ADVANCING TO THE RETREAT, Part 4: “Hello, Again, Grapevine!”

English: Main Street Grapevine, Texas, USA Fra...
English: Main Street Grapevine, Texas, USA Français : La rue principale (Main Street), Grapevine, Texas, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


10:00 a.m.

Woman-up, Kim. This is doable!

Driving 114 to Historical Grapevine, that is. On my way home from my last retreat, I had traveled the treacherous highway with fear and trembling. Because of the marking of the lanes,  I was in one lane, one minute, but, the next, straddling two of them.  Even worse, the spitting rain threw my wipers into overdrive.

Before I set out, I checked The Weather Channel on my iPhone: scattered showers for Tuesday. But Monday’s cloudy but cool, rain-free weather shouted, “Get out while you can!”

Which I did.

Nosing my Toyota into one of many public parking spaces and saving my location on the “Find My Car” app, I walked up to Main Street where I heard Christmas carols  over a loud speaker while workers dismantled  garlands, wreaths, and Christmas trees until next year.

Proud  of myself for braving the drive from Irving to Grapevine, I strolled the streets and window-shopped. Since  the holiday retail rush was over, many shops were closed on Mondays. Others opened at eleven a.m. After finding the doors to a number of shops closed,  I happened across a boutique not listed in any of the  brochures. According to its sign out front: Crowned By Grace.  It should have warned, “Cute Purses Ahead.”:

Crowned By Grace,  a resale boutique, featured clothing and accessories at prices tailored  to style-conscious but budget-minded women.

“We like to make [women] feel good about themselves,” explains Mindy, the store owner. “Anything I can get down for you?”

I can go for boosting someone’s self-esteem, so I lingered a while before starting for the door. Well, in the words of  Jack Nicholson‘s  incorrigible Garrett Breedlove character in Terms of Endearment, I was “inches from a clean getaway”  when a roomy burgundy hobo with brushed-gold buckle trim  called me by every name I ever went by. “Ms. Burgundy” might as well have been the Serpent in the Garden of Eden.

“Hey, girlfriend,” she hissed, in a sultry Mae-West, “Come On-a My-House” voice.  “Need pockets? I’ve got ’em all over my bodddddy.”

For the next second or two, a dour voice in my right ear warned, “You’ll be sorry.” But in my left, “Burgundy” wheedled,  “C’mon, it’s for a greater good.”

“Sure I can’t take something down for you?” Mindy asked.

“As a matter of fact, yes.” I said, stepping back inside the door. I pointed to Burgundy. “That one, please.”

Keep in mind, that I belong in a twenty-four-step recovery program in Purse-a-holics Anonymous. Like an alcoholic stumbling into Happy Hour, I lose all control in Sam Moon and Charming Charlie.

“What about me?” whined the beautiful but pocket-challenged green bag I had purchased in a foaming-at-the-mouth, green-purse mania on the day after Christmas. “Am I not enough for you?”

I took a deep breath and handed Burgundy back to Mindy.

“On second thought, could you hold this for me, please?” I asked. “I’ll be back for it in a while.”

Self-control reclaimed and money returned to wallet, I moved on down the street.

I remembered the next store from the last time. Where Doris, the “Head Elf” treated me to a Sioux City Prickly Pear soda. But she was nowhere in sight. Instead, a young man in a ball cap greeted me with a smile and a handshake.

“Good morning! How can I help you?” .

I looked around. This looked like the same store, yet different.

“Must’ve stumbled into the wrong store. This is  Main Street Station, isn’t it? I was looking for Doris.”

“Doris moved across the street. This is Market On Main, now.”

While we talked, something warm and furry nuzzled  my leg. A Golden Retriever. I bent down and ran my fingers through her thick, honey-blonde fur. I could tell, by the gray around her muzzle, that she had earned some serious mileage.

“Beautiful dog! How old is she?”

“That’s Sugar’. She’s about seven, by now.”

Besides for selling curiosity and nostalgia items, Market on Main had once been a car dealership and a roller rink during the past twenty-some years. His dad had run the store until he needed help. That’s where David came in.

After we chatted some more, David pointed to a jewelry store. “Say, if you wanna holler at Doris, she’s  just up the street.”

After offering my card, I thanked him and left.

Up ahead, even more shops to browse: Willow Cottage, with its children’s wear. And a chef’s dream, Grapevine Olive Oil Company, with its vats of gourmet oils and balsamics, both owned by Kathy Diamond.

Ooh La La, offered clothing, accessories, jewelry, and gifts.  Holy Grounds, a combination Christian book store and coffee store. At Paloma Boutique, I met customer Andi McDonald. While Tino shaped her cowboy hat. she and I struck up a conversation. She had just blown in from her sister’s wedding in North Carolina and stopped off in Grapevine. Hearing that she was from Australia, I flipped through my mental Rolodex for “Australians I Have Known and Loved.” The one on top: Hugh Jackman. Instant ice-breaker.

“Oooh,” she said. “I’ll have to go see Les Miz while I’m here. Think it might be at the theater at Grapevine Mills?”

“Probably. It’s making the rounds.”

“See how that feels,” said Tino, handing her the hat.

“Perfect. Thanks,” she replied before turning to me.

“See you on Facebook. And I’ll be sure to look up your blog..

My rumbling tummy reminded me that the fluffy scrambled eggs and crisp bacon I  fed it at my hotel, around 8:00 a.m. had just about worn down after all my walking. Time for lunch.

Earlier, before I left each shop, I polled the owners about their favorite places for lunch. I even asked Sally  at the Visitor’s Center where I picked up a fistful of brochures on wineries, shopping, and dining.

“So,” I asked her. “What are some popular lunch spots?”

“I hear there are many good ones: Wilhoite’s for  salads and soups. Tolbert’s, for chili. And Farina’s for  Italian food and wine.”

Farina’s. Funny how that name kept popping up. The owner of Antique Revival, where I had seen a beautiful ceramic urn was also the owner of Farina’s, one door down.

“…amazing Chicken Alfredo!…,” raved one store manager. “…Chunks of moist, white meat, mushrooms, artichokes….” added another. “You will not be disappointed.”

As I sat at my table, admiring the grape-cluster chandelier, twirling my glass of crisp and fruity Pinot Grigio, munching on warm garlic bread, and savoring the Chicken Alfredo, I knew that these shop owners knew  good food.

Feeling stuffed and tired, and seeing my cell phone battery glowing red, I decided to swing by D’Vine Wine  to sample  Decadence — an apt name for the chocolate port — for my sweetie, and Homestead Winery, where I bought Moscato for the neighbor watching Russet while I was gone, and sampled some luscious Chocolate Rose which tasted like chocolate-covered cherries.

Almost four o’clock.– I’d shopped, dined, and wined. I was on my way back to the parking lot. I’d lived an idyllic woman’s dream. So why was there still a hole in my heart?

Wait…Should I?  Yessiree!

Doing an about-face, this hard-core purse-polygamist marched back to Crowned By Glory  to claim her umpteenth “spouse”.

When I get home, I’ll just toss the green one back in the closet. Let her duke it out with the “sister-wives”.


8 thoughts on “ADVANCING TO THE RETREAT, Part 4: “Hello, Again, Grapevine!”

  1. Wish I could visit Grapevine one day. Sounds EXACTLY like the type of place I’d want to check out! I might have gone back for the purse too!

    1. Grapevine is a fun place. I didn’t get to scope out all the shops because some were closed, that day. It’s really weird that I taught for that school district for a whole year but didn’t scope it out until about 23 years later!

      1. I so get that, Kim. That’s why I’m always looking for bags at TJMaxx or Macy’s clearance racks, lol. I used to get in trouble buying baskets at yard sales. Glad I’m done with that phase. Have a great day!

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