We take you live to a national talent competition TV show from the future:

Simon: Can we have your name, dear?

Liz: I’m Liz Healy from Forest Park, Ill.

Randy: Yo, dawg-you’re right next to the “Wood.”

Liz: That’s right, Maywood is just west of us.

Paula: I remember Forest Park. There was an Osco there but now it’s a CVS.

Simon: Well, Liz, before we start debating the bloody Roos project, tell us something about yourself.

Liz: I’ve lived in Forest Park my whole life and I’ve been singing in talent shows since I was 5.

Simon: I’m so impressed. What makes you think you can win here?

Liz: Actually, I won-well they called it the Local Idol contest until your lawyers called.

Paula: I bet that Osco store came in handy.

Liz: As a matter of fact, before the finals, I had laryngitis for two weeks and I tried every med I could find.

Randy: Whoa dawg, you must have been sick as a-

Liz: Yes, but I won the finals at Fitzgerald’s.

Simon: I understand your Mayor Calderone was beaming during your performance. Now, who are some of your influences?

Liz: Oh, Carrie Underwood is my-am I allowed to say idol?

Paula: Just thinking about Carrie’s talent makes me cry.

Randy: I bet you’ve had more soulful influences than Carrie?

Liz: Yes, my old voice teacher in Forest Park-she’s a gospel singer and I got to perform with her group at a block party.

Simon: I suppose you sing Italian opera as well.

Liz: Yes, my new teacher has me singing in Italian. I learned to sing in German and Latin at St. Bernardine’s.

Randy: St B’s! I can almost smell those Lemonheads from across the street.

Simon: Do you have any other accomplishments, besides winning some local talent show?

Liz: Yes, I sang at Fitzgerald’s again, in April 2008, at their “Singer Spotlight.”

Paula: Do you plan to become a professional singer like (sniff) Carrie?

Liz: Actually, I’m studying to be a special-ed teacher. I want to start a singing school for the mentally challenged.

Simon: How about a school for the vocally challenged, we have your whole student body right here. So, what are you going to sing, dear?

Liz: I’m going to do “Before He Cheats” by Carrie Underwood. (As Liz sings, tears stream down Paula’s face).

Randy: Dawg, you nailed it. I could hear the gospel and the opera.

Simon: (Voice choking with emotion) You’re not going to stop at one verse, are you?

After Liz finishes the song, all three stand to applaud.

Paula: Liz, I think that sales from your first CD are going to help you build that school someday.

Simon: That was wonderful, Liz. I was just joking about the Roos project. I hear they finally have the windows in.

John Rice

John Rice is a columnist/private detective, who has seen his business and family thrive in Forest Park. He thoroughly enjoys life in the village and still gets a thrill smelling Red Hots, watching softball...