Her name is Taida (pronounced Ti – A- da). She’s a sweet, older woman that owns a shop in Laredo and lives in Laredo, TX or Nuevo Laredo, Mexico – not sure which side of the border. When she learned that we were to purchase furnishings for ten Casitas, I thought she was going to cry. She said “you are a blessing to me”.
A good friend of mine spent many years in Laredo, knows the area well, and has excellent taste. He offered to “escort” me to this Texas border town to shop and purchase accent items for our Casitas. Having decided that our decorating style would be “modern, Mexican farmhouse”, we thought it keen to have a few Mexican imported products, other than the big wooden beds. Perhaps some lamps, pots, artwork. So we set off to Laredo with my friend Tony.
The first stop was a HUGE, ENORMOUS imported goods warehouse – I can’t say store, because it was massive. The prices were not massive, however, but feeling totally overwhelmed with how many pots and what color, shape and size we needed, I moved on. But I will be back! Next stop was an upscale furnishings store, the kind of store that you like to walk through and then transplant inside your own house. So we left there too.
Next and final stop was Taida’s. Taida’s place was an easy medium between the overwhelming warehouse and the upscale, can’t afford anything, shop. Taida’s was perfect. We selected floor mirrors framed in tin, leather and wood patio furniture, and a bunch of Mexican metal lamps. Taida was quick to say, in her good but second language English, “you get these re-wired – they were made in Mexico. I don’t want your house to burn down” and she smiled. Yes, indeed we will put American-Home Depot wire right in there.
Taida is quick to tell you with great pride that she has owned this store and been in business for 47 years. Her son, Jorge, works for her. She takes great pride in the craftsmen she buys from in Mexico. I made a bad joke about goods imported from China, and she was repulsed that the fine crafts of Mexico, true art and generations of handwork, would even be expressed in the same sentence with common household décor items imported from China. She went on and on about the talented men and women that she buys from and how this is “real Mexico”. Her pride in her home country and its artisans was powerful.
I will more than likely call on Taida for additional items, more patio furniture, etc., and I look forward to visiting with her again. And I pray one day, that the US-Mexico Border becomes safe again and allows families and friends to be reunited and the artisans of Mexico the ability to earn all they deserve with American buyers in their villages.
“You are a blessing to me” she said. Well, the people of Mexico are a blessing to me.