Whenever anybody wanted to send out a rumor there was always the party line telephone system. My cousin and I got together and cooked up some juicy rumor about old Henry up the valley. Henry had never been married and was probably in his 70s at the time.
We started the rumor that Henry had a girlfriend.
It did not take long for everybody in the valley to know that Henry, who had been a bachelor for over seventy years, now had a special love interest. The big question coming through the party line was, who is this lucky woman?
Before long, this got a little out of control. Everybody believed that Henry had a special love interest and it got to the point that Henry himself believed he had a love interest.
I remember going with my grandmother to the grocery store and we happened to run into good old Henry. My grandmother, who was the queen of the gossipers, took this opportunity to speak to Henry.
“Oh Henry,” she said as we approached him. “I heard the news that you have a girlfriend. I’m so happy for you. You’ll have to bring her over to my house for coffee and cake some time.”
“Thank you, Mary,” Henry said with the biggest smile I have ever seen him wear. “I’ve never been happier.”
At this point, I did not know what to do. Everybody was so happy with this rumor, especially old Henry, that the truth would have destroyed the entire valley. I did think of starting a rumor that Henry and his new girlfriend had a fight and broke up. However, on second thought, Henry was so happy these days, I just hated to spoil his life.
I never knew how that turned out. The last time I saw Henry he was smiling and thanking people for congratulating him on having a girlfriend. Some people need to feel happy, I suppose.