On April 2, I had the pleasure of being invited by Norma Klein to Tumbler Ridge?s Red Hat Society for a special event. They were celebrating the 10th Anniversary International Red Hat Society Day. The actual official date is April 25th, but was held on this date due to availability of local members to get together. Tumbler Ridge has approximately 25 members and seems to put their heart and soul into this local chapter. Being close to Easter, they of course had an Easter bonnet contest during this tea party and the members spared no effort. Caroline Bijou won first place and Delores Norman a close second, but believe me they were all winners. When invited to this event and accepted, I realized that this was also my friend Shirley Hanberg?s birthday so of course the invite was extended to her also. Shirley had no idea and when she entered the room she laughed as not only the balloons and singing of Happy Birthday but also the display of color, as she stated ?a instant party atmosphere?.

Norma Klein is known as ? Queen Gad-a-bout? fills this role well. This was indeed a tea party with all the mad-hatters in attendance and attention to detail by all even with bone china teacups on the table and the colors of red and purple everywhere. Some members like Norma are long time residents and others depict the influx of new residents over the past few years right up to the present.

The founder of the Red Hat Society is artist Sue Ellen Cooper from Fullerton, California. In 1998 she gave a friend a 55th birthday gift of a red fedora she bought a year earlier at a thrift shop along with a copy of Jenny Jospeh?s poem, warning, whose opening lines read, ?When I am an old woman I shall wear purple With a red hat that doesn?t go and doesn?t suit me?

The Red Hat Society fondly refer?s to itself as a ?dis-organization? with the main air of social interaction and to encourage fun, silliness, creativity, and friendship in middle age and beyond. The Society is not a sorority or a voluntary service club. There are no initiations or fundraising projects. Members fifty years of age and over wear red hats and purple attire to all functions. A woman under fifty years of age may also be a member, but wears a pink hat and lavender attire until reaching the age of fifty. There is well over one and a half million members worldwide.

Our local chapter takes trips as a group to other towns in the region like Dawson Creek, Fort St.John and Hudson Hope all in the name of fun and meeting up with other Red Hatters. Our local chapter is known as TRGG (Tumbler Ridge Grizzly Girls).

I would like to thank all the girls for allowing me to attend their special function to do this article and a special thanks for making Shirley and I feel so welcome. We had a wonderful time and you are a great bunch of ladies. In closing, I must say its nice to volunteer and give to your community as many of these ladies do on their own time, but taking time out for yourself and just having fun is so important and so well deserved at this time in our lives.