Last updateFri, 11 Mar 2016 6pm


A midwesterner moves to Mexico - Mexican Jumping Beans

We went to Tlaquepaque last weekend. Mainly looking for rugs and furniture that my daughter has been wanting to buy.

But with a four-year-old along, also looking for some of the Mexican Jumping Beans that he remembered getting on our first trip there not long after we had arrived.

It’s always a little surprising what kids remember, but Mexican Jumping Beans I understood.

I remember getting them as a kid too. Not from Mexico, but at some roadside store along a two-lane highway while on a driving vacation to see grandparents in Tennessee. A place that sold pecan bars, magnets in the shape of every state, little carved wooden outhouses and totem poles, Indian headdresses and tomahawks and, at the counter,  Mexican Jumping Beans.

For a kid that had never traveled more than three states away from Illinois, bringing home something from Mexico made me feel like a world traveler. The fact that they really did jump in my hand made them feel magical. The change in my pocket was quickly spent.

The beans were probably lost within a few days after we got home, but that was more than enough time to show them off to every kid in the neighborhood. And to remember them 50-plus years later.

We weren’t quite as lucky in Tlaquepaque as I was in that roadside store, as we didn’t come home with any Mexican Jumping Beans. The man that we remembered selling them at a table along the street wasn’t there.

Nor did we come home with any rugs in the large size my daughter wanted or a perfect piece of furniture for the entry. 

But we were only a little disappointed, as Tlaquepaque is always an enjoyable place to spend an afternoon. The architecture, the art, the culture, and the food (in this case, strawberries and cream for me and ice cream for the four-year-old) always make the trip worthwhile.