By Vernalee

I wear very little makeup. My Mother taught us early on to let our natural skin glow and to wash our face with a white towel using room temperature water, and no soap. Moisturizer was essential. Graduating from Noxzema, Momma is now an Oil of Olay and Pond’s user. Approaching 90, her skin is flawless and as “smooth as a baby’s ass.” Sorry Momma for the comparison; I am just trying to make a visual point. If this quoted expression magically jumps off the page and turns into words of wrath and chastisement from her; it’s my fault. Woe to me!

Anyway, I have a couple of girlfriends who could be professional makeup artists to the stars! They are just that good. My girls can blend the foundation; highlight the cheek bones with rouge; make your eyes eye-catching with combined colors of eye shadow and liner; and create thick lashes as they swirled the mascara brush. For the finishing touches, they round out the lips with a pencil liner and colorful lipstick making them deliciously inviting. Wow! I always solicit their help particularly for those special occasions. If anyone can make you look glamorous, my girls can!

Passing time one day, I stopped in Nordstrom’s. A Fashion Fair makeup artist asked me if she could “make me up.” “Sure, why not!” I answered. Normally, I pass on those offers, but on that day, I was carefree and agreed to the cosmetics makeover session. What the heck! Do know that I am and have used Fashion Fair moisturizer for years. I swear on their hypoallergenic products.

The cosmetic specialist transformed me. “I kid you not!” The blending of products that she applied wiped off twenty years! She accentuated features that I never knew I had. I couldn’t believe my own eyes! Poised to maintain that look, I purchased the lipsticks, concealer and its accompanying brush. Although I am yet to achieve the special effects that she created, I was glamorized to look as if I was in my late 30’s at least for that day. That makeup definitely gave me a new face!

The makeup artist gave me so much more. We started talking about our roots and immediately discovered that we both were Mississippians; she from Tchula, and me from Glen Allan. As we chatted, I told her that I was writing a book. She replied, “Have I got a story to tell you;” and she did. Her story was just as eye opening as her makeup applications. Erin had been a foster child. Her Father shot and killed her Mother before turning the gun on himself. She and her little brother lost both parents and went from “pillar to post” as they traveled from one relative to the other for survival and care. What a traumatic situation! My heart bled for her. Recalling that story was a flashback for her. I am positive that the spirit led us to each other. Our discussions were like two old friends. Through it all, she and her brother made it! A heart wrenching story like this makes you realize that your problems are minuscule.

Afterwards, we embraced and she said to me, “When you release your book, I will be there to do your makeup.” I replied, “Erin, not only will you be there, you will be on the first row! You are an author; you have written your story through your testimony!”

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