By RAY QUIROGA
South Padre Parade
We first crossed paths with Kathryn Pulkingham well over a year ago at The Gym in Port Isabel, where she works as a fitness and Zumba instructor. The Parade was reporting on the Zumba craze that’s sweeping the nation and Kathryn was the perfect interviewee.
But as good as our memory serves us, our meeting this time around was quite different, or should we say Kathryn seemed quite different. Gone was the confident but somewhat reporter-shy lady we remember from the first time around. This time, there was no doubt she was in control of this shoot. Even during our conversation with her before our most recent meeting, Kathryn knew what she wanted from this experience, and how to get the job done. Her only question: “So am I going to be on the cover for the week of Cinco de Mayo, or…?”
From that point forward, she began to plan and when the day finally came for our shoot, she directed us to the gorgeous Casa Mariposa Boutique Guesthouse on South Padre Island, an incredible hacienda-style event venue located on West Corral.
Casa Mariposa proved to have a soul all its own, and within minutes of stepping into its courtyard, its infectious spirit began to make its way through our veins like a smooth shot of Grade “A” Tequila. It was at that point that a slightly nervous Kathryn asked, “What do you want me to do?” I answered, “Do what you do best.” She smiled and started to move: a little salsa, a little flamenco, interpretive dance. No, she wasn’t about to just stand there and look pretty. She was in her element, moving to the music playing in the background and breaking a sweat. Her goal, she said, is to bring salsa to the Island, in the form of lessons, maybe even to Casa Mariposa, one day.
If there is one lesson we learned from our experience with Kathryn is that she’s a very popular lady around town, evident by the fact that our office was fielding calls, emails and text messages from Kathryn’s loyalists asking the date she was to grace our cover and if we can post a sneak peek of our photo shoot. Even the day of our deadline, casual conversations with people whom we had no idea knew Kathryn eventually concluded with, “…So, I understand you’re going to have Kathryn on the cover of the Parade this week?”
One big reason for Kathryn’s popularity is due to the fact that she’s from these parts – Port Isabel to be exact… “Go Blue,” as she so proudly proclaimed.
Her life has led her to many interesting intersections including Austin, a city she still calls her home away from home. While in Austin, she made a career as a concierge for the likes of the governor. In fact, she worked for George W. Bush and Rick Perry. And after divorcing from her husband of 10 years, Kathryn came back home three years ago to “regroup”, and found that her heart never really left the Laguna Madre area.
Kathryn was a Junior Olympic swimmer, gymnast and trained dancer and is currently in love with riding the waves…Oh yeah! And one more thing, she’s 41 (years of age, that is).