Temp on dashboard gauge reads cold whether engine is running normal or hot. on 1997 Ford Taurus

After driving 70 miles, the temp gauge never went to the middle between hot and cold, but stayed close to cold. The engine did not appear overly hot. However on the return trip in the evening, the temp remained the same while the engine seemed very hot upon opening the hood. The mec hanic could find nothing wrong said to just worry if it read hot!

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