Sister McRae and MY sister Shirley Hooks are the iconic and fun ladies of the most historic and charming city of Granbury. Listen as they share octogenarian stories that feature fun, laughter, and generosity.
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Octogenarian Stories With Sister McRae & Shirley Hooks
Good, beautiful day, you beautiful souls. This is Charla Anderson, host of The Charla Anderson Show, Collector & Connector of Fascinating People (and EVERYONE is Fascinating, especially YOU!) I’m very excited to be here with my sister Shirley and her best friend, Sister McRae. We’re going to have a great time and laugh our heads off probably.
As you know, the thing I do first is take a mini-vacation, a little 22 seconds to get us grounded and settled, and have a good time with that. We’re going to breathe in calm for 7 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, and then breathe out gratitude. Let’s breathe in our calm. Hold and release. Thank you. I was coming down to Granbury, Texas for a visit with my sister and to stay with her for a few days.
It’s only 50 miles from my house so instead of racing back and trying to get set up in my studio, she’s got such a beautiful home and it’s overlooking the lake. First of all, I’ve invited Sister McRae because they call her the most iconic person in Granbury, Texas and this is the most historic town in Texas. It has one of the most fun histories you’ve ever seen. It’s great. My sister Shirley has been here since 1972.
I would still say they had the most fun of anybody I know. We are the seniors and we are not stopping. We’re having fun. We’re going to continue to have fun and go until we don’t. We’re on the right side of the dirt breathing free oxygen until we’re on the other side of the dirt. We’re going to keep on having a blast and a great time. I don’t even know where to start with these two lovely ladies.
I was trying to squeeze in under the same place and it got a little hysterical. They never stop laughing, giving, and going, and that’s the truth. The giving is how many volunteer hours. I’ll start with you Sister McRae, the icon of Granbury. I love you so much. You’re so much fun. Who are you? Why are you in this world?
I’m just hanging around. We have a very dynamic Visit Granbury operation here run by Tammy Dooley. She is phenomenal and has such a staff. I’m one of the VIP volunteers. I won the Most Volunteer Hours for two years in a row and finally, I woke up and thought, “It’s awful hard. I’m not going to do that again.” She’s got a great team. People who volunteer and VIPs are very treasured and helpful to Visit Granbury in the City of Granbury. We were named the Celebration City of Texas and they’re so many things that go on at Granbury. If you’re here, at least 2 or 3 things are going on all the time. I’m happy to be here.
Thank you for taking your time and joining us because so far, we’ve been pretty serious but it’s not often that. There’s not just roaring laughter because people will be in New York City and go, “I hear Shirley Hooks. Where is Shirley Hooks?” That’s the truth.
“I didn’t see you but I heard your laugh.”
She’s a super fun sister to have all these years and all my life. We had two other sisters, Joyce and Marsha, who I’m sure will read this. We love them as well. One is under you and one is under me.
I’m going to play like a sister.
She’s the fifth sister, the adopted sister. She’s the sister of choice.
Shirley is known for her laughter but she owned the Century 21 office on the Square in Granbury, Texas for many years and is well-known in this community. She has been such a giver of time and energy. Shirley, why are you in Granbury? What is your purpose here?
My purpose I guess is to do whatever needs to be done or that I want to do and can do. When we were talking about that, I kept thinking about what Mother said, “A mule can only do what a mule can only do.” I’m the mule. I do what I can. That’s a better way of putting it.
Our mama had a lot of say and that was one of them. We were talking and I was like, “What are you leaving in this world? What is your message? If you were talking to somebody who wanted a better life, what advice would you give?”
My mother died many years ago and she was my very best friend. When I see people helping people, that means so much to me and I want to be a part of that. We’re retired. We have fun. We drink wine. We laugh a lot but to help other people and maybe help them see their way that they haven’t seen before means a lot to me. Shirley and I have tried to be the light to a lot of people.
For them to realize they have choices.
It’s all a choice. My book, Split-Second Transformation-Change Your Words, Change Your Life: 31 Daily Practices, became a bestseller and I’m so thankful for that. It was fun. We had a big party.
Can you imagine we came and had fun?
It talks about your words and every word is a choice. You can’t change one thing from the last second, last week, last minute, last generation, or any of that. You can only change the next one. When you’re choosing to change your mindset, that’s all it is. It’s changing a little bit of a mindset. Speak what you want and not what you don’t want. Shirley has been the most positive person in all of my life.
We are known in Granbury as Thelma & Louise.
That’s why it’s like, “Who’s on first?” If you get them together in the car driving somewhere, you should have a recording of that.
What’s so funny is that I have a life-size pig that drives. He is navigator.
Do you think it’s funny?
It’s funny because she has run the back seat.
She doesn’t have to and I keep telling you that.
However, she does because there’s a pig in the right seat. If you go on my Facebook page, I’ve posted that picture. It’s hysterical. You drove up when I was getting out of the car and I was like, “Are you driving with your pig?” His name is Marvin.
Being the pig lady in Granbury is not very endearing but it’s so much fun because people honk and wave. They know me.
You’re also known as the CEO Bag Lady. That doesn’t sound very good but it’s because of all your volunteering and helping with setting up gift bags and stuff like that. She got the name tag of CEO Bag Lady. There’s a podcast called Uniquely Granbury. She was on episode number three. It’s a very excellent depiction of her life and her contribution. Her brother was extraordinarily influential in Granbury. He started Granbury Live and was a big part of the Great Race.
He was the Founder of the Great Race in ’83.
Sister McRae was involved, went on a lot of those races, and had a little bit of fun.
From 1989 through 2002, he sold the race, and then eleven guys bought it. They ran it for 2 to 3 years and it went into bankruptcy. My friend Corky Coker with Coker Tower Company bought the Great Race out of bankruptcy. He had the first race and he called me. He said, “Sister, it’s not the race without you. You got to come.” I’ve been going back on the Great Race since 2013.
I’ve had some monumental things that have happened in my life but the biggest honor that the Great Race has is the spirit of the event. In 2019, they gave that to me and I couldn’t do anything but cry. I couldn’t even say thank you. I was so overwhelmed because it’s the highest honor they have. It means more than winning the Great Race. I’ve been blessed time and time again.
You’ve blessed many.
Shirley, you practically raised me. You are ten years older than I am. In my young years, you were there stable. You have some philosophies in life. You’ve had mentees. Tell a little bit about that program because it’s amazing how many young girls you chose to mentor.
I’ve been a mentor in the middle school for several years. I’m taking a break but one of my favorite things to do is to get to know the children. What I was running my life for so many years was in the real estate business and wanting to help agents understand that the most important thing that we can do or they could do is to help people do what was ever in their best interest. It’s not necessarily what they wanted to do or what they thought they liked but what was in their best interest. A lot of times, we’re confused about what’s in our best interest and what we want. There’s a conflict there. To help somebody understand and recognize that and help others do that was huge.
Along with that, it’s the biggest in the state name in this town and this whole community around Granbury. We’re Southwest of Fort Worth a bit. You were known as the realtor. You were at the top. Your win-win attitude is the key. You had almost zero lawsuits and that’s not normal. You always are working on what’s best for everybody.
I love what you’re talking about finding out what’s in the best interest. It might be a compromise. Many times, I’m sure it’s a compromise but when you can say that and you’ve lived it to the nth degree, win-win, integrity, doing the right thing, and always doing the best you can with any given situation, you’ve done that.
I have to say one more thing that my sisters and everybody have always known. My kids, when they ran into a problem and didn’t know what to do or they were mad about something, the thing I always told them was to build a bridge and get over it. That’s what you do. Sometimes, you do have to go through it but it’s a lot better if you can build a bridge and get over it.
Shirley was always so centered in everything. If somebody was building a new building or I saw a new house go up, I called Shirley and said, “What’s going on?” Now, I have to tell her what’s going on.
You all stepped back but you haven’t slowed down. Your social calendars, I said, “I’m going to come stay for a couple of days.” Shirley is like, “I got this, that, and the other.” I feel like there are people that need hope. There are a lot of people in our world who are feeling discombobulated and that there’s nothing settled in our world. What advice do you have for people to maintain hope? You’ve had a huge year of challenges health-wise. I believe you choose to overcome them so a lot of it is a choice, too.
I had breast cancer for the second time. I had a mastectomy. I went back to the hospital. I’m lying there and nothing’s happening. I said, “I am 81 years old. I have a life to live. You’ve got to get me the heck out of here.” The next day, I had surgeries and the next day, I was discharged. Shirley was there. She was my Uber all the time and confidant when I was in the doctor’s office but there’s something about being in the doctor’s office with the oncologist. The first time I met him, he had my test results. He said, “You need to mastectomy.” I said, “That’s okay.” He said, “Are you considering reconstruction?” Shirley was with me.
I’ve been blessed. What I want to do in my lasting years is be a breast cancer advocate for others. I want people to be able to call me and tell me what they’re going through and what to expect. I’ve tried to help people all my life but the main thing I want to do is help those that have the devastating diagnosis of breast cancer. I’m living proof. You can get past it. We have a very good friend Brock who owns a restaurant here. They had a huge fundraiser for him and he showed up. I hugged him and said, “Brock, I am a living example that you can conquer this.” We pray for him.
He’s got a great bar and restaurant out here.
He donates and serves.
He serves turkey dinners for the homeless or anybody.
Also, free turkeys.
He is an unbelievable guy. He loves everybody. I loved everybody once somehow. I feel like if you don’t dislike me, you couldn’t dislike a better person.
That’s what I’m looking for, some of your little sayings and quips.
Shirley’s always saying, “Get you over it.”
She said to build a bridge and get over it. I don’t remember hearing the bridge part.
You just made that up.
No. You can ask my kids. They heard it. You have to do a lot for yourself sometimes. You build your bridge.
Do you know what it means to a country girl in Plains, Texas far West 15 miles to New Mexico to have a friend like Charla and be invited on her show? That’s great. I feel precious.
You are precious. It’s just conversation and we do a lot of laughing and conversing.
We need to do more of that.
It’s been a little bit of a whirlwind with my little book launch, party, birthday, and such. With your social calendar, I said, “Can I squeeze in?”
The funny thing is we have to check with each other the first of the week so we don’t override because I try to come over here with Shirley and her dog, Bella.
They locked her out.
She’s going to fundraisers. I’m going to fundraisers. We go to fundraisers together. Granbury is such a giving community and there’s a lot of need here. I was at a city council meeting and they were voting on having a prison come to Granbury. It was voted down and the reason was what follows a prison and I never thought about that. The families follow and become wards of the county. Granbury chose not to do that but it’s such an iconic city. It’s so different. It may not be grapevine in decorations and everything.
They made a Hallmark movie in Granbury. If you come to Granbury Square, it looks like it is a movie set. It’s beautiful and it’s always like that.
It’s like driving through a home.
It is and this whole town. The prison thing reminded me of one of the fun stories originally about the little jailhouse. Somebody escaped out of it with a plastic spoon in 1973.
They scrape the mortar between the stones.
When you first moved up here, somebody had escaped in the ’70s with the plastic spoon. What building is that?
It’s a jail museum.
They have a hanging tower but they never hang anybody.
Do you think there are a few people that could head in that direction?
Jesse James was here. He came through.
He owned the Nutshell.
No. He worked at the Nutshell as a bartender.
He owned the building.
You have a whole lifetime of stuff that you could share here. Let’s put it into a little passage.
I’m a country girl from Plains, Texas. First, I went to Lubbock. I worked for county judges and commissioners. I then went to Dallas. I worked for stock brokers, doctors, and lawyers and then I got into the surplus lines and insurance business. That’s the hard place for us that your agent can’t place. We specialize in that and I did that for many years.
I woke up one day and decided I wanted to go great racing. I went over to my brother and told him I’d work for him for a year for nothing. A year later, we’re flying back from Hershey and I said, “I made another decision.” He backed up when I did. I said, “I’m not going to work anymore for nothing.” He looked at me and I said, “However, I will work for minimum wage.” We had so much fun and touched so many lives with the Great Race.
I’ve been to all 50 states. I’m a big old country girl from Plains, Texas. I came to Granbury and that’s such a different experience because it’s such a warm town with warm giving people. One of the first things I had to do when we moved the race here in ’95 for the national headquarters was we had great racers coming to spend the night. There are not enough hotels and I’m calling a list of people who have volunteered to take a great racer into their home. That’s a terrific way to meet people. No one denied me. We had a great time.
One of the saddest things that happened in Granbury was when your brother Tom ended up in a motorcycle wreck and did not make it. It’s a sad and harsh time. It’s still hard for you but because he was such the life of this city, he started Granbury Live too, and all of these things. He was such an entrepreneur but we want to honor Tom McRae as well.
He always included his daughter Sam. She was very instrumental in everything he did and I’m so proud of her.
Is he still here?
No, she’s in San Antonio. She is married. She is enjoying life. We both lived with the memories Tom gave us all those years. Tom and Shirley had this unique relationship. Tell them about knocking that wall.
I had bought a couple of buildings on the Square and we had bought the Masonic Lodge building. I had my office across the street. Tom always had a tool belt wherever he went. He is full of life. He ran everywhere. He came in and I took him across the street. I wanted to show him the building. It’s a big 2-story building and a 1-story. We were walking up the stairs and we got up to the landing. The walls are all plastered.
Impulsively and immediately, and without me having time to do anything, he pulled his hammer out of his tool belt and said, “I wonder what’s behind this.” He starts breaking through it. This beautiful stone is there. However, I said, “Tom, that’s good but we have a banquet here in three weeks. That’s how we got to eat free. We were the first and probably only free banquet in Celebration Hall. “I wonder what’s behind this bathroom,” that was so Tom.
When he bought the two buildings, he was building an apartment upstairs. He wasn’t sure what he was going to do downstairs. He had overalls on. He’d pull people off the street he’d never seen before and take them upstairs. He did the same thing when we opened Granbury Live. He is like, “Come see this show. You don’t want to miss this.”
One of the things I love and I hadn’t even thought about this before but Thomas said he came here to buy a ranch. Instead, he bought this building on the Square. What he did to make the whole thing work is they named their apartment upstairs the Up Top Ranch.
He is across. There were so many people in Granbury who donated towards the down payment of the building. That was so appreciated because the building has so much history and then when he had the opportunity to buy the building next door, he built Up Top Ranch and lived there. He didn’t know what he was going to do downstairs. The musician and his wife came and they started talking. They had dinner and everything. Tom said when he moved here, “Granbury needs music.”
From 1999 until he was killed in 2005, the last performance of our Granbury Live band was August the 13th, 2011. It was leased for a couple of years and then sold. Thomas has it. We had our band that did a concert on Friday night and a different concert with two performances the next day. We’re bringing all these people to Granbury and they’re spending the night. They’re going to the opera house and going to Granbury Live.
He had such a vision and they do tribute bands. I’ve seen so many sold-outs because there are older bands that are not doing the big arenas and everything like The Malpass Brothers, which is there. I hated it but Granbury Live is going on. He was doing a good job. Thomas is a very special man that’s so ingrained in Granbury. The things that he’s going to do and the things that are coming, you’re going to be surprised.
This city from day one has been unique and the beautiful Town Square. You’ve got Granbury Live and the opera house. You have restaurants. You’ve got wineries and everything you can think of that you would ever want. There are antiques all over the place. How many golf courses are in this town?
Nine. The building that Shirley sold when she retired was a beautiful shop, The Nest, like what Paula McDonald was doing. We take the elevator upstairs. It’s a beautiful B&B. Number one, it faces the square. It’s called The Sharing. You should be here with here with us while we’re doing that. I was nervous but I’m not nervous anymore.
I know the wine didn’t help. It does.
Only a little.
We’re going to wind it up. Do you have any advice? Give us your last words of wisdom if you were talking to somebody who was like, “I don’t know what to do or where to head.”
My suggestion is to be involved. Go, volunteer. There are so many nonprofits like Visit Granbury that need people to help with little things. You meet so many neat people. Midland in California is moving to Granbury. Did you all know that? It’s happening online.
I have a friend who has a shirt that says, “Don’t California my Texas.” Maybe they don’t care.
They’re here but welcome.
The good ones are coming.
What I want to do is I would like to be an advocate for breast cancer. If you’ve got a question, call me, anything I can do to help you.
I have a connection for you about that. There is some good stuff going on in that arena. Shirley, my sister, what’s the last big nugget that you would tell somebody that needs hope?
Keep on keeping on. It all boils down to doing your best and you just keep on doing it.Life all boils down to doing your best and keep on doing it. Click To Tweet
Life keeps lifing is one way I say things. When you’re depressed or have hard things going on, often you can only focus on yourself. It takes great effort. I’m not saying it would be it’s easy but focusing outward, seeing someone else, and being in action is one way. One way to do that is to serve someone else, your community, or your fellow man. Pick up a piece of trash and do something different that makes a difference. Also, leaves things better than you found them. Make the world a better place. Our mama said, “Don’t leave a mess for the next person to pick up.” Be kind because you’ll never know.
That is probably the biggest thing people need to think of because they never know what the next person is going through.
One word that if we could all live would be kindness.
A little bitty smile goes so far. I even wave at people I don’t even to see if they’ll wave back. “Who’s that crazy woman waving? Do I know her?”
There are no strangers to these two lovely ladies and a beautiful time we’ve had together. I’m grateful for Shirley and for you letting me come and have some Zen time. We are overlooking the beautiful lake and the atmosphere here is amazing. Sister, we all haven’t had our Skip-Bo games yet. We’re going to have to circle back around and get to her.
I’ll always show up. It’s so funny. This is the fun center of Granbury.
That’s the truth. Thank you very much, everyone. This show is mostly guest-driven and fun. The episode comes out and we have all kinds of quotes, sayings, and things that we get to use in other ways on social media if you want to. Marvin the Pig is her co-pilot. I always wanted to let you know that wherever you are is the only place you have to be. You’re perfect exactly who and where you are right this second.
You don’t have another place to be and you might as well appreciate and love it or at least be there so that you know how to take the next step. You’re perfect. There’s nothing you can do to be loved more or less by God or us. Choose kindness. The harder people are going to love, the more they need it. A lot of this is the lessons that I tend to weave through my shows. I love to always end with, “Always choose joy.”
About Shirley Hooks
Shirley Hooks, one of Granbury, Texas’ most beloved and celebrated business leaders, even now as she enters her 8th decade, has been known as the Real Estate Queen. Noted as THE most historic town in Texas, Granbury was the backdrop for Shirley and her late husband Bill’s real estate and car dealership endeavors. Their names were all over the place for decades. Her laughter is her signature, and can be heard long before you see her, wherever she is in the world.
One of four sisters, Shirley is the sister of Charla, host of this show. She began the Mission Granbury non-profit, has mentored dozens of teen girls, has volunteered thousands of hours, and contributed to the city in innumerable ways.
Shirley and her dear friend Sister McRae are known as Thelma & Louise as they galavant around town, with a social calendar filled to the brim… And their combined WISDOM is beyond measure.
I’m Charla Anderson, host of The Charla Anderson Show, Collector & Connector of Fascinating People (and EVERYONE is Fascinating!) on live TV, streaming, and podcasts. As a Ziglar Legacy Certified Trainer, a retired award-winning flight attendant, Olympic Torchbearer, a personal development junkie, Inspired Speaker, a Published Author, and Your Courageous Coach, I want to share my passion for living life full-out, saying YES to intriguing opportunities, and encouraging YOU to do the same. Let’s jump on a discovery call and get to know each other. Find all things Charla at www.CharlaAnderson.com/links.
On The Charla Anderson Show, We discuss Mindset, How much Your WORDS matter, princess-to-queen energy, mantras, HOPE, Faith, Miracles, Overcoming, and much, much more, including learning from amazing guests. Everything Charla: https://CharlaAnderson.com/links
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