“I’m so cold. So very cold,” said the little, lonely Grump. “It’s raining ice upon the world and all I have is a box of useless matches and a bottle of Bailey’s. At least the Bailey’s may keep me warm.”
The Grump took a sip of Bailey’s. All of a sudden, the world was bright and warm! Flowers bloomed and children played. Crepe myrtles, none of which had been butchered into grotesque stumps by ignorant owners, pushed out tiny leaves from their buds. Gardeners marveled at the Plentifall pansies Grumpy had written about months before that garden centers miraculously and uncharacteristically remembered to order.
Quick as a wink, the vision disappeared. Grumpy was cold and alone again. What could he do? He took another sip.
It was summer! Birds chirped happily as they crowded Grumpy’s feeder for pepper-laced Cole’s birdseed that they found scrumptious and squirrels found incandescent. No neighbors had scalped their verdant, lush lawns below the soil line. Bizarre red mulch was banished too, as were awful, tacky plants like golden euonymus, elaeagnus, redtip photinia, Chinese hollies, weeping junipers, purple-leaf plum, Bradford pear, mimosa, privet, wax begonias, celosia, and scarlet sage. Gardens rejoiced with lavish displays of Serena angelonia, ‘Cora’ vinca, ‘Dragon Wing’ begonia, ‘Azure Skies’ heliotrope, ‘Ragin’ Cajun’ ruellia, oxblood lily, and ‘Princess Dark Lavender’ verbena.
The scene blackened. Grumpy shivered. It was colder and darker than ever. He raised the bottle of Bailey’s to his lips once more and took a long, warming swallow.
It was fall, Grumpy’s favorite season! Ginger lilies, asters, spider lilies, and Confederate rose bloomed in preternatural glory. Maples, hickories, ginkgoes, dogwoods, and Chinese pistache splashed scarlet, pumpkin, and gold upon the world. Gardeners bought spring bulbs by October 31, the customary cut-off date when garden centers empty out all of their plants and garden-related items and replace them with Christmas lights and tinsel.
Then as quickly as they appeared, the comforting colors vanished. Grumpy huddled in the dark with his Bailey’s. He raised the bottle once more, but it was empty. He closed his eyes and fell asleep.
They found Grumpy the next morning, the last drop of Bailey’s frozen on his lip. As they carted off his frosty remains, a neighbor remarked, “Jeez, he had matches, he could have lit a fire.”
The other neighbors nodded. “That’s Bender for you. What an idiot.”