Red Hat Review 2016

.. a Stringer recalls a year's worth of happenings

by Shirley Rabb

January 15 and we  
started our New Year out by getting “A day of beauty” at the Wakefield
Vocational School. Almost every year we try to start out with a relaxing
day before we plunge into our year of activities.

Today it consisted of the members getting a facial/manicure/hair wash and
blow dry for $10.00. The cost has gone up to $15.00 but we got under the
wire by making reservations early before the price increase. The process
is about two hours of relaxing pleasure. A few new hair styles and I even
had my thumb nails painted; one red and one purple the official colors of
the Red HATTERS.

Lunch was also at the school and the price here was less than $10.00. Some
of the members had mussels with pasta (the pasta went home). There was
Chicken with potatoes and asparagus and some of the group had pot roast.
All the plates were piled high and since we took doggie bags we indulged
in outlandish ice cream pie and apple cakes, (most of the desserts also went home).

It was a great way to start our season of exploration and fun. Much more
to follow in the upcoming months of 2016.

January 31st and food was our destination. The Temple Beth Shalom in
Melrose was having a brupper. You know, breakfast at supper time! It was a
cultural and culinary traditional Jewish food and fun night. There were
bagels, lox, kugel, herring, potato knishes, pizza, sweets and more. With
friends coming along we took up two tables and had great conversation,
laughs and a night of camaraderie and food to last till our next function.

February 8th and it is Chinese New Year; the year of the monkey. We were
going to head out to Tulips Chinese buffet in Stoneham; but it is February
in New England and 24 hours of snow flurries added up to about 8 inches so
we could not go. We had our meeting on the 10th. and spoke of better
weather places to go in the upcoming months.

February 23rd. We could not let the month of February pass us by so we
headed out to Belle Island seafood restaurant in Winthrop, on the water
close to East Boston. The sea food is fresh and at this restaurant we
ordered at the counter; and then took our trays to a window table to
enjoy the view, the conversation, and the delicious bounty of the sea.

March 6th and we were off to see the Gizmo Guys at the Cary Memorial Hall
in Lexington. These two guys are master jugglers with a whole lot of
energy and exquisite skill. They entertained the audience that consisted
of children and adults for a little more than an hour. They juggled balls
and bats and sticks and even had some kids up on stage for some fun.

It was a different venue for us, short but enjoyable.

Dinner was at Mario’s in Lexington where the food was exceptional and
doggie bags went home for another meal. The weather was great, sunny and
cool for March; just another wonderful Red Hat day.

March 16 the night before St. Patties, day but we were out for corned beef and cabbage.
We went this evening to the first Baptist Church in Medford
looking forward to a great Irish meal, and we were not disappointed.

Chefs Joe Lafave and Colon Waid worked in the kitchen over pots of good
food as the dining area filled up with about 120 people.

At 6:30 members of the church started filling the tables with beets, corned beef, potatoes, carrots,
turnip and cabbage.  There was a great bread, butter, tea coffee and water to drink.

As the bowls emptied, family style, they were refilled by the staff, ever
asking  if we needed anything else. The dessert was a delicious, moist
green and white cake with whipped cream; just light enough to end a
wonderful meal.

After the meal the Pastor suggested we go upstairs to listen to some Irish
music; and of course we did. The three entertainers played Irish jigs and
toe tapping quietly moved up and down in the church. The songs were
explained prior to the playing and with the ever gentle music of Danny Boy
the evening was complete.

March 20th and we could not pass up the  Women's history month so we
headed out to Salem. Our tour today was at the Phillips House where  the
focus was on the role of women through the years at this historic

Because of the extensive travel of the Phillip's family over the years the
house is decorated with furniture from China, Hawaii , Polynesia and the
traditional Federal-era furniture. All the furniture and rugs are original
so we were asked not to touch anything. We had to put socks on over our
shoes to  prevent damage to the floors or rugs.

As we toured the five generations of furnishings and learned the history
of the family we were amazed at the convenient installation of
electricity, ice box, kitchen and bathrooms. The cabinets, some  ten feet
high, stored much of the hundreds of pieces of porcelain, dinnerware,
and books. The fireplaces were beautiful in almost every room; and there
was  an intercom system to call servants. (That has been updated for
alarms etc.)

It was an interesting tour of the past ability of women in these families
that were able to maintain their stature while controlling the daily
upkeep of homes like this.

Our early dinner was at The Tavern On the Green at the Hawthorne Hotel in
Salem. Dessert was at Richardson's ice cream in Middleton. It was a fine
day to look into the past and reflect on the future.

April 13 and today was our regular monthly meeting.  We took the time to
reminisce over some of the pictures we have taken since 2004 and laughed
and thought of past members. We had lunch at the 99 restaurant in Stoneham
before going to the Stoneham theatre to see "Sweet Charity". The show was
lovely with dancing and singing that made us happy. The restaurant served
the eight of us on extended booths and gave us time to have our usual Red
Hat chats.


April 15 and off to Concord for lunch. We all decided on salad with
assorted dressings; next was the chili and then pork chop with mashed
potato and gravy and mixed veggies. The drinks were diet coke or ice tea
and then dessert. They ran out of tiny cream puffs so we all got warm
chocolate chip cookies. Oh, did I mention we were at the culinary arts
program at the Concord Jail; and the cost for the entire meal was $3.21?
It was a perfect spring, Red Hat day.

April 20 and it was a chicken pot pie dinner at the First Baptist Church
in Medford. One of our Red Hatters is a member at the church, and we had
been to suppers here before. This evening it was salad, chicken pot pie,
cranberry sauce, coffee, tea or water and a wonderful dessert; all
for $10.00. The food is cooked by the members of the church and served
family style with never an empty plate in sight. It was a fun evening and
a delicious one at that.

April 29th we headed out to Lexington to have lunch at the Fife and Drum
restaurant in the Vocational School. We made reservations for seven
members,although we ended  up with five.

The bakery outside the restaurant drew us to the display cases. Jane Tang
with culinary skills she learned in Europe works part time in the bakery.
She supplied us with samples and some of the members purchased pastries
and bread to take home after the meal. We thoroughly enjoyed the meal
which was a buffet today.

The menu consisted of salad and fruit; there was Thai salmon, bruschetta
chicken, Szechuan beef, roasted potatoes and steamed veggies. Drinks and
deserts were $1.00 extra, but the bill came to $15.59 each and that
included the tip for Luke our freshman waiter. The weather was beautiful
and it was a no count calorie day.

May 6th and our next outing was an evening performance at the Quannapowitt
Players in Reading. The show was "My Old Lady" and it was funny, and
dramatic, and a wonderful surprising production. The seven members that
attended had not been to this Playhouse before and we were happy we came.
The three members of the cast took us to an apartment in Paris with a
simple story with layers of emotions. It has been called a thoughtful
drama with ingenious twists! It was one of the few evening outings we do
but would do again.

May 11 and it was time for our monthly meeting to discuss future plans of
places to go and things to do. After our meeting we adjourned to the 99
restaurant in Stoneham for lunch and time killing talk. Many of the
members had tickets to see the play "Laura" at the Stoneham theatre; so
after lunch off we went. The play was well done; not as real as the 40's
movie, but worthy of the Stoneham theater. It was a long day between our
meeting lunch and then the theatre but it was a good day.

May 13 and four members from our group headed out to Indian Head Resort in
Lincoln NH. This was to be a week-end getaway to join about a hundred
other Red Hatters from around New England, and to celebrate just US!
(There were about 140) Members came from Wells and Topsum Maine; from
Peabody, Easton, Methuen, Billerica and all around New England.

Friday night there was a welcome cocktail and appetizer party. Dinner and
entertainment was in the Thunderbird Lounge, with music to enjoy or dance
to. A super disc jockey and a great entertainer were on hand so we spent
most of the evening just laughing and dancing.

Saturday morning was breakfast and pajama party with outfits galore. We
had time for socializing, swimming in the outdoor pool, which we did,  or
using the sauna. The theme of this years gathering was a pirate theme and
so they came; even a real large parrot to accompany all the pirates. This
lady is 84 and was having a hell of a time.

Again appetizers in the lounge in the afternoon, and dinner and
entertainment in the evening. The entertainer this evening was a Rod
Stewart impersonator and he was really good. There were drawings for
basket and a 50/50 raffle. Another fun evening with laughing, picture
taking and drinking. Each person received two free tickets for drinks and
all non alcoholic beverages were free at any time.

Sunday morning we had our breakfast and chatted with the members of other
groups before our check out. The outfits,purple with red hats were
amazing. Bright,crazy bizarre and beautiful.

It was an awesome time. It was a time to enjoy, a time to have fun, and a
time to be a RED HATTER among many RED HATTERS. All of this made it a
grand week-end.

May 18 and back to the First Baptist Church in Medford for a roast beef
dinner. Rolls and butter, salad, green beans, potatoes and roast beef that
never ended. Dinner was family style and plates were filled as they were
emptied. There was coffee, tea or water; and for dessert strawberry
shortcake. Tonight we had Michael Maloney at the piano playing and singing
songs of our era, and from some of the great plays of our time. It was a
generous and pleasant evening for $12.00. This church really knows how to
do it.

May 31st and we were off to Nashua New Hampshire to visit the National
Fish Hatchery. Our guide was very informative regarding how this Hatchery
utilizes approximately 1,300 Atlantic salmon for egg production.

Once the eggs are hatched the fish are places in tanks for their size and
then moved to larger tanks as they grow in size. We saw some salmon that
were only 6 months old and some 1 year old. The fish will remain at the
hatchery till they are three then moved in trucks equipped with water
tanks and aeration systems to various streams like the Merrimack River and
the Charles River.

The tour was a short one; about 1/2 an hour but it was an educational

We were of to the Cracker Barrel restaurant in Tewksbury to enjoy our
lunch. A nice day to be out with Red Hatters.

June 13 and Salem was our destination. We boarded a trolley for an hour
historical tour of the Salem area. There were abut 15 areas that were
available for stops, where we could get off and board the next trolley,
but we decided to just stay aboard and enjoy the ride. Many of the sights
were pointed out by our guide James. He gave us explanations and bits of
unknown history or the area as we rode along in comfort.

It was a pleasant day for an open air ride viewing Salem Witch Museum,
Phillips House, Winter Island, Pickering Warf and many more. We stayed on
the trolley to get off at Pickering Wharf and the Finz restaurant for a
delicious lunch, then back on the trolley which delivered us to the
parking lot and our cars.

This should have been enough but not for Red Hatters, so we drove to
Richardson's ice cream in Middleton for our desserts and the topping of
another wonderful fun filled day.

June 16 and we went the see the  Regal Players perform the play
"Carousel". The great dancing and singing made the story special. A very
good display of talent on the stage for us to enjoy these afternoon hours.
Dinner was at the Chateau in Waltham and although the Italian food was
good; those of us that had seafood were not to happy. We were not able to
get separate checks, as we usually do, but we did our arithmetic and got
out without doing dishes.

June 25th and the Lowell Spinners baseball game was our destination today.
With Red hatters and friends we had 17 in our group and we all had a great

There was the flag waving in the breeze, and the singing of the National
Anthem. The theme today was dogs and pirates and there were plenty of

The Spinners won the game, we were served our hot dogs, drinks and ice-
cream during the game; and we just had a lot of applause for home runs,
stolen bases and entertainment between innings. The weather was
outstanding and it was just a wonderful summer day at the ballgame.

July 10 and the Newburyport Clamdiggers,Lynn Live Oaks, and the Boston
Beaneaters were scheduled to play Vintage Base Ball at Spencer-Peirce-
Little Farm in Newbury. But the day turned out to be damp with showers.
Being Red Hatters we could not let the day that we reserved go by so we
just got in our cars and drove to Essex to enjoy a great lunch at

The view of the water and boats added to the flavor of the food; lobster
sandwiches, mussels,steamers and chowder. The weather had cleared  so it
was ice cream time at the Down River. Never give up on the Red Hatters; we
had a great day!

July 22nd and the Russian Icons in Clinton was our destination to see the
new exhibit of the Tiffany windows. We have been to the museum twice
before; and it is a great exhibit on a regular bases but the new exhibit
was what we went to see this time.

"In the company of angels" is the theme for the seven rediscovered Tiffany
windows. The eight-foot tall windows were crated when the Cincinnati
church there they were originally housed was taken down. The windows
remained for almost 40 years in one of the parishioner's garages' and

The Tiffany windows portray the angels of the early Christian churches of
Asia Minor to whom letters are addressed in the Book of Revelations.Each
window is different and the colors and reflections were mesmerizing. It
was a very worthwhile trip since the windows will remain in Clinton only
until October 16th. of this year.         

We walked to the Clinton Bar and Grille for lunch. The food and service
was outstanding. Baked haddock, crusted with potato chips, on risotto an
asparagus. (Half went home) Dessert was chocolate bunt cake with drizzles
of raspberry lemon sauce and vanilla bean ice-cream; six of us shared the
dessert and enjoyed every bite. Red Hat conversation about the exhibit and
about our times together made it a wonderful day.


August 6 and we were off to see the Roller Derby in Wilmington. We have
gone to this exciting sport in previous years and it has always be

Are seats are on the skating floor where we can feel the breeze of the
skaters as they race around the stadium. We scream and holler for our team
and they acknowledge our presence as loyal fans.

Our favorites,the Cosmonauties beat their arch rival the Harbor Horrors by
a score of 237 to 97. It was so much fun with the team members joining us
for a group picture. As we were leaving some members of the audience asked
us to pause so they could get a picture of the "Mature" ladies in  Red
Hats. We really love the recognition; it makes us feel young again.

August 10th and it was back to the Free Baptist Church in Medford for a
choice of Lobster, Steak or hot dogs and burgers. The prices for Lobster
was $25.00; for steak $20.00 and for the dogs and burgers $10.00. These
meals included all the clam chowder potato salad,cole slaw, drinks and
dessert you could eat. WOW what a deal it was and the food and service by
the church members made it a great friendly feast for all of us to enjoy.

August 11 and the Reagle players put on one of the best shows we have
seen. "Crazy for you" was a dance filled, song filled, fun filled play
that lasted 3 hours and it went by so fast we didn't even realize it.
Wonderful old tunes for us to sing when we left for our dinner at the
Naked Fish.

The food and service in this restaurant is outstanding. We had our own
room surrounded by wine bottles;we talked about the play and all the great
times we have together; and we talked about our upcoming events. A
wonderful Red Hat day.

August 21st and the Stoneham Theatre presented "O Sole Trio". Three
wonderful entertainers with voices that moved us all. Erin Shield,
Giuseppe Spoletimi,and David Shenton were outstanding.They had recently
appeared at the Lincoln Center and Carnege Hall in New York. The program
was a musical journey revealing through song how Italian Americans have
influenced the American popular music scene throughout decades. The
singers and piano player kept us clapping and smiling and enjoying every

Dinner was at Bickford's in Woburn where we got our picture taken, enjoyed
the delicious variety of foods, and just topped off a grand day.

August 28 and we drove to Derry N.H. to the summer home of one of our
members. This was a pot luck function and the members of our group did not

The weather was beautiful, blue sky and puffy white clouds made it a
perfect summer day. Many of the members enjoyed the screened in porch as
they enjoyed their drinks and later lunch.

There were 10 assorted dishes from noodle Kugel, to chili, chicken salad,
seafood salad, baklava, pumpkin cake with nuts and chocolate chips and
even great brownies. On and on went the menu and not one duplication. (We
are not allowed to let other members know what we are bringing)

A few members went swimming in the ever so warm lake and some of the
neighbors put on a water show for us. The day, the friendly conversation
and the understanding that being a Red Hatter means having fun.

September 11, a day in infamy in this country 15 years ago but one to
celebrate today. The group, in three cars, drove to Plug Pond in Haverhill
Ma. for the 28th Native American International Pow Wow. The weather was
"iffy" as it rained almost all the way during our drive. We had scattered
showers before the show started and then the weather became sunny, cool
and perfect for our day out.

There was music, dancing, crafts, and plenty of food to enjoy. Claudia Fox
tree conducted an educational workshop with up-to-date information on the
Native American Culture past and present. The Tipi was set up  for
storytelling; and there was a table for making straw dolls and beaded

The inter-tribal dancing was colorful and accompanied by the pounding of a
huge drum being played by the Storm Boyz, five Native Americans. Members
of the audience were asked to take part, and some of us did! Songs by the
women's group Medicine Mammal, and by David Little Tree kept us listening
as they sang in Native American dialects.

It was a cloudy day that defiantly turned out to be a colorful, fun
filled, sun filled Red Hat Day for us.

September 16 and off to see the Lipizzan Stallions perform in Essex. These
horses, originally from Austria are among the last horses capable of
executing the "Airs Above the Ground" maneuvers. There were dramatic leaps
and plunges that were developed many years ago as aggressive battle
maneuvers in the sixteenth century. The moves of the horses, with and
without riders , were beautiful displays of equine grace and strength.

We brought our own chairs and sat up close to get the feel of the really
up close views of the entire show. Our dinner this evening was at the very
busy Village Restaurant in Essex where the food and the service were

It was an early evening event so by the time we headed for home the sun
had set and we drove into the evening with lights on, full bellies and

Now that's up close to a Lipizzan.

September 24th. it was Old Timers Ball game in Newbury. This was a
championship game played in the nineteenth-century style rules.

The Lowell Nine played the Newburyport Clamdiggers, and the Portsmouth
Rockinghams  looked as they were winning over the Lynn Live Oakes when we
left. It was a cool day and we moved from shade to sun. We were not aware
of the Music Festival that was scheduled today but it was a fun time with
music, games for the children and animals to watch.

There were 16 in the group which included our Red Hatters and friends. A
pretty well behaved group as we headed for the Bradford Tavern in Rowley
for lunch. We were given a private room where service was great;(the food
was excellent also). There were doggie bags and smiles and a mention that
it was a great day to be out and enjoy; as we all did.

October 2 and cold with drizzle but we had plans to go to a polo match in
South Hamilton. But we got rained out. This is the second rain out we have
had this year. The first being July 10th. but we did get that gig in on
Sept. 24th. The polo match catch up will have to wait till next year; and
so our list for 2017 has already started.

October 13 and we headed out to Lexington to the Masonic Museum to examine
the clock exhibit. We did not have a guide for this trip but we were alone
in the gallery and had all the time we wanted to see the great assortment
of clocks. From pocket watches of the early 19th century to fancy and
funny wall clocks, and many Tall clocks. The housings for the clocks were
of wonderful wood carvings and colors that made us look much closer to the
workmanship of both the mechanical workings and the sculpturing's. It was
a very satisfying trip.

We had our lunch at the Artistry on the Green. The dining room was elegant
and the food was enough to please us all with selections of crispy duck
and veggies or
lobster salad.

Our dessert was saved until we got to Jordan's Furniture in Stoneham where
we had  our ice cream cones and a view of the dancing waters.  Home by 2pm
with a great day behind us.

October 16 and close at hand in Medford is the Royall House and Slave
Quarters; this was our destination for today. The guide was exceptional
with knowledge. The Slave Quarters is the only remaining such structure in
the northern United States, and the Royall House is among the finest
eighteenth-century buildings in New England built in 1731-1737.

The Royall House was the largest slaveholding family in Massachusetts
colony, and the enslaved Africans helped to make the families lavish
lifestyle possible. For those of us that never thought of slave quarters
right here in Massachusetts, we went away very satisfied with our new
found knowledge.

We drove a few miles to the Dockside restaurant for lunch and got to watch
TV and cheer the Patriots to another winning game. The food was good as
well as the service and it was a wonderful fall day.

October 22nd we headed back to  the Shriner's auditorium in  Wilmington to
see our favorite roller skating team, the Cosmonauties meet the
Nutcrackers. Both teams were skating for third place in the league this
season. The Harbor Horrors would be meeting the Wicked Pissahs later for
1st place but we did not stay for that run.

The umpires were ready and the skating started at a fast clip with our
team leading all the way. We screamed and applauded as the Cosmonauties
continued to add up the points.  

It is always a fun filled two hours for us. We laughed and cheered and
just had a wonderful Red Hat time.

November is a relatively quiet month for us with holidays approaching but
we still had our regular meeting on the 9th to consider future functions
through the rest of this year and into next year.  

November 10th was a fill-in function and it was lunch at the Vocational
school in Wakefield. The menu today was soup or salad, baked stuffed
shrimp with squash and a choice of hot or cold drinks. The total cost was
less than $10.00 and the meal was delicious. Just a few hours of getting
together and enjoying good food and good company; its the Red Hat way.

November 30th and the Stoneham theatre was our destination today. The play
was Mame with Kathy St.George and Mary Callanan.  Although many of us had
seen the show before this performance was Broadway style. The musical was
outstanding, exhilarating, and left us humming to our dinner restaurant a
few blocks away at Bacci's, where the menu was filled with great food.
Veal parmesan, mussels and calamari, anti pasta, veal, chicken, and pasta;
you name it and we had it. There was good conversation with another Red
Hat group at the same restaurant and just plain old rainy day Red Hat fun.

December 2nd and Methuen Memorial Music Hall was having their "Merry Music
Hall Christmas" performance with the Fidelio Society Capella choir of
Phillips Academy. The music played on "The Great Organ" was magical and
the carol sing-alongs filled the hall with visions of a happy holiday
season. We went early and ate at the Family Restaurant next to the
music hall where we had time to talk and think about wrapping gifts and
our own holiday party coming up in a few week.

December 7th we came together at the Free Baptist Church in Medford for a
wonderful International Dinner. Members of the church, coming from all
parts of the world brought their native dishes for our pleasure. The table
was set out with food from Japan, Sweden, England, Italy, Germany, Israel,
China, France and West Indian. It was a filled hall with entertainment
by The Blue Notes. We had a great feast and a great time.

December 14 and our holiday party was underway. Oh, we did have a meeting
to speak about next years outings; places to go, to eat and to just enjoy.
Then it was pot luck lunch and the food and drinks were warm and cool and
delicious. Most of our members are excellent cooks and the table reflected
their efforts. We had chicken, asparagus, quiche, stuffed celery, crackers
with a variety of cheeses and dips and desserts of all sizes and delicious
flavors. Oh there was Mimosa and soda and coffee also. The recycle Yankee
swap was a fun time of gifts received and passed on. It was our final
function of the year so we could all get on with the buying and wrapping
gifts for family and other friends. It was a happy time to end a most
happy year.

As we end the year of 2016 and look forward to yet another year of
discovering new places to go; we want to wish all our readers a New Year
filled with good health, and many,many happy Red Hat days.

January 6, 2017

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