The Mystery Of Motherhood

I have found a way to reach out to my deceased mother. It’s amazing. I feel like I’m actually with her. Sometimes I think I can even smell my mom’s Jean Patuou Joy perfume. No, I’m not spending time with a psychic, an Ouija board or any other kind of cosmic intervention. My journey to the great beyond is courtesy of the Hallmark Movie and Mysteries channel.

Don’t scoff, don’t shake your head in disbelief and don’t discount the power of Murder She Wrote and Columbo marathons to make me feel like I’m back home in Texas (circa late 70’s early 80’s) with the hum of the cranked AC almost as loud as the TV and my mom and I sipping ice tea with mint from the garden as we try to outwit TV’s master detectives.

My mother loved a good “who done it.”  She devoured mystery novels like I eat a chocolate fudge Bundt cake – in one sitting. My first chapter books were the Encyclopedia Brown – Boy Detective series. I still remember how proud she was of me when I solved The Case of the Missing Civil War Sword. After Encyclopedia Brown I graduated to Agatha Christie and my life was forever changed.

I was a teen with the hots for Hercule Poirot – Christie’s master detective. Poirot wasn’t exactly the stuff of a girl’s dreams. The character was a middle-aged, mustached, “egg shaped detective” from Belgium. Yet, I was smitten.

I’m not exaggerating while other girls my age were obsessed with the Partridge Family’s David Cassidy I was quoting Poirot.

It is the brain, the little gray cells on which one must rely. One must seek the truth within–not without.”

Is it any wonder my brother came to this close to being forced to be my prom date? I think not.

I still have every Agatha Christie book I ever read, but for some reason re-reading them doesn’t bring my mom back to me like settling into the Hallmark Movie and Mystery channel. I think it’s because watching those shows was a shared experience and my mother always, like within the first ten minutes, had figured who had done it and how they did it. It was impressive and my day, no my month, was made if I happened to blurt out before she did who the killer was.

Her detective chops also made her a mom who was hard to get anything over on. My brother called her a “human polygraph” You didn’t attempt to fib, white lie, hard core fabricate or spin a yarn of falsehoods. She knew in a nano second if you were “spouting untruths.”  It was a 100 percent wasted effort to do anything but be straight up with her.

One day she shared her secret to divining dishonesty. I was on the edge of our living room Scalamandre upholstered love seat all ears and ready for the truth bomb of my lifetime. Her reveal was, well, rather disappointing in it’s simplicity. My mother said, “to find the truth you have to learn to be quiet and listen.”

I gave her a look that said, “Ugh, that’s all you got.” She took one look at my disappointed face and gave me a “tsk, tsk.”

I never would have imagined those dozen words of maternal wisdom would have remained on an audio loop in my brain for the past 30 plus years and that they would have served me so well.

That’s the enduring power of motherhood. Your mom never really leaves you. I still feel like my mother is with me. Still gently prodding me to be better and even to this day I hear her telling me to sit up straight or in her words, “Hand to God child, you’re one slump away from getting a dowagers hump.”

And on those days when I really, really miss her I turn on Columbo and suddenly all is right with the world.


5 thoughts on “The Mystery Of Motherhood

  1. Maya says:

    This made me tear up. My mom was also a huge mystery fan and whenever I read a good mystery book I feel like we’re together again.

  2. Leslie Davidison says:

    I also loved this! My mom died when I was 15 and the smell of chocolate chip cookies always makes me think she’s with me.

  3. JanetB says:

    Brought me back! I loved Encyclopedia Brown too, but Nancy Drew, girl detective was my favorite. Read soooo many of those and also the Hardy Boys. Love a good mystery! Enjoyed hearing about your mom, sounds like she was awesome.

  4. Cathy Wilhite says:

    I love the Hallmark Mystery Channel for the same reasons. For that little bit of time mom (and dad and brother and sisters) are all together trying to figure it out. And all seemed right in our little world.

  5. texashomeschooler says:

    I still have my mom but my beloved grandmother is channelled with Pepsi and puzzles! Have you been back to your hometown lately? Girl, it is barely recognizable! I took my daughter for college premiere day recently and I was in shock!

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