When I Didn’t Bless His Heart


My daughter, who was driving to the cabin, called while I was writing to tell me she couldn’t find the place. She’d made a wrong turn.

The night was dark and the cabin deep in the country.

I immediately abandoned my writing and took off in the SUV to meet her, planning for her to follow me up the mountain.

Driving on a dirt surface barely wide enough to call a path, a surface in need of scraping, I met a truck. Bumper to bumper, on the narrowest stretch of the road, we were stalled, and I had no place to go other than the ditch.

The driver threw his bright headlights on me and made no attempt to back up. Not far behind him was a dirt driveway, but I had nothing behind me for about half a mile. No driveways. No roads leading into fields. Nothing but a dark road and silent landscape.

During the deadlock, after realizing the man behind the wheel of the truck was doing nothing but edging forward, I stepped out of my car, his headlights blinding me, and called out, “I’m sorry. I have nowhere to go. I can’t back up.” Alone, and feeling uncomfortable with his silence, I got back in my car.

I was ready to call my daughter and tell her to get the police when, at last, the man put his truck in reverse and backed up enough to swing the rear end of his vehicle into the driveway behind him.  I stopped before passing by and called, “I’m sorry you had to back up.” He roared his engine and stared straight ahead. I called to him again, and he remained stone silent.

I’d like to be able to report that my heart softened. I’d like to be able to report that while driving away, I said, “Bless your heart.”

I’d like to, but I’d be lying.

Brenda Sutton Rose is the author of Dogwood Blues.


Change has come to Dogwood, Georgia, dividing the town, friends against friends, neighbors against neighbors. With the liquor referendum on the ballot, signs, declaring VOTE YES, others declaring VOTE NO, many signs as tall as billboards, pop up in yards throughout the city limits. All of Dogwood has an opinion. And the local newspaper, Dogwood News, reports it all.

When Boone Marshall, a blues musician who inherits the family farm after his father’s death, brings home a new bride not long after his first wife’s suicide, Nell Sauls, the town busybody, goes bat crazy spreading rumors that have no substance. And when Kevin Kilmer, award-winning author, moves back to Dogwood, the town where he’d grown up, and brings with him a husband, Nell makes it her business to drop gossip like bird poop up and down the historic district.

Compared to Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, to Cold Sassy Tree, and to the movie Steel MagnoliasDogwood Blues is as southern as a story can be.

DOGWOOD BLUES  by Brenda Sutton Rose was nominated for a 2015 Georgia Author of the Year Award for First Novel. She has been the guest at numerous books clubs that chose Dogwood Blues as their book for the month. She has taught writing workshops at conferences for new and upcoming writers.  Click here to purchase Dogwood Blues.

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