Thursday, August 13, 2009

Avon Calling!

When I was growing up,
there weren't iPod's and
video games and
cool boy-bands to follow.

Basically, we just had
to stretch our imaginations
to keep us occupied
and out of trouble.

My sister Linda and I
loved to play Barbies-
but when your doll
is looking a bit bald-
when her wardrobe inventory
is limited to a bathing suit
and a ball gown-
and when she's suddenly handicapped
due to a stupid brother
ripping off an arm-
the fun runs out quickly.

Tag was great till
we got tired of running.
Hide and Seek was okay
till we ran out of hiding places.
"School" or "House"
was too much reality for us.
And television was limited
to black and white
baseball games
and "I've Got a Secret".

Luckily, there was someone
who stepped into our lives one day
and brought us great joy.

It was the Avon Lady.

I can't remember her name,
but I do remember her
sitting on the edge of the
couch cushion in her dress-
smelling like flowers-
and pulling all sorts of
colorful tubes and bottles
from her big blue bag.

Looking back,
I don't know why she came.

Mom wasn't one to wear makeup-
the bubble bath was too expensive-
and perfume was a luxury.

I think now that maybe it was
simply a link to the outside world-
an adult female that Mom could talk to -
and a glamorous palette of color
that she could dream about.

We watched intently as the
Avon Lady gave out samples-
and I'm sure we were probably
hanging over the entire conversation
like two vultures over road kill.

That's when the Avon Lady
went to the car
and brought back her old blue bag.
It was lined with little perfume pads
and tiny lipsticks
and thumb-sized samples of lotions.
There were Avon booklets
and an old compact
and things that made
Linda and I dizzy with excitement.

She wanted us to have it, she said.


Our days were then filled with
playing Avon Lady.

The only thing that could have
made it better was if we had
a doorbell.
But, we could say "ding dong"
pretty durn good after a few
rounds of play.

I'm sure we looked a sight
after painting ourselves up
with our new cosmetics!

But we were happy-
and surely Mom was happy
that we gave her some free time.

I don't know what ever happened
to that old blue bag.
I suppose, just like our dolls,
we outgrew it and went on
the other things.

The Avon Lady probably never knew
what an impact she had on our lives.

But her kindness and unselfish gift
was a memory we treasured-
long after the colors faded
and the perfume drifted away.