Have A Grumpy Thanksgiving

November 24, 2010 | By | Comments (13)


Lovely kudzu in bloom, the Soul of the South.


“It is demonstrable,” said he, “that things cannot be otherwise than they are; for as things have been created for some end, they must necessarily be created for the best end. “Candide

During this past week of Thanksgiving vacation, His Grumpiness has rediscovered one of his favorite books, the classic Candide. Written by Voltaire, a distant cousin, this tale clearly explains that since this world and everything in it has a purpose that cannot be otherwise, we therefore live in the best of all possible worlds.

With this in mind, Grumpy would like to enumerate some of the things for which he is grateful on this holiday, even if they would happened regardless of his existence.

GRUMPY IS GRATEFUL for the existence of kudzu in the South, for without it the abandoned cars, refrigerators, propane tanks, rusty school buses, and caved-in shacks that litter our countryside would be clearly visible year-round.

GRUMPY IS GRATEFUL that P. Allen Smith lives in Arkansas.

GRUMPY IS GRATEFUL that people like exotic plants, for without them our gardens would be dreadfully dull.

GRUMPY IS GRATEFUL for his lush, spacious lawn, because it makes so many people in California so mad.

GRUMPY IS GRATEFUL that Brian’s girlfriend is both pretty and smart, proof that he has followed his father’s example.

GRUMPY IS GRATEFUL that in his quest to use only renewable fuel his wife discouraged him from burning manure in the furnace.

GRUMPY IS GRATEFUL that he bought a lovely vacation home in North Korea for a song.

GRUMPY IS GRATEFUL that his home state of Alabama is nothing like the stereotype you see in the media, you snooty New Yorkers, you.

GRUMPY IS GRATEFUL that his copy editor, Libby Minor, checks his copy for typos, accuracy (a total waste of time), and anthrax.

GRUMPY IS GRATEFUL that photographers Van Chaplin and Ralph Anderson continue to record amazing images of gardens after Grumpy tells them exactly what to photograph.

GRUMPY IS GRATEFUL for the humorless people who can’t take a joke, because their inflammatory responses are so darn funny.

GRUMPY IS GRATEFUL to have worked at Southern Living for more than 25 years, despite the annual protest marches.

Most of all, GRUMPY IS GRATEFUL for you, his faithful readers, who continue to display a level of sophistication, taste, and intellectual curiosity unparalleled in the rapidly changing world of horticultural journalism.


“Excellently observed, ” answered Candide, “but let us cultivate our garden.” 


  1. carolyngail

    Great list, Grump. Didn’t know you were a fellow Alabamian.
    Once heard a yankee remark, “Southern culture, isn’t that an oxymoron? ” I mustered up all the Southern charm I could to say : ” Oh, yes, Harper Lee, maybe you’ve heard of her , wrote To Kill a Mockingbird, one of the most beloved books ever, and then there’s Margaret Mitchell of Gone with the Wind, not to mention William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, and Tennessee Williams, but I do go on and on…”

    December 29, 2010 at 10:39 am
  2. Grumpy Gardener (His Benevolence)

    I can’t believe you asked who P. Allen Smith is! Wait — that’s him banging on your door right now! Hide! Hide!

    December 7, 2010 at 3:08 pm
  3. Laura

    I’m grateful for the laughs I get when I stop by here!! And who is P Allen Smith? 😉

    December 7, 2010 at 12:07 pm
  4. Grumpy Gardener (His Benevolence)

    Thanks, bear’s mom. One thing that always cheers me up when my spirits are low is to walk over to my adopted bear and let him chew on my head.

    December 6, 2010 at 10:37 am
  5. bearsmom

    I’m grateful that when my spirits are low, my yard and garden have the winter-time blahs, and all the news is bad, I can return to Grumpy’s blog and be happily entertained. Go, Grumpy!

    November 30, 2010 at 12:07 pm
  6. Donna

    Loved the lush lawn gratefulness. Too funny.

    November 29, 2010 at 10:08 pm
  7. Grumpy Gardener (His Benevolence)

    You are so wrong, Henry. I am hosting a championship party for the Montana State Fighting Bobcats, who defeated arch-rival Montana to win the Big Sky Conference. Scratch em, Cats!

    November 28, 2010 at 10:48 am
  8. Henry H.

    Grump is also grateful he doesn’t have to worry about hosting another football championship party at his house this year………
    How you like them Malus’??????
    (that’s how I made it relevent to a garden blog……)

    November 27, 2010 at 4:22 pm
  9. Rhonda D.

    Aw,how sweet! Here’s to a very happy (and anthrax free)Thanksgiving to you and your family!

    November 25, 2010 at 9:00 am
  10. Brittany

    I am also grateful that P Allen Smith lives in Arkansas.

    November 24, 2010 at 5:11 pm
  11. Don

    I agree with esh, once a month is not enough of your wit and wisdom. I am grateful for you, Grumpy. You have inspired me for many, many years.

    November 24, 2010 at 10:35 am
  12. esh

    Happy Thanksgiving! Despite your shortcomings, I am grateful that you are still writing and that you have discovered this blog as a new way to unload your snarkiness because a once a month dose via the magazine was not enough.

    November 24, 2010 at 10:08 am
  13. Jean

    Well said Grumpy! Anybody who is anybody knows that Alabama is God’s Country as well as most of the south. I am thankful too that I live in such a place. Love the list!

    November 24, 2010 at 9:18 am

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