The members of the Fabulous Foxy Fedoras Red Hat Society look forward to their gatherings every month.
Some of the ladies circle the dates on their calendars. If one of the get-togethers is canceled due to weather, they try to reschedule it. “Because I’d sure hate to give it up,” said Barb Withers, one of the seven women who assembled Wednesday in the back room at Tommy’s.
The Fabulous Foxy Fedoras meet on the first and third Wednesday of each month. The first gathering each month is at Tommy’s, where the women laugh, enjoy dessert and play a game called Bunco. All that’s needed to play that game are four die and a desk bell.
You don’t even need a deck of cards to play Bunco.
“It’s painless and it’s mindless,” said Jean Chesnut. The women can visit without having to worry too much about where they are in the game.
“It’s not like playing bridge,” said Chesnut, who taught at Walnut School for 33 years. She still helps adults earn their GEDs.
The women who got together Wednesday ranged in age from 62 to 81.
In addition to a little gossip, the women might talk about the weather, families and what’s in the news. Talk about politics is avoided.
The get-togethers are “lots more fun than sitting at home,” said Connie Bibian.
If you show up in a bad mood, “You certainly will get out of it in a hurry,” said Barbara Adams.
The Fabulous Foxy Fedoras enjoy getting dressed up for the gatherings. Yesterday, all of the women donned red headgear and purple clothing. Harriette Johnson wore a red cowboy hat. If they weren’t wearing hats, they sported a hair band, a visor or a flower.
Some of the women wore nice red shoes. Withers brought a red purse.
How different is their Red Hat attire from the clothing they normally wear?
“Oh heavens, I was in a robe all day yesterday,” Withers said.
Red Hatters younger than 50 are supposed to wear a pink hat and lavender clothing. None of the Foxy Fedoras fits that category.
On the initial Wednesday of the month, the women assemble at Tommy’s at 2 p.m.
What time do they get out of there on a normal Wednesday?
“Midnight,” Marilyn Mueller joked.
By the way, don’t call their gatherings a meeting. They laughed at a visitor’s use of the word. They enjoy “just being with the ladies,” they say.
They agree that Mueller is the life of the party.
“I’m young, and pretty,” says Mueller, wearing a boa.
Mueller used to be in a group called the Red Hat Hotties.
What happened to them?
“They cooled off,” says Nancy Schleichardt, who is Adams’ sister.
Mueller’s son, Eric Edwards, is the manager of Tommy’s.
The other den for these foxes is the United Veterans Club, where they gather the third Wednesday of each month. Those sessions, which begin at 11:30 a.m., include lunch. The women don’t play a game at those get-togethers.
On the month of their birthdays, the ladies get to wear a purple hat. The women gather for a birthday lunch at a restaurant of the honoree’s choosing.
You’ll never hear a Red Hatter say, in regard to Bunco, that winning isn’t everything. it’s the only thing.
“It isn’t about winning. It’s more about having fun,” Schleichardt says.
But a certain amount of money does change hands. If he’s reading this story, Police Chief Robert Falldorf should avert his gaze for a moment. The Red Hatters each throw in a quarter when they arrive.
Years ago, members of Fabulous Foxy Fedoras used to go on outings together. As they’ve gotten older, they don’t do that much anymore.
They also rode in several Harvest of Harmony parades.
The women get along very well with their waitresses and servers.
“It’s my favorite day of the week when they come in. Because they’re hilarious,” says Tommy’s waitress Sarah Johnson. The Red Hatters are also regularly served by Jaynee Hansen.
The Foxy Fedoras deliberately arrive at a time when they can take advantage of Tommy’s coffee and pie special. Between 2 and 5 p.m., customers can get pie and coffee for $2.75 plus tax. These women are foxy in more ways than one.
If you’d like to join the Fabulous Foxy Fedoras, no invitation is required.
Just show up.