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Day 24: The Power of Scent‏

As I watched the commercial with Brad Pitt telling me that Chanel No. 5 has been the one thing he could count on through the years (at least I think that's what he meant, I was distracted by the fact that for once he was nice and clean and Angelina and the kids weren't with him), I thought about the perfumes I've worn, or wanted to wear, over the years. There was Heaven Scent, with its baby powder undertones, which was my favorite as a teenager; in college I wanted to be like everyone else and wear Giorgio Beverly Hills but I could never bring myself to pay for a bottle; and I still mourn the loss of Victoria, a scent by Victoria's Secret that for some reason they quit making. 

The scent that triggers the most memories is Sweet Honesty by Avon. The Avon website (I was shocked they still sell it) describes it as "a floral heart blooming with honey, citrus and vanilla. It's the perfect first, and a favorite to hold onto for years." That sums it up for me, the perfect first, and I will always think of my maternal grandmother when I catch a whiff of its honey, citrus and vanilla.

My grandmother did not have a car. I don't know that she ever knew how to drive and when my grandfather died, the car they owned was sold. For almost 20 years, my grandmother rode the bus or walked to wherever she needed to go. A closer shopping option was the Avon lady who lived on the next block. For someone on a fixed income like Grandma, it was a big help to get the 10% discount given by the Avon lady if Grandma would meet her at the back fence to pick up her order. One of the things Grandma always bought me was Sweet Honesty. Every year they came out with some new clever packaging around Christmastime and since my birthday is February, I often received Sweet Honesty in a heart-adorned bottle. As she got older, the bus routes changed and become less convenient for her so her world got smaller but the one thing she could still do was buy Avon from her neighbor. Grandma started buying us Avon jewelry and along with the jewelry, she would give me some Sweet Honesty in the special promotional packaging of the season.

I still have a collection of bottles of Sweet Honesty in my bathroom and every time I see them I think of Grandma. Both of my grandmothers were widows for so many years and their independence and self-efficiency are what I strive for in my life. I will always remember the smell of the perfume and it will always put a smile on my face, not because of its floral heart but because of the heart of the woman who bought it for me.

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