Playful, elegant, and not above the judicious use of the word “shit."

Avon Calling

I just got off the phone with my mother, who while talking to me on her cell phone was simultaneously driving her Avon mini-van and screaming, “Cut it out!” at my nieces in the back seat. No doubt one or both of my nieces were pulling hair or kicking tugging shrieking, “I’m gonna tell on you.”

“Have you been following the weather in Southern Utah?” she asked, voice trembling and panicked nine ways to Jesus.

“Actually, no,” I admitted. “Why? Is it cold?”

“Heather, it’s zero. I mean, literally, it’s zero� Hold on one second� [flutter of shifting noises] If I have to tell you one more time to stop pulling your sister’s hair, I’m gonna stop this car and you and I are going to have a situation� Ok, anyway, it’s zero. You’re going to freeze your butt off.”

“But we’re staying in a cabin, mom.”

“I know that, but does this cabin have doors? I mean, are there spaces where the logs meet in the walls where the cold can get in? [more shifting noises] � MEREDITH, if you don’t stop it RIGHT THIS INSTANT, I will turn this car around and we won’t go to Payless Shoe Source. [small munchkin voice from backseat: “But she keeps repeating everything I say…”] � STOP IT� Ok, so, um�. You should probably call ahead and make sure there are blankets in that cabin.”

[Dramatic pause] “I’m quite certain that they’ll have blankets, mom.”

“Are you going to pack gloves? You should pack gloves. And what about a coat? What if you forget your coat?”

“I’ll pack gloves, and just to be sure, I’ll put my coat on right now and I won’t take it off until Christmas. How about that?”

“Don’t be a smart aleck. I know how cold you can get. Can a mother not care? Do you not want me to care?”

[sound of screeching brakes and two munchkin voices screaming]

“How about you care enough not to call me while you’re driving your van. I’d hate for someone to die by way of an errant Avon World Sales Leader mini-van. Think about it, that would be tragic.”

“Just so you know, I am flipping you the bird right now.”

“But I thought you cared!”

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