|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.)
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.
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.
Posts Tagged 'Lewis'
Tags: Lewis, lewis grizzard
Tags: furman bisher, legends, Lewis, lewis grizzard, writing
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.
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
Zapping The Silly Sports
Someone once wrote the only uncomfortable thing that lasts longer than the National Basketball Association season was pregnancy.
One could say the same for that silly sport of hockey. They puck it up and down the ice for what seems like an entire year until a bunch of guys with names out of a Victor Hugo novel and no teeth skate around with Stanley’s Cup.
They play pro basketball for six months in order to eliminate Sacramento and then they start over and play until the Fourth of July. With no Michael Jordan in the league anymore, they might as well call the whole thing off anyway.
Wouldn’t bother me. The last time anybody was able to get me to a pro basketball game, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was a tall guy named Lew.
But now they’re doing the same thing to the baseball season. I love baseball. I’ve always loved baseball.
And baseball used to make absolutely perfect sense. There were two leagues, the National and the American. At the end of a 154-game season, the winners of the two leagues played in the World Series. In the daytime. On real grass. Under the sky, not a roof named for it.
And each team in each league could use only nine players at a time. Then somebody said in the American League there could be something called a designated hitter.
The pitcher on each team – pitchers are notoriously poor hitters for some reason – could stay in the dugout when it came his time to bat and somebody else could go up there and hit for him.
Why God hasn’t intervened for that transgression is still a mystery. God got even with North Carolina for putting slaw on barbecue. He (or She; excuse, please) did. He or She sent North Carolina good ol’ Jesse Helms.
But they still weren’t through messing with baseball. They also split each league into two divisions. Gave away franchises in foreign countries, allowed artificial grass, put roofs on stadiums and started playing the World Series in the middle of the night on the brink of November.
They still weren’t finished. Beginning next season, each league will be split into three divisions and there will be another round of playoffs.
You play 162 games from April until October and the issue of the best team in each league still isn’t settled without two rounds of playoffs.
The federal government couldn’t screw up baseball any worse than baseball has screwed up baseball, and I mean that as the insult that it most certainly is.
Baseball is a pure game, an orderly game. The reason the uneducated think it’s a dull, slow game is they don’t realize the intricacies involved on every pitch.
“A lot of stuff goes on out there” is how it was described in George Will’s b aseball book, “Men at Work.”
But now there is an obvious move afoot to junk-up baseball.
“We’re modernizing it is all,” say those behind the changes. Money- izing is what they’re doing. More playoff games mean more money.
Can’t there be a few things left in this world that isn’t given power steering, an automatic timer, doesn’t do your thinking for you, or isn’t diluted for quick cash?
I liked hotels better when they had big brass keys, not a plastic card to get inside your room.
I liked country music better before there were guitars you plugged in. I liked bacon better when I could hear it sizzling in a pan and smell it frying. That was before you could zap it in a microwave.
Now, baseball will be like basketball and hockey. It will last much too long, give too many also-rans a second, undeserved chance and Port-au- Prince will probably get a team and somebody will shoot Jeff Blauser of the Braves, my favorite baseball player, one night.
The Nightmare Before Christmas. Soon, that might describe the baseball season.
A lot has been made the last two weeks of the travesty that took on North Campus with all the garbage left behind.
Lewis Grizzard even has an opinion of trash vs. garbage. Speaking of Lewis, Kyle King pays tribute to him and his most famous article that was published here two weeks ago by writing a letter to his son.
Difference Between Garbage And Trash
Did you know there was a difference between trash and garbage?
I’m nearly 40 years old, and I didn’t know that. I always figured trash and garbage were the same thing, a bunch of stuff you wanted to throw away.
You live, you learn.
The other morning, I walked outside my house and I noticed the can in which I dump my refuse (a highbrow word for a bunch of stuff you want to throw away), was still full from the previous day.
There was a little note stuck to the can. It said, in essence, that my refuse hadn’t been picked up because – and I quote – “trash and garbage had been mixed.” What’s the difference
I hate making mistakes like that. Once I didn’t close the cover on a book of matches before striking. It was weeks before I got over the guilt.
I called Georgia Waste Systems, where I have my trash/garbage account, to apologize. They were very nice and said a lot of people make the same mistake I did and they were not planning a lawsuit.
As long as I had somebody on the phone who could explain, I asked, “What is the difference between trash and garbage?”
“Garbage,” said a spokesindividual, “are things that come from the bathroom or kitchen.” A quick education in trash
“You mean like bread you leave out for a couple of months and green things start growing on it?” I asked.
“Precisely,” she said.
“Trash,” she continued, “is basically anything else. We do not pick up leaves, for instance, or old furniture, or boxes of materials that were collected when somebody cleaned out their attic.”
The lady said it was up to the individual garbage collectors to decide if there is, in fact, trash and garbage mixed on their appointed rounds.
Somehow, I can’t visualize two guys on a garbage truck really spending that much time trying to figure out which is which.
“What is it you have there, Leonard? Is it trash or garbage?” one guy says to the other.
“I can’t be absolutely certain, Elvin, but it has green things growing on it.” Isn’t life complex enough?
I will, of course, comply with the waste company’s dictum against mixing my trash and my garbage, but don’t we have enough complexities in our lives as it is?
Don’t we have to deal with international terrorism and the women’s movement? Don’t we have to battle traffic, computer involvement in our lives, and airplanes that never take off on time?
Isn’t it enough of a burden that we have to decide what to do about Central America, which long-distance telephone company we want to serve us and which cereal has the most fiber?
Oh, for a simpler time, when the good guys always won, a girl could still cook and still would, and trash and garbage were the same, both delicacies as far as a goat was concerned.
It is a wonder that more of us don’t tie a Glad Bag around our heads and tell modern living to go stick its head in the nearest dumpster.
In order to get us over the hump day, we are going to treat you all with a new Lewis Grizzard article each Wednesday. This first post really sums up what a game day is like in Athens (wrong South Carolina team). Though we may be down as a Bulldawg Nation, reading these poetic words should gear us up for a Fall Saturday Between the Hedges!
From The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, September 24, 1984
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.