Go Ahead, Ask Away

I receive a lot of questions in the form of emails, letters, and private messages. I wish I could answer them all, but it would be impossible. Not unless I hooked myself up to the internet intravenously. So today, I’d like to take the time to answer a few questions in the Q-and-A format. I’ll quit wasting time:

Q: You say “I love you” a lot in your blogs. That’s kind of creepy, you don’t even know me, and it’s such an overused phrase. I mean, come on, why do you use it so much?

A: Because.

Q: How are your dogs doing during this quarantine? I worry about them.

A: Well, actually they’re great. My wife and I usually spend the majority of our year on the road, so that means their Aunt Michelle lives with them while we gallivant around the U.S. doing whatever it is that we do. Before the quarantine, for instance, we had been on the road for almost a month.

So this is heaven for the dogs. They get to see us all day every day. We even bathe together. They get to sleep in our bed. I get to sleep on the sofa.

Q: How did you start writing?

A: It’s sort of a double answer. When I was a kid I always wrote stuff. When I got older, I tried to do something with my work, but nobody wanted to publish a construction-working bar musician, and I couldn’t blame them. So I started a blog/online column/whatever-you-call-this. And my life was never the same.

Q: What’s your sign?

A: Thanks, but I’m already in a committed relationship.

Q: I once saw you playing music at a place in Destin, Florida, many years ago. You were playing accordion. Was that really you?

A: Who wants to know?

Q: Quit fooling, I mean for real.

A: I play piano, guitar, and accordion. I am mediocre at all three. I have played with various bands all my life who have all eventually decided that I was “not a good fit.” I am best at piano. When you play piano, you feel like Ray Charles. When you play accordion for the Snowbirds Annual Dance at the Holiday Inn for a hundred men who all look like your dad’s insurance guy, you feel like a Grade-A dork.

Q: I’ve never actually seen anyone play the accordion before.

A: You are a Millenial.

Q: I sent you a message awhile back and you never got back to me.

A: I am sorry. Really, I am. When I started this writing thing, I had no idea I would get so many messages, emails, and actual letters from so many great people. Some of the letters I receive move me to tears. One of the great disappointments of my life is not being able to answer every message.

Someone once suggested sending generic emails to people who write me, letting them know that I saw their letter and actually read it. My thoughts on this are: Gag a maggot.

I’m not going to cheapen someone’s heartfelt words by answering with an impersonal form-letter. What I will say is this: God bless anyone who has taken the time to write to me. My wife and I read every letter. And sometimes this takes us all day.

Q: All day? Really?

A: Really.

Q: I like your wife.

A: She’s pretty cool.

Q: Why do you cut yourself down so much? In your writings you’re so hard on yourself.

A: Two reasons. One, it can be funny. I’ve always appreciated guys who don’t take themselves too seriously. It’s humorous. For example, if I were to crack a joke about a chicken crossing the road, you’d think: “The old chicken joke again? This guy sucks.” But if I crack a joke about playing the accordion at a Holiday Inn for geezers in jogging suits, you think, “Hey! Nevermind, this guy REALLY sucks.”

What was I talking about again?

Ah, yes. The second reason I’m hard on myself is because I did not grow up with much confidence. You cannot simply change your stripes when you’re older. I will forever be a chubby little redhead trapped in a painfully average middle-aged man’s body. I’m so flawed it hurts.

Q: See, there you go again.

A: Sorry.

Q: Is that accordion story true, about the Holiday Inn?

A: Yes. I was the youngest guy in the band. At the time, there were only two accordion players in this part of Florida, and one was dead from old age.

Q: Was it fun?

A: Dying from old age? I don’t know. You’d have to ask him.

Q: Being in that band.

A: Sort of. One old man from Milwaukee asked me to play a tango, I couldn’t understand his funny accent, so instead we played “Freebird.”

Q: Are you scared during this quarantine?

A: I’ll be perfectly honest. I am not scared. Not because I am strong, not because I am too stupid to be afraid—though I might be. I am not scared because I truly believe that, in spite of the hell we’re going through, people are becoming better versions of themselves. And it’s happening all around us.

When I go on walks, I see families sitting on porches, riding bikes, I smell barbecue grills everywhere. Today, I saw a mother, father, and three kids playing hopscotch. I hear distant musicians playing music in their open garages. It’s as though the world has become a different place to live.

Certainly, something very bad is going on in the world right now. People are suffering. However, I don’t want to overlook what else is happening, either. Something magnificent is going on, and we’ll never be the same after this. Thank you for your letters. I really do read every single one.

I love you.


  1. Lynn Thomas - April 6, 2020 7:03 am

    So, that’s why you haven’t written me back… I knew it had to be something. Something other than me, I mean… Because, I’m awesome. You are too. Love you back.

  2. Steve Winfield (Lifer) - April 6, 2020 7:19 am

    When you have that genuine love for others you understand. I’m glad you do. I’m even more glad I do. I really like the thought of pleasing God too.
    Something about the way you write makes us want to meet you. Of countless authors I’ve read I can honesty say that there’s very few I wanted to meet. Stephen Hawking, Carl Sagan, hmmm? The five minutes you & I had wasn’t nearly enough though. Dinner, or an afternoon fishing, or I could set my drums up. I bet we could conjure up some Ray Charles or Van Morrison or something.
    I do feel like I’ve known you much longer than I have and I truly consider us friends.
    I’m 1/3 the way through “Circle” for the 2nd time. Reading it even slower than the 1st time. Something I do with books I don’t want to end.
    Thanks for everything. Both of you.
    Love, Steve.

  3. Lynda - April 6, 2020 8:23 am

    Love your blog or whatever you call it! Stay safe!

  4. ann - April 6, 2020 9:31 am

    Stay safe. Love you too!

  5. Lita - April 6, 2020 9:51 am

    And we read every one of yours. Love to you and yours from me and mine x

  6. Meredith Smith - April 6, 2020 10:15 am

    One thing I wonder if whether you read every comment on this particular column. Sometimes I respond from the heart based on your subject matter and I think…”hmmm, I wonder if he’ll even see this….”
    I wish there was a way you could send up a flag to say yea or nay. 😬
    Be safe. Oh! And btw – I have the same opinion about COVID-19, I’m not scared per se either. I just think we’ll all come out better. Different, but better.
    Love you too.

  7. steve hoover - April 6, 2020 10:31 am

    Once again…great! Perspective is everything to me. Calming. Grounding… Oops I started doing a yoga poses…gotta quit.

  8. Jean - April 6, 2020 11:12 am

    I read all your columns….respond to some that really touch my heart. So many of them do. You are good at what you do..and I love you too!

  9. Elizabeth - April 6, 2020 11:38 am

    My day starts with you, Jamie, your dogs, your stories, wouldn’t be the same without your input. Thanks for sharing it all. Love you too!

  10. Beth Ann Chiles - April 6, 2020 11:44 am

    I love you, too! I even wrote it on your chili cheese frito bag. 🙂 Thanks for continuing to be our light and source of much needed laughter at times. Love to Jamie and the doggies!

  11. Curtis Lee Zeitelhack - April 6, 2020 11:46 am

    Aw, shucks! I love you too. Sorta.

  12. Sharon - April 6, 2020 1:26 pm

    I think I get it and I love you, too!

  13. Dianne - April 6, 2020 1:37 pm

    You’re so right, Sean. Things will never be the same again, but even though my husband and I are retired and live in a great retirement community, spending all of this time together has been wonderful for us as a couple. We go for a long walk every day (when it isn’t raining), and have basically settled into a completely different, although quite nice and enjoyable, routine. I love that families are “together” and really getting to know each other while having fun together. I truly believe that God has put us in “Time Out” for a very good reason.

  14. Bob Brenner - April 6, 2020 2:08 pm

    The Q & A column today was awesome! My favorite line was you talking about being a chubby redhead! I grew up in Ft. Lauderdale in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. When I was a young boy what I disliked most was buying clothes at Sterling’s Mens and Boys clothing store. I had to buy my clothes in the “Husky Section”, to this day I despise that term. But after growing up to be 6’ 4” tall I can look back and laugh about it. Our six children love seeing old photos of their “Husky” father! From a former “Husky” have a FAT FREE DAY! Thanks for the memories…Bob

  15. peggy hayes - April 6, 2020 2:14 pm

    We love you, to, Sean!

  16. Norman Purdue - April 6, 2020 2:24 pm

    And we love you@😊👍🙏

  17. Tonya - April 6, 2020 4:15 pm

    “I love you”, is needed..don’t stop. However, about that sign thing…many people are very intune to birth signs, so reveal it..it just brings people closer..like I love you. 🙂

  18. Diana - April 6, 2020 4:19 pm

    Sean, I read your blogs, every single one, I really do. I love you.

  19. Suzanne - April 6, 2020 5:29 pm


    I love the last question and answer. You are ABSOLUTELY right about families being together, and wonderful things happening. I knew that there would be something to gain during this time, but could not put it in words. You did! Thank you from a Mother and Nana who wishes she could see her children and grandchildren. But would not want to be responsible for having them do something that would make them sick. I have considered just driving to their house and talking to them from car to car. But we are under a stay at home order in our state. Which is absolutely right. So I will be grateful for phone calls and Facetime. We just have to wait and pray.


  20. Linda Moon - April 6, 2020 5:39 pm

    I love you, your wife, and the dogs, too. That does not make me a creep. Enjoy your free time in spite of fanmail you receive via letters, blog replies, and emails. But, PLEASE don’t ever play “Freebird” on the accordion again….that’s creepy!! Speaking of which, I watched the movie SIGNS a couple of days ago since we’re staying in place. “Swing Away, Merrill” is the best ending ever!! I agree with you, Sean, and maybe also the prescient M. Night Shamalayan …..we’re seeing signs of suffering and magnificence in the world right now. You, Sean, are part of the latter. Swing Away!!

  21. Joe Patterson - April 6, 2020 5:48 pm

    I think this virus will cause all of us to appreciate the little things we have taken for granted all our lives .Thanks again take care of yourself,the wife and the dogs

  22. Pat Haygood - April 6, 2020 6:52 pm

    Sean, how would I get in touch with you? I read you talking about people writing you, and I would too!

  23. Maxine - April 6, 2020 10:40 pm

    I feel as though I’ve taken a step back in time. And I like it. And you are right, there is a change in people, better as I see it.

  24. Sandi. - April 7, 2020 8:00 am

    Tonya, I THINK Sean has a late November birthday, but you can verify this by checking around on his website. Seems like that’s where I saw this information a couple of years ago.

  25. Beth Woodham - April 7, 2020 6:55 pm

    I am loving the new book, ” Will the Circle Be Unbroken.” Such a bright spot on this sad and boring backdrop we are experiencing.

  26. Steve (Lifer) - May 19, 2020 3:41 am

    Sean, you’re a nut. A nuclear contaminated over grown pecan.
    Please don’t ever change.
    BTW, getting to hear you on accordion tops my bucket list.

  27. Nancy Payne - May 19, 2020 4:20 am

    I thought about you last week when I was watching Andy Griffith. Barney was trying to explain, to Andy, how much Thelma Lou meant to him. He said some morning he could see her face in his fried eggs. I don’t know if that a compliment or not???

  28. Nancy Payne - May 19, 2020 4:21 am

    I thought about you last week when I was watching Andy Griffith. Barney was trying to explain, to Andy, how much Thelma Lou meant to him. He said some mornings he could see her face in his fried eggs. I don’t know if that was a compliment or not???

  29. Steve thomas - May 19, 2020 7:48 am

    Lynn Thomas was probably the last stranger you hugged at the book signing in Trussville, Alabama.
    He came by my house and brought us , his aunt and uncle, a autographed book .
    We got a hug from him , I’m glad you didn’t have the virus. 🙂

  30. Sue Rhodus - May 19, 2020 11:12 am

    I messaged you..Jamie responded..not giving up on getting a shout from you !! I fully agree with some goodness coming from quarantine..family time and love..and I love you too.

  31. Mary Hicks - May 20, 2020 9:55 pm

    You know what, Sean? You know what love is? I know you do. God is love! If He can love us so much, we can love each other! You are a blessing to me. I am 73 and try to love as He loves. Sometimes it is hard! I saw you in Columbiana and all you played was piano and guitar. I have watched videos of you playing the accordion. You are blessed. God bless you and Jamie.


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