Author, Author

I went to the mailbox today and found a package. Before I opened the parcel I already knew what was inside. And it brought my whole life back in a moment.

Sometimes, my memory can be foggy. But sometimes it can be remarkably clear. On rare occasions I can remember everything.

Like the first time I went to the fair. My old man took me to ride the carnival rides with my cousin. We paid our tokens. The glorious rides only lasted a blazing 90 seconds. They were so surprisingly short that you felt cheated at the end.

Or the way I once told Eleanor Nelson I liked her, by giving her a ceramic sculpture I made in art class. A figurine of two people paddling a boat.

“What’s this?” said Eleanor.

“It’s two people in a boat.”

“Is that supposed to be me?”


“I look like I fell into a bee’s nest.”

“You mean a hive.”


“Technically, bees don’t have nests, they have hives.”

“You’re a dork, you know that?”

“I do.”

I remember my first taste of corn liquor—and I’m not making this up. My friend’s father let me take a sip at a Church of God barbecue. I was only visiting. The old man’s name was Mister Travis, but everyone called him Big T.

After one tiny sip, I knew why Big T always spoke in tongues at Little League games.

My wedding ring, I remember buying it. We went to the jewelry store to pick out rings. The man behind the counter had white hair and an accent that was pure Alabama. He greeted us with:

“Well look at this pair of lovin’ younguns.”

Now there’s a little gem of a phrase.

The honeymoon my wife and I took, I’ll always remember that. It was one for the books. I had never been to Charleston before, and I certainly never thought it was possible to spend that much money in 72 hours.

I will never forget how my wife tutored me through high-school courses and college-level math classes. Math doesn’t register in my brain. I won’t forget how close my wife came to murdering me over the simple concept of Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.

I can’t forget our almost fatal car wreck on the interstate. Nor the way my wife said, “I love you,” the exact moment we crawled from the crumpled Ford truck.

Neither will I forget the day I walked across a community college stage and accepted a slip of paper with my name on it, or the way my wife clapped in the audience.

I will never forget receiving a letter in the mail telling me that a small essay I wrote had been published. It was the first time my name has been in print.

You get a little fatter with the years, and the lines on your face get deeper. And certainly, you change inside, too. But you are forever a child, even if you’re an old one, and you remember it all—even when you aren’t thinking about it. It’s all there.

Your first kiss in the choir loft, and how disappointing it was compared to the movies. And Mary Ann Oliver’s breath, it tasted like orange-flavored bubble gum. You hated orange-flavoring, you’ve hated it ever since the doctor gassed you with orange-flavored laughing gas and you woke up the next morning with no tonsils and wearing a buttless hospital gown.

You will never forget when your mother placed a $50 bill in your hand on the day of your wedding and said:

“I know it ain’t much, but have a good time in Charleston.”

Your mother was a woman who didn’t have $5 to spare.

You won’t forget the woman who has been beside you, cheering you on, who calls herself your wife.

And, you will always remember today. Right here. Right now. At the mailbox. A nice morning. Sunny. Humid. Birds singing. Your blind dog is nearby, playing in the tall grass.

The package, crammed into your small Postal-Service-approved cavern.

You cut it open with your pocket knife. Inside is a copy of your brand new book. Today is Pub Day.

Your name is on the cover.

That’s when everything floods your memory. Every millisecond. The people who loved you, who convinced you that you were special.

You remember kindred souls who said your name with affection, instead of just saying your name flatly. You remember Sherry. Lyle. Michelle. Melissa. Lanier. Stuart. Brother Jim. Mother Mary.

People who took time to teach you to change your own motor oil, how to do your taxes, how to cook breakfast, how to play guitar, and how to be a man.

These people must’ve known something. They must’ve seen you for who you were, instead of who you weren’t.

Yeah, it’s only a book, but you were the one who wrote it. And when you hold it, you realize this is more than just paper and ink. This is everything. This is your life. And it’s taken you a long time to learn to love your life. Too long.

You only get to enjoy the carnival ride once. And the ride is so surprisingly short.

Thankfully, love isn’t.


  1. 🇿🇦🇿🇦Norma Den - October 12, 2022 9:07 am

    🇿🇦Well done Sean. Yes indeed so many memories, good and bad, but all make up our lives. Always remember “YOU ARE WORTH IT”.

  2. stephenpe - October 12, 2022 10:24 am

    We are proud of you,Sean. Your ability to make us all feel like family is much needed in this world.

  3. Dolette McDonald - October 12, 2022 10:48 am

    This made me cry…

  4. Francina Fluker - October 12, 2022 10:57 am

    Hey. sorry about your math struggle. I too have a brain that does not register, absorb or retain numbers. I can barely remember the number of the cell phone in my pocket, and had to take five different math courses in college before graduating… finally with the ‘math for elementary educators’. The word, I recently discovered, is called ‘dyscalculia’ and it is surprisingly legitimate – appearing in the DSM for diagnosing mental problems. Common in people who have ADHD, but there are others who just will always struggle with making change, reconciling bank statements with check books, etc.

  5. Renee Welton - October 12, 2022 10:58 am

    Congratulations on your book! What a thrill!! I truly enjoy your posts. I sent Luxe a postcard…..💙

  6. Debbie - October 12, 2022 11:17 am

    Congratulations! I’m proud of you!

  7. Julie - October 12, 2022 11:23 am

    Congratulations Sean. You are special. You are worth it. Thank you for being who you are.

  8. Rick Putnam - October 12, 2022 11:25 am


  9. Cherie Roberson - October 12, 2022 11:25 am

    Such a great read. I just published my debut novel, Man in the Mist, so I know the feeling of seeing those boxes of books at the door. Maybe you’d like to buy it for your wife. It’s a clean romance set in Skye, Scotland. Let me know what she thinks. Man in the Mist

    • Krista - October 12, 2022 5:58 pm

      I’ll give it a shot, Cherie. I’m in my Gaelic Bible reading group right now.

  10. Johnny Bracey - October 12, 2022 11:29 am

    Fantastic!!!!!! I look forward to reading your new book Sean!

  11. Fran Willard - October 12, 2022 11:31 am

    Congratulations 🎈🍾🎉

  12. Ann Thompson - October 12, 2022 11:31 am

    Congratulations. Enjoy the day.

  13. Alison - October 12, 2022 11:34 am

    Congratulations Sean! Upon reading your essay today I immediately went to Amazon to buy your newest book. I kept searching Today is Pub Day and coming up empty! I’ve always taken everything literally. 🫤 Ha! I eventually found your book and can’t wait to read it. Best wishes for all success and happiness!

  14. Janet W. - October 12, 2022 11:42 am

    Already reading it! Congratulations!

  15. Oliver Rhett Talbert - October 12, 2022 11:43 am

    Dang boy! You still got it. Congratulations.

  16. Trudy - October 12, 2022 11:44 am

    Congratulations on your new book. I look forward to reading it. “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” is one of my favorite books. You are a wonderful writer. Thanks for sharing your daily column with us. It starts my mornings each day. Love you and Jamie.

  17. Susan Smith - October 12, 2022 11:54 am

    Congratulations! You deserve it.

  18. Ellen Parker - October 12, 2022 12:05 pm

    Congratulations, Sean!

  19. Belinda Graham - October 12, 2022 12:08 pm

    Beautiful, lovely, heart warming. Thank you. Remembering and focusing on past and present loves makes life real and so worth each new day.

  20. Donna - October 12, 2022 12:24 pm


  21. mccutchen52 - October 12, 2022 12:41 pm

    Congrats Sean..Can’t wait to read it

  22. PSC - October 12, 2022 12:47 pm

    “…but you were the one who wrote it.” What a feeling! My first byline was in an Army paper in Korea in 1960, but I’ll never forget it. Lots of bylines followed in both military and civilian papers, but none compared to that first one. Write on, Sean!

  23. Bobbie Jo Bright - October 12, 2022 12:48 pm

    My favorite part of this piece today: “They must’ve seen you for who you were, instead of who you weren’t.”
    I hope that I am always a person who sees others for who they are.

  24. Marjean DuBois Brooks - October 12, 2022 12:52 pm

    Congratulations, Sean!

  25. Judy Tayloe - October 12, 2022 12:52 pm

    Sean, your new book was delivered to me yesterday by Amazon! So excited!

  26. David - October 12, 2022 12:52 pm

    Beautiful. Pure poetry.

    But you are forever a child, even if you’re an old one…

    By the way, congratulations on the new book.

  27. Pam Williams - October 12, 2022 12:53 pm

    ♥️ Congrats on the new book! I pre-ordered it back in May and can’t wait to read it! Thanks for continuing to write and bring warm, funny and thoughtful words to my days!

  28. Joellynn Heaton - October 12, 2022 1:02 pm

    Another “good one, Sean!”

  29. Cynthia Woods - October 12, 2022 1:02 pm

    You always “hit the nail on the head” with your musings, Sean. They cause me to slow down, to remember how important, well…absolutely vital love is. It makes all the difference! TY!
    PS. I’ve thought of going on a Little Library hunt since you were recently in my neighborhood gifting us with your new book but…’s probably cheaper just to order one. Gonna do that right now! You are one generous guy. Your momma taught you well! 💙

  30. Jeanne Hays - October 12, 2022 1:08 pm

    Fantastic, legendary tale! Rich !Memoirs

  31. Kim Janine Ligon - October 12, 2022 1:22 pm

    Congratulations! Can’t wait to read it!

  32. Chris Conley - October 12, 2022 1:26 pm

    I start every morning reading your column. It always makes me feel buoyed and ready to begin a new day. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings with me.

  33. Marion - October 12, 2022 1:36 pm

    Got my copy yesterday as well. As it was my birthday, my husband had perfect timing with his order. I’m excited to read about your adventure with Jamie!

  34. Tammy S. - October 12, 2022 1:44 pm

    We love you, Sean! You too, Jamie!!
    You keep writing, Sean!! And you keep cheering, Jamie!! We are all cheering with you. Congrats on the book. I cannot wait to get my copy. ☺️❤️

  35. Jennifer - October 12, 2022 1:46 pm

    Congratulations, Sean!

  36. Cathy M - October 12, 2022 1:49 pm

    Congrats Sean, you are a success story and all your followers share in the joy of that story. Can’t wait to read your new book. Happy Fall

  37. David Britnell - October 12, 2022 2:13 pm

    Love the memories. Thank you Sean

  38. dianakinser55 - October 12, 2022 2:23 pm

    Hi Sean! Congratulations! I can truly relate to that feeling of joy when that book arrives. For many years I wrote as a journalist, as a script writer, as a teacher, and speaker, but nothing compares with seeing my name on the cover of my first book just a couple of months ago. I think back on my dream of becoming a published author, one that I had for many years but could never accomplish. I actually started writing this book in 1993! But my heart was not in the right place, so I set it aside until 2006. But again my motives and focus were just not there. Now at the age of 67, I finally understand that what we experience in life is never wasted. Our trials, our pain, and our faith through them all, make our story a worthy one. I know you understand that in your own life as well as in the lives of the many people you share with us. And now, as I finally run my fingers over my name on my book, I can proudly say, “I am an author!” It’s a wonderful feeling. (BTW, I’m already starting number 2). Thanks for your inspiration!
    Diana Kinser (“God’s Fruit Salad — A Divine Recipe for a Filling Life”)

  39. Kimberly Kempken - October 12, 2022 2:58 pm

    Beautiful! Needed this today

  40. Carolyn - October 12, 2022 3:18 pm

    Tears of happiness for you. You really are gifted in seeing and writing about the human condition in a unique way that touches my heart. Congratulations! I look forward to your columns in my email and share them with LOTS of friends. So — what’s the name of your book????

  41. Anne Arthur - October 12, 2022 3:32 pm

    My heartfelt congratulations, Sean. For the new book, for your life, and who you are: a great man with an even greater heart. GOD bless you.
    Wishing you lots of success with this book, and all your future writing. Will purchase it asap.

  42. Jim Taylor - October 12, 2022 3:44 pm

    Sean, my comment is on your recent story re. The Ryman & Country Music: I’m 93, born in 1929 in Tishomingo co.MS. In high school 1944-45, a friend & I drove people (in his small school bus) to the Grand Ole Opera in the Ryman. I’ve attended the opera once in the present venue, but a return to the Ryman is on my short Bucket List.
    In 1938 or ‘39, I saw Bill Monroe & The Blue Grass Boys at the Tishomingo grammar school. They arrived in a stretched car with all their equipment on top. I read now about 15-20 18 wheelers arriving several days early to set up for big stars like Garth Brooks, etc. In 93 years, the
    first 12 without electricity, I’ve seen a few changes, not just in Country Music.
    Read your column every morning; appreciate the early hour since I’m an early riser.

  43. Judie Perye - October 12, 2022 3:45 pm


  44. Kay - October 12, 2022 3:46 pm

    Sean, I am right there with you on The whole Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally thing. I have NEVER understood why we don’t just do the math problem from left to right!

  45. Mary Dzuro - October 12, 2022 4:04 pm

    Congratulations on your publication day! I am so pleased for you because I know all about those voices in your head that remind you of how good you are or aren’t. You’re a good ‘un, Sean.

  46. Linda - October 12, 2022 4:06 pm

    I’ve liked a lot of your writing, but I think this is my favorite so far. Hope your book sell a kizzilion copies. Also I loved the article and pictures of your new home. Fits you guys perfectly.

  47. lyndalindsey - October 12, 2022 4:17 pm

    I’m thankful to God for you, your wife, your blind dog, your way with words, and all the things you say that the rest of us would say, if only we were as gifted as you are. Keep on keeping on!

  48. Carter Anthony - October 12, 2022 4:22 pm

    Dropping back to Nashville and “all hat, no cattle”, I was in the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel last week. In the lobby were two nice looking young men, not together, wearing good looking cowboy hats. I thought, all right, some real Canadian cowboys. I looked down. Nikes! I went in the Alberta Boot Store. Obviously, boots, all exotic leather, $850 per pair. Quite out of my price range! I mentioned the two Nike-clad cowboys to the highly professionally dressed sales lady. She said they come into her store to buy Western shirts and cowboy hats which she has but this is a BOOT STORE! She laughed at “all hat, no cattle “. Always enjoy your stories.

  49. John Larry Johnson - October 12, 2022 5:01 pm

    Sean, you need to go ahead and commit to the Episcopal Church since you live among a nest of them in Birmingham. I can tell by your writings you are an Episcopalian; not the beer drinking parts but the way you write about love. Our presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, says if it is not about love it is not about Jesus. I believe him. I was raised a Methodist but realized I was always an Episcopalian when I found this version of the Jesus movement forty-six years ago. Just so you know, I like beer and a dram of single malt scotch every now and then. If God did not want us to drink it He would not have allowed it to be made. Just saying,

  50. LIN ARNOLD - October 12, 2022 5:20 pm

    Congratulations on your new book. I can’t wait to read it.
    I know exactly what you mean about the little things being the best memories. I feel blessed that when I look at my husband, my 2 sons and my daughter that I know beyond a doubt that I did something right … I did something special … something that God blessed me with.
    God bless you and keep you in his loving arms.

  51. Donnie - October 12, 2022 5:55 pm

    👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 Can’t wIt to get it! Good for you.

  52. LIN ARNOLD - October 12, 2022 6:02 pm

    This one made me think about all the itty-bitty moments that bring back the best memories … helping Dad clear the back yard in Gettysburg, MD & getting a horrible case of poison oak … playing hopscotch and making huge “bird nests” for hours when they mowed the large lot next door and washing the car with Dad in Myersville, MD … sitting on the front porch reading, in the middle of the woods in Thurmont, MD … riding bikes around “the circle” for hours in Foxville, MD … playing Monopoly for hours and hours in a hotel room in downtown Paris … carrying groceries up 4 stories of stairs to an apartment just outside of Paris … being able to join the Girl Scouts when we finally got quarters outside of Paris … being in Fort Riley, KS, with lots of other Army Brats whose Dads were in Viet Nam … Dad coming home from Viet Nam on Thanksgiving morning … the car trip to Montgomery (via Phoenix, AZ) after Dad retired … feeling like a total alien being when starting school in Montgomery because I just couldn’t understand the big deal about going to school with kids of another race … having my heart shattered when the boy that I thought was the love of my life decided he no longer wanted anything to do with me and realizing that I was a better person because of it … finding the REAL love of my life with whom I’ve spent 38 years now … looking at my 2 sons & my daughter and knowing that I did something truly amazing … hugging my 3 granddaughters & my grandson and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they’ll be raised knowing how loved they are … finding out that I’m going to have 2 more grandchildren next April 😊😊 … and most of all, knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that this was all God’s plan from the get-go.

  53. David Cihen - October 12, 2022 6:16 pm

    Thank-you. Thanks for helping me to feel alive to cry with tears of joy and remembrance. To connect with you and all those in my life that i love. Congratulations!.

  54. Linda Moon - October 12, 2022 6:28 pm

    Keep learning, Sean…from books and from LIFE itself. I’ve learned a lot from you, so keep writing. I need your words for what might be another cancer carnival ride I’ve been on since 2004. You see, they’re not just in a book. And, I love your wife, too!

  55. Debbie Blackmon - October 12, 2022 7:30 pm

    Beautiful story. I remember the first time I got to go to the fair. About 5 years old and my brother 3. We rode a little buggy with a horse pulling it. My brother held the reins and my leg was under one of them. I was too afraid to move it so my ride was ruined. Oh well did not have to have therapy for it though.

  56. Beth - October 12, 2022 9:14 pm

    Congratulations! You have so much to share with people. I look forward to opening a parcel with my own book in it next year.

  57. Gigi - October 12, 2022 9:17 pm

    Congratulations on your new book Sean, I can’t wait to read it ! I loved your book, “Will The Circle Be Unbroken?” I look forward to your column in my mailbox every morning, it’s a great way to start my day. I hope you know that you’re very worthy, and so loved by your many fans, as are Jamie & Marigold. You’re a good man Sean, one who would make any Mother proud, and I know your Mom is proud of you. Keep on writing, we need you !

  58. Helen De Prima - October 12, 2022 9:41 pm

    Oh, yeah — when your agent says, “Are you sitting down? You better sit down.”

  59. Shep midgley - October 12, 2022 9:59 pm

    Hey Sean, what is the name of your new book. I want it. I read you every day and love it. Where can I get it. Love to your new coon dog. Shep

  60. Carolyn - October 13, 2022 1:32 am

    Congratulations on your new book!

  61. Barbara - October 13, 2022 1:58 am


  62. MAM - October 14, 2022 2:28 am

    Love lasts as long as you continue to feed it. 54 years later, I think maybe we love each other more than we did on that first wedding day. Of course, if you’re talking about God’s love, His love comes unceasingly. We simply have to remember to say thank you.

  63. c lyn burnette - October 14, 2022 3:59 am

    I need 6 signed copies for Christmas. Plz tell me how to get you names & $!

  64. Melanie - October 15, 2022 4:18 am

    “You Are My Sunshine: A Story of Love, Promises, and a Really Long Bike Ride” (Sean of the South). Number 1 Bestseller on Amazon Prime in Travel Humor. Thanks Sean for another great read. Congratulations!

  65. Margaret Spencer - October 16, 2022 11:35 pm



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