One of the difficulties of living in a small town is that no conversation stays private for very long. If you tell it at one end of town in the morning, there's a better than average chance that it'll be to the other end by dinner time. Really juicy gossip can go from one end of the peninsula to the other quicker than the mail truck.
That was hard to keep in mind when we first moved here from a much larger city, where you could go weeks without seeing the same faces in the grocery store on a regular basis. Around here everyone knows that Sunday-after-church is the place to meet people at Sid's Supermarket for a visit.) Discretion had to become a part of our conversations.
Added to the fun was the fact that both sets of our parents live here, and are pretty well known in the community. Most folks seem to think that if they hear a bit of news about US, they should hurry right along to let our parents know. And it's not uncommon for a piece of news involving S.P. or I to be told to US by our parents instead of us telling our parents first. Such as "I hear you are going to sub two weeks for Mrs So-and-So." when Mrs. So-and-So hasn't even asked me yet. Where did you hear that, I'll ask. "Oh, I saw her at the post office and she said she was going to ask for you..."
Sometimes the gossip can really get you in deep, so we try hard to keep things under our hats and tell the kids, "what you hear in our house (or car) stays in our house." So far that's worked pretty well. Maybe that's why I come here to tell stuff. Only one of you knows my folks, and you won't tell them nuthin', right Suz?
Today I had to go tell my dad that the horse he gave Pony Girl (and he has been so excited about her having) is not a good fit for her and her daddy and I need to start looking for a more suitable kid horse. She has been avoiding the barn and riding lately, making excuses about why she doesn't want to ride, and told me the horse scares her and she is very frustrated with riding. But she loved horses and Grandpa did give her the horse, and she didn't want to disappoint him. Ugh, what a conversation.
I have never liked unpleasant discussions, especially those where my dad and I are on different sides, and the thought of this one has made me nauseated for over a week. I kept reminding myself, "We both want what's best for Pony Girl..." But there was also the reality of all the money Dad had spent on the horse. Well, I got through the talk, and my dad's main thing was that he was bummed that she couldn't tell him herself about how she felt. But like I told him, she looks up to him so much and he had given her her "heart's desire" and was so excited for her to like it, how could she say anything?
We couldn't really talk much to anyone here because of the small town grapevine, and I didn't want to drag my mom into the whole thing and make her take sides, so it's been like a storm cloud over our house for months. But it had gotten to the point where even the lady who gives the riding lessons was noticing and commenting, and we knew it was time to step up and do it. But dang, it was hard. Like saying, "thanks for the generous gift but we don't want it." Doing the best thing on behalf of your kids is always right and necessary, but having my dad on the "other side" sucked.
3 hours ago