Point & Click
I went out to lunch last week with a group of what I might, at first glance, have called “little old ladies.” But WOW! It didn’t take much time to discover the true spirit and spunk of this gaggle of gals whose average age, by the way, is 82.As we often do, my compatriot at the paper, photographer Kelley Cox, and I took off on an assignment together, this time to interview the Rifle Creek Homemakers Club, a group that’s been around for 73 years and is disbanding this winter because, as one of the members said, “We’ve done everything!””Not everything!” called out another. Homemakers clubs were once a big deal, often run by county cooperative extension services. At one time, Garfield County had 27 of these clubs. The Rifle Creek club is the final club remaining – but not for long. So there we were, with a roomful of lovely, experienced women to share sweet memories, or so we thought. We did walk down Memory Lane, but we also took a side trip to Racy Road. I love to blow stereotypes right out of the water, and this did it.An 85-year-old woman named Louise was the stereotype buster. Early on, she was reminiscing about a homemakers club she used to belong to in Wisconsin when she blurted out a choice tidbit. “Oh, we had the best time!” she said with a big laugh, before proceeding to tell the whole group about a funny little holiday gift the members used to wrap up and secretly send to each other every year.This is a family newspaper, so I’m not going to spell out here what the little gift was. But suffice it to say that it was a skimpy piece of lingerie that has the suffix “-less” in its description. “We used to pass it around to each of the ladies!” Louise said. “Oh my, did I get a big laugh out of that every single year!” What I loved was to watch the expressions on the other eight women who were gathered for lunch. Not one looked shocked. Not one stormed out in disgust. Most of them laughed along, all of them with knowing smiles on their faces. Well, so much for dullsville at the homemakers’ club. These ladies rock. A 92-year-old woman named Vivian had plenty to say as we had our lunch. I immediately warmed up to her because she reminded me of my grandma, Vera Click, who died almost 15 years ago when she was 86. It was uncanny how Vivian moved her hands just like Grandma used to move her hands. And she talked like my grandma, too. She said “crick” instead of “creek.” I asked the ladies what they thought of women nowadays, juggling jobs and family.An 87-year-old woman named Millie spoke up.”Homemaking is the most important job there is,” she said earnestly.”It used to be,” said a club member named Irene. “But now women can’t afford to stay home.” The ladies talked about all the things they’ve done together during the years: canning, sewing, raising kids, growing gardens. They talked about the days when there were no driver’s licenses required to operate a vehicle. “When I was 14, I was only allowed to drive my mother back and forth to the doctor, but I drove a lot more!” said Ruth, 82.”Why doesn’t that surprise us?” asked another club member, smiling.Years ago, the ladies ran the Rifle Museum, which was located in an old schoolhouse in a spot now underwater at Rifle Gap reservoir. “We manned the museum,” said one of the ladies.”No, you wo-manned the museum,” I said, which prompted gales of laughter.”See if you can get that one by your editor,” said another, winking at me.Little old ladies, indeed. I love breaking stereotypes. Carrie Click is a reporter at the Post Independent, and aspires to be just like Vivian when she grows up. Carrie can be reached at 945-8515, ext. 518, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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