GrouchyIrritable, bad-tempered, grumpy, complaining, cross, crotchety, crabby, cantankerous, testy, curmudgeonly, tetchy, huffy, snappish, waspish, prickly

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MET AN old buddy for lunch a couple of weeks back. We’ve grown old together, roomed together back when we both were sports writers, now we meet and replay old memories.

As he sat down across from me, I asked (as I always do):

“How you doing?”

I got:

“I’ve become a grouchy old man.”

Didn’t think too much about that since I can’t remember when he wasn’t grouchy. Besides, the fried chicken at Twin Sisters out on the edge of Ashville was in more need of attention than my buddy’s grouchiness.

But “I’ve become a grouchy old man” has been on my mind a lot since.

As in: “Am I like him?”

Well, for one thing, a very good guess is the blonde and my son-and-heir would agree with my oldest and dearest friend. They like to talk to each other a lot, throwing in a word or two to me every now and then, sort of like throwing a bone to a hungry dog.

So am I being grouchy there?

Maybe … but it’s also just a statement of fact, proving once again that old saw that in family relationships “the son goes to the mother, the daughter goes to the father.”

Which I really can’t complain about. In my own life, I was much closer to my mother than to my father. I mean, how can you not be when your mother gets up around midnight (when you come home) and fries cornbread for you … while Dad snores away in peaceful slumber.

I see that clearly in the reflection in the mirror each morning when I shave. You can’t lie to the mirror or to God. I talk to both on a daily basis.

But I digress.

Grouchy, I might debate, but old I can’t.

On a good day, I can get out of my recliner in two “rocks.” On a bad day it takes three or four. And I’m certainly not being grouchy about that. I really don’t care if I live long enough be a six-rock old man. I know I have an appointment, but I’m in no hurry to keep it. Being on the topside of the grass isn’t all that bad.

That’s certainly not grouchy.

But there are a few things that do put me in a lousy mood.

Cold weather is one. Pumping gas into the car is another. A few more include going to the cleaners, buying stamps, stumbling on a rug, unloading the dishwasher, running a vacuum, cleaning the kitchen counter, checking the thermostat, looking for a pen I know I left on the desk, looking for a book I know I left in my chair, and … on and on and on.

The list of the little things I could whine about but don’t is endless, don’t have enough space in this entire newspaper to list them all.

“Grouchy old man?”

The son-and-heir is coming in the door with “Hi, Mom” and I need to sit and listen to what’s going on in my world, not what I think.

I will not be a part of the conversation so I really can’t be grouchy, can I?

Nope …

However, as he gets up to leave he notices my column on the table.

He reads.

On the way out the door, he turns and says …

“They gotcha, Dad, they gotcha.”

With that, son-and-ex-heir heads for his car … arms around his mom …


I go out in my barn and sulk, which is not the same thing as grouchy.

George Smith can be reached at 256-239-5286 or email: