Hello ghouls and ghoulettes, and happy Friday!

Welcome back to the Good To Grow site, and thanks for being here.

Brrr, it got cold today in Albuquerque. Not Midwestern cold, of course, but cold for the Southwest. I for one am quite the sissy when it comes to cold weather – I like it warm all the time.

Even though it’s cold outside, it’s cozy here on this blog. My Friday Experts exude warmth and charm no matter what time of year it is. I’m lucky to know them, and am happy to share them with you.

Let’s get our panel started by saying hi to the Experts. Hi Experts!


“Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Liza!”

You’re so cute with your sunflowerness! From left to right, that’s Andy Williams, Tim Thackaberry, EZ Ed Johnson, Dottie Correll and Lewis Casey. If you’d like to know more about them, please click here.

In honor of Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, which is coming up next week, I wanted to give my Experts a chance to talk about their loved ones who have passed. It’s never easy to lose someone you love, so I can appreciate holidays designed to honor those people.

Here’s this week’s question:

Q. Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), All Saint’s Day and All Soul’s Day are next week. Would you like to share memories of someone who’s deceased?

Expert Andy, start us off, will you, fine sir?

A. Indeed next week is an interesting convergence of spirits all in a span of a few days.  I applaud them all in all of their specific glory.  I certainly do not know any saints, personally, who are deceased but I will say that I appreciate everything that they accomplished in this world or others without the use of today’s technology and with their own blood (literally in many cases), sweat and tears.  So first, thank you saints for your selfless acts of kindness to make the world a better place.  And when I speak of saints, I am definitely not referring to those led by Drew Brees.  Plus, he went to purdue, which will always remain non-capitalized in my personal language, both written and spoken.  After all, he did make for a particularly miserable 30 min. and the following 8 months a few years ago for me following the Super Bowl.

As for All Soul’s and those deceased, to me they both represent the same thing to me.  Believe as you may, but I particularly believe that souls live forever and find the appropriate time to reinvigorate the new world throughout their timeless existence.  Some may disappear for centuries, some more regularly recycled into the existence we know as “life”.  Virtually at every funeral or memorial service you shall hear reference to “for without death there can be no life, and without life there can be no death”.  This is an interesting concept that supports my souls theory, although there are numerous publicized examples of this occurring particularly throughout certain generations of families, for example.  This topic has been the subject of much discussion between our wonderful moderator and I for a few years.

Regardless of what you may believe, I must say that you must lead a rather boring life if you believe that paranormal activity is not a realistic possibility.  There are things in life that remain unexplained by logic or science.  Time, for example, is such a concept.  How is it, for example, that time always existed?  Can you imagine a world without time?  If so, then I ask you, when was time invented and what happened prior to that point?  Ponder that question, because by its nature, doesn’t “prior” itself indicate time’s perpetual existence?

Ok, back to the subject at hand, I choose to remember my grandfather, Mr. Wilbur Jackson, this week and many others.  He served in the Philippine War and was such a great, great person.  He spent many a moment with me teaching me to fish, watching my amateur athletic events, and guiding me upon my way in this crazy world.  Every day I take with him the wisdom and experiences he provided me.  He called me “Slugger”.  I will never forget the last time I saw him alive as I went to see him on a Sunday afternoon before I went back to college.  He was ailing a bit but nothing too out of the norm for a senior of his age.  When I left to say goodbye on his front porch on Berkeley Dr. he had tears running down his cheeks.  I had never seen this weathered man shed a tear in my life.  At the time I didn’t get it, of course, being the smartest 19 year old on the planet.  (I jest, of course.)  Just a few short weeks later he was diagnosed with lung cancer that had spread beyond any ability to halt or preserve his life.  He went to Major Hospital and died within a very short time.  Of course, he shed tears that day because he knew it would be the last time he would see me.  I didn’t get it, but he did.  He knew his days were numbered, but didn’t utter a word of it to anyone else.  That’s the kind of man he was, not wanting to trouble the family, his neighbors, or the world with his problems.  The world needs more Grandpa Wilbur Jacksons.

A. The only person really close to me who has ever died is my father, Paul. I have a lot of good memories of him.

Like watching football with him on Sundays. Or learning how to play soccer from him in the backyard. Going on trips across Texas, always staying in a Holiday Inn with a pool. Watching him blow smoke rings from one of his unfiltered Camels and laughing like crazy. Going to R-rated movies with he and my brother when I was 8. Letting me drive solo when I was 14, confident that he’d taught me well enough that I could be trusted.
There’s a 1000 others, and I much prefer to keep the ones from childhood. Memories from adulthood aren’t worth the time it takes to remember them.

A. She was taken quickly. Much too quickly. Her shy smile gone. Her big brown eyes, full of curiosity for the life around her, closed. Her sense of justice in an unfair world, her need to protect and to argue and on occasion, very rare occasion, to sob, dimmed. They told me a man in Denver now has her heart. Sometimes I think it is here, next to me. Then it’s not.

At the time of the publication of this post, neither Dottie nor Lewis is available. That may change. If I receive an answer from either of them, I’ll update the post right away. For now, let’s admire their adorableness:

And wrap up this week’s panel.

Gentlemen, I appreciate your answers, and I’m sorry for your losses. Thank you for sharing your memories with us. I know my readers appreciate you, too.

It strikes me as ridiculous to award prizes for such a weighty topic, so we’ll skip the silly prizes this week. Instead, I’ll offer you my genuine gratitude for your words, and my heartfelt thanks. Thanks, fellas, you’re each amazing!

That does it for our Panel of Experts. The Experts will return next Friday for another edition. They hope to see you back here.

Let’s move on to last week’s puzzler.

???Real or Fake???

Last week, I asked if these flowers were real or fake:

Let’s see how you answered:

Stephanie from Indianapolis wrote, “Gotta be real!”

Alissa wrote, “I’m going to say real, but I’m not as confident in my answer as last week! Hmmm..”

Joseph Brenner wrote, “They look so real, but I’m not sure.”

Charlie Hebert wrote, “How about Fake… please?”

Claude from Random Rants and Prickly Plants wrote, “They’re real.”

Tom from the Midwestern Jungle wrote, “Real!”

On facebook, Dana Lynn Kleinman wrote, “I’m hoping real”

That’s six votes real, one vote fake.

So what’s the correct answer?

Maybe a different view will shed some light on the answer:

They’re real! And gorgeous! I ran into my friend Gwyneth Doland at the grocery store, and she suggested photographing her flowers for a puzzler. Excellent suggestion, Gwyneth! Sorry I neglected to get you in the photo, hamming it up with the flowers.

Steph, you were first with the correct answer, which makes you the best answerer. Good job! That earns you the title of Prettiest, Bestest, Swiftest, Premierest, of High Moral Regard and Most Cooperative, Grandest Championette of the Houseplant Blog Universe and Beyond. Congratulations! You may multiply all the prizes by four Twinkies.

You’re all winners in my book. For playing this week, I’d like each of you to have the following prizes: A saintly weekend, two soulful moments, four chicken tenders, an imaginary trip to Halloweenville, a bespectacled bluejay, three glasses of fruit punch, 14 extra credit points, six humdingers, and one bucket full of joy.

Congrats, and thanks for playing!

Up next, the new puzzler:

???Real or Fake???

Are these flowers real or fake?

Think you know the answer, smartyplants? Leave your best guess in the comments section or on my facebook wall. You have until midnight next Thursday, November 1st, MST (that’s 2a.m. EST) to cast your vote. I’ll reveal the answer and the winner(s) after next week’s panel of Experts. Remember, the prizes may be imaginary but the link to your site and the glory of winning are oh-so-real.

I’ll be back manana, hope to see you here.