Back in the late 50's and early 60's when most women didn't work outside the home, one of the farm wives in my parent's neighborhood decided she wanted to lose some weight. And because misery loves company, she phoned her neighbors and suggested they get together once a month over coffee for the purpose of discussing diets and exercise. My Dad, tongue in cheek, suggested they call themselves "The Fat Ladies Club." The name stuck.
This group of 8 or 10 women started out with the best of intentions. They talked calories, discussed the latest fads in diets and exercise programs. This lasted for maybe two meetings.
Minnesota farmers and their wives are incapable of drinking coffee if it is not accompanied by a dessert. Usually cookies or cake or pie. Soon the Fat Ladies Club felt the need for a "little something" to go with their coffee. A pan of rhubarb crumble appeared at one meeting. Strawberry shortcake was served at the next. I came into our kitchen one day and found Mother whipping up one of her to die for refrigerator desserts that contained melted marshmallows, whipped cream and cherry pie filling, on a graham cracker crust. I asked her what that was for. She replied that it was for the Fat Ladies Club. I made some smart remark about putting fat on the fat ladies, and then ducked and ran.
The club lasted for a couple of years. It was mostly a chance for these ladies to get out of the house for a little while and enjoy the gossip and the laughter of their friends. They were hard working women. They kept their homes in good running order, planted huge gardens, canned the produce from those gardens, raised their children, fed their families and the chickens and helped with the farm chores.
I don't think any member of the Fat Ladies Club ever lost a pound. But judging by the gales of laughter coming from our living room when the club met at our house, it was a roaring success.
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