Fun and companionship is the theme when members of Rim Country Singles gather -- whether the activity is the twice-a-month meeting at Crosswinds restaurant for dinner or a hike and a picnic at Willow Springs Lake.
"We are a multigenerational group," said Ruth Hill, who joined a couple of years ago when she saw an ad in the paper. She is the current president.
The 40-plus members range in age from the late 40s to the oldest member, who is in his 90s.
The group has an equal number of men and women.
"Even though we got old, we can still have fun and companionship," Hill said. "We do activities you wouldn't necessarily do by yourself."
Movie night happens once a month, as does game day. This past spring, Rim Country Singles went to the Out of Africa wild animal park in Camp Verde where one of them got kissed on the tour -- by a giraffe.
Dinner and dancing at the Rye Bar and Grill, or enjoying a meal and music at the Strawberry Lodge or Mogollon Steakhouse are frequent activities.
New member Julie Lodge recently hosted a Titanic-themed dinner.
Moving the six-course meal inside due to rain did not lessen the revelry.
Everyone contributed to the menu. Bob Onsgard and Bob Graham served the coffee, wine and sparkling cider. The meal began with a shrimp appetizer, followed by barley soup, followed by an asparagus salad, then the main courses of lamb, chicken and roast beef with sides of potatoes, carrots and peas. Cream puffs and ice cream drizzled with chocolate were served for dessert.
Willow Springs is an oft-visited picturesque picnic locale, but the picnic season ended in October when the group was hailed on at the East Verde River.
Joining the group is easy. Call Ruth Hill at (928) 474-2567 for information about where to show up for the next event.
Membership dues are $15 a year or $7.50 for six months.
Emily Gore, otherwise known as "Egore," joined the singles group when she moved to Payson from Mesa a year and a half ago.
"Marilyn was a member and kept after me to join," Gore said.
Howard Johnson joined the group as a way begin socializing again after the loss of his wife.
"After my wife passed away the only time I left the house was for gas, food and to go to the doctor," Johnson said. "Staying home is the worst thing I could have done. But I had a friend, a man I met when I first moved to Payson, and every Friday night we would go to the Beeline and have dinner."
That friend talked Johnson into the joining the group six years ago.
Arlene Keefer has been in the club five years.
"I'd already been alone for about two years (after her husband died) and I got tired of sitting alone," Keefer said. "I wanted to get out and meet people."
A friend Keefer met in bereavement class who knew Johnson played matchmaker for the two. They were introduced during a singles group trip to Bison Ranch.
"It was a put up job," Johnson said.
"Out he came wearing a Stetson," Keefer said.
Now, they get each other out of their houses to the many events the single's group hosts.
There will be a costume party on Halloween night.
On Nov. 4, Rim Country Singles are picking up trash on McLane Road -- the street they adopted -- between Longhorn and Forest.
A Western potluck and game day will be held on Nov. 18.
A Thanksgiving potluck is set for the Saturday during the long holiday weekend.
The second and fourth Wednesdays of each month Rim Country Singles meet at Crosswinds restaurant at the airport. Dinner is at 5:30 p.m. followed by a meeting around 6:15 p.m.