Forget the internet. You can find out the juiciest gossip just by leaning into the window of a car door. When you live in a rural community, the best stories are exchanged when you happen to be out walking and your neighbour passes you on their way to work. They slow down and the intel begins.
How much you receive depends on the time of year. During blackfly season, youâ€™re usually out of luck as to whatâ€™s happening down the laneway, because 30 seconds into the conversation either you or your neighbour inhales one of the little critters and coughing ensues.
But if you have a good day, the stories are endless.
â€śDid ya hear that widower down the road is getting married again?â€ť
â€śAre you serious?â€ť
â€śSwear to God.â€ť
Then thereâ€™s the soon-to-be grandmother who rolls down her window to tell you that the baby is a boy. You yell, â€śHurrah! Congratulations!â€ť and continue with your stroll. Then you go home and tell Hubby that Cinderella had her baby. You both run into Cinderella a few weeks later and tell her how happy you are about her baby. She looks at her big bump.
â€śI havenâ€™t had it yet.â€ť
You forget that people can know the sex of their baby months beforehand. You really must get with the times.
A great topic of conversation happens when someone is selling their house. Everyone in the community is invested in this.
â€śHow much do you think theyâ€™ll get for it?â€ť
â€śGirl, not enough to buy a house anywhere else.â€ť
â€śAinâ€™t that the truth.â€ť
Which is why weâ€™ll never be moving to the city.
Bumping into people is when you get the lowdown on someoneâ€™s health. When youâ€™re in the grocery aisle, itâ€™s the perfect place to ask impossibly personal questions.
â€śHowâ€™s your husband?â€ť
â€śNot good. Not good at all.â€ť
â€śOh dear, whatâ€™s wrong?â€ť
â€śHe was in a lot of pain and they opened him up, but when they sewed him together again, I think they did it too tight because now his feet are acting up. On top of that, the poor man has terrible gas.â€ť
Does this poor soul know his wife is a blabbermouth? But that doesnâ€™t stop you from asking more questions.
â€śDidnâ€™t he have a heart attack a while back?â€ť
â€śYes! From watchinâ€™ the frigginâ€™ lotto! He thought he won, but it turns out he missed the jackpot by one number.â€ť
When you run into the mothers of the kids that your kids knew at school a decade ago, you get their entire life story in a matter of minutes. It can go two ways.
â€śDonnieâ€™s a test pilot and after travelling the world, he married a member of the British royal family. Their triplets are due soon.â€ť
Youâ€™re suddenly really anxious about your own kids.
Or … â€śWell, our daughter went to community college, but she hated that, so she had a baby and went to Fort McMurray with her boyfriend. He turned out to be a louse, so she came back home and now weâ€™re looking after our granddaughter and our daughterâ€™s pregnant again, God love her, and sheâ€™s working at the mall, but sheâ€™s talking about moving to Florida with her new man. Her dadâ€™s not keen on that, but I told him youâ€™re only young once and to let her live a little and he said sheâ€™s lived a little too much as far as heâ€™s concerned, but you know daddies and their little girls.â€ť
Youâ€™re suddenly really happy about your own kids.
Lesley Crewe is a writer living in, and loving, Cape Breton. These are the meandering musings of a bored housewife whose ungrateful kids left her alone with a retired husband and two fat cats who couldnâ€™t care less. Her 10th novel, Beholden, is being released this fall.