"I dare you to go somewhere in public like that," one of them said.
They didn't even have to make it a double-dog dare. I was game. But I had one condition: They had to look goofy, too.
Years of dance and children's theater and yard sales have supplied us with an impressive collection of strange apparel, clip-on hairpieces and makeup, so it wasn't long before their creative makeovers outshined my crisp hair.
Since I'd been wanting to buy a few mums anyway, we headed over to the farmers market.
I suppose I should've anticipated that the four preteens would soon leave me, as they were intent on finding people to interview for a Web show they were making. What I didn't anticipate was how strange I would feel walking around with a hairdo befitting a mad scientist.
I could hear the girls talking loudly a few booths down as I paid for some mums.
"I bet I know which kids are yours," the man said as he stared at my hair.
I pretended not to know what he was talking about. "I don't have any kids."
(Years back, when I was in my last trimester of pregnancy and resembling a whale, my favorite thing was for a stranger to ask when I was due. I'd tell them I wasn't pregnant.)
The man looked from my hair to the kids and laughed. "I'm not sure I'd claim them either," he said. "It's no wonder you're gray."
In this case, Mother Nature had a head start on the girls with sending me down the road to a gray-haired tradition, but I expect Celeste and her friends will keep finding ways to speed it along.
See pictures from the farmers market outing on Karin Fuller's blog at thegazz.com.
Fuller can be reached via e-mail at karinful...@cnpapers.com.