There are times when I just notice things.
Recently, I was driving past my local golf course, and something unusual caught my eye. It wasn’t that the flagstick on hole No. 9 was left flat on the green. Occasionally, players forget to reinstall the pole. It’s bad golf etiquette, but it happens.
It wasn’t that I could see a golf cart left unattended in the tall heather near the No. 1 fairway. Carts break down or run out of gas. It happens.
No, what caught my eye in the dozen or so seconds it takes to pass by this establishment was that every single vehicle parked in the parking lot — save one — was a red truck. Now that doesn’t happen.
There must have been fifteen vehicles parked there, and although I wouldn’t put it high on the list of important anomalies, I feel certain that I stand a better chance of seeing Haley’s Comet one more time (2061) than I will this.
Toyota, Chevy, Dodge Ram, Ford –– it didn’t matter. They were all red –– in variant shades, I grant you, but red nonetheless. I found it even more staggering when I learned that red isn’t even the most popular truck color.
By an overwhelming predominance, the most common colors for pickups are White and Black. Silver claims a distant third, followed by Red, Blue, Gold, Brown and [yawn] Beige. Orange, Yellow, and Green bring up the rear.
Offset against this crimson convoy was a single, really hot looking new Dodge Charger in its 2020 Plum Crazy color scheme. Perhaps it was this juxtaposition that made me think of The Red Hat Society.
You remember the Red Hatters, don’t you? They are a social club for mid-century ladies, who in the early 2000’s, were red-hot with their conspicuousness. Members wore red cocktail hats, adorned with purple feathers, worn harmoniously with an equally purple dress. Most commonly, I would see the girls gathered in sit-down restaurants with several tables pulled together to accommodate their numbers.
Started by Californian Ellen Cooper, the club celebrated the playfulness of middle age and making new friends. The fun was always natural, measured simultaneously by the smiles on their faces, and the nonstop nattering arising from their good time. It often reminded me of a flamboyance of flamingos that might well have inspired the plumage on their hats.
Although their website boasts over 50,000 members, I just don’t see the Hatters out like I once did. My biggest fear is that Facebook has assumed the role of friendship maker. That would be a shame for everyone.
Because, when I saw all of those red trucks the other day, I couldn't help channeling the Hatters.
It’s doubtful any golfer donned red hats and purple dresses, but that’s okay. Togetherness is not what you wear or what you drive. It’s not what you see on the outside, but what you believe on the inside. We’ve learned in 2020 that although allegiances and friendships are important, real togetherness is vital.
Togetherness remains something no virtual friendship can supply.

John O. Marlowe is an award-winning columnist for Sagamore News Media.