Pawhuska’s Red Hat Society “The Company of Wayward Saints” (COWS) reconvened last Tuesday at the Prairie Dog. Hostesses were Geraldine Enyart and Patty Gambill, who also had the distinction of being “Queens for the Day.” The meeting kicked off with a lively kazoo rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ for members who celebrated birthdays May through September. These were Joan Core, Viola Harris, Jo Johnson, Barbara McVey and Sherry Williams.
Prairie Dog owner Marlene Mosley provided a delightful assortment of lunch goodies, including wraps, Greek Salads, and yogurt sundaes. Following lunch, the group was hosted by Barbara Pease and Paula Elliott as they toured the renovated Osage County Historical Society Museum and Gift Shop. The outing climaxed with a shopping spree at Mudpies where shop keeper/owner Carla Core Brown surprised the group with a drawing for a custom-designed Red Hatter gift bag. Joan Core was the lucky winner in spite of playful barbs about her relationship to Brown. After all, the Red Hatters are all about having fun.
The COWS meet the third Tuesday of each month at 11:30 a.m. Hostesses get to select the day’s activities. These range from lunches and unique programs at Pawhuska’s Senior Citizens to assorted road trips.
Last Tuesday’s visit to several Pawhuska attractions was very well received. Several of the participants remarked, “We don’t have to go out of town for an enjoyable outing. Pawhuska has a lot of attractions.”
‘The Company of Wayward Saints’ is an offshoot of the Red Hat Society (RHS) and was organized in June of 2009. The uniqueness of this organization is that its members do no charity work, do not sell tickets, bake cakes, raise money for scholarships, or serve on committees, boards, etc. These activities are more suited for other areas of our lives. The Red Hat Society is actually recess or ‘time out’ for grown women.
The Red Hat Society began on April 25, 1998. It was the result of a gift Sue Ellen Cooper gave her friend, Linda Murphy, for her 55th birthday five months earlier. That gift, a red fedora hat Cooper found at a local thrift store, was inspired by the Jenny Joseph’s humorous poem “Warning.” Joseph begins her ode, “When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple with a red hat which doesn’t go.”
With over 80,000 members in 30 countries, the RHS is a global society of women that supports and encourages the pursuit of fun, friendship, freedom, fulfillment and fitness. RHS celebrates life at every age and solidifies and expands the bonds of sisterhood. Refining and redefining the traditional notions of aging, the RHS offers a community for women to connect through experiences and social events and instills in them a renewed sense of pride, confidence and optimism. Its diverse membership includes working women, retirees, grandmothers, golfers, aerospace engineers, attorneys, teachers, Olympians, and entertainers, among others.
Women over 50 are referred to as RED HATTERS. Ladies under 50 wear lavender outfits and pink hats and are referred to as PINK HATTERS or “Ladies in Waiting.” Gals under 30 are known as PINKETTES and wear an ivory hat and pink outfits. They may embellish their hat with pink.
From 2003-2006, the RHS was the focus of a comprehensive study by Penn State which revealed the positive impact on women in today’s society. In November of 2004, the RHS appeared as the focal point of an episode of the television sitcom, “Still Standing.” A year later, the Society reached pop culture status when it was the focus of America’s longest-running animated series, “The Simpsons.”
The emotional relevance, vitality and inner beauty of being a woman and a Red Hatter is showcased in “HATS” which premiered in 2006 at the New Denver Civic Theater. HATS celebrates all stages of womanhood with youthful attitudes to alter the way women over 50 are viewed by society and each other. It is a story of fun, friendship and forgetting about things that simply don’t matter.
In 2008, the RHS received the Popular Culture Association & American Culture Association’s national award for its worldwide influence.
By 2010, the RHS had partnered with River City Productions to form a television and film production company providing quality content for women of all ages. That same year, actor/comedian Damon Wayans released his first novel, “Red Hat,” in which the RHS was featured.
In 2011, the RHS was spotlighted by CBS Evening News and in the season finale of “Rules of Engagements.” This episode was No. 2 in the ratings, only under “American Idol.” Also in 2011, the RHS’s first book was published in Korea. In April of 2011, the first red hat and purple boa went on display at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History.
Ladies, the only qualification to join a Red Hat Society chapter is to have a strong spirit and a positive outlook on the “Golden Years.” Although Pawhuska does not currently have a chapter for the men, there is hope. A group of men in Fort Myers, Fla., wanted the kind of camaraderie their wives enjoyed in the RHS so they formed ROMEO which means ‘Retired Old Men Eating Out.’