Valley Dispatch Contributor

PELHAM — The Royal Red Hats of Pelham have wrapped up another exciting, busy and fun-filled year of monthly activities.

On Sept. 13, after their monthly gathering had concluded, many of the Red Hat women went on an excursion to the Tokyo Japanese Steak House in Salem, N.H. The group watched in amazement as their meals were being prepared and then pictures were taken along with the four “reluctant” chefs who had just served their meals. In charge of this event were Capts. Helen Rogers, Ellen Karrfalt, Teresa Fitzgerald, Judy Whalen and Terry Maddox.

Plenty of fun, music and entertainment were enjoyed by the seven Red Hatters who attended the 2005 Northeast Red Hat Rubilee in Waterville Valley, N.H., Sept. 22-24. More than 500 New Hampshire Red Hat Society members attended, representing over 60 chapters. Each chapter donated their own uniquely made “Chapter Gift Baskets” to be raffled off on the last day.

Among the many events that were held was a hilarious old fashion bathing suit contest, held during a midafternoon beach-theme barbecue, a build-a-hat contest, a pajama breakfast party, and the Saturday night Red Hat semi-formal gala ball, in which everyone was all decked out in their finest regalia.

Our very own Vice Queen Sue Hovling participated in the Red Hat golf tournament and won for the best golf-outfit category. The colorful attire she wore was reminiscent of the late Payne Stewart, consisting of knickers, vest, knee socks and the ever-familiar driving cap. The specially made outfit was the beautiful handiwork of fellow Red Hatter Doris Tirrell.

Some of the attendees were fortunate enough to receive an autographed card by Anne Abernathy, the Athletes International 2004 Olympic Athlete of the Year, also known as “Grandma Luge.” She is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest woman ever to compete in the Winter Olympic Games. She is a five-time Olympian in the luge and the oldest Winter Olympian in Salt Lake City. She will be competing in her sixtth Winter Olympics this year. She has battled cancer repeatedly and only recently joined the Red Hat Society upon reaching the age of 50.

Although none of the Royal Red Hats attending were lucky enough to win one of the three grand prizes — an all-inclusive trip for two to the Mexican Riviera, a three-bedroom condo for a full weekend or the diamond and ruby cocktail ring — it was a pleasurable weekend in which many fond memories were made. Attending the Rubilee were Queen Virginia Fichera, Vice Queen Sue Hovling, Joan Davis, Gert Clark, Marcy Jennings, Rayna Walsh and Diane Brunelle.

As was previously reported the Halloween Party, held on Oct. 11, was a huge success. Capts. Marcy Jennings, Eleanor McCann, Grace Briggs, Queen Virginia Fisher and Gertrude Clark were in charge of this event.

On Nov. 9, many headed off for a relaxing afternoon to Jackson’s restaurant in Methuen for a delicious meal. In charge of coordinating this monthly activity were co-capts. Elaine Sweetzer and Nancy Callery, along with team members Norma Redman, Louise Purcell, Theresa Boucher, Anna Narinkiewicz and Agnes Lawlor.

On Nov. 17, a dozen Red Hatters surprised fellow Red Hat Sister Louise Purcell with a beautiful bouquet of flowers when they visited her at the Wingate Nursing Home in Andover, Mass. Everyone is happy to hear that she is now home as she continues to recover from back surgery.

Also previously reported was the Christmas party held on Dec. 13 at Harris’ Pelham Inn with the ever-popular Yankee Swap. Capts. Connie Lanseigne-Case, Sis Venne, Dot Matthews, Alma Healey and Anne Hargreaves were in charge of that monthly event.

On Dec. 19, Joyce McDevitt was the gracious host of a tea party held at her and husband Bill’s home. The Red Hatters supplied a large array of pastries. We later viewed an amazing amount of beautifully decorated Christmas trees, placed throughout her home. There are trees for each of her 15 grandchildren: thirteen 6-foot trees and two 2-foot trees (for recently born twins). The grandchildren pick a day to come and decorate their own tree.

In addition to those 15 trees, there are seven additional 2-foot trees, representative of their seven children, a 7-foot ginger-folk tree and approximately eight other decorative trees scattered around their home.

Watch for new and exciting things happening with The Royal Red Hats this year, including the welcoming of approximately 20 new members at our March 14 gathering. We look forward to meeting each and every one of them.

The Royal Red Hats of Pelham would like to wish everyone a healthy, prosperous and a very Happy New Year.