Getting it right

One of the reasons I find some satisfaction in this career with the Peabody Gazette-Bulletin is that I think a town without a newspaper is a town that runs on rumor. If there is no dependable source of information about what really happens in a small town, the coffee shop advisory board determines what gets told and their version may or may not be true. If the advisory board members actually have the facts, then their stories are reliable. If not, what goes down about the history of our community might be skewed.

Some issues have real significance to the history of a town like Peabody and sometimes they are merely the stuff of tall tales, lies, and exaggeration.

Several weeks ago someone took a photo of a white stretch limousine parked outside a restaurant. It was posted on Facebook and someone else wondered if Kenny Chesney was dining there. He wasn’t. The limo was from Wichita, rented by some former residents who grew up here and wanted to bring their friends to Peabody to see the community and enjoy the food and atmosphere and not worry about arriving back home safely.

The following week I used the limo and my enjoyable visit with the former Peabody residents to make a joke in this opinion column about pulling into the parking lot, seeing the stretch limo, and hoping that Elvis was in the building. I acknowledged that he was not. I even mentioned the group that actually arrived in the limo and how nice it was to see them again. Sounds good, huh?

About two weeks later someone told me that one of the coffee shop regulars had been asking if anyone had seen Kenny Chesney on that particular Saturday night. She even referenced my opinion column in which she claimed that I said he was indeed, in the house.

What? I said nothing of the kind! The rumor floated around and some folks believed it and some did not. Most of us thought it was humorous.

This past week, the out-of-town owner of a piece of property close to the Coneburg was in Peabody dealing with water related issues. Late in the afternoon, he went into the Coneburg to get a beer and relax before heading home. Someone told him he looked “just like Toby Keith” and there was some slight resemblance according to the late afternoon staff at the Coneburg Inn.

Within hours, guess what happened? You’ve got it … the news was out. Not only had Kenny Chesney happened to drop in for a break while traveling, but in the middle of this past week, Toby Keith stopped by for a beer after working on his local rental properties. Sure he did!

I am willing to go out on a limb here and say that neither story is true, and I know that no one read them in the pages of this newspaper.

There you have it. You can either get the facts or you can listen to rumors.

— SUSAN MARSHALL

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