It’s how rumors start: You heard it wrong


When I showed up at my women’s Bible study group, they were buzzing around about George.

One of the women said, “George is dead.”

Another one said, “He was 104 years old.”

I asked, “George Beverly?”


Then, I said, “Well, Grandma Moses was 103 and she painted a watercolor the same day she died. Maybe 104 isn’t so old after all.”

I didn’t think much about the conversation, until we all got together that night for dinner. We were talking about birthdays. Bob’s birthday is Nov. 8 and mine is Nov. 9.

I always bake a carrot cake for my birthday and I bake one for Bob while I’m at it.

Bob’s wife asked, “Did you know that Billy Graham’s birthday is November seventh, and he is having a last call?”

I said, “I guess George Beverly won’t be there for the last call, or he’s already there.”

She said, “That’s how rumors get started.”

“Didn’t George Beverly Shea die? You said …”

“Yes, but no. He died early this month; it was George Jones we were talking about.”

“What’s the last call?” another guest asked.

“Billy Graham is having a last call on his birthday. It is going to be televised all over the world and it will be his biggest crusade ever. The end is near.”

One of the men spoke up.“Is it his last call, or “The Last Call?”

“Maybe both. I don’t know, but we better be ready one way or the other.”

Then, I said to Bob. “Listen to me, Bob, if it’s the big Last Call, we’ve got to celebrate our birthdays earlier. I should make us a carrot cake on the sixth of November. Better still, I think we should celebrate the month of October to get in our sweets. You know how we love sweets.”

Then one of the guests said, “I read your article and it wasn’t what we said.”

“Yes, you did. You said, I should be helpless, men love helpless women.”

“No, we didn’t say that.”

“Of course you said that. You told me to ask Al to rub my neck.”

“No, we said, you need to rub Al’s neck.”

“I didn’t hear it that way. I went home from our lunch the other day and asked Al to rub my neck. I thought I was bonding.”

We are still at the dinner table when my Sweet Al spoke up, “I know all about women going through the change of life.”

I looked at Al over my glasses. “Where did that come from? What are you talking about, Al? You don’t know anything thing about that stuff.”

“Yes, I do. You were hard to live with.”

I immediately defended myself. “No, I wasn’t. I went through it like a breeze, no hot flashes, no mood swings. What are you talking about?”

When had Al become an expert on the subject of women going through the change of life?

He started counseling one of the women guests. I looked at him as if I didn’t know this guy.

“Al doesn’t remember things.” I told the guest, “Nothing happened like that, I’m going home and I’m going to ask my kids. They will remember.”

Al must have had that on his mind all these years and he decided it needed to finally be said.

We were still discussing it in front of the other guests.

“You were!”

“I wasn’t!”

“Yes, you were! You were something else, I know all about it.”

I was thinking, they will never invite us back again.

So, I asked, “Who has been attending the video on marriage? Maybe Al and I need to sit in. After 53 years, you’d think we could get it together.”

One of the men spoke up. “I’m putting my money on you two, I believe you’re going to make it.”

“It doesn’t sound like it.” I shook my head, “I don’t know how we’ve made it so far. It’s God’s grace. I’m not kidding: it’s God’s grace.”

Then, Sheryl said, “You’re taking notes for another article, aren’t you?”

I said, “Yes, and this evening is duly noted; it will be recorded in The PREVIEW. I always hear what I want to hear.”

“Well, get it right. The last time you wrote about us, you didn’t get it right.”

Sweet Al spoke up: “She never tells it right.”

Another guest spoke up, “That’s how rumors gets started.”

“And I guess you think I’m the bad guy here?”

“You’re the only one telling it all in the newspaper.”

Final brushstroke: My hearing isn’t like it used to be, and that’s my story. My Sweet Al’s not remembering like he used to, and I don’t know what his story is. He’s starting to speak up and it’s making me uncomfortable.

Artist’s quote

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” — Teilhard de Chardin.

This story was posted on May 23, 2013.