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For best of my childhood, I had a weekend job that never paid a dime. But there were far greater allowances to atone for the abridgement of money I earned.

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In the baby boondocks area I grew up, my mother was “The Avon Lady.” My brother, Winston, and I were her helpers.

She would accept been up for hours already aback she alive us from our beds on Saay mornings. Our admired cheese and eggs breakfast would be cat-and-mouse in the kitchen and the agenda boxes — captivation white cardboard sacks with her customers’ names and amounts owed handwritten on the advanced — were sitting at the advanced door.

My mother ran her tiny home-based business with the attention of a Fortune 500 company. In addition time and place, I accept she could accept been a Marissa Mayer, a Meg Whitman or any of the added top changeable CEOs.

Certainly, had she been achieve added than Hogansville, Ga., in the 1960s, she ability accept risen academy in the Avon Corporation than a door-to-door sales adumbrative alive on a baby commission.

But my mother admired what she did. And she was abundant at it.

She won aloof about every accolade there was for Avon embly at the time. She had a chiffonier abounding of bittersweet red Cape Cod glware, commemorative clear bowls and added top sales awards to appearance for it.

With her 5-foot anatomy almost analytical over the council caster of her 1964 red and white Ford Falcon, she would accomplish her way through the atramentous ancillary of boondocks carrying colognes, lotions, soaps and aftershaves that were too big-ticket for banal bodies to buy from adorned administration stores.

My brother and I would be in the aback seat, demography turns animadversion on doors.

“We’re actuality to collect,” we’d say, continuing on the advanced porch, never activity inside.

Mama had developed a adjustment area she would bear orders alternating with the latest Avon adver one Saay and aggregate payments and booty new orders the next.

People seemed to acknowledge that she trusted them abundant to leave a $5 adjustment aback they didn’t accept the money to pay for it. That wasn’t article African-Americans generally accomplished in the absolute South.

Credit was continued to anybody at atomic already — until they stiffed my mother on an order. My brother and I came to apperceive who could be trusted and who couldn’t.

Collection day was far tougher than commitment day. It appropriate counting money on the doorstep, activity aback and alternating to the car for change and acrimonious up orders for the abutting cycle. Sometimes we formed until 4 or 5 p.m., abrogation little time for us to adhere out with accompany on a Saay afternoon.

But there were additionally allowances that a grade-schooler could appreciate. Miss Hattie Mae was one of my mother’s best customers. My brother and I admired her too. She ran a little abundance out of a aback allowance of her house, and she would accept ice chrism for the one who came to the door.

My brother and I had abounding fights over who would get out of the car at Miss Hattie Mae’s. So one us would bear to her one weekend and the added would aggregate from her the next.

Like every baby town, Hogansville had a bad side. We alleged it “the projects.” Lots of being went on in this accessible apartment ociation — cussing, bootlegging, biologic ambidextrous and fighting. But astronomic believed anybody adapted to attending their best and aroma nice.

Occasionally, she would admit youngsters from the adjacency to booty Avon orders. Though she rarely had money to pay them, she adored them with chargeless toiletries and added Avon goods, an adjustment that seemed altogether satisfactory to them.

My brother and I additionally were paid in kind. Aback we accomplished the day’s work, astronomic would booty us flush to the five-and-dime abundance for candy. I’d get chocolate-covered peanuts, which to this day charcoal my admired treat.

With my father’s baby bacon at the bolt comminute activity to our active expenses, Avon supplemented aggregate else. It paid for piano lessons, accession dresses and cheerleading expenses. It helped to accelerate four accouchement to college.

And years later, it provided one of the highlights of my mother’s life. In 1972, she was able to acquirement her own aboriginal Kelly blooming Ford Pinto coupe.

Mama was an approachable and accessible lady, acclaimed and admired in town. She never larboard the abode after cutting lipstick, and her beard was consistently altogether coiffed. She remained that way — and was affronted that her babe was not — until she developed Alzheimer’s ache in her 80s.

As the ache progressed, it became more adamantine for her to abide affairs Avon. Demography it abroad from her was the hardest affair our ancestors anytime had to do.

Annie Ruth Glanton is continued gone now, but the acquaint “The Avon Lady” accomplished my brother and me will consistently be with us. Because of her, we accept the accent of a able ignment ethic.

And on this Labor Day, I address her.

[email protected]

Twitter: @dahleeng

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