My dear mother went to be with Jesus October 27, 2020. She was a child of the depression and was fascinated by history. To put it bluntly, she hoarded things, but in a very neat and controlled way. That means that, in addition to the Mason jars and empty CoolWhip bowls, we have discovered evidence of most of her life from 1926 onward.
One treasure we have discovered is an old metal suitcase, circa 1940s, that belonged to my Uncle Jake, who served in Africa, Italy and was part of the Normandy invasion. Some of his belongings are therein. There are also bundles of letters that he wrote my grandparents and that they wrote to him. Unfortunately, they are written in pencil in a slanting script that I find hard to decipher.
My mother loved music and I think may have dreamed of being a musician. The book with the lady in the peach-colored dress on the cover is about a mail-order music school based in New York. We have discovered several paperback hymn books with shape notes, the old gospel style.
The vintage camera I’m not sure about, but I know my uncle took pictures as he traveled across France with his tank battalion. I wonder if this is the camera he used?
However, buried in all this “stuff” I found a tiny piece of newsprint, brown and wrinkled with age:
“First somebody told it. Then the room wouldn’t hold it. So the busy tongues rolled it, ‘Till they got it outside; When the crowd came across it, They never once lost it, But tossed it, and tossed it,’Till it grew long and wide.”Anonymous
I don’t know why someone in my family went to the trouble to clip this out and save it 80 years ago. Perhaps they had been the victim of a falsehood that got told and rolled and tossed until it grew long and wide. I will never know. But this odd little verse spoke to me, because it describes the world today, don’t you think?
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat–a ready environment to tell and roll and toss words until they take a life of their own and become someone’s truth. Whether it’s gossip about relationships or wealth or lost jobs or lost love, perceived or real injustice, or just acting out, the falsehood grows until it seems to so many to be absolute reality and truth. Or what about the “Big Lie” that our democratic process no longer works, is no longer honest, that Joe Biden could not have been elected President of these United States unless somebody cheated.
This odd little verse reminds me to be careful what I say, careful what I accept and believe as irrefutable truth, careful what I share on social media. I don’t believe much in coincidence. I think I needed to find this verse. Perhaps you needed to read it. I know I needed to share it.