The grapevine, or the Bush Telegraph if you prefer, is definitely alive and kicking in rural parts. I recently heard something about myself through this amazing form of telecommunication that was so far removed from any form of truth that it had me rolling around on the floor in fits of laughter! Let’s face it, we are all guilty of the occasional bit of gossip. Perhaps we do it to add some excitement to our often boring and monotonous lives? Yes, I know, this form of “wireless broadband” can be hurtful and spiteful at times but it can also be hilariously funny, extremely helpful and in times of crisis tremendously important.
Our very personalities and habits often dictate the content of these “wireless” whispers. Like any area in society, rural people often have a few noticeable classics, that can often follow that ‘ole rule’… “if you haven’t heard a rumour by 10am then make one up!”
So here are a couple:
· Shut your farm gate for too long and you’re “up to no good”
· Put your farm on the market and “their going broke”; and the masterpiece I heard not so long ago,
· I saw such-n-such at such-n-such’s house the other day, “she had put on 20 kilos, dyed her hair and had a baby at 50 but it was definitely her.”
Then there’s the cool upside to the grapevine when a crisis occurs. An example of this would be a while back when we had a paddock fire. Before you could say “boo” the phone was running hot and some amazing people in our community were there to help us put it out. Or, if you forget you’ve been nominated to do the supper at the school disco, you can usually count on a friendly reminder from someone down the line.
The grapevine and gossip have been around since the dawn of time and I have this sneaky suspicion that it will be around long after we are gone. It seems to form an intrinsic thread in our lives and communities so let’s embrace it. Let’s either laugh it off, pass on a message or take urgent action because it’s comforting to know if the phone lines ever go down we can always scream or whisper over the fence.
Incidentally, heard a rumour that my community of Tapora was getting tarseal all the way to the school. I wonder if there is any truth in that!