Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

January 10, 2010

Ain’t She Sweet?

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 6:00 am

This is real confession today.  Very few know this about me, but something brought this to mind.  I used to play the accordion.  Yes, I did.  I know that is hard to believe for those who know my musical ability.  I do love music, but the old expression, “he can’t carry a tune in a bucket” wouldn’t even describe me.  It is more like “he can’t carry a tune in a bucket if the lid was glued on and his hand was glued to the handle.”  I mean it.  I could use fancy words and say I am tone-deaf.  I think it is worse than that.

Nevertheless, I do have a musical background.  When I was in the seventh and eighth grades, I played the accordion. I took lessons weekly.   I don’t recall if it was my idea or my parents.  But I got started with a small 12 bass,25 piano key accordion.  Within a few months I was ‘promoted’ by my teacher to playing in an accordion band.  That required that I have a larger accordion.  My parents  then purchased for me a Hohner 120 bass with 41 piano keys, and various stops and ranks.  It was so complex that it perplexed me!  But I was big time now!

The negative to this large squeezebox was the weight.  I had to ride the streetcar to Atlanta, and walk about 10 blocks lugging that monster.  I truly believe it weighed half what I did.  Yet, I was seeing in my mind great fame on the big White Way of New York!   I had met Graham Jackson during this time.  He was  the foremost accordionist in the South during that era and known nationally.  His charisma challenged me and gave me ambition.  I was to meet him later and actually play with him.

With this great fantasy in my mind, I worked hard, yet never really enjoying it as others would have assumed.  That is why  my motivation could be  questioned.  Perhaps my desire was for the spotlight.  You see, I had a sister who sang and danced.  She was in all kinds of productions and recitals.  I attended them all. I saw her and others  in the spotlight and perhaps I was a little envious.  In fact, for a short period of time, I even took tap dancing because it put me in the presence of so many beautiful young ladies–well, I can call them ladies even if they were only 15 or 16 years old!  I probably thought, as the only male in this group, “what an opportunity!”

Somewhere in this saga, my sister and I  began a duo performance.  I would play this one-man-band and she would sing and dance.  Our most famous production was “Ain’t She Sweet?”.  We performed many places.  We were even on television as television began to be available in the Atlanta area.  We would perform at these designer stores during  the intermission at fashion shows.  Seems I was moving on toward Hollywood!

But then to practice everyday was interfering with my daily life.  This was not the priority it should be.  Oh, I wanted to be successful, but without paying the cost.  My teacher also began to require a little more from me, and I felt the pressure.  I could not produce to satisfy her expectations.  I realized that something was wrong.  I needed to play more difficult pieces and learn them faster, but I could not.  Then the great discovery.  I really didn’t have the ear for  music.  I was simply memorizing the notes and was not fully aware when I hit a wrong note.  With that realization, confirmation by my teacher, and agreement by my parents, I retired as an accordionist.

I never really missed it as other things took my attention and time.  Oh, today, I truly wish I could play like a Graham Jackson, but it cannot be.  My gifts are truly in other arenas.  And my gift to you and the world is that I am not playing the accordion at your next event!

Anything here for us to learn today?  Perhaps.  Many of us struggle to accomplish something for which we have no gift.  Yet all of us should be striving to use what gift or gifts God has given us.  I do not have the gift of music, but that does not excuse me from using well what gifts I do have.  Each of us must seek to know the gifts we have been given, and then faithfully exercise those gifts for God’s glory.

“Each man has his own gift from God . . . .”  (1 Corinthians 7:7)   “Do not neglect your gift . . . .”  (1 Timothy 4:14)   “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others . . . .”  (1 Peter 4:10)




  1. You and Jan playing, singing, and dancing. I just love it! You are so right about finding, but then using the gifts that God has given you. My cancer experience has revealed some God given gifts that I had not discovered before.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts in your blog, Carol

    Comment by Carol Mathews — January 10, 2010 @ 4:28 pm | Reply

  2. You do have the gift of matchmaking!!! Derek and I are very thankful. I do enjoy your story-
    telling:) Thank you 4 using your gifts for God.

    Comment by Betsy Rowell — January 11, 2010 @ 11:00 am | Reply

  3. You definitely have a gift for storytelling and teaching. I love reading your blog.

    Comment by Katherine Stephens — January 15, 2010 @ 7:29 pm | Reply

  4. ” . . .nor does a man light a candle and hide it under a basket…..” I had to go to Honduras, wait for ten years, before we encountered a Peace Corps worker our age, who taught us accordion….all the time we were in San Jose, you could have been teaching or playing on the street corners…….

    Speaking of cokes, we have a coke in its original bottle that is at least forty five years old.Wwe do not actually know who sent it, but think it was our physician, who bet Olivia a coke she was pregnant. Unfortunately, there is no identification on the bottom of the bottle. This was after they quit using bottles from the various towns.

    Comment by Bob Williams –taken from email.

    Comment by lawsonjolly — January 15, 2010 @ 8:45 pm | Reply

  5. Thank you Pastor Jolly, what a wonderful reminder. God is so good, we should give our gifts freely as He planned for us when he gave them to us! Doris

    Comment by drswht28 — June 8, 2014 @ 3:21 pm | Reply

  6. I am so thankful that God directed your talents to preaching & teaching, not that I’m against accordion playing, it just never was high on my listening list. I do love your message giving.

    Comment by maxine lambert — June 14, 2014 @ 8:34 am | Reply

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