Cowgirl Up!

My grandmother

Today, for Valentine’s Day, I’d like to honor Grandparents. We love Grandparents. “The Best Seller” is a business novel that takes you on a journey with mentors from different generations.  One of the generations in the book is my grandparents’ generation, sometimes called the Silent Generation, or the Greatest Generation. This week, I’d like to share a few stories of my grandparents, my mom’s parents. 

One Spring Break while I was in college, I flew to Harlingen, Texas to spend my evenings playing Bingo and my days doing Water Aerobics exercises with my mom’s parents, Grandpa Glenn and Grandma DeeDee Witt.

What pulled me to Harlingen with my grandparents?   My grandparents’ life was different. Slower. Some would have found it boring, but I found it highly interesting. 

Grandpa Glenn read a lot of books.  Grandma DeeDee was very active in their mobile home community.  They both liked to get a deal on whatever they needed to buy. Every Thursday they would cross the border to Matamoros, Mexico to the flea markets and street markets to barter for their staples of medications, liquor, and unusual knick-knacks.  

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When DeeDee asked what treasure I would like to find across the border I knew immediately: cowboy boots.  My grandparents were hard bargainers and this was a game they wanted to teach me to play. Not only did we get a great deal on second-hand cowboy boots, but we also scored second-hand cowboy chaps, a hat, and even a guitar.  I didn’t know how to play guitar, but what better time to start when you have your own chaps?

Many of my fellow Bingo players enjoyed my outfit that night. Being the youngest by 50 years in the Bingo Hall, with no cameras, allowed for a certain kind of freedom.  My grandparents’ friends shook their heads, “Is that what kids these days are wearing?” Others didn’t care what I was wearing, they just wanted to make sure that my guitar didn’t disturb their Bingo playing.

I never did learn to play guitar, but I’ve worn those chaps at every event where I have an excuse for Western dress. DeeDee and Grandpa Glenn are long gone, but the memory of our Matamoros treasure hunt lives on, especially when I wear those chaps.

Do you have a treasured item from your grandparents?  What’s the story behind it?

Katie Bishop and Doug Reichardt wrote a novel about learning from those who came before us (like our grandparents). Their novel, now available on Amazon, chronicles the infectious business and life stories of her father and grandfather. Want an early copy? Stay in the loop or a download the sneak peak?