25 August, 2006

Me And The Red Hat Ladies

My mom is a Red Hat Lady. Kind of. Typical of my always-practical mother, she takes the good and leaves the bad. So she hangs with this group of kindred over-sixties, but they don't wear red hats. Which is, to my mind, the ultimate irony. The hats are the whole point. The club was founded by a group of women who read the Warning poem by Jenny Joseph. The famous poem's most famous stanza reads::
When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandles, and say we've no money for butter.

The whole poem is about being eccentric and different. So, naturally, it's a good basis for a national club of Joiners don't you think? And then, in the ultimate irony my mother joins to belong to a group but they don't wear the red hats. Oh well. I guess maybe that's their way of being eccentric and different.

Anyway, it came to my attention yesterday that my beloved mother has found a new way to entertain her hatless hat friends. She prints off various blog entries of mine and reads them aloud to the group.

Let us pause and reflect. First upon the fact that my mother reads my blog, and further upon the fact that my mother knows how to print things off the computer.

I'm kind of flattered that my hatless mother would endeavour to amuse her hatless hat friends with the things I write. Yet in a way I am six again, sitting on a phone book on the bench in front of my grandmother's piano at Christmas to play Jingle Bells. Two-handed. Which means that somewhere out there my cousine Christine is a world-renowned published author on her way to the Pulitzer. Because whenever I'd have to play something for everyone on my grandmother's piano, Christine could do it better. After I finish this entry I'll be snooping around Amazon.

Back to the hatless hat ladies....Apparently on Wednesday mom read them my Counting Blessings post from a few days ago. And they dutifully copied down my URL and blog title. Just in time for me to use the "b" word in the next day's entry. I am chagrinned. But as I ponder it, I think I'm going to start my own club. In honour of that, I'm starting my own poem too.

Warning: Redux by Katherine Coble

When I am in my thirties I will occasionally cuss
When I owe extra on my cell phone and my brand of knee highs go offsale at Target.
I will wear sweats around the house
And take off my bra as soon as I walk through the door.

I shall have no shame in owning five-dollar shoes
Or having my only coat come from Goodwill because I hate to shop for coats.
I will eat dinners in front of the TV
That were made for me by the nice people at Stouffer's.

I shall pretend that I'm grown-up
But keep stuffed monkeys on my desk
And collect Happy Meal Toys that make me smile.

So everyone start having meetings where you bring stuffed monkeys. We can call ourselves Stuffed Monkey ladies. And if you are anything like my mom, you don't even have to have the monkey.


At 7:46 AM, August 25, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post. Can I join your club even though I'm a guy?

I also feel funny about my parents reading my blog. I usually wish that they didn't know about it. Whenever I write something unusually self-disclosing I always feel like I'm nine again and whatever I do will be labeled as cute and not taken too seriously.

Of course, how seriously can you take a bunch of red-hat women with invisible red hats?


At 7:48 AM, August 25, 2006, Blogger grandefille said...

If you'll allow Stuffed Opuses (Opii?), too, ma'am, I'll be your recording secretary.

Wonderful, wonderful poem. Perfect. Hilarious. Thank you.

At 8:42 AM, August 25, 2006, Blogger Amy said...

hahahaha...this is fantastic. I laughed out loud a lot!

At 11:59 AM, August 25, 2006, Blogger Malia said...

I'm in!!

At 12:19 PM, August 25, 2006, Blogger bridgett said...

I already have a stuffed monkey on my desk. Not a posthumous critter, but a velcro-pawed Cotton-Top Tamarin that my kid insisted I needed to keep me company while I was grading papers. Me and Thelonious (yeah, bad pun...that's the way I roll) would be pleased to join your club.

At 6:12 PM, August 25, 2006, Blogger TheKnithead said...

There's a red hat ladies group at my church and they're very serious about it. They do the hats and purple dresses at least one Sunday a month. Apparently I can join (they've tried to get me to) as a pink hat since I'm younger than 60 (or 50 - don't remember).

I'd join the monkey group. I have assortments of sock monkeys, even one decorating my living room.

At 7:19 PM, August 25, 2006, Blogger jewels v said...

I don't have a stuffed monkey, but I do have a stuffed cat that came from a Happy Meal. I keep it in the back window of my car so that I can see it in my rear view mirror. Does that mean I qualify?

My mother (also with her own since of off beatedness) looks at me every so often, shakes her head, and says, "It's a good thing you work with kids."

At 8:23 PM, August 26, 2006, Blogger Connie said...

I'll join the monkey lady club. I am also sans monkey, but I can fake it with the best of them.

Awesome post; thanks for making me smile today even though I didn't want to. :-D

At 10:29 PM, August 28, 2006, Anonymous tom said...

I don't think I have a stuffed monkey, but will Feathers McGraw suffice?

I usually take my tie off before I even get to my car in the parking lot of my office. I love my dollarstore flipflops.


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