Hello memorialists, and happy Friday!

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

Yay for Friday. And yay for holiday weekends. I hope everyone has something interesting planned. I hope it involves some form of honoring our fallen heroes. Or just grilling. Whatever, it’s a holiday from work – do what you like!

Let’s get right to our Friday Festivities by saying hello to our beloved Experts. Hi everyone!


“Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiii Liza!”

You’re 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.

Sometimes, I like the Experts to have the freedom to say whatever they would like. This is one of those weeks:

Q. Open question – share a story, tell us about your family, talk about upcoming vacations, anything that’s on your mind.

Expert Andy Williams, you’re up first:

A. As I write, I am on my annual pilgrimage to the Indy 500.  This will be my 33rd consecutive year attending this event; the largest attended sporting event in the world.  Over 250,000 amidst the world’s most glorious raceway.  Every year, Taps is played before the race and 250,000+ people go completely silent.  Try keeping a dry eye in the midst of that.  It is not possible.  Perhaps it is that that draws me back, which would be enough to be sure.  Thank You to all of those who have served, and particularly those who have given their lives for freedom and the pursuit of our American way of life.  Where opportunity is truly open to all, amidst seemingly mountainous hurdles, at times.  For it was many soldiers who have given all of us this opportunity to scale such mountains.

A. I’m going to London and Scotland this summer, completing my tour of the British Isles that I started last year by visiting Ireland. People have been asking me what triggered this sudden urge to become a world traveler, and I’ve given them a simple answer: do it now, because life is short and unpredictable. Carpe diem, basically. I know that is cliched (which I normally abhor) but it’s true. I’m going to do all of this now because I can. The events that drove me to this conclusion are far too personal to share here, but suffice it to say that when you come face to face with your mortality, really stare into the abyss, I mean really stare into it and grok it, you’re changed. And I returned from that with a sense of urgency to do everything I ever wanted to do now.

That turned out way deeper than I intended, I apologize. Dottie, I hope you’re recovering well! Best to everyone, thanks!

A. Between the two great wars, when folks had little more than prayers to cling to, my grandfather hopped a freight train to California. When he got there he found the work was no better, the prospects no more golden than the ones he had shed in New Mexico. After a few weeks, he tired and knew it was time to go home. He walked to the beach so that he could say he at least saw the great Pacific, then climbed aboard a train heading east. When he was home, he gave my grandmother a small crate of oranges and never left her side for the next seventy years.


Liza here. Dottie is still recovering and is unavailable to join us this week. However, I’m happy to report that I was able to pop in on her last week and see her person. Which was awesome.

Here we are showing off a beautiful vase that Lewis’s son made and that Lewis gifted to Dottie for her being so amazing:

Good To Grow, Liza's photos, me and Dottie

Please ignore that I’m stepping on her oxygen line. Thankfully, I didn’t kill her during my visit, and we had a great time catching up. I can assure you, her sense of humor is fully intact.

So while she’s not here with us today, she’s doing well. Let’s admire her sunfloweryness:

And move on to Expert Lewis. Lewis, what say you, fine sir?


Catch a rain drop on my tongue, Dry my face off because I’m too stupid or overjoyed to get out of the rain, Drive in the rain-always be cautious-slow down,

Sleep while it is raining, Eat during a rain storm, Smile at the rain,

Talk about the incredible rain, Write about the loving rain,

Smile again about more great rain, Visit while it is raining , Laugh at the rain,

Walk in the rain, Get drenched-soaked and  dripping wet caught in a beautiful downpour,

Stand under a buildings eves during a fabulous rain because I already was soaked the day before by a sudden stunning rain, Read about the glorious rain, Bike or try too while it rains-not as much fun as on a sunny day,

Sit in the shade under a raining sky, Fish in the rain,

Get the hell out from under the tree while a great rain fall and scary lightning dance,

Grow in the rain-give thanks in the sun,

Plants love the rain too-you can see it in their smiles as they dance in the rain

Oh the glorious rain, rain, rain, rain, and even more rain

It is raining in New Mexico lots, we are smiling lots

Yes indeed, the glorious rain. We’ve been very lucky the last week or two with an abundance of rain in the desert. I hope it never stops.

EZ, I love that story, how very cool. 70 years, wow! Thack, I like your dark side! We look forward to hearing about your travels. And Andy, I’m jealous that I won’t be joining you for the race. Readers, I think I’ve said this before, but the Indianapolis 500 should be on everyone’s bucket list. It’s truly the greatest spectacle in racing. The cars are so loud that they make your whole body shake, which of course, is a hoot, so you spend the whole race laughing. And even if you’re not a race fan, there is something very special about sharing an experience with hundreds of thousands of other people. It’s a perfectly wonderful American tradition.

And then there’s the Hoosier Hospitality to make it even better. Even though there’s no Jim Nabors this year singing “Back Home Again in Indiana” (my personal favorite part of the day), it will no doubt still be an incredible day at the track. Andy, have a ball!

Ok, that’ll do it for this week’s Panel of Experts. The Experts will return in a week. They hope to see you back here.

Readers, if you have any questions you’d like to pose to the Experts, shoot me an email or leave your question in the comments section. These Panels are supposed to be fun for you, so we can talk about what you’d like. Just let me know!

Now, let’s move on to the current puzzler:

???Real or Fake???

Last week, I asked if this Hibiscus flower was real or fake:

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

Let’s see how you answered:

Joseph Brenner of Texas wrote, “You got me with that one, because it was both fake AND dead looking. But I’m pretty sure this Hibiscus is 100% real.)B>{D}”

Judy from Ohio, who happens to be one of Dottie’s daughters, wrote, “Fake? The very end looks plastic to me”

Niteflywoman wrote, “Real looks like a pic I took of my sister-in-laws flower.”

Ginny Burton of Burton Optician wrote, “Real. The tips of the stigma have that velvety look that I don’t think you’ll see in an artificial flower.”

Terry wrote, “It looks too “perfect” to be real…..so I believe it is! Nature has a way of exceeding itself in beauty.”

That’s four votes real, one vote fake.

So what’s the correct answer?

Let’s take a wider view:

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

Ooh, sorry for the bad quality photo. But the flower is REAL!!! This was taken in Florida way back in February. I don’t see too many Hibiscus flowers in Albuquerque, so I was drawn to these. I just love how pretty they are. There’s no way a manufacturer to could duplicate Nature’s beauty.

Way to go everyone! You did great!

To show you my appreciation for you playing, I’d like to award each of you the following prizes: One Memorial Day weekend, a billboard advertising your awesomeness, four jumping jacks, one pink tutu, the taste of the wind, 18 bonus points, a plaque with the inscription “You’re the Best!”, six moonrises, 33 fast cars, five hamburgers, yarn, Calle de los Suspiros, six hugs, a spare set of sideburns, a tiny gargoyle, seven biscochitos, two triangles, Josh, a pair of bejeweled sandals, one new coat of paint, four instances of benevolent mischief, two new Flamenco dance moves, four hot dogs, one parade in your honor, a bouquet of Nigella flowers, one ponytail, Milwaukee, three tube socks, five pickle slices, one stained glass window, nine waning days of May, one shower curtain (slightly used), four golf balls, one Kalanchoe houseplant, a bottle of shampoo, Tijeras Avenue, the unofficial start of summer, three elves, Gila National Forest, three mozzarella balls, and one trophy made from chewing gum.

Congratulations, and thanks for playing!

Up next, a new puzzler:

???Real or Fake???

Let’s do another flower. Is this flower 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 28th, to cast your vote. I’ll reveal the answer and the winners 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.