When Carol Que formed Sociable Singles now called Rim Country Singles in 1996, she had no burning desire to get married. She just wanted some fun people to hang out with.
Today, this 57-year-old Payson woman is no longer a member of her own club. For the past two years, her name has been Carol Flowers. "I'm kind of a blooming idiot," she likes to explain of her moniker-by-marriage.
"I had been through two marriages and had become one of those notorious people who said, 'Never again!'" she said. "And here I am, very, very happily married. It's just that you have to meet the right person and that's what happened to me when I least expected it."
The surprise? Flowers did not meet her husband through her own singles' club.
Actually, that would not come as any surprise at all to the members of Rim Country Singles, according to Rosemary Goff, the second person after Flowers to hold the group's unofficial title of social director.
"When people call me to inquire about it, I tell them, 'It's not a dating club,'" Goff said. "We don't try to set you up with a date; we just try to set you up with friends who like to go places and do things. But if you meet someone there you like, fine. Date them."
Thus far in the club's history, Flowers said, that's exactly what some members have done and more.
"I'd say there have been at least eight couples who've been joined together in matrimony as a result of meeting through the singles group," she said. "Cupid has played his part there."
"I started Sociable Singles with a friend, Chuck Chamberlain," Flowers said, "because we both felt that this town needed a group of single people, male and female, who could do things and go places together as friends, because nobody likes to go places by themselves."
Back then, she remembered, those things and places almost always had to do with food. But soon they added a broader variety of activities, such as walking, hiking and potluck dinner "Which were really popular, because a lot of the single guys didn't have anyone at home cooking for them," Flowers said. "That also gave the women a chance to show off their cooking skills and bring their best dish to the potluck.
"We try to include activities during the day for those people who might be older and retired. And we have the evening and weekend activities, which sometimes involve trips out of town to the Valley, or a boat ride. We try to cover all the bases for all the different kinds of interests."
When Frank Reckert, 67, took over Flower's position as the club's unofficial social director after Flowers got hitched, he added activities designed to lure more men into the general membership.
"I used to put things on there like meeting at the golf course to hit a bucket of balls," he said. "My name is presently on our list of contacts for people who might want to go target shooting. On Friday nights, we almost always go down to the Rye bar for dinner and, if anyone would like, dancing. So the variety of possibilities keep growing with each new social director."
There is also something of a female gold mine awaiting older male singles in search of female companionship, Reckert said.
"In the 50-and-up age group, there's probably two women for every guy. The primary reason is that men don't live as long; but also, men are not as social, in many respects, as women."
Part of the club's current problem, Reckert lamented, is that, "To keep a group going, you've got to bring in younger people from time to time. We have difficulty doing that for some reason."
Reckert, single since 1992, is quick to point out that he is not looking for a mate.
"At this point in time, I'm not looking to get married again," he said. "For me, it's strictly a social thing. I haven't met anyone I'd want to live under the same roof with.
"I'd say most of the members are there just to be sociable. But a lot of them are like teenagers; there's a number of them who are 'going steady,' so to speak. Just like a bunch of kids."
Joy of single life
Goff has been single since 1986, and involved with the club almost since its inception.
"I was having problems finding people around my age the late 50s that like to do things," she said. "In fact, I didn't have any friends around my age who weren't married couples. So I started getting more involved in the group."
At one time, Goff said, the club's total membership hovered around the century mark. Today there are about 70 regulars, ranging in age from 40-something to 80-something mostly in the upper half of that range. And all of them love to spend time together.
"We have parties in house, and private parties like our (recent) Christmas party at the American Legion. We do cookouts and barbecues and potlucks up in Forest Lakes, we go to Woods Canyon Lake and go fishing, and on the weekends if you just want to go out to dinner, there's someone to go with you.
"We have a trip planned for February where we're going to the caverns down in Benson, and we're planning a January trip to Laughlin," Goff said.
"It's just going places, having fun, and having a friend there when you arrive."
The Rim Country Singles meet at Mario's on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month.
"It's open to the public," added Reckert. "You can be an axe-murderer and join. The only requirement is that you're single."
For more information, call Rosemary Goff at 474-5511.