NASHVILLE—It is snowing on the first day of my book tour.
Sometimes when people hear the term “book tour” they immediately think fancy schmancy. Well, believe me, this tour is extremely fancy. Nothing but the best for us. The hotel we stayed at last night, for example, recently installed several brand new top-of-the-line mouse traps.
We’re calling this the “Snow Tour.” Which is a only joke because the snow here in Nashville only lasted for a whopping four seconds before Davidson County officials brought the snowfall to a halt, penalizing flurries for accumulating without a building permit.
Needless to say, I’ve never done an official book tour before. Though, I imagine it sort of works the same way the Tour de France works. You ride across the country, enduring sleep deprivation, stinking to high heaven, straddling a seat that’s about the size of a Snickers bar. Luckily, our van’s bucket seats are a little bigger, more like a Baby Ruth.
My wife and I will be living on the road for nearly a month. This means that we will be wearing the same clothes day after day, doing our laundry in hotel sinks. So if you happen to see me while on tour, make sure you give me a big hug because I’ll be smelling great—provided you like the smell of Limburger cheese.
Speaking of Limburger, I should mention my book.
I started writing it a couple years ago during a vacation to Lake Martin because my wife had gotten a great internet deal on a lake cabin. Well, at least that’s what we thought. Come to find out, it wasn’t a deal.
For starters, the cabin wasn’t even on water. It was located on a remote part of the lake that hasn’t seen any actual water since the Paleolithic era. The lake had receded WAY back so that the porch was overlooking miles of fudge-colored mud and dead fish that were all frozen solid within the muck. Yes, frozen. Because that year it was snowing in Alabama.
And the hits kept coming.
When we arrived, we discovered that the word “cabin” was a term of endearment. This “cabin” was in fact a “1983 trailer camper.”
When I turned the key in the lock, the key broke off in the door. So I tried to force entry through a bedroom window with a tire iron and ended up ripping off my thumbnail in the process.
The maintenance guy was no help, he was a fourteen-year-old boy who came moseying out of a nearby camper wearing pajamas. His mother owned these cabins. He inspected the lock for a few seconds and finally said,—this is a verbatim quote—“Bro.”
So it was turning out to be a great vacation. My wife and I waited for help, sitting in the cold for about an hour. Our saving grace finally came in the form of a locksmith, and soon we were able to fully appreciate the interior of our “cabin.”
We discovered that it was colder inside than it was outside because the walls were about as thick as sheets of Reynolds Wrap standard aluminum foil. There were cobwebs, mildew stains, and a funky smell so strong that it made Limburger cheese smell like pure joy.
We saw a rodent scurry across the floor carrying a Bud Light and a pack of matches.
“Have a great vacation,” said the locksmith.
In the end, our trip turned out okay. We got plenty of peace and quiet. I took lots of walks and breathed in fresh air. The only real annoyance was that when we wanted to get a cellphone signal we had to climb on top of the camper roof and throw our phone at passing commercial airplanes.
This was the same weekend I began writing my memoir. Each morning I would sit on the little sofa and write. On my right side was my dog, Ellie Mae. On my left, a rodent the size of John Travolta.
The first morning of writing I saw a blue heron swoop from the sky and land on the lake. Which might not seem like a big deal to you, but it was to me. First of all, it was freezing outside. What was a heron doing here?
Secondly, throughout my life blue herons have always reminded me of my late father. I always thought he resembled one when he was alive. This is why my book, which is about my father, has a lot of herons in it. There are even herons on the cover.
These birds have always shown up at the strangest and most pivotal times for me. In fact, before I left home for Nashville yesterday morning, I saw a heron standing at the edge of the pond near my house.
I know this probably doesn’t mean anything to you, but to me it’s pure magic.
Anyway, my life has changed a lot since that cold day on the mud of Lake Martin. My dog has since passed. I have gotten a little older, and a little dumber. And I finally finished that book.
My wife and I will have several long days spent on highways, roaming the American Southeast with our entire lives packed in the backseat. We’ll be covering thousands of miles, visiting small towns and little bookstores, eating many gas-station burritos. And I’ll be counting every heron along the way.
If I happen to see you in the days ahead, I certainly hope you like hugs.
And Limburger cheese.
Lisa I’Connor - February 27, 2020 8:42 am
Welcome to Nashville! We rolled out the bleak, gray weather just for you. I hope to see you Friday at books a million in Mt Juliet. This will be my first book tour to attend. I have high expectations and will take you up on that hug. Good luck to you!
Phil Mitchell - February 27, 2020 9:46 am
Love your daily posts! I grew up in Decatur,Ga in the 60s and relate so well to your stories. Was a big fan of Grizzard as well. Will you be coming to Dallas, TX as part of your tour?
blindpigandtheacorn - February 27, 2020 11:49 am
Too funny! I wrote about blue herons today too : ) Except we call them Loons. Good luck on the book tour-can’t wait to read about what happens on it!
sparkerlpc - February 27, 2020 12:11 pm
Congratulations on your book tour! Although it may not be Hollywood-level glamorous, I hope it is My Airy-level lovely, love-filled, and packed with limburger cheesy hugs!
Harriet White - Atlanta - February 27, 2020 12:19 pm
I’ll see you in Lawrenceville, Ga. Hugs and all.
Brenda Carlisle - February 27, 2020 12:21 pm
I absolutely love your stories. Actually, I am a little upset!! I saw where you will have a book signing in Meridian, MS. Nothing wrong with that except I lived in Toxey, AL all my life until 2018 when I moved to Colorado with my family. So I won’t be able to make the book signing. I’m so sad! Can you come to Colorado??
Patricia A Schmaltz - February 27, 2020 12:24 pm
Sean, if you do a signing in Destin or Fort Walton Beach, let me know and I will come give you a hug. I have a talent for totally closing my nose. As for the herons, I see them all the time and I have to shoo them away as they will eat baby turtles. Love baby turtles. Gotta go… still working on my book… The Adventures of Four Out of Five Red Suitcases. It won’t be as good a read as yours, but thank you for giving me something to aim for in my writing.
oldlibrariansshelf - February 27, 2020 12:35 pm
We have a Blue Heron who visits our pond from the nearby Elk River. The legs of a frog not-quite-yet swallowed was my initial vision of him and my next favorite vision was his graceful winged exit back toward the river. Thanks for sharing your affinity for these awesome birds!
Ken Dickert - February 27, 2020 12:36 pm
Some power company lakes draw down every winter, likely the reason you had no water. Lake Martin in Alabama, West Point Lake in Georgia to name a couple. I live on a lake downstream from West Point but ours does not draw down except every three years for only a month to allow folks to work on their docks.
I enjoy your daily blog. Thanks!
Linda Daughtry - February 27, 2020 1:18 pm
We have a lone blue heron that frequents our pond out back…always in cold weather. My thought is like yours: now what is he doing here?
Best wishes for a wonderful tour!
Gayle - February 27, 2020 1:26 pm
Sean, I wish you and your lovely wife were coming to Jacksonville, FL. I would even offer you a hot shower and hot meal! And that is for real.
Shelton A. - February 27, 2020 1:40 pm
How bad is Limburger cheese? Hope you have a great tour. If you are coming to Jacksonville, please let me know. It would be a pleasure to meet you two. I’ll even buy a book to sign-promise! Take care, God bless, and safe travels.
turtlekid - February 27, 2020 1:44 pm
Hoping to see you when you come to Oxford, Mississippi! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
Jeanie Evans Walker - February 27, 2020 1:58 pm
The only reason I bother to check my email every day is to get your blog. Makes getting up worth it!
Please post your tour stops! Hope there will be one close around here – Upper East Tennessee – Johnson City, Kingsport, Bristol
B.J. Shell - February 27, 2020 2:33 pm
If you happen to be heading that way, you should consider stopping by Nevermore Books in Beaufort, SC to see my friends Lori and Dave Anderson. You will fit right in with those folks.
Magoo Hamilton - February 27, 2020 2:39 pm
Another great adventure looms before you filled with lots of stories to share with all of us! Good luck on the tour and be careful on the road!!! Magoo Hamilton
Sheryll Ridgway - February 27, 2020 2:40 pm
I agree, Brenda. I would love to see Sean in Colorado. Maybe at the state fair in Pueblo?
Anne Arthur - February 27, 2020 2:42 pm
Congratulations for publishing your memoir. Wishing you a wonderful book tour with lots of stories to tell in your next blogs.
Connie Havard Ryland - February 27, 2020 2:44 pm
Can’t wait to read about your tour! I look forward every morning to my few minutes spent in your world. For everyone out there who hasn’t seen Sean in person, you absolutely need to try if he comes near you. Love and hugs to Sean and Jamie. Safe travels.
Marc Beaver - February 27, 2020 2:49 pm
Looking forward to catching up with you in lawrenceville ga next month. AND hopefully we’ll get to visit if you’re in Mirimar in June. Have fun out there. Marc and Janice Beaver (Marietta, GA)
Steve Hatch - February 27, 2020 3:00 pm
Looking forward to seeing you this weekend!
George - February 27, 2020 3:01 pm
There are laundromats, hotel laundries,and showers in in the most basic motel…just sayin’
Eddy - February 27, 2020 3:31 pm
My sister and I are gonna hug the tar outta Y’all in Greenwood. Yep!
Cynthia Russell - February 27, 2020 4:00 pm
Would love to see you!! hope you are making the rounds & possibly stopping in Slidell, Mandeville,or Covington, Louisianan, or perhaps Bay St Louis, Biloxi, Waveland, Mississippi… Love Your Columns!! & my library doesn’t get your books.. Cynthia Russell, from Mobile Alabama , stuck in Louisiana with a cajun man..
Margaret - February 27, 2020 4:08 pm
I’ll see you in Huntsville. You can come wash your clothes at my house. Please.
Johnny Bracey - February 27, 2020 4:29 pm
I hope you will be coming to Thomasville, Georgia in the near future, limburger or not!
Linda Moon - February 27, 2020 4:48 pm
Yesterday I was just discussing Nashville snow with someone I know and love. I’d love to be up there now with you and couple of guys I know and love, snow or no snow. On another note….once a Blue Heron swam with me in the ocean, right beside me. That was a beautiful thing, and I’m glad those birds are meaningful magic to you! I’ll see you soon for some BIG HUGS, stink or no stink!!
Norman Purdue - February 27, 2020 4:49 pm
Sean, happy travels and good turn outs for the signings. Hope your tour includes a stop on Amelia Island where you will see many Blue Herons. We lived there for 16 years before moving to Dothan to be near our son and our daughter who lives in Destin. By the way, she knows you.
Love your daily submissions. They are the next thing we read right after our quiet time in The Word.
Shannon Pierce - February 27, 2020 6:42 pm
Just got my ticket for Montgomery. See y’all in a few weeks Sean!
Chasity Davis Ritter - February 27, 2020 7:25 pm
For my Dad it’s dragonflies. Please find yourself In Oklahoma Some day. I’m good with cheese.
Martha - February 27, 2020 8:02 pm
Read you daily. Wish the local news would just read us your stuff instead of all the political propaganda!
Nancy M - February 27, 2020 11:47 pm
When will you be in Montgomery, and where? I didn’t seem it listed on your website.
Nancy M - February 27, 2020 11:48 pm
See it listed, not seem.
Denise - February 29, 2020 4:56 am
Love your columns. I, too, see my father in the herons visiting our place at the lake. The presence of one, still and staring, as we walked the property right after my father’s death, made us consider building our cottage. But, it was the one we saw flying over and close to our vehicle, while driving on the interstate (!) a day later, which sealed our decision. I hope you sell a million books.