The Avon lady was back at the house recently. I wasn’t aware that My Cute Little German Mother had placed an order. The doorbell rang and my mother asked me to write the check for her, as she couldn’t see too well that evening. I did as instructed and she collected the goodies and bid the Avon lady goodbye. She surveyed the contents of the bag with all the intensity of a surgeon examining a soon-to-be transplanted organ. “I said a vanted glimmer sticks,” she said with disgust. “Look at dis,” she continued. “You haf to sharpen dis sing ... I vanted da ones dat you just turn and more comes out.” “Well,” I said in an attempt to relieve her disappointment, “just use that for now and I’ll go get you the other kind.” She went back into the bag and came out with a pink garment of some sort, in a plastic bag. “I ordered dis bra,” she said. “But I don’t sink it’s going to fit.” Good grief, I thought. If the eyebrow pencil was not right, I can only imagine how many things could go wrong with a bra purchased from a catalog. “It looks nice,” I said, ever the optimist in these situations. The Little Cutie had been looking forward to the arrival of the order, and I was still clinging to hope that the whole thing would not be a letdown. As I’ve said before, she has loved ordering Avon ever since the days when she couldn’t drive. The godsend bearing lipstick brought, and still brings, joy to her little heart. I’ve been trying to get her out of the house more lately. It does her good, at least in my opinion, to get out. But she often refuses to go. Shopping from the catalog is a diversion that she usually chooses, now that her health if feeble. She reached back into the bag a third time. It’s a bit disheartening to me that what now makes my heart beat quickly in nervous anticipation ... can come out of an Avon bag. “I got dis for you,” she said with a smile and extended hand. Oh, for the love of all that’s good and decent ... I thought, but dared not say. And there it was. Vibrating mascara ... yes, indeed, mascara with a vibrating wand. It’s supposed to prevent clumping. I thanked her profusely and took the treasure, holding my laughter for another time. My daughter came home late that night, and found me brushing my teeth and getting ready for bed. “Look what Oma got me today,” I said, producing the long, black object and turning it on. A little hum. The eyebrows went up and the look on her face was something between curiosity and sympathy. “It’s a vibrating mascara,” I said, to ease the suspense. Then we both broke into laughter, complete with tears, sure to test even the best mascara. About a week later I took my mother out to eat and to the mall. She had a good time and it made me feel better to get her out of the house. When we got home, out of the blue, she raised her sweater to reveal her new, pink bra. “I don’t sink it fits so good,” she said, “but I guess it’s OK.” There were wrinkles along the top of the fabric, and well, let’s just say an apparent misfit along the bottom ... you can use your imagination. “Yes,” I said. “It seems just fine.”

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