“Coincidence: a striking occurrence of two or more events at one time, apparently by mere chance.” (Random House Dictionary of the English Language)
When we encounter coincidences in novels, we sometimes suspect the author of manipulating circumstances in the interest of his or her story line in a way that is wildly unlikely, one that is crafted purely as a literary device; maybe sometimes that’s true. But haven’t we all experienced some striking coincidences in our lives? They certainly do occur, sometimes in delightful ways.
Throughout the history of the Red Hat Society, coincidences have abounded, most of them good, so many times, just when we needed it most, something wonderful just “coincidentally” befell us. I have remained amazed at the encouragement such happenings have offered and I look forward to more of the same.
I’ve been thinking about my personal favorite “coincidence” of all time lately. It is one that I shared in The Red Hat Society: Fun and Friendship After Fifty. When I was only about four years old, I – like many children – spent much of my time in the company of an imaginary playmate. Though she appeared to be an adult, with gray hair in a bun, she was just my size. Somehow the contradiction never bothered me. I suppose that kind of thing is typical of small children. She was invariably dressed in a periwinkle dress covered with little white polka dots, and she wore a bright red straw hat on her head, decorated with shiny plastic cherries around the hatband, along with red shoes. Her name was “Mrs. Silkins.” Though I remember her clearly, I don’t remember exactly when she faded out of my life – but of course she did. She crossed my mind occasionally over the years but in no significant way – until the day I was struck by the amazing coincidence of my imaginary companion of nearly 50 years past – not long after the Red Hat Society was born. I’ve puzzled about this a lot but haven’t ever settled the issue in my mind. It was just a “coincidence”, apparently. But...several years into the life of the RHS, at one of our international conventions, we had a lunch speaker from a large British tea company. He gave an entertaining history of the tea industry, which we all found informative. I must admit, however, that my attention had begun to wander. But you can bet I suddenly came to electrified attention when he described the new material that his company was now using in their tea bags: they called it “Silkins!” If these things weren’t enough, a few months later, while browsing in an antique store, I found a red straw hat with red plastic cherries on the hatband! It now rests in a place of honor at Hatquarters. Make of it what you will...
The colors of red and purple were chosen for their supposed wild, crazy clashing. But it wasn’t long before we all realized that – not only do they not clash – they are absolutely gorgeous when paired. And looking out at a sea of those colors at a large gathering of Hatters is truly a beautiful sight. Here’s an interesting statement about these two colors I found in an old issue of “Better Homes and Gardens” magazine. Regarding the color red: “Find courage in the power of red. This color’s bold characteristics bring out the vivacious and confident side of your personality. Try it in small doses on accessories.” (Like HATS!?) And wearing purple, the color of royalty, can “draw out a more sophisticated, elegant you.” So, if you wear both together I guess you would be courageous and elegant! And aren’t we?
So what do you think – just “coincidence”? Or was the Red Hat Society just meant to be? I know what I think.
You are invited to join your Red (and Pink) Hat Sisters for an experience of a lifetime, where joy, laughter and the electricity of fun and friendship reign supreme in the city that never sleeps! Let this serve as your official invitation to the Red Hat Society's 2017 Hats in the City International Convention in New York, New York.