Hello Octobersters, and happy Friday!

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

It’s a beautiful, rainy Friday in the 505. The tourists who came for the International Balloon Fiesta probably don’t like the weather, but I’m pretty sure most of the locals love it. Rain the desert is good!

We’ve got a brand-new Panel of Experts for you today, as well as a new puzzler. Let’s get our Friday festivities started by saying hi to the Experts. Hi everyone!


“Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Liza!”

You’re all 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.

In our continued quest to get to know more about our Experts, this week’s question is about jobs. The question is courtesy of Dottie, who arguably has had more jobs than the rest of us combined. She wanted to share, and I didn’t hesitate to say yes – let’s do it! Without further ado, here it is:

Q. Tell us about some of the more memorable jobs you’ve had in your life.

Expert Andy Williams, you’re up first as usual:

A. I like to tell people that the first business I ran was when I was 11.  It was a paper route carrying the Indianapolis Star for 6 years every morning before 7am.  Well, I attempted to start before 7am.  Often it ended up being a race with the school bus I should’ve been on.  The paper route job was very influential in my life and my career.  It taught me all about customer service and how to deal with people, especially those who didn’t want to pay.  I had one such customer who often ran up 3 months worth of bills, which basically came out of my pocket.  So every morning I will throw the paper as hard as I could at their aluminum door to give them a wake-up call.  But more often than not, I had great customers.  Often times, my old customers will run into one of my parents at the grocery store or around town and say “Andy was still the best paperboy we ever had.”  That means a lot to me to hear that because I took pride in what I did.  It actually earned me a $4,000 college scholarship as well.  When I go back to my hometown, I can still tell you who was an everyday customer and who only bought on Sundays on that route.  I broke up a robbery of a local grocery store once, that was pretty scary.  But apparently the robber was more scared than I and he fled the scene without stealing a thing!


Expert Thack may be joining us later, but for now he’s unavailable. Let’s admire his adorableness:

And move on to Expert EZ Ed Johnson. Ed, what do you have to say, fine sir?

A. I had a couple of stints in a sawmill in Utah. One winter the temperature fell to about 10 degrees and all the machinery froze (not to mention a few body parts). The summer before I went to college I got the tip of my forefinger crushed while adjusting the blade on a forklift. I spent the first two weeks of college scribbling notes with my left hand, barely able to read what I had written. I often say I haven’t done a day’s work since I left the sawmill.

A. “OMG” what is she hustling today?”—Words often heard about me in our neighborhood from a young age.

I have to laugh when I think about the many jobs I’ve had in my lifetime. One of my first endeavors was found in a comic book. I discovered I could order decorative Christmas stamps to be sold. I kept half the $ and half went to the company. I was elated—my parents embarrassed. Who could resist a 7 year old trying to make a living? I ran errands for all—most appreciative was a kindly lady we called Auntie Groves. With my best friends, I organized Dottie’s Yard Service. Armed with rakes and shovels, we went house to house offering our marvelous services. There was also dog sitting and walking and many other ventures including Baby Sitting for the whole evening for $.50.

By the time I reached High School I ventured out from the local area (much to the neighbors’ relief) & obtained a work permit at 14 to start my first after school job at Woolworth’s .05 & .10 store at the candy counter. How lucky can you get—I moved on to the local drug store to become a “soda jerk”. (All my friends loved that—but the Owner—not so my much!)

In the Summer of my Soph. year, my friend invited me to spend the summer with her at her Grandmother’s in Battle Creek, Michigan. Home of the renowned Kellog Cereals. I worked on the line where cereals were packaged. That is a tale in itself. Haven’t been able to eat them since. As World War II was slowing down, many companies lost their government contracts and so did Kellog’s – They made C-rations for the services. So on to bigger and better things—earned my “C” rating by learning welding of parts for the Navy—their contract also cancelled and lastly at the end of summer I worked 3 weeks at a syphilis mental institution doing lab work.

My Jr. year I managed to obtain a part time job at the “Bomber Plant” (yes they made bombers) I worked in the Chem lab and also took X-rays of plane stabilizers.

One of the Chemists also had a band at one of the local Dance halls and after discovering I loved singing, invited me to sing with his band at the famed Cleveland Aragon Ballroom. That was a “Wow” for me –my parents not so much.

My Sr. year of high, I worked for Ferro Enamel in the Chem Lab doing ether extractions on war materials, (Napalm was one—too stupid to know how dangerous it was) and became a part of the Ferro-Fenn program. They paid me to take college Chemistry courses at Fenn college while I was still in High School.

This is starting to be a “Shaggy Dog” story! I’ll end with Ohio State –many part-time jobs including, The Agronomy Department (Chem Lab), Agriculture Dept—taking blood samples of cows — they were testing the effectiveness of commercial penicillin, Dean of Women’s office during rushing and last but not least, The Columbus Water & Testing Lab. — Need I say my major was Chemistry! I leave the rest of my Adult life employment to your imagination!!

p.s. I just remembered another job I had.  I had friends that owned the floral shop in The Statler hotel in downtown Cleveland.  They were always overwhelmed at holidays and I used to work there 24 to 30 hours straight making bouquets, etc and waiting on customers.  What a blast for a 16 year old!!!!

A. I learned to drive many pieces of big farm trucks and equipment, tractors, harvester, loaders and balers, lots of power and none of it killed or mangled me

One old rich (thousands of acres, dozens of oil-wells) cheap-ass farmer hired my brother Pat and me many times for grunt work once we tear down two old house, saving every piece of wood and straighten every nail. (Oh be careful don’t waste anything) as I’m hanging off some rickety old ladder working on the side of the second floor “and don’t fall” He was afraid I’d break the ladder.

Once right before wheat harvest we walked miles and miles of his wheat fields pulling out clumps of full rye heads stalks and then stomping them flat on the ground so the harvester combines would not pick up the rye head and mix them with the wheat grains. They pay a lower price for mixed grains then for pure grain load. That day the old B*S4$^7% gave us a sack lunch (dry sandwich, old apple, and a stale cookie) and at the end of the day we stopped at the Drug stores soda fountain and bought us a chocolate malt, which we thought was a extra treat for our hard work. He dropped us off at our house and drove off while we were standing on the side of the street waiting for our pay.

The last time we worked for him, we was head back from the farm which was about ten mile down a dusty old dirt county road. The old junker he drove had a million miles of dust built up in the head liner. As we was going down the road I was in the back seat we hit a bump and a small cloud of dust fall down. I got a wild hair and hit the liner, a cloud of dust fill out of it enveloped the interior, so I hit it  several times more. It was the thickest dust storm I’ve ever been in, I couldn’t see the front seat but I could hear that old fart hacking and coughing from the dust. He ran off the road down in to the ditch, he only drove nine miles an hour, so we were ok and then back on to the road for another round of dust clouding.  Me and Pat were hanging out the window laughing and having a grand time chunking the old B*S4$^7% tools out the windows. The floor of that damned old car was covered with tools of all kinds, old parts, paints and brushes.  Oops there went the screwdrivers, the hacksaw, the tape measure, the square, was that the floor jack, the tire iron, a box of nail, a bucket of paint, the mixer and the drill.

Whatever we got our hands on while the dust stormed raged inside the car grew wings and flew.

I know he said something between the coughing but the damn had burst and there was still dust aplenty and lots of little crap still on the floor. Last but not least his favorite hammer that he loved dearly met it’s resting place in the weeds alongside a Kansas county road.

There was little conversation after the dust storm abated, but the liner was cleaner the floors less covered. He paid us our seven pieces of silver as he dropped us off at our home.

He called our Mother, our uncle, our priest, our mechanic, my Mother’s friends to tell everyone what wonderful young men we were, and that we would never work for him again and he wanted his hammer back.

I’ve gone on to many great and not so great jobs, but I have always done my best for them.

The most dearest job was working at the Meadow Nursing Home a NM state facility for lame, handicapped, disabled, crazy,  old, broken and dying

Individuals who have no one to care for them.

Hell I don’t want them, their dirty, nasty, crazy, sick and useless, I don’t have time to care.

So let’s dump them into the waste station of humanity and let someone else take care of them.

Have you stood next to a bed filled with a body that has wasted away, skin and bones, twisted, joints locked, pain and suffering, they can not walk for they have no place to go, eyes that have little spark

Have you cleaned the bowel movement of that person, wiped the face, brushed the tooth, combed their fading hair,  gently sat them in a wheel chair so they can at least see the world from upright

Have you feed a porridge to a persons that cannot swallow, little by little, all the while talking to them as if they could hear

Have you bathed a poor soul in warm water that for a little while helps loosen and soften skin that has grown tight and stiff cause it cannot move

Have you looked them in the eye, and seen that they are still there just trapped by time, age and despair

Have you listened to those who speak, but rhythm and reason play not part in speech

Have you sat and watch as their life leaked out, old gnarled and cannot go on

Have you ever held they hand as death came and took them away, and learned a lesson in  humility as another young man came in, gently cleaned her face, combed her hair, fold her hands and kiss her forehead goodbye and the went on to grace another

Glory is not in the name and fame but in the action we do for another

We should be ashamed of how we treat our old or helpless and the people who care for them, but our praise goes to the unworthy

Holy moly! Those were totally fascinating. Each of you is so interesting and unique. I really, really enjoyed hearing about all your work.

Readers, what did you think? Did you like their stories, too? Maybe you have cool jobs in your past that you’d like to share as well. If so, the place to do it is in the comments section. Also, if you have any questions you’d like the Experts to answer, let us know! We’re always interested in hearing your feedback and suggestions.

Experts, truly, that was great – you’re awesome! Thank you so much for sharing with us.

That does it for this week’s Panel of Experts. The Experts will return next Friday. They hope to see you back here.

Up next, the answer to the current puzzler:

???Real or Fake???

Last week, I asked if this Ficus tree was real or fake:

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

Let’s see how you answered:

Claude from the Random Rants and Prickly Plants website wrote, “Thats not real. Well, its real in the sense that it exists in this dimension, but then we get into that whole quantum physics/philosophical what is reality thing… and lets just say it’s a fake plant and be done with it…”

mr_subjunctive from the Plants Are the Strangest People website wrote, “Agree with claude — it’s a real fake plant.”

Martha from the Plowing Through Life website wrote, “Most definitely fake!”

Joseph Brenner of Texas wrote, “REAL……LY FAKE!(B>{D}”

Ivynettle of the Letters and Leaves site wrote, “Plasticy-looking leaves on plasticy-looking branches, yes, it has to be fake.”

That’s five votes fake, zero votes real.

What’s the correct answer?

Let’s see if taking a closer look will help us figure that out:

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

SO FAKE! And very dusty – because who wants to clean a fake plant? No one! Yuck. So ugly. Such a waste of money.

But you guys, wow, you never fail to amaze me with your keen eyes and plant knowledge. I couldn’t fool you with this puzzler – you’re way too sophisticated. Great job everyone, you nailed it. I’m impressed once again.

To show my appreciation for you playing, I’d like to award you each the following prizes: One final weekend of Balloon Fiesta, four feathers in your cap, 11-1/2 kudos, five ripe jojoba fruits, one disco ball, millions of yellow Aspen leaves, one undercover agent working for you, 14-1/3 bonus points, a garage door opener, gravy, seven seeds of change, a mural for your living room wall, a trophy made of cookie dough, eight refrigerator magnets, the title of “Legendary Plant Puzzler Solver Extraordinaire” for the weekend, one positive attitude, a new vacuum cleaner, Reggie Wayne, a day in the life, one miniature zebra, five extra rewards, one spare collarbone, doce bendiciones, a stylish raincoat, three compliments on your hair, syrup, 16 more points, a new blouse, Denise, one newspaper clipping with useful information, Alamogordo, two additional closets, a lunar eclipse (redeemable last week only), one running headstart, new kitchen drawers, your debut sensation, three silver linings, and smoked Gouda cheese.

Congratulations, and thanks so much for playing!

Up next, a new puzzler for you:

???Real or Fake???

Are these plants 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, October 16th, to cast your vote. I’ll reveal the answer and the winner(s) after next week’s panel of Experts. 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.