Lewis Grizzard Wednesday: Flowers

I Always Hated Flowers

MORELAND, Ga. – I always hated flowers when I was a kid. My mother and my grandmother and my Aunt Jessie loved flowers, but it was me they always wanted to go out and work in the dang things.I was a perfectly well-adjusted lad of 10 and I wanted to do perfectly well-adjusted things that lads of 10 want to do, such as play ball and make life miserable for my girl cousin.

But, no. Either my mother or my grandmother or my Aunt Jessie would latch onto my ear at least once a day and send me out to hoe around in their flower gardens.

“But real men don’t work in flowers,” I would protest.

“Get out there in those flowers or we’ll serve you quiche for supper again,” they would volley back.

(Actually, nobody in Moreland had ever heard of quiche back then – and probably few now – but it made a nice line, so I used it anyway. It’s called journalistic license.)
Bribes didn’t work
I soon moved from disliking flowers to hating them. I would go through the seed catalogs and draw mustaches on pictures of petunias.

My friends gave me a lot of grief about all the time I had to spend working in flowers, too.

“Wanna play ball?” one would ask.

“Him, play ball?” another would scoff. “He’s got to work in his mommy’s flowers.”

I tried everything to escape these botanical gardens of hell. I even tried to bribe my girl cousin into doing the work for me. I offered her my best marble, a Johnny Podres baseball card, and not to throw rocks at her anymore if she would do my flower work for me.

“Why don’t you go sit on a cactus, begonia breath,” she countered.

I remember telling my Aunt Jessie, who had by far the greenest thumb in the family, how much I hated flowers.

“When I grow up, ” I said, “I’ll never look at a flower again.”

She said I might change my mind one day. I figured she’d been sniffing too many honeysuckle blossoms.
Back for a visit
I visited home the other day to see the folks. My grandmother is gone now. My mother is too ill to dabble with her flowers anymore. Aunt Jessie, who has seen a lot of springs, is still out among her gardens every day, however.

First thing I noticed when I drove up was my aunt’s yard. Her azaleas were spectacular, her dogwoods, both pink and white, were in full bloom, and everywhere there were breathtaking blankets of blue and pink thrift.

My mother said people have been driving by from all over the county to witness the blossoming splendor of my Aunt Jessie’s yard. I considered swallowing my pride and visiting my aunt next door to tell her how beautiful her yard was and how wrong I had been about flowers.

I didn’t though. My old hoe is still out in the garage somewhere, and one word out of me and my Aunt Jessie would have had me back at work faster than a Weedeater can take the fur off a cat’s tail.

Flowers or no flowers, if it was hard work I had wanted, I wouldn’t have gotten this license to practice journalism in the first place.

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1 Response to “Lewis Grizzard Wednesday: Flowers”


  1. 1 Mr. Sanchez January 23, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    As another who always felt doing yard work was their mom’s way of punishing them, I love this article. Thanks as always guys.


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