Denise Anderson Local gossip too hard to follow

As far as farming goes, it was a beautiful morning. The soybeans were in, and it was raining, a nice drenching rain with no wind or hail involved, so the farmers got together for an impromptu gossip session over coffee at the coffee shop.

“I hear the crazy fool down the road left his wife again,” Alvin said.

“Yeah, didn’t she used to be one of the Miller girls, whose mother was a cousin to that old man that lived at the place on the river?” Brian asked.

“Sure, that’s the one. He had a glass eye and was married to that old woman who came from back East,” Carl said. “She never did fit in. Folks claimed she had a son from another marriage, by a man who lived down on the old Wilson place. He always drove that 2520 John Deere.”

“The Wilson place? Wasn’t that where a woman who was married to a cousin of the onearmed junk dealer that lived down you way lived?” Alvin asked Carl.

“Could be. Seems I recall one of their boys graduated with one of mine. Must have been in ’56 or ’57. No, it had to have been earlier than that. My oldest graduated that year of the big tornado that was in ’53,” Carl replied.

“I remember him. I think he graduated with my daughter, and she graduated the year after the tornado, the year the creek was so far out of its banks,” Brian said. “He moved to the old Jacob place after that fire took his house up on the county line.”

So went the conversation, until finally, after my second doughnut, I couldn’t stand it anymore. If I didn’t know who they were talking about to begin with (and I didn’t), it certainly wasn’t any clearer now.

“Does anyone know who left his wife?” I asked.

The room got so quiet you hear Carl’s stomach growl. They all looked at me like I had lost my mind.

“Weren’t you listening?” Alvin asked.

I told them I was, it just didn’t make any sense.

“Huh,” Carl said. “Made perfect sense to us. Why don’t you just admit you weren’t listening?” The others nodded in agreement.

To prove it, I asked a very pertinent question.

“What was the name of onearmed junk dealer?” Silence. “What’s he got to do with anything?” Carl asked.

I pointed out that they were just talking about him. They all denied it.

“We were talking about the fellow who lives down the road from the old Fisher place,” Alvin said.

“The old Fisher place,” I replied. “Isn’t that where the one-armed junk dealer lived before he moved to town the year the blizzard knocked out all the electricity in the whole county?”

“No, that’s where the fellow who used to run the hardware store lived before he married that widow with the four children,” Alvin said. “You know, one of those kids went on to run for county clerk.”

Carl nodded. “It was the one who graduated the year all the cattle got that mystery disease.”

There were murmurs of assent.

“So,” I asked again, “who left his wife?”

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