Posts Tagged 'lewis grizzard'

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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