Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Lewis Grizzard's Legend

The above illustration is by Jack Davis.

I just finished reading the book Don’t Sit Under The Grits Tree With Anyone Else But Me by Lewis Grizzard.

As you probably know Lewis Grizzard (1946-1994) was a southern writer. The book I mentioned above is a collection of his newspaper columns. There are probably a dozen or more books of his that do the same thing.

I like to read his books for his coverage of the southern state of mind mixed with his own corn-pone brand of humor.. He can bring it out the true grit(s) better than any other essayist I can think of.

And instead of being scorned for bringing out Georgians' redneck ways he was adorned. Streets are named after him. There is a Lewis Grizzard Museum in his hometown of Moreland, Georgia.

A few years ago we dined at the Blue Willow Inn in Monroe, Georgia, which is an uppity kind of place that used to be a Greek-style plantation mansion and if I remember right they had a Lewis Grizzard room and a Lewis Grizzard dish (his favorite) and I think there is a brass plate by the table he sat mentioning the fact that he ate at this here table.

The Blue Willow Inn is so popular among Georgians I bet Jimmy Carter, Zell Miller, and Sonny Purdue has also eaten there to be seen...but do they have their favorite dish on the menue or point out which table they sat at? Nope.

Several years ago I bought a heap of his books from the local library sale, and this is one of those. I still have plenty to go. I bought the first one because the cover was illustrated by Jack Davis (Georgian MAD artist) and that one led to another one, which led to another one, which led me to the semi-annual Marietta Library sale.

Although, as much as good writer I thought he was in bringing out the southern mood, I think he is fatal product of his own success.

Well, nothing is free.

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Blogger Chris said...

Lewis Grizzard was always a favorite of mine. I appreciated the way that he was so proud and unapologetic about his southern heritage. He truly loved Georgia the state and Georgia the University. He spent some time as an editor for a newspaper in Chicago in the 70s I believe. He wrote about it in his book "If I ever get back to Georgia, I'm going to nail my feet to the ground." Having travelled a bit for business, I fully understand that sentiment. Unfortunately, he was born with a heart valve defect and it eventually led to his early demise. When asked about his condition, Lewis described it like this: "There are three little leaflets that control the flow of blood to the heart. I was born with only two of those leaflets. It was just after the Great War, so there may have been a shortage. Either that or my daddy didn't get a good toe-hold."

6:34 AM  
Blogger ET said...

Thank you Chris.
You are well up on your Lewis Grizzard history. I enjoy reading his stuff, and he has even influenced us on where to eat before. If he rant and raved about a little dive or dump in or near Atlanta, chances are we would go there in the near future.

6:45 AM  

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