The Opry Party

When I was a kid we listened to the “Grand Ole Opry” on a transistor radio every week. We usually listened to the show out in my dad’s lawnmower shed each Saturday night. It was our thing.

My father’s shed was a sacred place. Especially for a kid. It was the place where he kept his beer so my mother wouldn’t find it.

My mother was Baptist. Which is why Daddy often drank his beer warm, since there was no refrigerator out in the shed.

“Don’t you hate warm beer?” my father’s friends used to ask him.

“Yes,” my father would say. “But I might as well get used to it, because the beer in hell won’t be very cold.”

The little Philco radio sat atop his shelf, nestled beside the old oil cans, the Chilton automotive repair manuals, the WD-40 canisters, and the boxes of air new filters.

On Saturday evenings the Opry would play, and Daddy would often be sharpening a lawnmower blade, or lubricating his chainsaw, or separating bolts and screws, or whatever. Warm beer in his hand.

The tweed speaker would vibrate with the sounds of Keith Bilbrey, hosting the show with his velveteen baritone. The musicians would play. Fiddles would whine. Banjos would ring. And I would marvel at the sounds of steel guitars.

I have always loved music. I played piano in our church. I began playing in church at age 9.

I played “Amazing Grace” at my grandfather’s funeral. I sang “Precious Lord Take My Hand” for my aunt’s wedding. I once sang for a supermarket poultry sale at the IGA. I sang:

“That’s how you spell,
“Premium chicken, friends…”

My father also let me sing at the VFW sometimes for his pals. My mother did not like it when my father took me to the VFW.

When I was 5, my father would take me to the VFW, sit me on a stool and get me to say a popular cuss word beginning with the letter S.

“S-word,” I would say to my father’s pals.

They would all howl with delight.

“How old are you?” one of his friends would ask.

“S-word,” I would reply.

Laughter from all.

“What’s your favorite color?” they would ask me.

“S-word,” I remarked.

That same year, in Sunday school class, my teacher, Miss Deborah, asked me to recite the scripture for the week. I thought I’d try for an easy laugh. “S-word,” I said. They buried Miss Deborah that same afternoon.

But getting back to the Opry. I loved listening to the music on that show. Namely, because as a kid-piano-player, I wanted to be a professional musician when I grew up. I wanted to play the Opry someday.

“Do you think I’ll ever play the Opry,” I asked my father.

“Son,” my father would encourage me, “if you keep playing music in church, and you practice real hard, one day you too will be drinking beer out in your lawnmower shed.”

Well, here I am several decades later, and I’m going to be a guest on the Grand Ole Opry on March 24, 2023. Although I am still in denial about this.

I bring all this up because my wife and I are throwing an after-party for anyone who is coming to Nashville to see the Opry. This is our thank-you to you. Because we love you.

This means you.

Actually, you don’t even have to come to the Opry to be invited to our party that night. Just come to Nashville. In fact, you’re welcome to attend our party even if you think I’m a complete turd. I’ll hug your neck, just the same.

So if you want to join the shindig, please RSVP on my website and my wife will email you the address of the party venue. To find my site, all you have to do is Google my name.

It bears mentioning, wherever this party is held, wherever you and I embrace one another, there will be food, there will be music.

And there will be plenty of warm beer.


  1. Liza Bragg - March 12, 2023 1:09 pm

    Good luck, Sean… or should I say break a leg?

  2. Jan Burchfield - March 12, 2023 2:11 pm

    Can’t wait!!!

  3. Betty - March 12, 2023 4:06 pm

    Wish I could attend. I drank warm beer as a teenager by choice. For some reason I didn’t like cold beer. I know you all will have a blast. The Grand Ole Opry will never be the same.

  4. Anita - March 12, 2023 4:24 pm

    We will be there! Going to Opry especially to see you!! Will be there Thursday and Friday nights at Opryland Hotel.

  5. Charlie Brannick - March 12, 2023 5:34 pm

    Rock on. Country on.

  6. Cathy M - March 12, 2023 6:17 pm

    I hope your Mama will be there! I am so proud of you! Somebody in heaven will be watching and smiling. Warm beer in his hand and a smile as big as the Opry! 💕👏🎼

  7. Barbara Carroll - March 12, 2023 8:36 pm

    I’d love to come! Congratulations!

  8. David Clapton - March 12, 2023 9:50 pm

    Well I grew up in England so I’m used to warm beer but beer is beer it’s all good. Love your books and your humor love to be there

  9. James Jarrett - March 13, 2023 3:27 am

    We love your stories… never heard a bad one! We are excited to see you at the Opry!😊

  10. donnaworkman - March 13, 2023 8:56 pm

    I can’t wait!

  11. William West - March 14, 2023 5:44 pm

    Can’t William , Jesica and Mother ( Flossie) West will be attending The Opry & After Party

  12. kristina Stansbury - March 15, 2023 7:26 pm

    I’m going to the Opry and would like information about your after party. Been listening to your podcast and just finished reading “You are my sunshine” after I heard you are one of the guests.

  13. Ellen K Murphy - March 26, 2023 3:10 am

    Wish I could go, but I’m working and live in DC.
    But I’m enjoying these stories!


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