"Never believe anything you hear and only half what you see." That was one of my Mom's sayings. I suppose I was a teenager before I understood what she meant by it. She was talking about gossip. Dad was more of a gossiper than Mom. If she did hear any juicy tidbits, she did not pass them on.
Maybe that is why I don't care for gossiping. Oh, it is fun sometimes to hear disparaging remarks about another; especially if you don't particularly like the person. But to pass on scurrilous stories can cause heartache and do real damage. Some people will say: "Where there's smoke, there's fire." Meaning people wouldn't be talking in the first place if there wasn't some truth to the gossip. Then they will add something to what they heard and pass it on.
The subject of gossip came up at a book club meeting in Corning a couple years ago. One of Dad's cousins remarked: "I don't even want to hear it. Once you hear something, you can't unhear it. I don't want that (gossip) in my head."
And the part about only believing half what you see? I thought that was silly. You can trust your own eyes can't you? Have you ever been an eye witness on the stand before a jury swearing to tell the truth? That can give pause to what you think you saw.
One morning many years ago I had just turned south onto Hwy 141 heading toward I-35-80 where it curves around the northwest side of Metro Des Moines. (Known as Ryder Corner.) I thought I saw a black Volkswagen Beetle go flying off the interstate highway down the steep embankment. I blinked; looked again. Nothing. How could I possibly have thought that? When I got to the entrance ramp a minute later, sure enough, there was a black Volkswagen Beetle down at the bottom of the high embankment.
"There is so much good in the worst of us,
And so much bad in the best of us,
That it hardly behooves any of us
To talk about the rest of us. Edward Wallis Hoch