My Boyhood Friend Lewis - a Great American
Lewis Grizzard left this world a less funny place for his absence in 1994. He went from being an aspiring student of newspaper writing at the University of Georgia (and sports editor for the local Athens, Georgia, paper) to sports editor of the Atlanta Journal by age 23. Thank God he was so dedicated to his craft, because we lost him before his 48th birthday due to a heart surely weakened by the love of so many. Well, maybe not his three ex-wives or Georgia TECH fans, but everybody else.
His column was the first thing most folks between Richmond and Dallas read four out of seven days every week in 450 of the nation’s daily newspapers. His sense of humor took him from the back roads of Moreland, Georgia, all the way to Albert Hall in London. When another Atlanta paper tried to run an annual “Best Of” edition, they had to create a category called “Best Columnist Besides Lewis Grizzard.”
His meteoric rise as a writer included three years he referred to as “being held prisoner of war in Chicago, Illinois, where they have two seasons: winter and the Fourth of July.” He served his term there covering football, but his conclusion was “football up here is like watching two mules fighting over a turnip. Who cares? They ain’t serious as us.”
Lewis was as equal opportunity as it comes when it came to poking fun at people. But, yes, he gave Northerners a particularly hard time.
“People ask me, ‘Why do you hate Yankees?’ I don’t hate Yankees. I’ve got a friend who hates them. The man reads the obituaries in The New York Times for fun. Now, that’s a man who don't like Yankees. I say, come on down. Breathe our air. Marry our women. The only thing we ask is don’t tell us how you used to do things in Cleveland. We don’t care. You don’t like it here? Delta is ready when you are. We’ll have you back in Cleveland by evenin’ if that’s where you want to go.”
But Lewis’ favorite target for making fun was himself. “Do you know why Baptists won’t make love standing up? Somebody might see them and think they were dancing.”
"Naked means you don't have any clothes on. Nekid means you don't have any clothes on - and you up to something."
"I'm not getting married again. I'll just find a woman I don't like and give her a house."
Twenty-five books and a couple of CDs are all we have left of Brother Lewis. And with every passing year, fewer and fewer among us remember who he was. But some of his truisms with live forever. "That dawg would bite you!" RIP Lewis.
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