Perhaps I made a crucial mistake when I was a freshman in high school and appeared as an extra in the movie Harper Valley PTA. It could be that I doomed myself to a lifetime of drama.
I rode my bike in the cold to our high school football game tonight. My boys don't play football and aren't in the band, but the team is doing really well this year. The whole town turns out for the games. Spencer paints his body each week and Tucker died his hair pink for the breast cancer recognition tonight.
During the band's halftime show, a mother holding a camera walked up to me, leaned over and said, "Before you go saying things about my daughter, you'd better take a look at your own kids."
Then she was gone, down the steps of the bleachers.
I sat stunned.
I knew the mom because Tucker had dated her daughter in 8th grade, two years ago.
"I just had a hit and run," I said to my friend Jane who sat next to me with a cast on her foot. "What should I do?"
Jane said she didn't know because she'd never had a mother accuse her of something. Jane is very polite and would never gossip about kids or adults. I am not always polite, but I knew I hadn't been talking about Courtney.
I decided to go confront the mom rather than simply avoiding her.
"Carrie, I don't know what you've heard, but I haven't even thought about Courtney in two years," I said.
She told me she had heard this rumor directly from a parent, and she asked if I swore I hadn't said anything about her daughter.
"I didn't," I said. "And next time ask me."
"I thought we had put this all behind us long ago," she said.
And I agreed.
Then I went in search of Tucker.
"What's this rumor I'm supposed to be spreading?" I asked him, relaying the football game ambush by the other mother.
Tucker, of course, had heard the rumor, just didn't bother to share it with me. A dad, who I knew of, but who I felt sure did not know who I was, was saying I'd made claims about Tucker and Courtney.
Now I needed to take the next step: find the dad and confront him.
Lucky for him, I didn't see him at the game, so I'll need to go to the soccer game on Saturday to look for him and put an end to the rumors.
It's just like the song and the movie: "Cause this is just a little Peyton Place and you're all Harper Valley hypocrites."
The joys of living in a small town.
Do you gossip? Would you have confronted the mother? Would you search out the dad? Some people would rather avoid. How about you?
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