The sound-guys are erecting speaker towers. And I am watching a copper-topped boy in a cowboy hat run in circles.

2:49 P.M.—A farm in LaFayette, Alabama. There are hardly any structures around for miles, only cornfields and silos. My band will play a concert here tonight. A hoedown, if you will.

Our band’s only mission: Fun. With a capital “F.”

When I arrive, the band is already waiting on me. I have been playing music with these men for many years. We’re not great, but we’re okay.

Tom (bass) sits on a porch swing, overlooking miles of corn. Jimmy (drums) leans against his car, smoking a cigarette, lost in a moment of spiritual reflection.

“Gosh,” Jimmy says, “I wonder where people go pee out here?”

The sound-guys are erecting speaker towers. And I am watching a copper-topped boy in a cowboy hat run in circles.

3:32 P.M.—Soundcheck. Tom tunes his upright bass. Jimmy tightens his drumheads. Aaron is on fiddle. I’ll be playing guitar and accordion tonight.

I have played accordion since my early days. The accordion is not an instrument per se, but more of a family embarrassment.

4:08 P.M.—Cars arrive by the dozen. People are mingling. There is an old man drinking out of a Mason jar, clear liquid. I doubt it’s water.

4:32 P.M.—Copper Top approaches me and says, “Is that a REAL accordion?”


“And are you REALLY gon’ play that thang?”



When I was a boy, I took up accordion because I wanted to be like my grandfather. But I learned to play with a bad habit, I stomp my right foot in rhythm. Sometimes I stomp so hard that I develop knee issues. But it’s fun. And that’s the keyword tonight.

5:11 P.M.—The parking area is now overflowing with cars. People have brought folding chairs and coolers. There is a taco truck in the distance.

The old man with the Mason jar is having an animated conversation with a cow.

5:34 P.M.—There are tons of people here. A woman from Georgia drove many miles to be at this shindig. A former probate judge from Alex City. A man from Virginia. A young couple from South Carolina. Someone from Texas.

There are welders, dentists, realtors, farmers, pipe fitters, brick layers, librarians, English teachers, preachers, and a group of women celebrating their sixtieth birthdays together.

“We’ve been friends since kindergarten,” says one of these women. “That’s forty years.”

“No,” says another lady. “That’s FIFTY-FIVE years”

“I can’t do math,” says the woman, “this is my third glass of wine.”

5:37 P.M.—The place is packed. People are cheerful and loud.

And it starts to rain.

These are torrents like something from the Old Testament. People scurry inside the barn. Imagine, a few hundred people, huddled inside a pole barn, sweating, laughing, drinking beer.

The sound-guys wrap speakers with tarps. We might have to cancel.

Mason Jar doesn’t seem too worried about getting wet.

6:01 P.M.—The rain stops. People cheer. Some have to use the bathroom—all that beer has to go somewhere.

But we are in the middle of nowhere. So, many people decide to sneak into the cornfield to answer the Call of Nature. And when I say “many people,” I am talking about upright citizens in the community, such as PTA members.

6:29 P.M.—Showtime. I start by playing “Jambalaya” on the accordion. I am not a good accordionist. My music has often been compared to the sound of a water buffalo in heat moaning along with an over-inflated whoopee cushion.

Then I switch to guitar. I am not a great guitarist either, but Mason Jar thinks I hung the moon.

6:47 P.M.—The band sounds pretty good tonight. During one song, our drummer sneaks off to visit the cornfield.

7:18 P.M.—I am singing church songs. I cannot play music with my friends without singing the music of my ancestors, it ties me to those who came before me. I know a million hymns.

7:42 P.M.—I am still playing and telling stories. The audience is nice enough to laugh at my jokes and clap after tunes.

7:58 P.M.—Our last song is “I’ll Fly Away.”

8:33 P.M.—Since we finished, I have been hugging the necks of people who attended. And I feel silly knowing that people drove so far to see a redhead playing music in a vegetable stand.

Mason Jar is lying in the grass, counting his fingers.

9:45 P.M.—The last car departs. The sound of the night is nothing but crickets, frogs, and wind rustling among corn stalks.

Copper Top says, “Man, I gotta learn to play one of them accordions.”

Soon, everyone is gone and we are all driving home. We may never have a night like this again because that’s the way life works. The most special moments of your life only happen by accident, and you can’t duplicate them, no matter how you try. My father used to say that.

10:11 P.M.—We are driving dirt roads. I am looking out the window, thinking about how life is so rich, but I don’t always recognize it. Foolish little accordionist, this is your life, pay attention.

10:12 P.M.—I receive a text from my drummer. It reads: “Love you, Sean. That was so much fun.”

God, it really was.


  1. GaryD - July 22, 2019 8:30 am

    “this is your life, pay attention “ That’s the best quote I’ve heard in a long time. We should all pay attention. Life only comes around once.

  2. Frankie B May - July 22, 2019 9:43 am

    Sean, I hope you never stop playing the accordion – or writing. Thank you.

  3. Angie - July 22, 2019 9:56 am

    I am SO excited to hear that you, Tom, Jimmy and Aaron still play your wonderfully fun and entertaining music together! If we knew where to find you, we would come hear y’all every chance we get! You are a very talented bunch! And, don’t start questioning who I am to recognize talent…sang in choirs all my life been to see plenty of greats in concert like Elton John, Eric Clapton, Marshall Tucker and Van Morrison!
    We, my whole family and me, were fortunate to hear you teice at Rosemary Beach and once at a Porches event.
    We love your ability to cover so many songs of varying genres while yes indeed you are obviously having fun. I say we were fortunate these times because there is never a post about when and where you are playing next?!?‍♀️ So, we’ve loved you before my friends got on to your blog and every time we discuss your wonderful writing, I say…I sure hope Sean hasn’t given up his band and I sure wish his blog fans could hear him singing! So excited for you and your new book…please, please don’t ever abandon your singing! And, where are y’all performing next?

  4. Jan - July 22, 2019 10:43 am

    Sounds like such fun! Wish I had been there. You are so right (as usual). We need to pay attention, there are no guarantees. I recently celebrated a birthday with my children and grandchildren. In the past I would have worried and fussed about the food, the crumbs and a thousand other things. Last Saturday I kept thinking how beautiful life is, how precious are these people I am with and just how many blessings God has poured out on me and my family. When you come so very close to losing a child (as we did) and then are spared that agony, your perspective changes. This is my life and I am paying attention!

  5. Joe Patterson - July 22, 2019 11:12 am

    Thanks again so much fun can’t ever catch or relive the special times

  6. Philip Riggins - July 22, 2019 11:36 am

    Just found you the other day when you made a comment on the Destin FB page. Your story was real and poignant! I love emotions and inner feelings that are running around in our head like a tape!

  7. Leia Lona - July 22, 2019 11:44 am

    Wish I had been there.

  8. Keloth Anne - July 22, 2019 12:02 pm

    Oh what fun!! Wish I had been there??

  9. Joel A Hill - July 22, 2019 12:16 pm

    Lafayette, Chambers Co, is home for me. It is a special place. Awesome people! ❤️❤️❤️

  10. Cindy Thorn - July 22, 2019 12:41 pm

    You don’t need to make up stories when life is so rich. You tell it so well I felt like I was there. Thanks!

  11. Marnie Burkett - July 22, 2019 1:02 pm

    Well written and great reminder. ❤️❤️❤️

  12. Georgia Grand - July 22, 2019 1:07 pm

    I was there with the lady from Ga.we had 4 folks in our group! We did not sweat or drink Beer but we had the most FUN we have ever had being entertained!!! We think U are not only a Writer but a fantastic
    ENTERTAINER ❤️❤️❤️ You will be seeing again real soon? Ga Grand

  13. Shelton A. - July 22, 2019 1:08 pm

    A writer and a musician…fantastic!

  14. Ol' Retired Geezer - July 22, 2019 1:12 pm

    Hi, Sean. Yep, another winner of a column. As fun (That IS the word, isn’t it?) as it was to read, and as much fun as you not only had, but also delivered to those good folks, I’m a bit surprised that you didn’t take just a minute to explain how to pronounce the name of that Alabama town. Maybe in Louisiana or other parts of the world it’s pronounced La-fa-YETTE. However, here it’s pronounced La-FAYE-ette. Not a biggie, but, if you go there and say La-fa-YETTE, they’ll know that “you ain’t from around here”. It’s kind of like Arab. Yep, “up there” it’s pronounced AY-rab, not AIR-ab. Oh well, please keep up the good work. Still looking forward to seeing/hearing/enjoying your show in Columbiana next month!

  15. Kathy F. - July 22, 2019 1:19 pm

    Thank you, it’s these things in life that makes you thankful.

  16. Connie Havard Ryland - July 22, 2019 1:59 pm

    That sounds like so much fun. When I was growing up, my dad and uncles, cousins and brothers played music. I guess they were a band. They mostly played in somebody’s yard somewhere but some at the VFW or the Legion. It was always fun. They are all gone now except my brothers and they don’t play anymore. But I miss those days. I never really appreciated all that when I was young but I do now. Thank you for that memory this morning. Love and hugs.

  17. Nancy Wright - July 22, 2019 2:21 pm

    Sure do wish we could have been there! That’s my kind of fun!

  18. Kathryn Arnold - July 22, 2019 2:47 pm

    I love that you shared it with us. Thank you.

  19. Rebecca Cotney - July 22, 2019 2:53 pm

    Thank you Sean, Jamie & the band for a wonderful evening. We had so much fun. We loved every minute of it. .I pray we get another opportunity to see you again. From your favorite librarian, mother of your original favorite librarian.

  20. Linda Moon - July 22, 2019 4:07 pm

    Three words: Accordion: Bernadine Seay. She was an accordion teacher in Birmingham, and there’s a studio named for her. I didn’t “pay attention” to my Mom. I did not continue my accordion lessons. ( I wonder what the world has missed?) We should all pay attention to your dad’s words when life presents its special moments to us. This MOON agrees with Mason Jar – you hung that moon!

  21. Mande - July 22, 2019 4:26 pm

    We had a wonderful time, rain and all! It was great to meet another person who likes to travel dirt roads, hang out in vegetable stands in the rain, and engage actively and genuinely with the most fascinating creatures on the planet- people. We were SO glad to meet you, Jamie, and the band.

  22. Joan - July 22, 2019 7:13 pm

    I just love reading your thoughts…always a treat!

  23. Tom Luckett - July 22, 2019 8:37 pm

    See U in Auburn, Ky soon. ?

  24. That's jack - July 23, 2019 10:51 pm

    You guys do good I am sure. Yes, FUN is the name of the game. Most of us would love to meet you, maybe one day I will get to meed Jamie.
    Good entry dude.
    Thanks for the entertainment, even without the music.
    The best your way,
    Sherry & jack

  25. Bill T - July 23, 2019 11:14 pm

    Sorry, gotta kinda disagree with Ol’ Geezer’s pronunciation. He’s right about it not being pronounced like the city in Louisiana. It been the seat of my home county since I was born in 1934 in Riverview, now known as Valley, AL. I always heard it as La (short A) Fet. Well I been gone a long time, maybe it’s changed too as my home town has changed too. I would recommend reading the story of Tyre C Weaver, our WWII Tax Collector Hero.

  26. Mary Ellen Hall - July 27, 2019 10:01 am

    YOU’RE SO VERY TALENTED!! ? PLEASE, ALWAYS play the accordion!! ??


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