How it Started

When I was 12, I found a blank ledger book. It was a treasure beyond treasure to me. I debated and debated about what to do with it - it had to be something special. Finally I decided to make a list of things I wanted to do and places I wanted to see in my life and then cross them off when I had accomplished them. At first they were simple things, but soon I was adding dramatic things, impossible things, but things still worth dreaming about. Oddly enough, putting them on the list somehow made them attainable. I have kept the book and updated the list my entire life. Here is the story behind some of the entries - successes and failures, embarrassing and proud moments, laughter and tears - the ridiculous to the sublime!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Get Caribbean Cornrow Braids - DID IT

Cornrow Braids: Bo Derek had them in the iconic movie "10".  She looked interesting in them, but with that one possible exception, white women are just not meant to have cornrows. Their pink flesh peeking out between the rows is just not right. Traveling through the Caribbean, it seemed that my long hair served as an open invitation to every hair-braiding street hawker in the islands. "Braid your hair, Missy?  Make you look beautiful."  (It should be noted that if your hair is already braided, the sales pitch changes to "Braid your hair?  Do GOOD job for you, half price.") I resisted.  Hubby was not as strong.  
We spent one lazy afternoon on the beach of this cruiseline owned atoll sipping tropical drinks in the sun until bad ideas seemed plausible.  Hubby impulsively handed a wad of bills to a wall-eyed woman with a bucket o' beads, pointed to me and said, "Here's your next customer."  She snatched the money out of his hands and quickly sat me on her overturned milk crate - not all that comfortable when you have a slight sunburn on your backside. But as she sliced my scalp with her rat-tail comb, I discovered that reflexology really works.  I was no longer aware of the plastic grid biting into my bum!

She handed me the bucket of plastic blobs and said, "Pick da beads you want."  I started selecting some subtle colors, and she said, "Not dat one... not dat one. No, not dat one..." later when I looked in the mirror at the vibrant collection of hot pink and lime green beads woven into my hair I said, "Wow, that's really bright..." she said, "T'is, but dat's what you pick."   

As we got started, I asked her how long it would take, she replied,  "Depends how many questions you got."  Where did that sweet smiling salesgirl go?  As soon as she had our money, she turned into the mistress of torture - slicing and yanking.  If I complained, she dropped the strand of hair and said, "Now I start over."  Well, you don't have to tell me twice - well, maybe twice, but certainly no more than that!  I shut up. I have to mention, during the entire time she was braiding my hair, I don't believe she looked at me even once. She braided while yelling at her kids, dogs, friends, ex-boyfriends, people who owed her money - although I think that might have been the same as the ex-boyfriend - and then sweetly cajoling her future victims.    

The experience proved useful on two fronts.  One - I could see what a good facelift would do for me, the braids were pulled so tight my eyes wouldn't shut.  Two - I understood Bo's seductively slow movements in the movie - it was to keep the beads from whipping around and putting out an eye!

Like almost everything on my list, I'm glad I did it, but I'm in no hurry for a repeat.  I'm practicing my "steely-eyed stare" in case I'm ever back in the Caribbean facing the street braiders again - or maybe I'll just shave my head.

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