Posts Tagged 'lewis grizzard'

30 years ago, this Lewis wrote this classic

30 years ago today exactly, Kevin Butler’s mammoth field goal kick upset Clemson.

We’re guilty of re-posting this column of Lewis Grizzard’s but it’s very, very fitting on a day like today.

Great moments in a would be father’s life

To my Son, if I ever have one:

Kid, I am writing this on September 3, 1984. I have just returned from Athens, where I spent Saturday watching the University of Georgia, your old dad’s alma matter, play football against Clemson.

While the events of the day were still fresh on my mind, I wanted to recount them so if you are ever born, you can read this and perhaps be able to share one of the great moments in your father’s life.

Saturday was a wonderful day on the Georgia campus.

We are talking blue, cloudless sky, a gentle breeze and a temperature suggesting summer’s end and autumn’s approach.

I said the blessing before we had lunch. I thanked the Lord for three things: fried chicken, potato salad and for the fact he had allowed me the privilege of being a Bulldog.

“And , Dear Lord,” I prayed, “bless all those not as fortunate as I.”

Imagine my son, 82,000 people, most whom were garbed in red, gathered together gazing down on a lush valley of hedge and grass where soon historic sporting combat would be launched.

Clemson was ranked number 2 in the nation, and Georgia, feared too young to compete with the veterans from beyond the river, could only dream, the smart money said, of emerging three hours hence victorious.

They had us 20-6 at the half, son. A man sitting in front of me said, “I just hope we don’t get embarrassed.”

My boy, I had never seen such a thing as came to pass in the second half. Todd Williams threw one long and high, and Herman Archie caught it in the end zone, and it was now 20-13.

Georgia got the ball again and scored again, and it was now 20-20, and my mouth was dry, and my hands were shaking, and this Clemson fan who had been running his mouth the whole ballgame suddenly shut his fat face.

Son, we got ahead 23-20, and the ground trembled and shook, and many were taken by fainting spells.

Clemson’s kicker, Donald Igwebuike, tied it 23-23 and this sacred place became the center of the universe.

Only seconds were left when Georgia’s kicker, Kevin Butler, stood poised in concentration. The ball rushed toward him, and it was placed upon the tee a heartbeat before his right foot launched it heavenward.

A lifetime later, the officials threw their arms aloft. From 60 yards away, Kevin Butler had been true, and Georgia led and would win 26-23.

I hugged perfect strangers and kissed a fat lady on the mouth. Grown men wept. Lightening flashed. Thunder rolled. Stars fell, and joy swept through, fetched by a hurricane of unleashed emotions.

When Georgia beat Alabama 18-17 in 1965, it was a staggering victory. When we came back against Georgia Tech and won 29-28 in1978, the Chapel bell rang all night. When we beat Florida 26-21 in the last seconds in 1980, we called it a miracle. And when we beat Notre Dame 17-10 in the Sugar Bowl that same year for the national championship, a woman pulled up her skirt and showed the world the Bulldog she had sewn on her underbritches.

But Saturday may have been even better than any of those.

Saturday in Athens was a religious experience.

I give this to you, son. Read it and re-read it, and keep it next to your heart. And when people want to know how you wound up with the name “Kevin” let them read it, and then they will know.

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.

Lewis on Furman Bisher

We are saddened to hear of the death of legendary AJC sports columnist Furman Bisher. Many of us read his work growing up as he painted the picture of sporting events. In fact, Bisher also helped spearhead to effort to bring major league sports to Atlanta. All this talk about is Atlanta a bad sports town? Well, it may not be a sports town without Bisher.

Yes, he was, at times, a Tech homer. But we’ll let that one slide. After all, Furman Bisher was one of Lewis Grizzard’s mentors, as we found in the below selection from one of Lewis’ works. 

 

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Behind the horseshoe desk sat the teletype machine that spit out words at an astounding rate. I walked over to the machine. It was typing the current major-league baseball standings. I had no idea as to where the source of this machine was located, but the sound of it gave out a sense of both urgency and energy. This, I reasoned, was the background music for the practice of the big-time sports journalism. Again, that sound it seemed to me, a man could put zest i the words he typed. That sound likely was what set Furman Bisher into his mood to crank out his poetry.

To my left, I saw a glass-enclosed office. The door to it was closed. On th door is said….FURMAN BISHER, SPORTS EDITOR.

This was Furman Bisher’s office! I looked thru the glass. There was a desk, just as cluttered as the ones outside. An obviously elderly manual typewriter sat on a table near the desk. The OVAL OFFICE in the White House could not have impressed me more. 

This was it. This was where Furman Bisher wrote. All those columns of his I’d read since childhood came out of this hallowed place. Bisher on riding the train to Little Rock with the Atlanta Crackers. Bisher on Bobby Dodd, the legendary Georgia Tech football coach. Bisher from the World Series. Bisher from the Kentucky Derby. Bisher from the Masters.

I was looking at where Michelangelo mixed his paints, where Edison conceived the light bulb, where Alexander the Great plotted his battles, where Irving Berlin beat out the first notes of “White Christmas…”

I knew I would work in this place one day.

- From If I Ever Get Back To Georgia, I’m Gonna Nail My Feet To The Ground. 

E-Version available at NewSouthBooks.com 



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