Feeling Spooky In Downtown San Antonio

I was recently in Downtown San Antonio, taking photos for my website, and found myself outside a Goodwill (charity) shop. Deciding I needed a bag (several are packed away in my container somewhere in Houston so I didn’t want to spend a lot) I entered the store and immediately, took a double take. There, on a bag stand, hung a shocking-pink, woven handbag – exactly the same as one I had pondered whether to buy back in England. Call me obsessive but I had had a few regretful thoughts about not purchasing that bag since arriving in San Antonio – how lovely the colour would be in this hot climate, what a perfect size for my camera and glasses, etc, etc. Why had I not bought the bag then? I don’t know, but here I was, thousands of miles away, staring at the exact same one. Feeling a little spooky, I carried the bag to the cash till and stood in line behind a black lady carrying a huge box of Christmas tree lights.
‘Are you buying early this year,’ I smiled at her.
‘Yeah, if you don’t buy somethin’ straightaway you never find it later,’ she drawled.
Outside the shop, my new bag tucked under my arm, I entered ‘Marti’s’ next door, one of the most expensive shops in San Antonio, and asked the owner if I might take photos of their gorgeous Mexican fabrics, glassware and furniture for my website
‘Yes, of course,’ he beamed. I then spotted the lovely Mexican pine rustic dining table I had seen the last time I had been in there. Mexican pine is a different colour to English or American pine, it’s like a mud brown and this piece was beautiful but there was a hefty price tag on it. After checking with the owner I was told there was a third off.
‘It’s a period piece,’ he said, ‘and we can transport it to England.’
‘Oh, my husband and I live here,’ I explained. (Married less than a month, I still find the sound of the words ‘my husband’ quite strange to the ear.) ‘We’ve visited your shop several times before.’
‘Then did you ever visit our branch in Nuevo Laredo?’ he enquired.
‘No, sadly I didn’t,’ I said, though I had heard that ‘Marti’s’ had been forced to close their Nuevo Laredo branch some years ago because of the border drug wars.
‘Nuejo Laredo is just like a ghosttown,’ the owner said. ‘But Laredo on the US side of the border is worth a visit. Lots of Mexicans cross over to Laredo to buy US goods. It used to be the other way round.’
When I arrived home, later that afternoon, and showed Mattie my shocking pink bag, she exclaimed, ‘Oh that’s not just spooky, it’s scary!’ She then announced proudly that she had made lemonade while I was out and had taken some round to the neighbours. ‘I wanted them to buy it from me but Mike wouldn’t let me,’ Mattie grumbled.
‘Oh, were you intending to put the money towards a charity?’ I asked.
‘No, I would have kept it for myself,’ she grinned, and it occurred to me how well Mattie suits living in the US!

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