Lewis Grizzard got his first newspaper job when he was ten-years-old. Thirty-odd years later (thirty-very
-odd years) he's still
in the newspaper business - and he's still infatuated with it, still tickled by it, and still very much in love with it.If I Ever Get Back To Georgia, I'm Gonna Nail My Feet to the Ground
is all about that anger, that great humor, and that even greater passion for something that affects every single one of us: the daily newspaper.
Lewis' first writing job came when he was covering a Boy's Church League team for the Newnan (Georgia) Times-Herald
. Lewis also happened to be the star pitcher on that same team - and here's his very first, modest, bit of reporting.
Moreland's Lewis Grizzard No-Hits Macedonia 14-0
by Lewis Grizzard
Brilliant Moreland right-hander Lewis Grizzard, in his first start in organized baseball, baffled the visiting Macedonia Baptist nine Saturday afternoon with a no-hitter. Dudley Stamps, in a lesser role, had three home runs in the 14-0 romp.
From that triumph of content and style, Lewis moves on to college, where he quickly ascends to the position of sports editor on the paper that changed his life, the Athens (Georgia) Daily News
. It was at the Daily News
that he learned how to do such things as prepare a front-page headline and layout in case Jesus Christ ever returned to earth
(The headline, over a full page shot, said simply HE'S BACK!
The caption read: "Athenians say 'Glad to have you back' after surprise drop-in by Jesus.
Larry Young's exclusive interview inside.")
Lewis also learned how to cover stories about chickens getting stuck in trees, how to confront small-town Southern sheriffs on their running of speed traps, how to write about catfish with false teeth, how to drink, now not
to stay married, and how to handle what surely must be the funniest, smartest, most interesting group of people ever to work in one building.
From Athens it's on to Atlanta, where, as all Grizzard fans know, history was made. And then three long winters in Chicago as sports editor of the Chicago Sun-Times,
years in which Grizzard lost his second wife, his cool, and very nearly his sanity, It was a time of lawsuits, of freezing cold blizzards, and of learning an awful lot about life, liberty, and the pursuit of his own happiness.If I Ever Get Back To Georgia, I'm Going To Nail My Feet To The Ground
is the book Lewis Grizzard has always wanted to write. Happily, he's ow written it - and it's his best book (and sure to be his biggest-seller) yet.