Red Hat Review 2014

...we are still going strong

by Shirley Rabb

Due to frigid weather our first meeting of the year was sparsely attended; but
things were discussed. Staying warm and safe for this month was agreed
upon. We could not let a month go by so under the wire we will celebrate
Loretta Laroche appearing in Stoneham, and the Chinese New Year on
January 31st.

January 19 and it was Loretta Laroche performing at the Stoneham Theatre.  
For 90 minutes this funny lady made us snicker, chuckle and laugh out loud.
It was a wonderful fun filled hour and a half. Eating was at the 99 restaurant
in Stoneham and that was also a good take in. The Pats did not win but we
had a great day.

January 31st and it is the Chinese New Year of the Horse. Tulips Restaurant
in Stoneham has a great buffet for less than $15.00. We were ten today and
we ate and talked and paid for upcoming theatre tickets to remind us that we
will not be idle this year regardless of the weather.

February 9th and the Temple Beth Shalom in Melrose was having their annual
Brupper. (Brupper; that is Breakfast at Supper time). There was food to feed
an army and the hall was full of people ready to partake of most of it.  We
had seven members attend and it was a fun, food filled evening. The friendly
members of the Temple, the laughing and talking and eating made it a
wonderful winter getting out of the house evening.

February 23rd and we were off to Cambridge to see Hasty Pudding perform
Victorian Secrets.  This group made up of the men of Harvard is funny and
sexy.  The female parts are played by men and how they walk around in
heels and move their bodies is amazing. We laughed and applauded because
it was a very good show. Dinner was at John Harvard’s restaurant, a typical
Cambridge restaurant and Pub. Good food, lovely atmosphere.  It was a great
Red Hat day.

March 17th and it was St. Patrick’s Day. We were not to be deprived of a
holiday so we dressed in our purple outfits with Red Hats and a few green
accessories. We headed for the Emerald Rose Restaurant in Billerica. You
know corned beef and cabbage was on the menu, along with so many other
great Irish delectable foods. Brian Corcoran played and sang in the bar and
the music carried into the dining room where we sat. Did we eat? Did we
have fun? Did we thoroughly enjoy the day? You bet we did!

March 19th and we were off to the Stoneham Theatre to see “Something’s
Afoot”. This was a funny spoof on an Agatha Christies’ murder mystery.
There was laughing and singing and a regular good time. Dinner was close
by at Felicia’s where we ate, talked about the play and upcoming spring, and
took doggie bags home for the rest of the week.

March 29 and the Gershwin Celebration was being held at Merrimack College
in Andover. This was an evening performance but we still have members who
do not mind driving at night so off we went. The weather was not the best;
we had heavy rain in both directions. On the way home we were warmed by
the music we had just heard. Songs from classical to Broadway; Porgy and
Bess, I got rhythm, "Embraceable you", "Someone to watch over me" and
many more. It was a good evening for singing and we drove home
remembering Gershwin and a time in our lives that we sang songs we could
relate to.

April 6 and a ride of one and a half hours got us to the Salem Cross Inn in
West Brookfield.  The outing today was to attend the Fireside Feast. The day
was perfect, sunny and 60degrees and the food and atmosphere could not
have been better. There was cheese and crackers, mulled cider (or wine), and
prime rib roasting in the only known operating roasting Jack, a 1700 device
the innkeepers use to cook beef, game and fowl at the huge hearth. We were
given the opportunity of stirring the fish chowder that was in a huge caldron
set in the hearth. A hay ride around the grounds led by beautiful horses Rick
and Ranger was next, and then we sat for dinner.  The start of the meal was
the chowder, with seconds; rolls, muffins and pecan rolls. The main meal of
prime rib was served as we liked it along with squash, spinach and tiny
potatoes. Dessert was apple pie heaped with real whipped cream. Tea or
coffee came next and doggie bags followed.The Inn’s name is a compilation
of two elements; the obvious tie is to the Salem family that restored the Inn
and the other is the hexmark etched on the front door handle of the main
house. This “cross-mark” was found throughout the Bay Colony and in the
1700’s was thought to ward off “ye evills of witchcraft and diverse other
manifestations of devilltry”. We shied away from “devilltry” at this time and
we all just had a wonderfull day.

April 23 and the Historical and Shoe Museum in Lynn was our destination.
The museum was a look back into the past of Lynn as the greatest shoe city
of it’s time. We had the opportunity of seeing the Shoe Medallion that was
displayed at the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1893. Two hundred and thirty four
shoe soles have survived over 120 years that represented the 234 factories
working on shoes in Lynn in 1870. From hand sewing single shoes to machines that innovated the industry; from famous people of Lynn, Lydia Pinkham, Mary Baker Eddy, and Harry Agganis, to the modern art of pixelated postcards. For the photographers in our midst, you know that enlarging a photo beyond life size gets you another view of what you originally had and you have yet another picture.  The tour was fascinating and a learning experience for all of us. Our lunch was at Dockside, also in Lynn and the food was so good there were no eftovers.

May 13 and off to jail, jail in Concord Ma for lunch that is. For $3.23 we were
given a great salad, soup, main course of chicken with roasted potatoes and
carrots. We were offered cold or hot drinks and truffles for dessert. Our
waiter was being released from jail in a few months and he was happy to be
able to get to spend time with his grandson again. This is a small restaurant
with wonderful food and a changing menu daily. A great day out and a wonderful meal; it's the Red Hat way!

May 16 and our expedition today took us to York Maine. We went to enjoy a cooking class and lunch at the Stonewall Kitchen. The four course meal consisted of Salad of Arugula with shaved pears brie fritter, walnuts and Saba; and that was only the beginning. Polenta with shrimp, gnochi with lobster and a wonderful frozen dessert called meringata. It was an experience to watch chef David Ross perform a miracle of a meal for about 35 people. David spent a number of years working in the Boston area including the North End where he learned a multitude of Italian cooking secrets. He now owns three restaurants in the Kennebunk area of Maine. It was worth the hour drive to have a different kind of Red Hat day.

June 12th and off to see the Regal Players in Waltham. The show was "South Pacific" and it was wonderful. We had 11 members go to this production and of course we went out to dinner after the show. This evening our meal was at the Longhorn Steak House in Reading. Many doggie bags went home and the waitress even gave loaves of bread to some of the members that asked for them. Great show, great food, great group, and of course a great day!

June 18 and was the show funny. You bet it was! The show was "Menopause" at the Stoneham theatre and the full house laughed till some of us cried.  A hilarious celebration of women and "the change". Even the men in the audiance laughed long with us. Frank (never met him before) came wearing a Red Hat and joined us for a picture. If you are over 50 and have not seen this show, you must go.  After the show we were off to Reading and Sam's Bistro for excellent food and great conversation. What a super day it was.

June 25th and the Ayer Mansion in Boston was our destination. Due to unreasonable Boston traffic we were too late to get our tour but, Juliana a student from Columbia, walked us around the first floor of the building. She explained that the Mansion was completed in 1902 for textile millionaire Frederick Ayer. The Ayer Mansion on Boston's Commonwealth Ave. stands as the sole surviving example of a residence created entirely by Louis Comfort Tiffany and represents some of Tiffany's most extraordinary work.

There are stone mosaics in 30 different patterns, elaborate stained glass window "screens" made up of almost 10,000 miniscule pieces of glass and so much more. The winding staircase that reaches five stories is amazing. The building was originally purchased to house female students and yes, it still does have dorm rooms for both men and women who enjoy attending local colleges. Our lunch was at Salvatores in Medford.

This building was formally a bank that was robbed many years ago. The thieves broke through the wall of the store next door and came into the vault of the bank without breaking any alarms. Our dining area was in that newly designed vault,steel doors and all.  Newspaper articles of the robbery were on the walls and it was a fun place to have some wonderful food. You should visit both the Mansion and the restaurant when you get a chance.

July 10 and "Me and My Girl" was the show at the Reagle Players Music Theatre in Waltham. It was a singing, dancing, fun play with a team of happy, professional players. We really enjoyed the performance although there was not a song to walk out singing after the show. Our dinner this evening was at the Naked Fish in Waltham and we had a handsome, attentive waiter who gave us excellent service. The food was great and the talk at the table stimulating. A warm summer day to spend with friends and enjoy a wonderful show and a get together with our Red Hat buddies.

July 27 and we were off to Lowell to see a ball game. The Lowell Spinners
were playing the Brooklyn Cyclones and we were there to have some fun. For
$15.00 we had reserved seats behind home plate; we got a hot dog,a drink
and and ice cream sandwich. All of this was by waitress service and it was so
much fun to watch the game and eat ball game food.

This ball park is a definite family oriented affair. Before the start of the game there was the showing of the flag and the singing of the national anthem.  
Between innings there are activities to keep the kids(and adults) entertained.
Scooby Doo tossing candy bags from his mystery van and  dogs chasing and catching frisbees. Mrs. Allie Gator coming around to sign autographs, and
one of our members got her baseball signed.

The weather prediction was rain but this did not happen and we shouted and
stamped our feet and had a heck of a ball game time.

August 7 Then we were off to see the Regal Players perform "Singing In The Rain". The show was a really good one with dancing that was outstanding, especially the rain scene. Dinner was at the Chateau in Waltham and good food, good friends and a great play all together made for a wonderful Red Hat day.

August 19 and what a beautiful day it was. The weather was outstanding as we drove to Chauncy Creek Restaurant in Kittery Maine. Clam chowder, lobster rolls, coconut shrimp and hot boiled lobster with corn on the cob. Outside beside the water eating in the rough. Not every thing for every one but, boy did we enjoy what we each ate. One of our members indulged and had a two and a half pound lobster and she did enjoy that one. The ride was about an hour and fifteen minutes but it was a pretty day. We took three cars for the ten members that went and conversation coming and going made the ride quite nice. Happy summer, almost fall day for the Red Hatters.

August 30 and an early evening play in Gloucester. The play was "Fences" and it was outstanding.(I use that word a lot), but it was.

A drama by August Wilson with performers that took us right into the time and place of the show. We ate at the Gloucester House for dinner and it was rowded, but we had a table for the ten of us; and we were able to get separate checks, although they were very busy.

Nothing unusual for us to have a very good day and in this case and early evening.

September 10th was our regular meeting for this month. We usually meet in pswich at the the summer home of one of our members. The day was beautiful, the tide was high and after conducting a short meeting, and having some great food we sat in the sunshine and enjoyed a beautiful view. You see, we do relax sometimes.

September 29th and Kimball's Miniature golf in Westford Ma. was our destination today. One of our members that had moved away was visiting and it was a pleasure to have her join us for this outing,. Yet another member hopped into a bumper boat, and although she was alone in the water she had a grand time. Nine members laughed and talked and cheered each other on as we rounded 9 holes. Par 2 was not our goal; it was just fun, and we all won the game and the day.

October 5th and it was "A Grand Night for Singing", the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein. Our destination for this great mucical review was at the Reagle Music theatre in Waltham. It was a grand night for singing as we remembered  songs like "Shall we dance", "Some Enchanted Evening" "Something Wonderful" and so many more from the great musicals. Our dinner was at Bertucci's in Reading and the food and service are always great at this spot. A Grand Day for a grand group of Red Hatters.

October-11 and what a time we had at the Roller Derby. This performance was at the Shriners Auditorium in Wilmington. One of our members has been in touch with Slam Chowda for a year to get us some really good seats. (Slam Chowda AKA Anne-Marie) is a member of the CosmoNaughties team. Our seats were on the floor and as the teams skated by pushing and shoving, we screamed with gusto for our team. They did win the game that took an hour of total excitement. Slam Chowda lives in Somerville and she has a real job as a social worker during the week. This sport with Jammers, Pivot blockers and teams that jam and push and seem to fly on their skates made it a great afternoon. Hot dogs and fries at the game was the only way to go.

October 29th and we got lost in a maze. The maze being the corn maze at the Marini Farm in Ipswich. A few scary statues around and we headed into the 10 acres of seven foot high corn. We followed the blue tape and then the green tape and finally the white tape that would lead us on an hour trek. We finally were able to see the mast of a ship,(the sign for getting out). We had a grand time,lots of fun and we rewarded ourselves by having lunch at the Bradford Tavern in Rowley. The day was overcast and warm and our spirits were Red Hats high.

November 7th some of our members headed out to Haverill to have lunch at the Whittier Regional Technical High School. The restaurant at the school is call the Poet's Inn and it was just lovely. A real restaurant with the decor and service of a upscale inn. The meals were great and no one had to spend more
than $10.00 which included the tax and tips. The gift shop and the cosmetology department will be our next visit to this location. Perhaps for one of their breakfast meals,for less than $5.00,or a buffet that they have on Tuesday's.

November 17 and the Sam Adams Brewery was our destination. We found our way to Jamaica Plain and had a heck of a time parking but we did get to the tour with two vans full of Rhode Island policemen.It was an o.k.tour and the men helped make it a fun time. Beer was served but we only had sips.(We are a tea tottling group for the most part). Our GPS's got us to Grimsby's restaurant and we did have some good food and great conversation. The weather was wet and rainy but we are Red Hatters so we made it a good day.

December 4th and the Stoneham Theatre presented "Meet Me In St. Louis". The music and the costumes made this a great fun show for the last month of the year. What a joy it was; we all left singing and smiling. Our meal for this day was at Waxy O'Connor's in Stoneham. Good food, wonderful conversation and a lovely sun filled December day.

Dercember 10 and our finale for this year. Our annual pot luck, recycled gift
party was a grand time. At the home of one of our members we shared food and drinks. We enjoyed,exchanged and laughed about our once received gifts that we passed along in our Yankee Swap. It was a day that included drizzle and dampness outside but inside it was warm and merry. We held a short meeting to make plans for 2015 when we will continue to entertain ourselves in any legal way possible.

We all hope that your year was as fullfilling as ours has been; and we wish you all a holiday season of good health, good friends and peace on earth.

Always stay content, always stay RED HAT HAPPY.

January 2, 2015

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