Red Hats Rock

red and purple

Barbara Lawlor, Nederland

For two years, every month the Nederland Red Hat Society women have convened at various venues to enjoy each other’s company and to reaffirm their commitment to making the world a better place.

Last Thursday they met at the Pioneer Inn for the third time in three years. They put tables together and wondered how many Ned Reds would show up in the blizzard. They straggled in, unwrapping their scarves, shaking out their hats, their cheeks red from the cold. There were smiles of recognition as friends greeted each other.

Jan Tafoya brought the group together two years ago, and they are now embarking on their third year. The Red Hat Society began in 1998 in Fullerton, California, and has become one of the largest international social organizations for women.

Tafoya says that the Ned Reds is a big deal. The red-hatted, purple-dressed women have met every first Tuesday of the month for two years. The have added 41 names to their mailing list and hosted five events open to the entire community. They pride themselves on doing this without any formal organization, written commitment or roll call. No paperwork for them; they just rock it.

The Red Hat members support their activities by suggesting places for lunch or visits to special exhibitions. They come up with a few stamps to help with mailing. Now and then they create a Red Hat comic strip, says Tafoya. How easy is that?

“We welcome anyone interested, with or without the regalia,” says Tofoya. “Our emphasis is not that we have come of age, but that we come as friends.”

One of the members battled the snow-drifted road from Jamestown to get to the PI. Having recently broken her hip, she said she was tired of being inside and wanted to help her friends celebrate the beginning of their third year.

The women chatted and laughed, exchanging news, at ease with one another as they waited for lunch. Tafoya said there is whole different dynamic when women talk with each other than when men are present.

We have no responsibilities, no dues, no fees. It’s just us Red Hats having fun.”

Tafoya says, “When you hear the words, “Maalox and nose drops…” sung to the tune of “My Favorite Things” from the Sound of Music, you know the Red Heads are at lunch. The tune has become the theme of the Ned Reds for the past year.

The Reds will turn green on St. Patrick’s Day, meeting for an Irish lunch in Boulder at Connor O’Neil’s at 1 p.m on March 4th. The pub is within walking distance from the bus station, and Tafoya says “We have discovered that heads turn as we, in a group of Red Hats, some with traditional Irish dress, make our way to the pub.”

The Ned Reds, partnering with Wild Bear Mountain Ecology Center, will also bring traditional Irish food and music to Nederland on March 15. The Longmont group Lough Key will play Irish/Celtic music, served up with a meal of corned beef and cabbage catered by Kim Culver. The music and dinner will take place in the Wild Bear community room at 6 p.m. for $20. Kids under 12 are free.

In the next months, the Ned Reds, in cooperation with the Nederland Community Presbyterian Church, will once again host a summer concert series. The first of these concerts will be held at the NCPC on April 27, at 4 p.m., featuring the Flatirons Orchestra Winds.

Barbara Lawlor

Barbara is a reporter for The Mountain-Ear.