The Red Hats

“The Red Hats” – and – do you know “Bernadotte”?

Friends had taken me to the “Red Hats meetings” a few times already. ”What is it for?” I asked. Shoulders shrugging, “Oh, just for socializing” was their answer. A group of middle-aged to old  ladies who meet and chat. Each supposed to wear something similar to a Red Hat and to be dressed in red and purple mostly. One had a Red Cap, covering her bald head after Chemotherapy.
A very nice group and so special. Taking photos would have felt like a cruel intrusion into their privacy and so I clearly stayed away from it.

One day a friend took me to Bernadotte. It actually IS a village – even consisting of a few homes only, spread across a meadow. Next to a little creek where fishermen would be in summer and children would have fun. A lone restaurant and a telephone booth, having been covered in green for a long time already; only the sign on top lets you know what it originally was. And – not to forget- the “humming birds”. Little birds which spend the warm months here in the area before migrating to the South before the cold sets in. To lure them, the restaurant had put up little gadgets in front of their windows with sugar water in it. So patrons would be able to watch them while dining.

Unless you know where it is, you won’t find Bernadotte. Coming from Ipava (another little village) it says” Bernadotte”, but you have to turn once again at a spot where it does not tell you anything. So I missed it twice.
One day a friend took me out there for lunch and there they were. The Red Hat Ladies. My friend talked to them and told them “ she is from Austria”, which started a nice chat on my side, as it turned out that two ladies had visited my country a few years ago. When I asked my friend whether it would be appropriate to ask the ladies if I could photograph them, she said, ”Go ahead!”
These ladies were extremely nice and I was so grateful they allowed me to take a picture. I was glad the photos came out so well, showing the kindness of the group. I promised them to bring the developed photos to the restaurant as a little “Thank you”.
This was when I missed Bernadotte. I certainly won’t miss it again. It was a very special part of “America” which I had the chance to get to know.

Thanks to the ladies again!

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