It had been some time since I had sat down with one of the women from the tribe and was able to share their unique qualities of being a Bourbon Cowgirl. I must admit I felt a little rusty and my initial contact with the next Bourbon Cowgirl of the month made me even a bit more uncertain in how this interview might go. My interviewee was not as outgoing as the ladies that proceeded her and she was rather guarded, for the lack of better description.
We met on an old rail bed used by hikers, cyclists, and those on horseback, all enjoying this beautiful end of October day. My feet kicked the falling leaves and crunched with every step. Ahead I saw who I knew was my next story; hands in the air, broad welcoming smile she exclaimed, “Breathtaking isn’t it! A tunnel of gold and the smell of Fall!” Teddy was right, this trail couldn’t be any more beautiful.
We made small pleasantries and she began to tell me a little about the area we were in. We made our way a little farther down the rail bed until we came to a bridge straddling a rapid moving creek. Teddy asked if this would be an okay place to sit and with a nod of my head we dangled our legs over the side of the bridge, feet swinging, taking in the sights around us.
I looked over at the small statured woman beside me and really took in the blueness of her eyes. I had noticed them early on, but being so close, I was taken back by their intensity. When I commented on them, Teddy laughed and said that was a common reaction, even from strangers.
Anxious to shake off the cobwebs of interviewing and writing I asked Teddy the initial question I always pose, “Tell me about yourself…What’s your story?” “Story, huh?” Teddy asked as she bit her lip. “Not so sure I have a ‘story’ but I can tell you about myself.” She shrugged her shoulders, peering off into the rambling water, “I am fifty-five years old and that is a good age. Freedom comes with being fifty plus. You start self-reflecting, you know, you gauge where you are on the rainbow of life.” She laughed and proceeded, “I have never really got too caught up in what others are doing, but now more than ever, I just enjoy being me.” I found that answer intriguing and was becoming more at ease with the person beside me. Maybe she wasn’t as guarded as I had first thought.
I hesitated to interrupt because Teddy seemed like the type of person that answered your question directly, without a lot of explanation, so I nodded for her to continue with her thoughts. She went on, “I am super blessed and well aware of it. I have been married thirty-three years to my husband, which is my ‘person’ in this world. I am wildly proud of my two daughters and I have a grandson and granddaughter and they bring us this indescribable joy that I can’t put into words.”
When I asked Teddy what her professional aspirations might be, she again laughed and told me how her and her husband had sold their small lawn care and snow removal business just this past February, allowing them to begin enjoying an early retirement. She likened the business to a third child and explained how much effort and self that small business owners put into their endeavors and how in turn that business becomes such a reflection of one’s self. They loved their business but it was time to let it go and move to the next season of their lives. Teddy went on to explain that it was also another opportunity to relax and focus more on herself and she embraced it without regret.
When asked what motivates her, Teddy laughed out loud and exclaimed her OCD! She explained everything has its place and a lack of details are not an option in her world. It is how you get things done and done right was her emphatic declaration! Then in all seriousness, she unequivocally acknowledged her real motivator is her faith. Her dad always told her that to whom much was given, much was required and she lives by that decree.
As we touched on the subjects of personal strengths Teddy paused to reflect. We chuckled as she asked if I wanted all of them or the top twenty. After a few moments of personal reflection, she admitted this question becomes seemingly easier to answer after years of practice, noting her own attention to detail, and on a more personal nature, empathy toward others and faithfulness. Her super powers notably could be organizational skills and loyalty. When asked about a moment or accomplishment she considered most significant, she reiterated once again how blessed she is with beautiful moments and accomplishments in life all rolled together.
When asked what she is PASSIONATE about, Teddy related, that of recent, she is working toward living healthier, focusing on more wholesome food, mentally tapping into what is in her daily routine, loving her body and keeping it healthy, productive and positive thinking, loving what God gave you, and enjoying the moment. “To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1
Reflecting on a personal triumph, she recounted how a year ago this April she began to lose a tremendous amount of her hair after a bout of covid. After much research she learned hair loss was a post covid issue. “I dedicated hours to researching vitamins, hair loss products, the works,” she remarked. She described a whirlwind of emotions until one day she told her husband she was no longer being controlled by the circumstances and she went to a barber and received a “beyond pixie” haircut. “It was ABSOLUTELY one of the most freeing things I have ever done!” Teddy reassured me. “I prayed to like myself and to quit hiding behind what I felt was a curtain and God gave me grace and boldness to walk in that triumph. I think many women can relate to the insecurity I fought and won!” she smiled.
Professional triumphs usually come with dedication and grit and I think that this remains true with Teddy’s story. She grew up in a family where her parents’ had their own small business and it seemed to be in her genes. Along with her husband and always with the support and muscle of their daughters, Teddy and her family have had several successful businesses including: Householder’s Deer Processing, Householder’s Rentals, Interiors by Teddy, the Vanilla Bean Boutique, LLC, and Lawn Jockeys 365, LLC. In keeping of tradition, both of her daughters have their own businesses that are thriving currently. Entrepreneurial spirit lives.
One of my favorite focus questions is what surprises a Bourbon Cowgirl about themselves. When I posed this question to Teddy, it was the most reflective she became and the quietest. She simply replied, “My vulnerability.” I then asked what surprises others about you and she said her passion for history and writing. As to what energizes her, it was easy to see when she talked about her family, spoke of her faith, and told a few stories of her friends…she was her happiest. Daily she commits to reading, loves to camp, and she admitted an e-bike ride with the hubby does wonders for the soul.
As our time was coming to an end, I thanked Teddy for her time and for sharing this beautiful oasis we had spent the last hour in. I asked her to share her final thoughts including a guilty pleasure, which she replied, “Easy, gin and tonic!” When I pursued asking her a dream, she had yet to achieve she said, “Seeing something of mine in print.” When I nudged her thoughts for adjectives to describe herself, our Bourbon Cowgirl answered, “DETERMINED, HARD WORKING, INTROVERTED.”
And finally, looking back, what would you tell your seventeen-year-old self? With complete confidence, she replied, “Teddy, you got this. Have more faith in your ability to do everything because, girlfriend, you really can do anything that is set before you. And most of all, you will accomplish it with dignity and grace.” And in that moment, we touched on the vulnerability she spoke of earlier. I wish so many of today’s young women could hear this and resonate in the power of the message.
We gathered my notebook and phone and made the trek back to our vehicles. We took in the smell of the leaves and their sound under our feet. We said our thank you’s and headed off to our destinations. Writer’s note: I am afforded an exciting opportunity to meet people and then share their stories. I am excited to take this journey with you and in a time such as this, I am ready to share beautiful souls, positive vibes, and something we as women can celebrate ---- that being one another. I want to thank Teddy for her time, her thoughts, and for sharing her story.
May we be reminded of the essence of the Bourbon Cowgirl: I am heart. I am soul. I was born to love. I was born to thrive. I love my God. I nurture. I create. I cry. I hurt. I die. But through it all I continue to try. I live out loud. The world is my canvas. My dearest friends, my tribe. I am the Bourbon Cowgirl.