The large fellowship room was well decorated with red and purple parasols, colorful hatboxes, souvenirs from a decade of collections, scrapbooks and pictures of the past.
A delicious buffet meal, eaten at round tables with red and purple covering, white dollies and singing bears in the proper dress apparel, topped it off.
Memories of past chapter events, singing silly songs and lots of laughter filled the afternoon.
Planners for the event were JoAnn Stearley, Mary McCullough and Peggy Girton.
The idea of joining the national Red Hat Society began when a group of local ladies attended an outing at White River Gardens in June 2002.
While lunching at L.S. Ayers tearoom, they spotted a group of women dressed in purple clothing and red hats.
The curious Clay Countians urged friend Gloria Ruhe to find out what the colorful clothing was all about.
In gaining some knowledge of the activities, Betty Adams volunteered to go on the Internet and do some more research.
In July, with a lot of extra knowledge about the red hatters, the local ladies decided they wanted to join the group.
Thus, the initial action began.
Ruhe was chosen to be Queen Mother (or Mum). She has been the overseer of the group for 10 years and remains the faithful leader.
The "looking for fun in all the right places" women immediately applied for a charter and were officially chartered Oct. 10, 2002.
But at the K-Day Pancake Breakfast in September 2002, the ladies had their first outing.
Dressed in purple with red hats, 10 women (and some brave husbands) strutted into history.
During that first year, the chapter nearly doubled.
Since then, going out to eat at tea rooms and restaurants, seeing plays and programs at our Community Theater, Hatfield Hall at Rose-Hulman, DePauw University, Covington Beef House, Putnam County Playhouse, Myers Dinner Theater, Beef and Boards, visiting nursing homes, picnics with other Red Hat chapters, presenting style shows for various groups, going to national Red Hat conventions, attending Midwest conventions and being involved in a bevy of other events, proved to be "food for the soul."
Not only for the Red Hatters, but for many other people as well.
Going out as a group in red and purple, the women have become accustomed to having onlookers stare, snicker, laugh or compliment.
In any case, they get attention, which usually brings smiles to everyone.
Although the chapter has suffered the passing of a few very dear "chaperettes," it has gained other "sisters" along the way. And so it goes.
Red Hatting is not about belonging to a closed or secret association. It is about doing something for others while also doing something for you.
Live, laugh and love are the key words for the Red Hat Society.
"May your life be a bold adventure, may your days be filled with gales of laughter, and may your love bodaciously."