Words I Remember

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

My granny said that.

My father gave me this one: “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 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 example, tuberculosis, she said these words. I needed her to say them.

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

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: “That smartphone is making you stupid.”

My grandfather said: “Anything worth doing is worth waiting until next week to do.” Then he’d crack open another cold one.

My wife’s mother once said: “Always carry deodorant in your truck. You don’t want to smell like you’ve been out roping billy goats when you bump into the pastor.”

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

Mister Bill died only 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. You wanna be happy, marry someone who knows her way around a supermarket.” 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 during an presentation I was doing at a public school:

“Playing on your phone in public is like peeing in a parking garage; unless it’s a life-or-death emergency, it’s gross.”

From my pal’s father, Mister Jimmy: “When you’ve loved a good woman, all 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 I love this one, from my uncle, the Missionary Baptist preacher. “The secret to happiness is to not want anything.”

And this one: “When you’re older, you’ll realize that being right ain’t nearly as fun as getting along is.” 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. Go straight to being 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, even if I were an atheist, I’d still have to believe in Heaven. Not because I’ve seen it myself, but because I’ve seen the people who’ve seen it.”

And my friend, the author, who once told me: “To be a writer is to be a homeless guy 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.”

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

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

My granddaddy once spoke 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 the person you are today. I hope their words stick with you. And may I forever remember my mother’s gentle wisdom, no matter how bad life seems, no matter what kind of sadness surrounds me.

“It’ll be okay.”

Because I believe it will.


  1. Dee Cullen - July 8, 2021 7:07 am

    Love it! Thanks Sean! (I think I saw a typo but can’t remember where) wind woke me up to the pleasure of reading this! I know. Take a Tylenol and go back to sleep!

  2. Tammy S. - July 8, 2021 8:00 am

    All words of wisdom. Love them all!!! 💙

  3. Norma Den - July 8, 2021 9:45 am

    Hi. I’m sure you mean OKEH😂😂😂. Lovely words of wisdom. I find myself repeating things my Grandmothers, Mother & Father said which make such sense now that I’m almost over the hill. God bless.

  4. Barbara - July 8, 2021 10:18 am

    A good advice column. If you haven’t come across it before now, Google the list of A Cowboy’s Guide to Life. Sometimes called Cowboy’s Philosophy of Life. A couple of my favorites are “Don’t squat with yer spurs on”; “Never pass up the opportunity to shut up” and “it’s easier to swaller crow before it gets cold”.

  5. Karen Holderman - July 8, 2021 11:16 am

    Great words of wisdom. I love to start my day with your wonderful writings.

  6. Joan Moore - July 8, 2021 11:32 am

    My grandfather was asked at church on the secret of his 65 year marriage: “We never went to bed angry: we stayed up and fought.” Brought down the house, as no one ever heard them disagree on anything, except maybe what color worm to catch crappie on.

  7. Bob E - July 8, 2021 11:36 am

    “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.”
    I’m kinda guessing Louis really liked dogs better than cats.
    I know I do.

  8. Bob E - July 8, 2021 11:41 am

    One of my favorites from a good friend Romeo (Kapuskasing Ontario): “It looks good from far but it’s far from looking good”.
    You can well imagine this can be applied to many things.

  9. Rich Owen - July 8, 2021 11:58 am

    I just wish my memory was as good as yours. At 73, I should have a lot of these in my head..

  10. Christopher Smith - July 8, 2021 12:02 pm

    I had a boss / mentor once that said “Never mess around outside your marriage unless they’ve got as much to lose as you do”!

  11. Jan - July 8, 2021 12:17 pm

    Beautiful words to live by!

  12. Suellen - July 8, 2021 12:28 pm

    You hang around a lot of wise people.

  13. Trilby - July 8, 2021 12:39 pm

    What a fabulous way to start my day! Thank you for the pearls of wisdom. Seems like God planted you among some fine people❤️

  14. Paul McCutchen - July 8, 2021 12:43 pm

    I always fished with my Uncle and went hunting with my Papa. Their “words of wisdom was always colorful but meaningful.

  15. Debbie g - July 8, 2021 12:44 pm

    It’ll be ok. One of my favorites. My 4 year old grandson says. It’s no problem grandma you said it was just a piece of glass ( as another antique bites the dust )😂😂love to all

  16. Joey - July 8, 2021 12:45 pm

    Kudos Sean! You have packed the wisdom of the ages in your “800 words”!!

  17. Leigh Amiot - July 8, 2021 12:48 pm

    “Time will tell.”—Rosemary Amiot (Doesn’t it always!)
    My late mother-in-law, a very lovable, fun, and funny woman
    Always wondered why people hate their mothers-in-law so much—they raised their spouse!

    • Leslie Smith - July 10, 2021 1:10 pm

      Leigh, Love your comment on your Mother-In-Law. When advice is requested at wedding showers, my advice is to treat his mother right because he loves his mother like you love your mother. And, she can’t be all bad because she raised your intended

  18. Karen Young - July 8, 2021 12:48 pm

    Many thanks, Sean. My husband and I start our day by reading your blog. We appreciate your wit and wisdom. With your permission I would like to use your *close* in a eulogy I’m writing for my 87-year old aunt who’s receiving Hospice care. Your words capture how she touched me and my cousins perfectly. You’re a poet, my friend, and I thank you.

    BTW, I’ve a purchased a copy of one of your books to give to my aunt’s nursing home’s activities director as my thank you present for the care she provided my aunt. The director is always looking for new ways to entertain her audience. I know the residents will enjoy hearing your stories (assuming they have their hearing aids in).

  19. Nancy Crews - July 8, 2021 12:50 pm

    ❤your writing.

  20. Gayle - July 8, 2021 12:59 pm

    Sir you really are a gem

  21. Sarah - July 8, 2021 12:59 pm

    “Every ole crow thinks hers is the blackest”

  22. Christina - July 8, 2021 1:59 pm

    Your next book: A Collective of wisdom and humor complex by Sean of the South? It would serve us well.

  23. Cathy - July 8, 2021 2:19 pm

    Those old sayings from our childhood are priceless. My great grandmother had a hard life. She was a quiet person . I am told that she once said I would rather be a young mans fool than an old mans darlin. Food for thought😂

  24. Suzi - July 8, 2021 2:38 pm

    Yep, and,
    “You paved this road “~

  25. Dede - July 8, 2021 2:44 pm

    I live alone. Don’t feel sorry for me. You’ve brought more out loud laughter and loving tears than I’ve had in a long time… and I’ve only been reading you for about a month! Thanks for your company.

  26. Becky - July 8, 2021 2:53 pm

    I am charmed by the use of your titles for adults, such as “Mr. Bill”. I was taught to use this salutation when I was a child as a sign of respect for my elders. It is such a Southern practice. I have lived in many other parts of the country and strangely enough, most consider the practice offensive, or even racist. They think it sounds like a slave speaking to a master. Your use of the term makes me remember warmly all the wonderful “Misters and Mistresses” I knew growing up. Even as an adult, I still address them this way. And I don’t think they are offended. It was just good manners back then.

    • Stacey Wallace - July 8, 2021 4:17 pm

      Becky, you are correct. When I call older people Mr. Jerry or Miss Sue, it is a sign of respect. I am from Alabama, and my parents raised me to show respect to everyone, especially my elders. Those people who think it’s a racist practice are wrong.

  27. Jenny Young - July 8, 2021 3:07 pm

    Oh I love this! I hope you’ll do more posts sharing words you remember.

  28. Paul A. Galloway - July 8, 2021 3:20 pm

    from my Mom : It’s too hot to go to the beach.

  29. ANNIE SOMMERS - July 8, 2021 3:32 pm


  30. Cynthia Russell - July 8, 2021 3:37 pm


  31. Dawnie B - July 8, 2021 3:52 pm

    Oh, I thoroughly enjoyed this piece! For me to remember sayings is like trying to remember the punchline of a joke! 🤣

  32. Stacey Wallace - July 8, 2021 4:11 pm

    I love this! My grandmother, who lived to be 104, said, “Pretty is as pretty does.” And my Daddy told me, “When you bite off more than you can chew, chew like hell.”

  33. Marilyn - July 8, 2021 5:10 pm

    Your sayings are meaningful and I enjoyed reading them. Then I get to read what others have to say about the column and there’s more to enjoy! Keep it coming, Sean!

  34. Steve Maynard - July 8, 2021 5:25 pm

    Bad words are like sticks and stones but words of wisdom makes a man!

  35. Rosemary Gentry - July 8, 2021 5:30 pm

    A lot of wise axioms! Thank you!!

  36. Steve McCaleb - July 8, 2021 6:29 pm

    Your post today brought back a lot of memories of people from my past. I think everyone has their favorite sayings from their kinfolks and friends. A few of my favorites are as follows, “he who expects nothing is never disappointed “ and “ marriage is a fine institution……if you’re ready for an institution. And finally, “ a man’s religion is not what he believes….it’s what he DOES”. Thank you Sean.

  37. MAM - July 8, 2021 7:44 pm

    I remember my dad saying when I asked how old someone was: “He’s no spring chicken.” I always wondered what age the cut off was for spring chickens. He also always said ‘Gesundheit’ when someone sneezed. I still say that. One time our daughter, who speaks some German, and I were on a train in Germany. A teenage girl behind me sneezed and I automatically said: ‘Gesundheit,’ and the American girl replied excitedly: “Oh, you speak English!” My daughter and I looked at each other totally puzzled. Then the girl proceeded to bombard us with questions, when I told her we were American.

  38. Linda Moon - July 8, 2021 7:51 pm

    I like your granny’s words and your father’s too. My down-to-the-fingertip-cigarette-smoking father would have agreed with yours. Mister Boots and I agree about smart brains as opposed to so-called “smart”phones, which leads me back to Daddy and his time*. He’s gone, since I was 17….but he’ll always be with me like yours is with you, Sean. Other than memories of words from Daddy, my favorite ones are, “When all else fails, swoon on the couch with a cat on your head.” They never fail. Thank you, Mrs. Dietrich and son, for hope from your words.


  39. Tom - July 9, 2021 7:52 pm

    Don’t marry someone you can live with, marry someone you can’t live without- I did!!

  40. Robert L Chiles - July 10, 2021 6:37 pm

    “It’s all good”

  41. Judy Broussard - July 10, 2021 10:12 pm

    Great article

  42. bkr - July 11, 2021 2:00 am

    Nailed it once again! freaking amazing. Thank you

  43. bkr - July 11, 2021 2:01 am

    Nailed it again! freaking amazing.. Thank you

  44. bkr - July 11, 2021 2:03 am

    Loved this! and it IS going to be ok- Thanks

  45. bkr - July 11, 2021 2:05 am

    Loved loved this thanks – and it is going to be ok.

  46. bkr - July 11, 2021 2:16 am

    what happened?? sorry for the repeats –

  47. Heather miller - July 11, 2021 1:11 pm

    When my dad and I were talking about friends one time years ago, he told me “when picking friends, ask yourself who would i want to have in my foxhole with me? The answer would be the one that would stay with me no matter what we faced, and we would protect each other.” I have never forgotten this advice.

  48. Bill Harris - July 11, 2021 1:29 pm

    Thank you Sean

  49. CHARALEEN WRIGHT - July 11, 2021 4:12 pm

  50. Sondra - July 11, 2021 4:37 pm

    Thanks for sharing!! I really enjoyed every word!


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