The first time I saw those "Red Hat" ladies, I thought they were just fashionably challenged. Granted, I loved the festive, colorful red hats but with purple? That was a color combo I had only seen on the ex's mother and I just figured it was because she didn't know any better fashion-wise, bless her heart.
I vaguely remembered reading the poem that had inspired the red hat wearing, but at the time, I was young, maybe still in my teens.
Which meant to me, that poem had no relevance whatsoever and I found it to be quite sad.
The lady was going to wear a red hat, purple clothes, wearing satin sandals in the rain and her husband was going to grow fat and eat bread and pickles.
The line about no money for butter really bothered me.
I saw a group of the "Red Hat" ladies not too long ago and paused to take in their verve, their laughter and spunk.
I envied the zest for life they seemed to possess and reveled in their youth even though they all sported grey hair under their red hats.
I realized I needed to re-read that poem. I didn't even remember the name of it, but a quick Google search told me the name was "Warning" and it was by Jenny Joseph.
My, oh my how perspective can change after 20 years.
This time, I really got it and decided I needed to issue a ‘warning' of my own.
No, I am not going to wear a red hat with a purple suit - I love them both but can't bring myself to do that.
No, instead, when I enter that stage of my life, I will wear pants with elastic waistbands, so I can eat until I hurt.
I will trade in the four-inch heels for sneakers so I can be comfortable - maybe even those fuzzy bedroom shoes to keep my toes cozy and warm.
I will let my hair be wild and will not fight to straighten it.
I will even so much as to dare to go to Walmart without makeup on a Saturday morning, where I will be certain to run into everyone I know.
I won't care.
I will quit being worried about what will offend someone and say what I think.
I will no longer hold my tongue and let the chips fall where they may.
Or as Mama put it, "I don't think that's anything special, your grandmother has been doing that for the past 50 years." And that is exactly my point.
My own personal warning will be that I will be more like Granny - maybe even have the shotgun to go along with it.
I doubt I will ever don a red hat.
But there's something to be said about having the courage to do the things we can't do now, that is just as equally fabulous.
Sudie Crouch is an award-winning humor columnist and certified life coach. She lives in the north Georgia mountains with her family and four insane, but fairly well behaved dogs.