The finished bride, styled.

The finished bride, styled.

I love the smell of recently-massacred skunk. It’s as much an early sign of spring as yellow in the willow twigs and the honking of geese. I experienced all three yesterday. Winter’s back is broken.

I expected to leave Rochester after lunch yesterday. After a morning of fitful work, I packed the car and waited for my husband. Expecting his call momentarily, I didn’t want to set up to paint.

Jennifer's $7 wig.

Jennifer’s $7 wig.

My friend Jennifer Jones makes jewelry. She has a mannequin head standing on her dining room table, (which can make you yelp when you come across it suddenly in the Rochester gloom). I felt its hairstyle was inappropriate for a bride. Because I was bored, I decided to do something about it.

You know how to do French braids?” she asked me incredulously. She had a point, there. My own greying hair is usually just tied back in a messy ponytail, and it may or may not have been combed. But I was once a teenage girl and I have three daughters myself.

Hair styling school.

Hair styling school.

I spent a happy hour teaching her to French braid and loop the ends into a loose chignon. It wasn’t perfect, but it was as good as one could want from a $7 wig. And it was fun. For a moment there, I was transported back to teenage girldom.

Doesn't everyone keep a head on their dining room table?

Doesn’t everyone keep a head on their dining room table?

Jennifer wears her own hair very short. “What am I going to do when you go home?” she asked. I really don’t think she’ll have any trouble. By the time I cross the Maine state line, she’ll be building towering beehives on that mannequin’s head.

We had just decorated her kitchen with a mess of hairpins, doughnuts, brushes, and jewelry when my phone rang. It was time to go. “I hate to style and run,” I said, but I still got in my car and hit the road.

Carol Douglas

About Carol Douglas

Carol L. Douglas is a painter who lives, works and teaches in Rockport, ME. Her annual workshop will again be held on the Schoodic Peninsula in beautiful Acadia National Park, from August 6-11, 2017. Visit for more information.