My Cute Little German Mother had a birthday recently. Much to her dismay. The little Cutie says she doesn’t want to have any more birthdays. I try to explain that they beat the alternative. My sisters and I used to get together for Mom’s big day and take her out to eat and shopping. Now, distance and circumstances leave the celebration up to me. I took her for her favorite seafood dish, and my daughter joined us. The waiter arrived to take our drink orders first and, at 11:26 a.m., the little Cutie ordered a Hurricane. Now let me explain that when it comes to the power of suggestion in advertising, my mother is an advertiser’s dream. She simply saw the picture of the pretty drink staring at her from its placement near the salt and pepper shakers. That’s all it took. It looked pretty, and fruity. I didn’t want to interrupt, but after the waiter left, I explained that this was no low-alcohol, fruity concoction. The possible drug interactions alone had me worried. Not to mention that she’s not too steady on her feet stone sober, and we had other places to go after. I suggested a nice glass of wine instead, to go with her fish. She happily agreed and we asked the waiter to nix the Hurricane. Crisis one averted. I also scheduled a facial for her. I knew that this outing would take some clever convincing. She had never had a facial and predictably protested when I told her she would love it. She has always had a thing for make-up, lotions, potions, etc. Especially if the bottle is pretty. I knew that if I got her there, she would love it. I had to tell a little white lie, though. When I told her where she was going, she asked me to please cancel the appointment. “I can’t,” I lied, “I will have to pay for it even if you don’t go.” As a mother myself, I know that the guilt card, when played correctly, never fails. “Vell ... OK, but I don’t sink I’m going to like dat.” The facial appointment was set for her actual birthday – a couple days after the restaurant outing. The day arrived and I ran home from work to pick her up and drop her at the salon. There she was, still in bed, “too sick to go.” Hmmm ... could this be true or could it be possible that the little Cutie had outsmarted my utilization of maternal guilt? I called and rescheduled for two days later, explaining to her that the nice ladies at the salon reluctantly agreed to let me reschedule. Two days later, she called me at work to make sure I did not forget to come get her. I sent her off with the esthetician as if it were her first day of kindergarten. “You’ll be fine. I’ll be back soon,” I assured her. She loved the facial. “My face is so clean,” she said. “So, you might like to do that again?” I queried. “Yes, I sink so.” I also got her some lotions and potions in pretty bottles. That guilt works both ways. After we left the restaurant that day, we had to take the little Cutie straight home. The glass of wine had just enough interaction with her medications to warrant a long nap. Good thing we didn’t get that Hurricane.

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