Our great curmudgeon counts his blessings.
Bender Family in Fall
Credit: Laura Erickson

It's that time of year when people of character pause to reflect on the persons, things, and happenstances that coincided during the last 12 months to make their lives better. In this spirit, Grumpy proffers this list of 10 ways the Big Guy has blessed his life this year.

  1. I AM BLESSED not to have a crummy mimosa tree growing nearby. Yes, mimosa looks pretty for two weeks in summer, but it's a dreadful horror all winter, and its seeds produce armies of seedlings that would march across my yard.
  2. I AM BLESSED that my next-door neighbors do not raise goats. Don't tell me little goats are cute. They are familiars of Satan, as everyone knows. Every movie I've seen that features goats also features chanting, pentagrams, creepy houses with attic lights on all night, and little girls whose heads spin around in bed. No goats!
  3. I AM BLESSED not to live in Nebraska. Now I'm sure plenty of fine people live in Nebraska and their wonderful gardens do contain plants other than corn, but it's a plane ride from there to the mountains or the beach. In winter, it's hot as Hades; in winter, it's colder than the heart of a Wall Street banker. Granted, Nebraska is home to Warren Buffett and Omaha Steaks, but a normal person can watch Warren devour a ribeye just so many times.
  4. I AM BLESSED to reside in the South, where plants bloom in every season. Even in winter, it gives me a reason to leave the house, to the immense relief of my wife.
  5. I AM BLESSED to have a Grumpy Gardener page on Facebook, so that I may answer my loyal readers' questions, introduce them to superior plants and gardens, mercifully point out their blunders, and set them on the path to righteousness.
  6. I AM BLESSED to have witnessed a red-tail hawk pluck a hapless squirrel off a tree in my back yard today and take him home for Thanksgiving dinner. What a generous gesture! We can all learn from this.
  7. I AM BLESSED by the arrival of fall and the bright colors and cooler temperatures it brings. Now I don't have to water for months. I hate watering. Worthy plants don't need it.
  8. I AM BLESSED that so many of you want me to give talks in your town, even though I don't like leaving the house. (See blessing #4.) However, should any of you move to Paris, London, Singapore, Sydney, Kyoto, Florence, Prague, Dublin, the Maldives, Bora-Bora, or Cape Town, please keep me in mind.
  9. I AM BLESSED by a son named Brian, who continues to solve all our household technology problems from his pad in Virginia so that we can watch TV. He also comes home for Christmas every year to brew a new batch of craft beer with his Dad. No greater love.
  10. MOST OF ALL I AM BLESSED by Judy, my wife of nearly 27 years, who has sacrificed everything to keep me clothed, warm, fed, lucid, and out of jail during the most tempestuous of times. She is my bestie, now and forever. I'll take my dinner on the veranda, sweetie. Hey, this wine glass is empty!