A tip of the Red Hat to the gal pals of South Valley

The last word about dads on Father's Day

There must be something to this getting older business. I think
it’s catching on. That theory became evident when I began noticing
gregarious ladies out and about at various venues.
There must be something to this getting older business. I think it’s catching on.

That theory became evident when I began noticing gregarious ladies out and about at various venues. Sporting fun red hats, they were having – from the look of it – one heck of a good time. “What could they be up to?” I wondered.

It wasn’t a mystery for long; this group is taking the country by storm. It’s a whole “Society,” you see, of women of (ahem) a certain age who get together to play, and they’ve determined the only rules pertaining to said Society is there are no rules. Or at least not many.

So I looked on in amusement and, yes, a little envy because these girls know how to have fun. And when my friend, Linda, asked if I wanted to join a local Red Hat group, what could I say? I’m not old enough? Ha! We all know that’s not true, although there was that bothersome time when AARP had the nerve to send me membership materials. Who, me? Surely they had me confused with someone else because I couldn’t possibly be that, um … old.

But I got over it like I do most things, and let’s face it, getting older is kind of the goal here, isn’t it? I mean, it sure beats the alternative. So I joined this delightful organization and thought, “Let the fun begin!”

My first foray out with the girls, at a winery, was quite an eye opener. This definitely was not your grandmother’s pinochle club. I learned there were many ways to socialize with my Red Hat sisters – movies, a book club, bunco groups, quilting get-togethers and even a poker group. My, my! What would Grandma say?! Moreover, there are frequent gatherings at members’ homes and occasional out-of-town “field trips.” So what’s not to love?

Consequently, it was a little unsettling shortly thereafter when I had a dream (nightmare) that I hosted a Red Hat get-together at my home that was a disaster of epic proportions. In my dream I was hosting a party with “all the beer you can drink” (no, don’t ask me where that came from), and on the day of the event I realized I’d forgotten to buy the beer.

When I looked outside the ladies had arrived – in droves. I mean, it looked like freaking Woodstock out there, and here I was with no beer. I woke up gasping for air and sweating like a racehorse.

Well. Naturally what one must do is confront one’s fears and just go for it, right? Sure. So I approached my friend Linda (who had gotten me into this in the first place) to co-host an event with me. At my house. Yep. I was taking this Red-Hatted bull by the horns.

We came up with a perfect (and beerless) plan for mid-July – an ice cream social. But since this is a group of happenin’ ladies, we dubbed it “Not your Grandmother’s Ice Cream Social” and made menus featuring fun sundaes with silly names. We’d gather on our back deck because where else was I going to put nearly 30 women? And the weather was forecasted to be fabulous for an outdoor event. Except it wasn’t.

The coolest summer on record decided to host a one-day heat wave. I won’t lie to you and say you could have fried an egg on my deck. No. You could have grilled half a steer out there. And that’s where my careful planning had calculated I would seat all these ladies, who were due to arrive in a couple of hours.

My friend Linda called. “I’m going to Wal-mart,” she announced. “Can I get you anything?” Um … “A ticket to anywhere on Southwest?” I ventured.

When Linda arrived she jumped right in, which calmed me down, and suddenly there were cars snaking down my driveway. Tons of cars. Yikes! Everybody was arriving at once! I had a Woodstock nightmare flashback. I braved an appearance outside to help direct traffic, and we got it done with only a couple of tire tracks on the lawn because I do have a miserable driveway to negotiate.

So I hauled in some chairs, and we all cozied up inside. The sundaes were yummy, the ladies sensational. The darling Miss Jane, my favorite Red-Hat-octogenarian, was our “Sundae Runner,” delivering ice cream to everyone. I had to commend Jane on her timely help, not to mention her energy and enthusiasm. “I want to be you when I grow up,” I e-mailed her the next day, and she shot back, “I’m flattered to read that you think I’m grown up. I didn’t think I’d made it yet, but I keep trying.”

Yep, getting older is looking better all the time.

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