Glitter Political: The picturesque life of Karen Crouch
Published: July 30, 2014
Kith and kin of the cosmopolitan Karen Crouch know that it’s rare to find the former judge at home on her birthday. And as she sits before me in her spacious living room in Castle Hills, I sense she’s not entirely pleased about this homebody turn either, certainly not on the day she turns 54. The 2011 car accident that took the life of her sister-in-law has pinned certain limitations on Crouch’s “Energizer bunny” lifestyle, including preventing her typical birthday travel plans this year. However, “certain” doesn’t mean “many” and her current campaign as the crimson choice for judge of County Court at Law Number 10 (vs. the deliciously scandal-prone Democratic rival Tina Torres) and a new half-hour radio program, “Women and the Law with Karen Crouch” on News Talk 930 AM KLUP, seem to have her saddled up and sauntering down the road to full recovery.
“There’s no new version of Karen. There’s just an older Karen,” she says, speaking of herself in the third person as she often does. Her “Texas big hair,” a signature look in her promotional material, isn’t on display today. It’s pulled back in a bun and her pale face is au naturel.
Crouch and her husband Gerald Flores wanted their three school-age children to visit every state before traveling abroad but the accident, which took place in Vermont, interrupted those plans. Breaking a birthday tradition, this year she delayed their upcoming trip to Alaska by a month as per her doctor’s recommendation. After they visit The Last Frontier, they’ll have together seen 45 of those 50 states. “Travel is the best teacher,” says Flores, who was once a history teacher himself.
The two pieces of Murano glass on the shelf are mementos from a month-long trip to Italy that Flores raves was “fabulous.” In 2011, they embarked on a 54-day road quest through the Southeast United States and recently, Crouch and her kids managed to plan their spring break vacation to Costa Rica (and purchase tickets) while Flores was taking a short nap.
Crouch evokes a “calming” moment experienced last year in the Blue Grotto, the sea cave on the Island of Capri. “When you go in, it’s totally turquoise and the illumination that comes into the cave makes the water like ... iridescent,” she said. The oarsman who sang “Happy Birthday” to her in Italian could have been the icing on anyone’s cake.
But far from her rocky Italian shores, she feels the challenge of making legalese “interesting” on her radio show. Having served for 16 years on the court-at-law bench, she knows “no subject of the law can be covered in 30 minutes.” However, episodes like Humorous Things that Happen in a Courtroom could spark a Sunday-morning dialogue among listeners.