Hello honeypies, and happy Friday!

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

It’s always good to see another work week popping up in the rear view window. Hello, Friday, you couldn’t have gotten here any sooner!

In honor of Friday, we have a brand-new Ask the Experts Panel for you, as well as plant puzzler action. We’ll have lots of imaginary prizes coming up after the Panel. We hope you stay tuned for that.

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


“Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Liza!”

So cute! 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.

We’re continuing with our effort to get to know our Experts a little better, so in that vein, here’s this week’s question:

Q. Who was your favorite teacher and why?

Expert Andy, would you please start us off, fine sir:

A. Let me start again by saying that a teacher is the most under appreciated profession in our country.  And it is one of this great country’s biggest travesties.  Is it no wonder our education is now ranked 33rd in the world for science and math?!?!?  This is a subject I am highly passionate about for a plethora of reasons.  Philosophically, it takes intelligence and hard work to produce things that people need or want.  And to be intelligent requires education, both formal and informal (hard knocks, street smarts).  Rigorous education requires hard work and thought.  I don’t think ANY of this can be argued by anyone.

In my country, teachers should be the highest paid profession.  Their work products, i.e. educated, responsible students, are the future of the country.  There is nothing more important than the future of this country and its children.  So why, oh why, dear God are teachers paid like people who do absolutely nothing, the unemployed?!?!?  Look it up, they aren’t paid much more than that, and if you take the hours spent vs. unemployment their incremental wage is far below minimum wage.  It is just pathetic.

Anyway, I have been blessed by some of the best teachers on the planet.  And I will give you a list of those who come to mind;

Mrs. Hart, kindergarten, St. Joseph’s elementary; still one of the nicest people on the planet.

Mrs. Evans, 1st grade St. Joseph’s elementary; gave me a D on my first penmanship test and I was so pissed that I decided to perfect it.  She came to my engagement party when I was 35 and told me that she always knew I would be a special person.

Mrs. Thompson, 3rd grade St. Joseph’s elementary:  taught reading through baseball books; what a genius.  Her husband was somehow associated with the Hall of Fame.

Mrs. Livingston, 4th grade St. Joseph’s elementary; she was pretty and is still one of the best math teachers I’ve ever known.  She’s now principal there.

Mrs. Spaulding, 6th grade St. Joseph’s elementary;  taught me to love science even more than I did already.

Mr. Day, 7th grade history; until he died recently sent me hand-written accolades every time he’d see my name in the Shelbyville news.  For 30+ years!

Mr. Chaney, high school math; probably the best algebra teacher anywhere.  I used his required notebooks through high school and into college.  I probably still have them somewhere they made such a difference with me.

Mr. Murphy, high school trig & calculus; basically was totally responsible for my GPA in college.  His basically taught college calc. and he made sure we all got it, even when we didn’t the first time.  A class act!

Mrs. Murphy, high school history;  never had her, but she didn’t like me.  Overheard her insinuate under her breath at Thomas’ Market when I was talking to her husband (above) that I wouldn’t make it through Rose-Hulman.  Thanks for the inspiration Mrs. Murphy!  I like being the underdog!

Mr. Hoops,

Mrs. Willaford (sp?), high school English; she was the coolest teacher on the planet and made learning English a fun time.  Special, special lady.

The other high school Senior English teacher, whose name I can’t recall off the top of my head;  She pushed me like no other.  I hated English and my SATs prove it.  As do my writings.  But she taught me the value of “a hook” which is a tool to tie two paragraphs together.  I still use that trick today.

Mr. Al Schmidt, college Calculus and Differential Equations; I got the “bad draw” when I drew him for math freshman year.  But he was the very toughest math teacher I ever had.  But he taught me to work my ass off and I took him every chance I got thereafter.

So, as you can see, I don’t have a favorite, but I have a list of important teachers that influenced my life and my success.  I owe them everything I have.  There are many, many more and I can’t list them all.

One more of very honorable mention….Ms. Strawn, San Tan Elementary, Chandler, AZ.  I’ve only known her for a short time but she’s taught me what great teachers are all about.  And in a stroke of momentous coincidence, she is Mr. Day’s granddaughter.

A. This is a tough question, I had some really good teachers. Of all of them, though, I have to go with my AP English teacher, senior year. Aside from the things I learned  about the poetry of the English language and finding your own writing style — and there were so, so many — the tempestuous May-December romance between us taught me things about love, life, and loss that have stayed with me to this day.

A. I met Tony Hillerman before he was a mystery writer. He was a longtime newspaper man and I spent a semester in a journalism class he taught at UNM. It was part history, part country philosophy. We talked of the effectiveness of a well-chosen word, how to observe and absorb. He encouraged us to sit in an old familiar place and look at it differently. He spoke with us, not at us. He seemed to get a kick out of hanging with us as much as we got a kick out of him. There must have been a grade given at the end of the day, but that’s not what I remember. I remember a man who shared some thoughts, told some tales and encouraged us to think.

A. Along with my Grandfather Dutton, one of the most influential persons in my young life, was my Jr. High English teacher. My first year in Jr. High was very traumatic.  I was extremely shy! (Can you believe that?)  Going to a big school several miles from my home, changing classes, etc. all terrified me.

However, I drew the lucky card and was fortunate enough to be placed in an English class with a marvelous teacher, Miss Snyder.  A compassionate, lovely young woman with the most beautiful red hair I had ever seen; even redder than mine and she had freckles too!

For some unknown reason, she took a special interest in me, for which I shall always be grateful.  She introduced me to the love of the written word in so many ways.  I shared with her the many stories I had written over the years.  She encouraged me to continue writing and to join the staff of the Jr. High newspaper of which she was the teacher-sponsor.  I became a reporter for the paper and then of all things, the writer of the Humor column! (It was that little Irish leprechaun that kept whispering in my ear).  At any rate, I had found my niche.  I loved the reporting and writing and was truly in my element.
Totally, because of Miss Snyder, and her support, caring and guidance, I started coming out of my shy little shell and began blossoming as a person.

I found there was a lot of discoveries and joy in life for me.  In addition to writing the Humor column and being a general reporter, I was also given the opportunity to do the celebrity interviews.  I journeyed to downtown Cleveland to interview such stars as; Gene Autrey, Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Eddie Garr, etc. and the many Stage and Screen Stars that came to the local theaters; as the Playhouse.

Sports became another interest and I joined a relay team and was champ of the baseball distance throw.

By the time I was ready to leave Jr. High and enter High School, I had become a different person, or maybe who I really was!  I decided it was time to take charge of my own life and because of MISS SNYDER, I found I was capable of many things and even quite intelligent.  I was now more confident – not afraid to take risks.  It was time to reach out to life and discover what was out there for me.

At 14 years of age, I entered High School with a light heart, a determination to make changes and pursue new goals!  Thank you, Thank you, Miss Snyder wherever you are!  My eternal gratitude and love to you!

A. Now I was not the sharps tool stacked in the shed, I probably was laying on the floor ready to trip the first user to walk by

I loved to learn just didn’t like the way I was taught, mind your P’s and Q’s you’re A,C,B and the 1,2,3,

I could climb a tree for a red apple quicker then a loon,

Throw a rock and knock a flea off a hound,

Ride a bike faster then the wind,

Disappear when called if the voice sounded angry quicker then a shooting star

The Sister of St. Mary grade school knew not to let me sit by the door for I could be gone in a heartbeat

They were very nice but I was not their favorite not even a far second

High school was not better, but I did like Mr. Hi Pere the Auto Mechanics teacher

They always put the smartest and best students in shop NOT

Us misfit, oddballs, morons, rebels and hoodlums makes great mechanics, labors, ditches diggers, picker ups and thrower downs, inmates and psych patients

Just because I did not have a shining scholastic school career did not mean I got no smarts

Now I have had my good days and bad taking and learning lots of life’s lesson because of what family, friends and good bosses have shown me, taught me and expected of me

One of my finest bosses was also my best teacher Mr. Joe R.

He was a tough old hard ass, demanding my best, giving suggestion when my dumb ass had trouble comprehending, praise when earned, pay raises to match efforts, not above of a good joke on himself or on you and everyone laughed a honest laugh, a job well done received a smile and a thanks, man enough to sit with his crew and break bread or sip a beer

He had been solider and then a Officer, shot down with helicopter saved his men while shot in the foot

I was honored when he spoke of his life for his trust was not given easily and not to all, so to Joe I would say that he would get my loyalty, trust and respect far beyond a simple favorite

Those answers were awesome! I’m so glad I asked about your teachers. Your answers totally made me smile, thank you. They sound like amazing people.

Andy and I went to high school, so his answer in particular was fun for me thinking about all those great teachers we had in Indiana. Mrs. Willaford was everyone’s favorite. And Mr. Murhpy. And Mr. Hearne. Andy, I don’t think you took Latin like I did, but you probably still remember Mrs. Kelly, one of the best teachers to ever grace the planet. She was already in her hundreds when I had her as my teacher, we would joke that she used to date Julius Caesar.

All this teacher talk makes me want to give a special shoutout to my favorite teacher. Even though I’m just the moderator, nobody asked me, the spotlight’s supposed to be on the Experts, blah, blah, blah. I’m doing it anyway. Mrs. Chesser was my 6th grade English teacher, and she sounds a lot like Dottie’s Miss Snyder in the way that she encouraged everyone’s creativity. She let us put on plays during class, and we each had our desks in “offices” – decorated refrigerator boxes – to spur individuality. She was great.

I confided in her my love of writing, and showed her some stories I’d written, which were based on the French Fry Goblins in the old McDonald’s commercials. Anyone remember them?

goblins d8b26bc19b7e18a3569b768fea79fd57c66b46d6

I wrote and illustrated several stories about the French Fry people’s lives beyond the commercials, like when they went on vacation or to the movies. In one book, they went to an amusement park and rode the roller coasters and toured a haunted house. Mrs. Chesser loved them, and I’ll never forget how special she made me feel. Like I could do anything. I know she’s passed on, but she remains in my heart to this day. Thanks Mrs. Chesser!

Teachers are the best!

Thank you, Experts, for sharing your thoughts about the influential people in your lives. I enjoyed reading your answers. You’ve each obviously had wonderful teachers in your lives.

That does it for this week’s Panel of Experts. I know it seems like they just returned, but the Experts are going on another quick break – they’ll be gone the next two weeks for an extended Memorial Day break. They’ll be back on Friday, June 6th. They hope to see you back here.

I’ll continue to do the puzzler in their absence.

Let’s get to the current puzzler:

???Real or Fake???

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

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, real or fake plant puzzler

Let’s see how you answered:

mr_subjunctive from Plants Are the Strangest People wrote, “Fake? I mean, there’s nothing obviously so about them, but they look awfully perfect to be real.”

Claude from Random Rants and Prickly Plants wrote, “I’m gonna say real… and tje only reason why is I kinda imagine i see a leaf that’s been cut off… but im perfectly willing to admit that I may be wrong”

That’s one vote fake, one vote real.

What’s the correct answer?

Let’s see if a closer look helps shed some light on the answer:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, real or fake plant puzzler

I’m not sure the closeup helped much here, but they are FAKE! Just as mr_s said, they’re a little too perfect to be real. Claude, broken or cut leaves are usually great signs of real plants, which have beautiful flaws, but in this case, maybe the plastic leaf was broken by a customer, I don’t know.

They weren’t super ugly or anything like most fake plants, but real plants would’ve been more interesting for sure.

mr_subjunctive, you were first with the correct answer, which makes you the best answerer. Well played! For being so speedy, this week you’ve earned the following epithet: Should’ve, Would’ve, Could’ve, Is the Fastest at Wishing His Answer Was Correct and at Actually Being Correct and Is the Grandest Championier of the Houseplant Blog Universe and Quite a Distance Beyond.

For example, if you’re at a plant nursery this weekend and meet someone new, you should introduce yourself as mr_subjunctive Should’ve, Would’ve, Could’ve, Is the Fastest at Wishing His Answer Was Correct and at Actually Being Correct and Is the Grandest Championier of the Houseplant Blog Universe and Quite a Distance Beyond. I’m sure you’ll form lifelong bonds.

Congratulations! Please, multiply all the prizes by five sunsets as my thank you to you for playing.

Everyone’s a winner. To show my appreciation for you playing, I’d like to award each of you the following prizes: One waning moon, four and a half accolades, three red velvet cupcakes, 12 backup points, caramel topping, un jardin escondido, 16 wildflower seeds, an extra cheek, the latest dance craze, two #9 burritos, a measuring cup, seven blessings, three discounts, one front porch, an all-expenses trip to the beach, a buttery voice, 42 penne noodles, a coupon good for a voucher, shimmering afternoon light, Alvarado Station, two small chickens, five almonds, the Zodiac, blue, a grilled cheese sandwich, 13 1/2 polka dots, a winning personality, a bouquet of rosemary stems and a hearty round of applause. Congrats, and thanks again for playing!

Up next, a new puzzler for you:

???Real or Fake???

Is this plant real or fake?

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, real or fake plant puzzler

Think you know the answer, smartyplants? Leave your best guess in the comments section. You have until midnight MST (that’s 2a.m. EST) next Thursday, May 22nd, to cast your vote. I’ll reveal the answer and the winner(s) next Friday. The prizes may be imaginary but the link to your site and the glory of winning are oh-so-real.

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