Always shrouded in mystery, the highly visible League does not issue official head counts or any other information about its clandestine fellowship. Unofficially, however, there were more than 200 gingers of all shades assembled for “Night of the Walking Red VII,” the largest assembly yet.
Every year in upstate New York when the pumpkins have grown large and the tree leaves begin to blaze all shades of red, copper and orange, that is when the ginger haired people are their brightest and breeziest.
If you encounter them relaxing on a deck overlooking the Hudson River in the late afternoon sun, you might catch them glinting along with their amber drinks.
As the evening draws on, more and more coppertops arrive and the sights become curiouser and curiouser. Are we seeing double?
And the red tide keeps rising. Gradually, these rare folks start to outnumber the commoners, “the unred.”
It’s happening inside, too. Is that an entire family of reds? A mother, father, two sisters and a brother, all with a tinge of ginge? Dad may not have much hair on top, but his mustache is still the color of hot sauce.
Someone’s called in a tip to the local press. Ryan’s Wake deck looks like it’s on fire, but there’s no smoke in sight. News 10 is on the scene, asking the gingers to speak to their leader. “Leader? Bah! Gingers are fiercely independent. No one tells us what to do,” they say. “But maybe ask that guy over there with the green eyes and matching jacket.”
There are smiling wee red heads with their loving parents, delighted to be seeing so many other auburn and orangies who look just like them! When you’re a red head, you’re often the only one in your class, or grade, or sometimes even in your own family.
Many of these particular red heads seem to be brandishing a particular symbol, made from four squares of red, orange, strawberry-ginger and white.
Josh a.k.a. “Gingy” from Vixen & Viking Tattoo Studio in Glens Falls, N.Y. gave Anthony his tattoo, the first of its kind. If other gingers want to get one of those symbols (called “The Banner”), they should probably go see Gingy.
ALL REDS ON DECK!
Suddenly there’s an announcement over the PA. All red heads are instructed to be on the deck in five minutes. “All Reds on Deck!”
Suddenly, The Founder, Duncan Crary, scurries up the fire escape on the building next door as Neil Grabowsky abruptly rises very high into the air on a strange mechanical lift.
As Neil gets ready to take everyone’s photograph, Duncan leads the annual meeting of The League of Extraordinary Red Heads. Hanging from the balconies over the deck, is a 15 foot tall “Agenda” with only two items listed on it: 1) Us, 2) Them.
Duncan begins the meeting by asking the group to admire Anthony’s new League of Extraordinary Red Heads tattoo, the first of its kind. “That’s dedication,” he says. Moving on to “them,” Duncan asks the gingers if there are any “Game of Thrones” fans there tonight and the crowd whoops and cheers. “Red-headed characters did pretty well, didn’t they?” he says to more cheers, so he proposes a special toast to the author who created Tormund Giantsbane, Sansa Stark and Melisandre.
On the count of three, the crowd raises their glasses and cheers with “Gingers are kissed by fire!” and there’s a burst of light as Neil snaps the picture.
The sky turns orange to salute the League, but it fades, just like ginger hair fades to white eventually.
And then there was fire! Because gingers are indeed a fiery folk.
Meanwhile, word of this extraordinary league has traveled far beyond the boundaries of this small American city and the Big City news has arrived to investigate. Ben McGrath from The New Yorker magazine has been hot on the trail of this legendary gathering.
Every year, without fail, a naturally red haired denizen of the world happens upon this gingery gala purely by chance. This year, Catherine from Ireland was visiting friends in the states and, after hiking in Vermont, stopped off in Troy for dinner, on impulse. “Some ginger guy with a beard and a dog stopped me and said, ‘Are you going to the Redhead Night?’” she explained to McGrath.
Word of her arrival reaches Crary, the founder, who greets Catherine — not at all surprised to see her. As is the custom, he welcomes this year’s “Random Red” with an official “Member” card of The League of Extraordinary Red Heads and tells her “There’s no dues to pay, because you already paid them growing up.” And as is custom, Catherine joins in the gingery fun.
But they say the flame that burns twice as bright, burns half as long. And almost as quickly as this fiery festival caught ablaze, the party is extinguished and the world returns back to normal, where red heads are rare in the room.
Soon, Margaret will launch a New Mexico local chapter of The League of Extraordinary Red Heads. If you are interested in starting a chapter, visit the Chapter Affiliation page.
Want some LoERH items, like hoodies, shirts, pins, naughty bathroom signs? Check out the online store.
Dig what the LoERH is doing? Want to see it keep on keepin’ on? Wish this existed when you were growing up and paying your dues? Chip in a few bucks on Patreon.
EVEN MORE PHOTOS
Red Heads like to rock it in front of the camera. For even more spectacular pictures of Night of the Walking Red VII, click here.