Monday, August 16, 2010

Age Before Beauty

Oh, I do love purple. It reminds me of my Mammy. She drove my mother to distraction, and sometimes irritated me, too. Her idiosyncracies were endlessly entertaining, and with every passing year I grew more glad to receive her little nuggets of wisdom. In 2000, she passed away, and this day is not an anniversary of that passing. Today is not her birthday. Or her anniversary of the day she wed my Papa who turned 90 last Spring. It is just a day when I saw the purple swirls in a graphic design that reminded me of how she embodied the poem, When I am an Old Woman that still leaves a smile on my face. A face that has begun to show etchings of that smile even when it is not present. In noticing the signs of age, there are still more memories tied to this titan of my childhood who so often uttered the words, "Pretty is as pretty does!"
Her attitude toward aging was delightful, and I hope to echo that celebration of life in the acceptance of age so foreign in our culture. The full head of gray hair was refreshing in an atmosphere born of the Boomers' anti-age sentiment that has since spawned a host of women struggling to live up to advertisers' claims that products can make one, "You... only better." She was more of a, "Good enough!" sort of a gal; although, there were beauty products cluttering her bathroom. They were more about taking care of herself than halting the clock marking time on her face. I know this because we gave each other the loveliest facials with all sorts of delightful stuff from those fascinating jars and bottles while she debunked the claims on the packages. The scents of Tone soap and Palmer's cocoa butter products were hers more than any cologne ever spritzed on for a special occasion. Slathering on moisturizer dispensed from a pretty, purple bottle and looking for hints that my own grays are going to take over one of these days, I miss her.

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