Well, if I swore, I’d say every curse word I know right now. If I threw fits, I would lay down on the floor and kick and scream. I don’t know how that woman could be so mean.
The old Methodist Church in Murdo, South Dakota. The parsonage is next to it.
You see the Methodist Church had a fundraiser. All of us kids had to work for someone who paid us by the hour. We had to work for eight hours and all the money goes to the youth program. I got hired by mean Mrs. Stone. She made me do things a two hundred pound man could barely do.
I was too fast at my work. That’s what it was. I washed all of her dirty windows inside and out. I pulled the weeds in her garden and worst of all, I had to clean out her refrigerator. Now I’ve got to go take Pearl the dog for a walk if my poor little wobbly stick legs will let me.
“Hi Pearl, I came to take Pearl the dog for a walk.”
Can we go see my frog friend?
“Well ,Essie…you look like you could go bear hunting with a stick. What or who has gotten you so worked up?”
“Working for Mrs. Stone has me all worked up. She never let me rest once except for the fifteen minutes it took me to choke down a minced ham sandwich. When I took the last bite, she smacked her hands and said, up, up, up…time to get back to work! Then she got really mean.”
“Tell me, Essie. I just love to hear gossip. When I had my beauty shop, I’d have a woman on each side of me shooting gossip into my ears. Oh how I miss that. I don’t get to talk to many people now except Grace and she tells me everything twice and comes up way short on the details. Gossiping is an art you know. One of these days I’ll teach you how to get people to spill everything they know, or think they know, and you won’t have to give up a thing. Now, what was the really mean thing she did?”
I’m sure this little girl standing in front of Mack’s Cafe heard some gossip from time to time. (I wish I had a dollar for each time she did.)
“When I got ready to leave, Mrs. Stone said I might have to come over again tomorrow. I said to her… no way, Mrs. Stone, that’s not how it works. Then she said she was going to have to deduct an hour’s pay on her check to the church. When I asked her why, she said it was because I didn’t get all the weeds out of her garden, and Mr. Stone would be upset because he would have to do it. It’s not fair Pearl,”
“You have got to get some dirt on that woman, Essie, that’s all there is to it. Now go take Pearl the dog for a walk. When you get back, I’ll give you a couple of quick lessons.”
Pearl’s Gossip Lesson
Listen closely, Essie, and you will have that mean Mrs. Stone right where you want her. If she has told you something secretive about herself, she won’t cross you ever again. It will be worth it for you to go over there tomorrow. When she says something mean to you, and she will, you say this:
“I sure don’t see why several of the ladies in town aren’t partial to you Mrs. Stone. I think you’re real nice.” Then smile your sweetest smile, just don’t laugh when you see the look on her face.
“Then what do I do, Pearl?”
You say, “Now, show me those weeds in your garden that I missed. I’ve heard from reliable sources that several of your friends think Mr. Stone is henpecked and I wouldn’t want to add fuel to the fire… if you know what I mean.”
“See Essie… it’s nothing you can’t do. You’ll be a natural.”
“Then what do I say Pearl?” I was really starting to get into this gossip lesson.
“Nothing. You won’t have to. She will be so upset she’ll spill the beans on every gossip friend she has. She’ll say things like, I bet I know who said that! It was Ethel, well let me tell you a thing or two about Ethel..bla,bla,bla,bla. Then you have to close the secret transaction.”
“What’s a secret transaction, Pearl?”
You say, “Well, I guess I should get started on those weeds now so poor Mr. Jones doesn’t have to do it. It’s not in my nature to cheat the church either.”
“Do you mean I’m still going to have to pull the weeds, Pearl?
“Not a chance. Mrs. Jones will probably say something like this. Oh no, dear. You sit right here and I will get you a nice cold glass of lemonade and one of the cookies I baked for Mr. Jones. You must call us Charles and Cecilia…I’ll pull the weeds.
One more thing, Essie. When she tries to get out of you who told you all that gossip, you say…I think we both know who told me those terrible things that you told them. It’s just awful how people spread gossip they hear on the grapevine.
” I can’t wait for you to tell me how it goes tomorrow, Essie. Wasn’t that a great lesson? I should have been a mother. I believe my mothering instincts have gone to waste all these years.
The Beauty Shop is a great place to hear good gossip