s a life-or-death emergency, it should be done in private.”

From my pal’s father, Mister Jimmy: “When you’ve loved a good woman, poetry starts to make sense.”

From my father: “A man is ugliest when he’s jealous.”

My uncle said: “Don’t fall in love with her hair-color, eye-color, or figure. Fall in love with her mama, her brother, and her sisters.”

And this one: “When you’re older, you’ll realize that being right ain’t nearly as fun as you thought it would be.” Elderly Mister Tommy said that while we were fishing.

My father’s friend, Dale, once said: “Don’t ever make the mistake of being seventy-two. Nobody forgives you for that. Be seventy-three instead.”

Said my friend Louis: “I like cats better than dogs. Dogs don’t judge you, or hold things against you. A guy can be a real jerk and still be a dog guy. But if you’re not nice to a cat, he’ll burn your house down while you sleep.”

My aunt’s immortal words: “I can tolerate a lot of things, but ignorance ain’t one of them.”

And my friend, the hospital chaplain, who died last year:

“I never met a man who was dying that wasn’t at peace with it. There’s something mysterious that happens, I can’t explain it. That’s why I believe in Heaven. Most anyone in our field does.”

And my friend, the author, once told me: “To be a writer is to be a homeless man who can type really fast.”

My friend, Lyle: “Don’t try to hit a home run, just sit down, eat a hotdog, and let someone else strike out for a change.”

From my old boss: “When you’re a kid, you just wanna be an adult so bad you can taste it. But when you’re an adult, you’re just so fat.”

A deacon once told me: “Biloxi, Mississippi, was invented by Episcopalians for Baptists.”

My granddaddy once spoke to me about choosing friends: “Don’t ever go fishing with anyone who you wouldn’t let marry your sister.”

And this one’s from me:

I hope you never forget the people who made you into the person you are today. I hope their words always stick with you. And may I forever remember my mother’s gentle wisdom, no matter how bad life seems.

“It’ll be okay.”

Because I believe it will.


  1. throughmyeyesusa - September 7, 2019 9:10 am

    I’m first?! I can’t believe that; I was looking forward to reading everyone else’s favorite “Words”. Now I‘ll have to keep coming back and checking. Now, I‘ll have to start:

    My father’s favorite saying was, “Anything worth doing is worth overdoing”. It’s stood me in goid stead and only gotten me in a little trouble.

  2. Joyce Mullikin - September 7, 2019 9:56 am


  3. Sandi. - September 7, 2019 10:20 am

    Some words of wisdom from my sweet mother years ago: “Emphasize the best, and minimize the rest.” And from my dear daddy: “Children are an investment, and grandchildren are the dividends.”
    Let me add one more: “Nothing improves a person’s hearing better than genuine praise.”

  4. Leigh Ann - September 7, 2019 11:25 am

    How wonderful! I’m gonna save a few of these for my kids when they’re older

  5. Sherry - September 7, 2019 11:39 am

    “Don’t ask anyone to do a job for you that you wouldn’t do yourself.”

  6. Ann - September 7, 2019 12:29 pm

    My husband always tells the grandchildren when they are dating “ check the financial statements… you can get used to ugly but you can’t get used to poor”…. you are so right on with not forgetting the people who helped mold you… special memories of each!

  7. Karen - September 7, 2019 12:39 pm

    My daddy always said, “Screw me once, your fault. Screw me twice – my fault.”
    My mother said, “He drew a circle and shut me out, but love and I had the will to win. So we drew a circle and closed him in.” I think that is from an old poem.
    Thank you, Sean. ❤️

  8. Shelton A. - September 7, 2019 12:46 pm

    I’ve heard the one about Biloxi. I’m all the way east in Jacksonville, so it must be true. I’m also Episcopalian which adds onto the truth factor. Hope the Baptists love Biloxi.

  9. Shelton A. - September 7, 2019 12:49 pm

    I’m Episcopalian and from all the way east in Jacksonville. I’ve heard that line about Biloxi all the way over here. Must be true, Sean.

  10. Joe Patterson - September 7, 2019 12:52 pm

    Thanks again

  11. charliestsimons - September 7, 2019 1:15 pm

    Thank you, Sean. I am 72 and I have learned the truth of these words mostly the hard way. Sometimes I got it right, more often not.

  12. Shannon Brown - September 7, 2019 1:18 pm

    Daddy said: “Rise and shine, you don’t to sleep your life away!” To this day, I can’t sleep late.

  13. Paul E Click - September 7, 2019 1:27 pm

    Amen! “Words! Like a single match in a sea of gasoline!”
    Passed on from Baxter Black, DVM by
    Paul Click, DVM

  14. Marge - September 7, 2019 1:29 pm

    Love the words of the Minister about dying and heaven and peace! Thank you, Sean, for your words every day!

  15. Suzanne Mattson - September 7, 2019 1:39 pm

    My dad told my brother and I something that has stuck with us through all our years of ups and downs: “The sun don’t shine up one dog’s ass all the time.” That had a way of busting our bubbles pretty often!

    • Bo Tidwell - September 8, 2019 7:01 pm

      Plz don’t hate me for saying this, but it should be “my brother and me…”. When it is the subject, it is “I”. When it is the object, it is “me”. It’s one of the most often used grammatical errors, particularly among the educated; ministers, news reporters, doctors, lawyers, etc. I’m only saying this because if I didn’t, my old high school English teacher would claw her way out of the grave and haunt me. On the other hand, a good old boy from MS taught me that same saying many years ago, and it is very true. Peace.

  16. James Marlin - September 7, 2019 1:40 pm

    Hey Sean! I’ve been reading your daily offerings on and off for a couple of years but these last four months I haven’t missed one!!! Your offering today ranks as one of my favorites!!!
    Thank you for helping me get my day started with real people and real life issues in mind.
    My mama said often, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness, now go clean your room!”
    A Baptist Pastor in Gulfport who visits Biloxi Often
    PS – I really appreciate how you handle those who criticize you. You are an inspiration.

  17. Van - September 7, 2019 2:04 pm

    Mr. Skinner Anderson once said, “the best fertilizer is the boss man’s shadow”!!

  18. Jon Dragonfly - September 7, 2019 2:12 pm

    Mr Bill in Heaven,
    I’m gonna steal your line, because it is so true for me.
    “I just couldn’t breathe without her around me”

  19. Mary T. - September 7, 2019 2:37 pm

    Give the laziest person the hardest job and he’ll find the easiest way to get it done. My friend Ramon told me that.

  20. Janie F. - September 7, 2019 2:43 pm

    My Grandaddy Temples in an effort to keep his sons from hanging out with other boys who acted like delinquents said this often: If you hang out with trash, folks will think you are trash. It worked.

  21. Angie T. - September 7, 2019 2:48 pm

    From my mom, “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”.

  22. Ramona - September 7, 2019 2:50 pm

    My dad passed in 86, but I still hear these words in my head almost daily … “meet people where they are” and “never wear your feelings on your sleeve” … I’ve gotten they man tuff days with those words

  23. Bill - September 7, 2019 3:05 pm

    Sean, I told my children, remember, you marry who you date! Some kids want to date persons they never would consider marrying, just really cute, exciting and fun today. That thinking has led to some awful marriages.
    For my children, but especially my boys, I admonished them to look first inside that gorgeous body, and be sure they see great and lasting qualities. Those qualities will remain; that gorgeous body will fade fairly quickly.

  24. Billy Joe Bowling Jr. - September 7, 2019 3:44 pm

    My father was extraordinarily witty, and many times it was more of how he said something than what he said. When I was about five years old he approached me as I was kneeling at the side walk gripping a penny with a pair of pliers. I was grinding on the penny’s edges against the cement. He said, “what are you doing son”. I replied ” I am grinding this penny down to the size of a dime so I can use it in a gum ball machine at the Winn-Dixie”. His response was, “Son, in the time it takes you to grind that penny down to size you could earn a dime honestly”. That was sixty years ago and I willnever forget it.

  25. Linda Moon - September 7, 2019 4:40 pm

    My belated reply this morning: All the hope in the world and hopefully in the one to come is summed up in your Mother’s words of wisdom. I bet your Mother Mary speaks words of wisdom also!

  26. Mike McKnight - September 7, 2019 4:50 pm

    Words of wisdom from an elderly lady in the church when, as a young pastor, I told her some of my sermons seemed inspired, some did not. She replied, “Mike, preaching is like playing baseball. Sometimes you hit a homer in, sometimes you strike. But you keep going to the plate.

  27. Karen - September 7, 2019 5:00 pm

    “Enthusiasm is a daily choice, it is not a random mood!” I have said this so often to my girls that now I just have to say the first word and they finish the sentence.

  28. throughmyeyesusa - September 7, 2019 5:27 pm

    For all the dieters out there, this has kept many a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup from my lips:
    “Nothing tastes as good as being slender feels!”
    Amen to that.
    (But Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (substitute caramel cake, mac’n’ cheese, cornbread, etc.) occasionally give it a run for the money!)

  29. H J Patterson - September 7, 2019 5:28 pm

    “Get busy living or get busy dying”. – Andy Dufresne

    • Linda Moon - September 7, 2019 9:56 pm


  30. GaryD - September 7, 2019 5:49 pm

    “It’ll be okay” Yep, that’s what they say. Kinda hard to believe sometimes. But what else you gonna do besides believe it’ll be okay?

  31. Bo Tidwell - September 7, 2019 6:30 pm

    From my father:

    Son, you were broadcasting when you shoulda been tuning in.

    There is a right way and a wrong way to do everything.

    Use your head for something besides a hat rack.

    Grab the business end of that shovel and make yourself useful as well as ornamental.

    If you want justice, go to the whorehouse;
    If you want to get screwed, go to the courthouse.

  32. Lyn Ellis - September 7, 2019 7:03 pm

    My daddy always said, “It’ll feel better when it quits hurting.”

    • Sandi. - September 7, 2019 10:07 pm

      Lyn, your daddy was witty and wise, and I really like his quote!

  33. George T Jacoby - September 7, 2019 7:47 pm

    Dale is o.k. in my book, which was published 73 years ago… 😉

    My father’s friend, Dale, once said: “Don’t ever make the mistake of being seventy-two. Nobody forgives you for that. Be seventy-three instead.”

  34. Ala Red Clay Girl - September 7, 2019 8:54 pm

    All these great little sayings need to be written down and handed to all young people as required reading because too many are clueless – or as my Daddy would say, “They don’t have sense to pour pee out of a boot.”

  35. Patsy Bizilia - September 7, 2019 9:45 pm

    Another good one! Enjoyed it!!!!!’

  36. Beverly Littlefield - September 7, 2019 10:56 pm

    My mother, a fastidious Southern homemaker, nevertheless believed that the “perfect” is the destroyer of the “good enough.” Her belief : “No one will notice from a galloping mare.” Mostly this was offered when I was trying to sew and could not execute to the level of her expertise. And, while we were not at all affluent, and she was the master home manager (she could squeeze a nickel ’til the buffalo hollered), Mama believed I should once in a while get that purse I really wanted (John Romain), or that pair of Piccolino shoes I had been eyeing at the shop across from my dorm in Athens, because, “Shrouds have no pockets.” What wisdom will we pass along? Thanks, Sean, for sharing yours.

  37. Connie - September 8, 2019 12:40 am

    One of the things I miss most about my dad being gone is having him tell me, “it’ll be okay.” I’m 65 and still need my daddy sometimes.

  38. Estelle - September 8, 2019 5:39 am

    Act like somebody. You don’t want to soil your daddy’s good name. My grandmother used to tell me this all the time. My daddy was her son-in-law. I’m keeping all your columns. I’ve got to get a memory stick before they use up all the memory on my phone. You are a writer. You are the chronicle of our past and present. Thank you.

  39. Barbara Stewart Breidt - September 8, 2019 12:24 pm

    Estslle’s grandmother and my parents were certainly cut from the same bolt of cloth. When my brother started dating they would remind him as he left the house, “Son, remember who you are.” My favorite advice came from my maternal grandfather. “If you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all. ”

    Dixie Barbara

  40. Cathy Moss - September 8, 2019 6:40 pm

    Well, this one gets a blue ribbon. It took some age for me to realize that wisdom is the gift we receive with the wrinkles. If only I had listened to all those words as a young woman. Here’ a kicker. My great grandmother on my dad’s side did not have an easy life. With two children who were young adults , her husband broke his wedding vows and married another woman. Divorce was unheard of back then so there was humiliation for her and her children and all she got was the big house in the country and her silver flatware. The house caught fire and burned to the ground. She got out and the only thing that was saved was her silver. My cousin in Virginia has it today and treasures it. My dad was one of her grandchildren and when he married my mother she gave them six of the teaspoons from her silver. It’s an old pattern called Lily. Shortly before my mother died she gave them to me tied with a ribbon. My great grandmothers name was Dove. She was named well. She was gentle and kind. Did not say much but my mother said that she once heard her say the she would rather be a young mans fool than an old mans darlin. Priceless❤️ Can’t wait to see you in B’ham. You are one of the highlights of my day. Don’t ever stop what you are doing

  41. That's jack - September 9, 2019 2:22 am

    Okay dude, right now I am holding your mama to that philosophy, I’m prayin’ she is right!
    Good one, really yu hit it out of the park.
    Sherry & jack

  42. Emjay - September 9, 2019 4:32 am

    My husband’s mantra to our two sons and now to our two grandsons is simple and fits nearly all circumstances: “You can choose….”

  43. Mary Ellen Hall - September 9, 2019 10:04 am


    Mary Ellen

  44. Dawn - October 3, 2019 2:25 am

    Lovely words to be remembered by! I wonder what words my own children will remember when I am gone?


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