Rumor Mill Lives On

This article is dedicated to all of you who live in a small town and who have been the subject of a rumor. You will be able to relate.

In May I attended the New York State FFA Convention… we will start with that. On Wednesday, before I left, I picked up 175 chocolate chip cookies from my most favorite spot in Greenwich, The Village Cafe — if you are ever in town that’s the place to go! It seems to be where the most pertinent of business occurs in our village; trials, tribulations, celebrations, graduations…it’s all discussed there. Kind of like the 80’s TV series, Cheers…everybody knows your name…and I do love it!

The Wednesday afternoon when I picked up my cookies, it was quiet as they were getting ready to close, with only a few tables populated. While I waited to pay and grab my cookie platters, I chitchatted with a staff member about where I was headed (to the state FFA Convention) with the cookies, then paid, and left. I was on a mission to get to several tasks before I left town, busy in my mind thinking about what all had to be done before I could get on the road later that afternoon and get to Rochester before the next day’s presentation.

All went well out at the convention. The cookies were a hit, the seminar smooth and I had a great time. I met some wonderful kids and adults. FFA is such a great program. I wished that I had a local chapter where I grew up. Fast forward to Tuesday of the next week; I had lunch with friends at “the cafe,” where I got the cookies the week before.

On my way out of the bustling and busy cafe — our waitress, who knows what I order, how I take my coffee, and when I usually come in — stopped everything and asked, with a finger pointed straight at me, “I have a question for you…” 

“Okay,” I said, not prepared at all for what I was about to be asked…
“Did you get married this weekend?” (Ever have one of those moments when you feel like all eyes and ears are on you for a most critical split second??)

I almost choked on my tongue, caught myself before I fell over, and laughed out loud and said, “What??!!! No! I don’t have anyone to marry… Where did you hear that?” Now mind you, the cafe was packed with people; people who I recognized, people who I knew well, and people that I didn’t even know at all. A perfect setting, for a perfect rumor to fly…little did I know it already had!

She replied, “You didn’t??”
“No,” I said, still moving myself toward the door.
“Where did you hear that?”
“Rumor has it that you got married this weekend,” she said.
“Well, rumor it is.” As my two other friends looked at me incredulously, laughing along, I rolled my eyes comically. “Nope, no one here for me…” and continued on my way. We got outside and laughed and joked about my secret elopement the past weekend, etc., etc., etc.

You can imagine the chiding that went back and forth. I shook my head, and got into the car with my faithful companion Trixie, to head home before the kids got out of school. That evening, I was still chuckling to myself about it, so I texted one of my closest friends and said to her — rumor has it that I got married this past weekend…figuring that I would be the one letting her in on the secret. 

And she texted back a reply…which I was so not expecting… “I heard about that! This afternoon. I got a text from my daughter, who got a text from her friend, who got a text from her mother, who heard that YOU got married this past weekend, and wanted to know if it was true!??” 

What?? Really? This has all been going on and I have had no idea about it? Now I was really laughing and I even brought my kids in on it because they were like, Mom, what is so funny?? And then we all laughed about it… really hard because this was so small town.

So, the day after the story hit me, reminding me that the Greenwich rumor mill was in full force, I went back into my cafe to pick up muffins for our meeting — it was much quieter in the cafe at that hour and I knew my waitress was going to be there and I would have a chance to get to the bottom of where this all came from…So I did! When I walked in she joked and asked me how the honeymoon was, and we laughed. “Seriously, where did that come from?” I asked. “I heard it like third person, that you got married. Yesterday, when you were in for lunch we were all trying to figure out if you had a ring on your finger, wondering if there were any hints to your nuptial, etc. Finally when you left, I just had to ask because it was killing all of us not to know.”

I held up my left hand and said, “No ring and no prince charming, just three soon-to-be’s who I groom daily for the job.”
“So where did it come from?” I asked again.
“Well, you came in here to get all those cookies and someone said that so-and-so said that you were getting married.”
“So-and-so...she did?” I knew her, and I bet she said something comical when I walked out like I bet she’s on her way to go get married, and someone heard her say it and took it as true. And the rumor began, working and winding its way through our little village--the week before. The whole thing made me wonder why we get so caught up in everyone else’s business. This is not something special to our town, it happens in every small town across America. As I thought about this I came to the conclusion that we in fact do get caught up in everyone else’s news or tales and we always will because we care. Be the news good, bad, or indifferent we are a little like family, in a peculiar kind of way. We look out for one another and help,.but are far enough removed so that a little tidbit of information can be transformed into big information. And that information is taken and ran with…far, far away.

To think, this time, it all started with 175 cookies that were on their way out to the NYS FFA Convention. Dang, imagine what I could do with a house for sale…Thanks for the laugh village! I will leave it at that, because it really is funny.

Kate Ziehm, President of Morning Ag Clips, is originally from New Hampshire. She is a 1997 Cornell University graduate with a degree in Animal Science and a concentration in Business Management and Marketing. Kate’s love of agriculture began with her 4-H dairy cow project and has grown and diversified ever since. With the birth of her children she turned her efforts to motherhood while she took the opportunity to broaden her knowledge and understanding of the agricultural industry. Since 2013 Kate has owned and operated the Morning Ag Clips, a daily e-Blast that gives the latest breaking local and national agricultural news to farmers and ag industry leaders across the United States. In addition she dabbles in writing to connect with her audience on the Just Me Kate page of the website. Currently Kate resides and works in Greenwich, NY with her 3 sons, Tyler, Jacob and Samuel.

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