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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Red Hatters

So, early retirement (from Outward Bound) hasn't slowed me down or made me a homebody. No, I got out today. In fact, I spent my day with some maturing, somewhat sassy, ole' ladies. These weren't just any ole' ladies and I wasn't meerly hanging out. They had a strict fashion doctrine that only allowed them to wear any RED HAT they could find and their clothes had to be some shade (preferably 'royal') of purple. Yes, that's right I spent my day with the Southern Tier of NY chapter of the Red Hat Society. They were having a luncheon at The LOOM, my father's "space for any occasion" and odly, his retirement project. What was I doing there? Well, I was any of the following roles at any given time: greeter, muscles, waitress, sous-chef, daughter, entertainment manager, janitor and dishwasher. Here's a run-down of the day's events.

The spokeswoman for the red-hatter's, as they are casually refered to, shows up at 9:15 with a mini-van full of fake flowers, the kind one aquires at desperate moments in Michael's sale bins, assorted gift baskets all put together by herself likely and include years of undesirable and otherwise dusty accoutrements and redhat recipe cards. I think I caught a glimps of a crocheted trivet in the shape and style of an elephant. She also toted along with her a few, 20 or so, old lace curtains in lavender, coral blue, mint, and hotpink. She used these, with my help and some scissors, to make the every table spread incredibly tacky and super-busy. But hey, these ladies don't get out much, fun is fun. The ladies showed up 4, or so, at a time, bought their raffle tickets, and took to their assigned seats. I noticed many styles of red hat, none two the same. My favorite was the red poker visor and I wondered what the hatters do on the weekends or this woman was an adjunct memeber of the Las Vegas chapter. Also some Southwestern inspired Scala cowgirl redhats were dawned. None were finer and more ornate than Sheryls, she was the hostess, but also the most spirited member of the group which was exhibited not only in her hat but in her willingness to take the stage and sing out the red hatter's official song, sung to the tune of "when the saints go marching in"

They dinned exquisetly on a tomatoe basil bisque followed by finger sandwiches an quiche. The desserts seemed to never end and spanned an entire 8 ft. table buttoned down the center with a punch that was (shhhhh!) spiked by the host red-hatter, Sheryl. They ladies also got shnockered off the two bottles of "Foxy Lady" wine placed at every table. Foxy Lady advertises their wine with, whoda guesed it, a woman in a red hat and a purple shirt. I think there is coporate sponsorship here.

I was serving the ladies their meals and bussing their dishes when they began the raffle portion of the day. Their were roughly 15 gift bags and boxes, all donated by Sheryl, to give away. The tickets cost around 5 dollars and most women bought 10 or so of them. I take this opportunity to pause my hurried busing and watch. Sheryl begins pulling numbers from her ornate basket. "first numbers are 765, everyone has those, and the last numbers are 4...2...2." silence. "4...2...2, anyone have 4...2...2?" Only the sound of rummaging was in the air as the women sifted through their enormous bags to find their magnafying glasses. "O.K. Ladies someone has to have this number, 4...2...2, anyone?" Finally a giggle escapes a woman who seems to have lost some of her powers of deduction, "Oh, yes. Thats me, I have it!" Wonderful, I thought. Now that their warmed up for this raffle ticket the rest should go off with out a hitch. Well, was I wrong. Gradually the ladies would lift their creeking bodies into a posture fit for walking and shuffle their way over to the table to pick out the gift that suited them best. There seemed to be no shame is rearranging the contents of each package in accordance with their liking. The would also see no harm in taking out things they didn't want and leave the discarded gifts on the table. Strange, I thought. One woman who was obviously savvy enough to take advantage of the hearing/reading/listening/raffle ticket impaired would claim the number so frequently that by the end of the raffle I had seen her go to the table at least 4 times. Lucky, I guess.

All in all what a fine day I had working with the Red Hat organization. I thought, I should get my mother involved in this, and hell, maybe someday I could be a member. I've always been fond of red and my zodiac sign claims the color purple. Has something to do with royalty. There is nothing more regal than taking the opportunity for self-enhancement by reorganizing your gift bag to give you the best outcome, who cares what the other lady gets.

We cleaned up and ushered the ladies out. I went down to the bar and tested out all my dad's new bartending equipment, just to make sure that a quality drink came with the L.O.O.M. name. I took a delightful sip of my G & T and congratualted myself on a job well done. Maybe, Red Hatting is in my future, I thought.