5 Things Mercedes Told Me, Two She Didn’t

by Rachel Creager Ireland

This past weekend we were treated to a visit from the fabulous Mercedes Gomez Jacobo. I used to work with her at various massage therapy establishments back in Chicago, nine years ago, before Kevin and I got the crazy idea to move to the middle of nowhere and try to operate a small lodging. (What were we thinking? Did we think we’d be good at this? That we could make a living? That we wanted to spend our days scrubbing burrito sauce out of towels and checking rooms for dead roly polies?). In those days Mercedes was a cute kid who partied too much, but was so sweet you couldn’t get mad at her for . . . well, never mind. I moved away and she went to college and got a degree in Geography and climatology. Mercedes has grown up, into an amazing and beautiful and smart woman.

She also found hooping, became thrillingly good at it, and taught it to other people. When Mercedes came to the Prairie Fire, she made hoops for me and the girls, customized to our respective sizes and color choices. Within minutes of trying out my new metallic gold, green, and orange hoop, I was able to say for the first time that I can do it.

Here’s what Mercedes told me about hooping:

1. You’ve probably never had the right size hoop. The bigger the better.

2. Start the hoop going with a strong, flat, spin.

3. Moving the torso forward and backward is easier when beginning than side-to-side motion.

4. If it starts to fall, you can bend your knees to get low enough to catch it.

What she didn’t tell me:

1. This is aerobic exercise. It’ll get you breathing.

2. It is also core exercise. The next day you’ll be sore all through your midsection. (You know, all those places that are still soft and flabby after that last baby.)

And the kicker, not about hooping:

“You wanted this motel. I remember you talking about wanting a place where people could rest when they were traveling. You had a vision, and then you were going to do it. You manifested it, and I admired that.”

And that is why we all need friends, especially the ones from way back, who can help us remember who we are and why we came here.