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Velmer, the Professional Gossip

Updated on August 21, 2017
kenneth avery profile image

Kenneth is a natural-born southerner and grew up his entire life in the south where he has resided now for 63 years in Hamilton, Al.,


This meager introduction deals with one of the seven deadly sins straight out of the Bible. One of the seven deadlies is gossip. Or rather, a gossiping tongue. If a person commits this sin, terrible things may be stored up for them. It's like that in life many times. A person steals a six-pack of beer at his local 7-11 and he doesn't steal for need of quenching his thirst, but for the base need to take advantage of a poor, shivering immigrant clerk (with no Green Card) working for less than minimum wage. His wife, also an immigrant stays at home. This poor clerk does not earn enough to meet their monthly needs including the power bill so they live in a dark home for most of the time.

No. Not at first, does Karma or (what one has sown) comes to fruition. Some say harvest. But it's at the end of this robber's life does vengeance inflict its justice. It might be he is walking against the light (also a misdemeanor) as smooth as Chinese silk without anyone knowing that he has never been apprehended for that robbery of Bud Light two months ago. The city's over-worked police department can only solve so many crimes. So "Sticky Howard," convinces himself that he has it made. But just as soon as that thought materializes, he is hit by a beer truck, possibly Budweiser, and the once armed robber is history. His name, or the name on the beer truck is not the point. Committing a crime at the nearby 7-11 is. And isn't it ironic that the beer truck just happened to be a Budweiser truck? We could assume that Karma has a first cousin, Irony.

It's all in the grand scheme of things. The universe, also made by God, keeps all things in equal proportion as well as it rhythms. Even our friend who stole a six-pack for kicks. He was cut down just because he was guilty. So there is the principle of an eye for an eye jazz. Hey, even a gossip if left long enough, falls into the dark territory on the backside of the grand scheme of things where life is cold and without any measure of mercy. Evil and evildoers always get theirs. Maybe in a day. Maybe 50 more days. Time is not the point. Someone getting even with the universe is.

But in the sense of fairness, I have to say that "if" "Sticky Howard," were to only drink three Bud Light's from his stolen six-pack, Karma might have a twinge of pity upon him. But he sat in his seedy apartment and guzzled the entire six-pack. My thinking is if "Sticky" had just done the right thing and given his ill-gotten beer back to the immigrant clerk at the 7-11, maybe this Bud truck might have only brushed him as it chugged through the street, but no. He got his flame completely extiguished.

What has this lesson about Karma, Irony and "Sticky Howard's" stolen Bud Light have to do with this thesis? You would be shocked. But not unless you have studied the Relativity of Life and its various linkages as to what one item (or event) affects the other.

Even the gossip named, Velma, was no match for this invisible Universe Police Force that takes a dim view of crimes, sins, big and small. They never sleep. Always on the job. How do I know this? I had the instant displeasure of meeting on the date, Aug. 9, 1973, in an old-time Free Will Baptist revival service where I came to know Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Now you have two roads converging. One road, me, a new convert and the other road, a gossip whose name you already know. But those (behind her back) called her Velmer. You know that whangy whang rural dialect that I was once a dues paying member.

Each Sunday morning just like clockwork, there she'd be standing at the front door watching what other women were wearing as if that were a gift that God gave her to fulfill her special destiny of wardrobe worn in church. It happens. It's still happening. Probably always will happen until Jesus returns to earth. Then, no karma. No tattle tales. Just truth. Hard, cold, unmovable truth. When judgment comes, not strikes, we are one of two things: innocent or guilty. But in Velmer's case, I would have to say that she was a bit innocent and on another day, she was guilty of running that tongue as if it were made of rubber from some of Thailand's best rubber plantations. I gave her credit. She knew how to pick a person (meaning, question the devil out of them) just for the sake of finding such unimportant details as if what color a certain man's underwear was. Even in front of his wife. But Velmer had her ways. Wy', I've seen her pick and fillet a man and know more about him in a scant twenty seconds than any C.I.A. operative ever learned on his finest recon mission.

Still, Velmer was nothing but a gossip. What she really loved was to pick a person, (her favorite person to pick was a demur, coy young girl about 23), find out her most treasured secrets then share them to "Besty" her confidant an amateur gossip taking lessons from Velmer. "Betsy" did not sit on the same pew as Velmer. I guess that she hadn't paid her gossip dues yet. I guess that you may be forming a rather unsavory opinion of (some) church denominations by the "Velmer's" who seemingly go roughshod with their tongues.

But Velmer is to be credited. She was a regular "Gossip Farmer." Not many can lay claim to having this enigmatic title. To the unsuspecting ear, Velmer's stream of perfectly-disguised criticisms might be construed as compliments fooling the recipient completely. Those who knew Velmer knew well exactly how her flapping tongue could be so very dangerous to one's character and standing in the community and they just continued to walk to their pews not offering a word. Velmer, speaking of a "Gossip Farmer," could take the smallest seeds of gossip, sew them in someone's mind and then later harvesting them to reap even a bigger tale to share with others. And there were those very blind who thought and even said that Velmer's talent for gossiping might be a gift. That is very doubtful.

Aged, seasoned people in her church and out at one time prayed for this gossiper, Velmer and what was so funny was that these same people prayed for this Velmer for years with no results. She just continued to gossip more and more until there were a few who did think that she might have a mental affliction. Then there were those, the two I was told about, who sought Jesus to do as He did in the Four Gospels to exorcise Velmer's demons, but that always followed the ever-burning question as to who or what would she be like without gossiping?

Velmer, when she went in search of neighbors to find some juice in their dialogue, began to fanning out to a larger circle bigger than where she lived at a place called the New Hope Community, in northwest Alabama. One problem that Velmer had to face: Her husband, Furman, who was most times a home body, would always turn down her request for him to drive her to visit a neighbor who lived farther than her own "gossip zone." Furman was not known for talking. And when you met Velmer, you knew in an instant why. Velmer kept her tongue on fire with gossip--both bad, good, pro-church and even anti-church if her pastor said something in his Sunday sermon that she didn't agree with. Velmer would pounce on these points of disagreement for usage the next week for a new crop of new gossip.

One of the church members who worshipped in the same church as Velmer, was a young man, 21, Kenneth Avery, a new convert and took Christianity very seriously. One Sunday Avery walked into church, sat down, and the Sunday School part of the church service began. Things were going smoothly. Even Velmer was listening intently. But after the pastor's straight-forward sermon, he called for those who wanted to come to the altar for group prayer. Avery was one of them.

Upon finishing his prayer, Avery started to sit back down on his pew when Velmer made a bee line for him and asked him some very indignant questions one being when he (Avery) was going to preach? This offended Avery, but knew what might happen if he were to just stand up straight like a real man who had a backbone and tell her what business is this of yours? But he didn't. He turned the other cheek. And years later regretted that slap more and more.

Her husband was not a church man. But would take Velmer to church every Sunday morning never being late never missing a lick. Velmer did not attend church as much for the worship service, but by now you know her real heart's intent: Gossiping. Both to hear and use others' harmless chatter on someone else. But Furman. I was told that one time she tried to, I think, try out her gossiping talents, but Furman let her know quickly where she could go and to never start that X!*$%^+# again. She honored his gruff admonishment.

A few ladies who lived in Velmer's neighborhood swore to it one day that she viewed Velmer walking up an down the gravel road that ran adjacent to her house. This struck these ladies as strange because according to Velmer, a righteous lady is never to walk on a public road for fear of being mistaken for a common whore. But in Velmer's case, there was nothing common with Velmer. When she was walking it was not for using men for sexual gratification, but to do a "Gossip Safari" and even search out the cemetery at New Hope Church in hopes that someone was being buried, someone that she didn't get to share some gossip with, so she could mine out new gossip from the grave diggers and funeral home workers.

Velmer did not have a telephone in the early 1970s. Furman, it was believed, was too stingy to spend money just for Velmer to sit on the phone day in and day out to gossip to other people in the area who did have telephones. I have to give Furman a pat on the back for his prudence.

After 1973, I left this New Hope Church and never saw Velmer again. Or Furman. I felt so very relieved at not being hounded each Sunday by her grinding lips and jaws just waiting to fill me with some gossip bits that she had found on the previous Saturday night.

In years to come, Velmer would pass my thoughts a few times and just travel onto where ignorant thoughts habitate. I assumed that finally she died.

I never knew. Or wanted to.


© 2017 Kenneth Avery


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    • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenneth Avery 

      18 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Linda, dear friend,

      Thank you kindly, for this and all of your comments.

      This was a true event that I wrote. And I just wanted to ask you, do you really know just how MUCH I appreciate you?

      I do. All of my followers are God-sends.

      You keep on burning up your keyboard.

      I will visit soon.


    • Linda Courtney profile image

      Linda Courtney 

      18 months ago from Bensalem, PA

      Your hubs are such great reads! I think we have all known some Velmer's in our life at one point or another.


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