Friday, September 18, 2009

Time for me? For you? How can a silly red hat provide that?

By Lonnie Cruse

Nowadays we live in what I like to call "A Fast Food World." We go to bed exhausted and hit the ground running early the next day. Once on the road, we often don't even have time to get out of the car to take care of our errands. Restaurants, drug stores, banks, and--can you believe it--many churches and funeral homes accommodate us with drive-through lanes. Drive through, take care of business, zip back onto the street, and drive to the next drive-through. Whew.
We pat ourselves on the back because we all own labor-saving devices our grandmothers never even dreamed of, washers and dryers, microwave ovens, vacuum cleaners, hair dryers, you name it. Yet statistics have shown that we now spend MORE time on household chores than those same grandmothers! We're busy, stressed, frustrated, tired, and in need of a rest.

Ever wish you could go out in public wearing something outrageous and silly and not care what people think? Every wish every head would turn to stare at you? Ever wish you could sit down for a long lunch with friends, share good food and good laughs? Not just a business lunch or fast food between errands?

What to do, what to do? How about joining the Red Hatters? If you haven't heard of them, it's a nationwide group for women over fifty who aren't afraid to be silly. Or to relax and enjoy life. Our kids are mostly grown, many of us are retired, some are widows, on their own for the first time in decades. Red Hats provides a time of friendship and fellowship and a place to let our hair down (underneath the hats, of course) and have fun. Most of these groups don't do charity work as a group or take care of business or any of the other things women generally do as a large part of their lives. Why? Because we're already doing those things anyhow. The main focus is to relax for an hour or so each month with other women with like interests, and de-stress. And who among us doesn't need that, ladies?

Trust me, there is nothing like a table for twenty or more where every woman is wearing purple clothes and a bright red hat (unless it's your birthday month, in which case, you reverse it, red outfit, purple hat.) Neither the clothes nor the food is expensive, and it's a chance to enjoy yourself and relax with women who share your need for an afternoon of fun. And in our group, The Forget-Me-Nots of Metropolis, Illinois, you can learn how to play the kazoo. If you haven't experienced a group of "mature" women brightly dressed, playing their kazoos in a crowded restaurant, you haven't lived. Really.

The Red Hat Society came about after a poem where the woman says when she's old she'll wear purple and spit in the street if she wants to . . . when she's old. Yup, that's what we do. Well, maybe not the spitting, at least not in our group. Not yet.

Are you beyond the polite side of fifty? Looking for time to relax with friends and have a good laugh? If so, check online for a group in your area. And try to find a red hat with feathers and flowers. You don't want to be the dumpy one in the group, do you?
Below, Lonnie and Debby at one of our first Red Hat meetings. My hair has "gone gray" since then. I'm still having fun.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Your post made me smile (which I needed this early in the morning!) You're right...we all need to take a little time for ourselves. I love your pictures and I love the term "the polite side of 50!" :)

Mystery Writing is Murder

Anonymous said...

I have to admit I love the Red Hatters and absolute hate the poem. As a gerontology nurse I view that poem as very degrading to older people. To me that poem says that older people don't have all their marbles, can't take care of themselves, and are to be viewed with as poor old dears.

So let's keep the hats and the fun and ditch the poem.

Lonnie Cruse said...

Sharon, the poem IS strange but I took it to mean I can do what I please (like spitting) and not care what people think. I'm not that brave.

Elizabeth, I'm past the polite side of 65. My how time flies when we're having fun!

Sandra Parshall said...

I had never heard of the Red Hatters before, but I'm in favor of everyone staying lively and having fun, regardless of age. Fun doesn't have to include something as unsanitary (and in many places illegal) as spitting in public places. :-)

Pattie T. said...

Is there a sale on these hats? I think it's time to get one. After all, once I hit fifty I started getting mail from AARP, Belltone hearing aids, flyers for incontinence wear, and, because my name is Pat (call me Pattie), ads for Viagra!

I do like the poem though. I feel as you do Lonnie, I took it to mean that I've earned the right to embrace the craziness I've kept hidden for years and you can like it or lump it. :-)