“Don’t tell anybody everything you know!”
Words of advice from my Dad, who I affectionately refer to as Big Jim. I have replayed those words countless times in my head and promptly shut my mouth. Big Jim recognized my tendency to reveal all at an early age. My mouth never closed. My mind never stopped and the words overflowed. It was probably exhausting for him, but mostly he would listen. A good listener that Big Jim. For many years, because the advice didn’t come until I was an adult. I don’t remember the exact circumstances but it had to do with work and some dirt I had on someone and Big Jim stopped me. And he actually sounded a little irritated with the gossip and I felt like he was disappointed in me. And out came the advice I would remember forever. Great words of wisdom that have kept me from making some very bad decisions throughout my adulthood.
When he said it, I remember how it was one of those lightbulb moments. There I sat reflecting on what he said, dissecting the exact words. “Don’t tell anybody everything you know.” So, I thought, maybe I can tell some people some things and other people other things. But, never will I share it all with one person. Now, all he really meant was for me to keep my mouth shut and not get involved in gossip and get myself in trouble. It meant much more to me though.
Here I am years later, Big Jim is gone and his words still stay with me. Like he is with me, poking me in the back when the words are burning a hole in my lips. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I ignore Big Jim’s words. And I always regret it. I can feel him staring at me with that disappointed look. That’s the worst.
But Big Jim always forgave me. Daddy’s little girl and all that. He couldn’t help it. I suppose I had a bit of a spell over him too. Even though he is gone and I don’t see him, he’s not really gone because I still talk to him and his voice will always be with me. My moral compass. That’s comforting.