“The Sweetest Thing I Know Of”

best of john denver - CopyClearly, I spend too much time listening to the late John Denver’s country songs, but the lyrics from one of them stuck in my mind.  In “Back Home Again,” he sings, “The sweetest thing I know of, just spending time with you … ”  I couldn’t find a recording of Denver singing the song, but here’s Paul Larson and Kappa Danielson performing:


We’re all romance lovers here – lovers of the written word, the stories of two people who, despite difficult obstacles, come together for a happy life together; lovers of the beautiful music that inspires such love affairs; and lovers of the images of men and women who are heroes and heroines in their stories.

I began thinking about what, to me, was the sweetest thing about relationships and love.  Here’s what I came up with:

1.  deeds, not words:  someone who does something for me, however small, leaves a tender sweetness in my heart

2.  flowers picked from the garden:  I love to see freshly picked poppies or roses suddenly appear on my kitchen counter to fill the house with their sweet scent.  The golden poppy is our state flower and they grow like weeds!golden poppy

3. a freshly built fire in the morning:  Getting up in the winter with the fire already roaring, the family room warm and inviting while I drink my chocolate and read the paper – that’s more than sweetly comfortable.

4.  unexpected texts:  A sudden text from my husband while he’s on the golf course, saying “How are you? What can I bring you on the way home?” Thoughtfulness is beyond sweet; it’s magic.

5.  an unasked for hug or kiss from children or grandchildren:  I don’t need to say anything more, do I?

 closeup john denver

Now it’s your turn.  Fill in the words to John Denver’s lyrics, “The sweetest thing I know of is … ”  

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  • Jane says:

    Hello Jo,
    To me some of the sweetest things are the little gestures like running an errand or buying a copy of a movie I love.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Jane, let me apologize for the condition of the GR this morning. The Red Door Reads authors plied him with (girly) cocktails last night. Peach vodka was involved (thanks to Julie Kenner) and orange lemonade (thanks to Deb Marlowe). A hangover might slow him down, though, so it’s not necessarily a bad thing.

      Unless he gets into the corned beef and cabbage at your house. That could get ugly in a hurry. :/

      • Jo Robertson says:

        LOL, Caren, I was wondering about the state he’s in this morning! Of course, the chook needs no help into getting into trouble; he can do that all by himself!

    • Jo Robertson says:

      Yay on getting the rooster, Jane, although that honor has now become a dubious one.

      Thoughtful gestures, especially if they’re a surprise, are delightful!

  • Amy Conley says:

    Easy. The sweetest thing to me is my grandbabies. Period.

    • Jo Robertson says:

      Ah, the grands, Amy. For me there’s not much that’s sweeter, especially when they’re babies. I do adore the babies, and the giving them back to parents when they squall!

      • Amy Conley says:

        LOL Caren, I NEVER want to give them back. I think since I was so young when I had my boys-twins at 17, and my daughter the day before my 21st bday I didn’t appreciate them the way I should have. I’ve gotten smarter over the years and I treasure every second I get with the grands, no matter how fussy, cranky, needy, I want them with me as much as I can have them. And they could all live here with me 24/7 and I’d be happy. Tired but happy.

  • Helen says:


    The sweetest thing for me is all of yours of course as well as somone just being there for me to lend a shoulder when needed or to laugh with me when I need a pick up but the best is my grandkids they make me smile their love is always there 🙂
    Have Fun

    • Jo Robertson says:

      Maybe you have to be a grandma to really appreciate that sentiment, Helen. They’re so precious and innocent, and even the teens can do no wrong in Grammy Jo’s eyes!

  • Shannon says:

    The sweetest thing I know of …

    An unexpect compliment that leaves me feeling beautiful and loved.

    • Jo Robertson says:

      A delightful surprise, Shannon! Once in a while, when I’m dressed up and getting ready to go out, Dr. Big will say, “You really look nice.”

      I’m always thrilled by that.

  • Laurie G says:

    The sweetest thing_

    sharing -my thoughts and life with my husband

    a smile -brightens anyone’s day

    • Jo Robertson says:

      It’s so great to share your deepest thoughts and emotions with another person, isn’t it, Laurie. Whether spouse or dear friend, I always feel secure knowing someone understands me so well, and more important, won’t judge.

  • Mozette says:

    Okay… the only way I can answer this is in verse….

    The Sweetest Thing I Know Of…

    The sun rising on a cold Winter’s Day,
    to warm our cold noses –
    and yet we snuggle deeper under our duvet’s.

    The violence of a storm as it rushes over us,
    turning the clouds violet in spurts
    as the rain pours down, and wind howls…
    all the while, thunder grumbling all around.

    Walking around the garden, and spotting it!
    The first leaves poking out of the soil of a Gloxinia!
    It’s the most wonderful sight to behold…
    after a long 6 months of it being
    just a pot of dirt.

    These are my sweetest things…
    they are all around me and I love them…
    However, the sweetest things are usually
    the most unexpected,
    the most wonderful,
    the most exciting,
    the most tiny,
    and the most interesting when you sit back and…

    just watch life happen.

  • Laney4 says:

    Hey, Jo?
    Found the audio of John Denver’s song (complete with pictures) on YouTube:

    • Caren Crane says:

      Thanks for posting that, Laney! Memories of my childhood. 🙂

    • Jo Robertson says:

      Thanks so much for sharing that, Laney. I had a hard time finding a recording of Denver’s voice. I realized while listening to the You Tube version that it’s been nearly 20 years since he died in that air plane crash. He looks so young, but was only a few months older than me. So sad.

      • Mozette says:

        You know, I’m not much of a country music lover, but John Denver is the only one who I will listen to happily… he’s got that homey kind of voice where it doesn’t twang too much. Know what I mean?

        I have his two albums on vinyl – John Denver Vols I & II… from 1978… I bought the first one and won the second. 😀

        • Jo Robertson says:

          Yes, I know what you mean, Mozette. I don’t like the twang of some country singers either; that’s why I awlays though of Denver’s music as folk.

  • Caren Crane says:

    Jo, what a lovely Monday morning post! The sweetest things for me are:

    1. Unexpectedly hearing from family and friends via email, text, phone call or Facebook. It’s so nice to know others are thinking about me. 🙂

    2. My loved ones presenting me with one of my favorite things, just because.

    3. Being asked for advice from my grown children. I always feel so honored to be consulted!

    4. When my friends carve time out of their busy lives to get together. I think our time is the greatest gift we can give anyone.

    Just thinking about this topic made me miss my kids (still at the Red Door Reads beach retreat!). I had to send them all texts. 🙂 Thank you, Jo!

    • Jo Robertson says:

      That’s so sweet, Caren! I know that I get all tingly when I hear my phone buzz, and gauging from the time of day, can tell who’s sending me a text. I like chattering back and forth by text with my grown children too!

  • catslady says:

    He was one of my favorites too. I think the sweetest thing is when someone does something for someone and expects nothing in return – the unexpected little things mean so much.

  • Jo, I loved John Denver’s songs. Sang them endlessly!

    My sweetest things:

    1. the sound of my grandkids giggling, either from something I’ve said, or their grandpa.

    2. Listening to my daughters, son and son-in-laws sing.

    3. The feel of Rusty’s cold wet nose on my foot every morning when he’s decided it’s time for me to get out of bed.

    4. Hubby telling me a meal I made him tasted delicious…even better when he and the youngest grandson say the same thing!

    5. Laughing with my Mom when I call or when I’m home to visit. I know those times may not be here one day and I cherish them greatly.

    6. Time spent with good friends. Especially those I don’t get to see often.

    • Jo Robertson says:

      Your list made me tingle, Suzanne. Thanks for sharing.

      Listen to your family sing reminded me of when my then-fourteen year old daughter sang “O Holy Night” at the 8th grade school assembly. I sat on the front row, forcing myself not to cry. Her voice was the high clear bell sound of a true coloratura and I still weep when I think about that. I remember thinking, “I can’t cry, I can’t cry, or I”ll mess up her song.” I didn’t. She didn’t.

  • Deb says:

    I love John Denver’s music, and not truly appreciated when he first started out I think. I had his version of “Annie’s Song” played during my wedding.

    The sweetest thing I know of……is listening to my daughter talk about her day during supper. She is funny without knowing it and cracks us up. 🙂

    But, also, a smile or hug or wave on any given day from friends or strangers. Or, spending the day with my parents….Little things in life….

  • Jo Robertson says:

    LOL, Deb, even my daughter’s know “Annie’s Song.” Denver wrote most of his own songs, I think, about 2/3 of them.

    How sweet it is listening to your daughter. That’s so darling (or cute, depending on how young/old she is).

    Speaking of parents, I no longer have either of my parents, but I remember visiting my mom and feeling like I was going home — sleeping on the couch, eating her home-cooked southern meals. So sweet.

  • Becke says:


    For me the #1 is a pair of tiny arms around my neck.

    2- Unexpected thank-you. One dear friend said, “Thank you for being my friend.” I’ve used that sense. It makes the giver and the recipient feel good.

    3-a foal’s nose feels like velvet!

    4-almost any baby mammal, except opossums-not so cute or sweet.


    6- My little grandson’s words-“Is Pawpaw happy?”

    7- the first time you hold a child or a grandchild

  • What a lovely post !! And I have so enjoyed reading everyone’s “sweetest things.”

    My sweetest things :

    1. Listening to Handel early on a Sunday morning with only the sounds of nature added in the background.

    2. Boudreaux the basset hound’s snoring as he lays on his back on the futon so content and secure in his home and my love. He was rescued after Hurricane Katrina and it took a long while for him to realize nothing bad was going to happen to him again.

    3. Photographs of my grandniece Miss Marilyn Rose. I haven’t met her yet, but she is a real doll!

    4. RWA National Conference! Just walking into the hotel and seeing all of my friends and hearing everyone’s squeals of delight and seeing the hugs as we all come together again.

    5. Frodo the Horrible crawling into bed with me when I have a migraine. He licks the spot where my head hurts and then curls up next to me, watching over me.

    6. Being able to call and speak to my Mom every day.

    7. Memories of my weekly phone calls to my father in spite of the fact I will never hear his voice again except in my mind. I called him every Sunday no matter where in the world I was. He would ask Mom “Where is she? Does she know how much this is costing her?” I would give everything I own to speak with him one more time.

    • Jo Robertson says:

      Thanks so much for sharing these moving sentiments with us, Louisa. That’s the good thing about growing older: you have such lovely memories.

  • Jo Robertson says:

    Sorry, I had to abandon the blog yesterday, everyone. My daughter’s cat was hit by a car and the vet said Vinnie was so internally injured even a very expensive surgery wouldn’t save his life. He was the best cat ever and my daughter and grandchildren are devastated!