All posts by Patricia Smith Wood

About Patricia Smith Wood

Patricia Smith Wood became interested in crime solving and mysteries through her father, a former policeman, and career FBI agent. She became a fan of the Judy Bolton mystery series by Margaret Sutton, and vowed one day to try her hand at crafting her own mysteries. After a long and varied work career (including working for the FBI and owning her own computer business) she retired to work on her writing career. She's published two mysteries in the Harrie McKinsey series, and is working on the third.

Did You Ever Notice?

The television set in our kitchen/family room purred softly in the background while I prepared dinner tonight. I glanced up to see what the characters were up to on the NCIS rerun. Leroy Jethro Gibbs and the Lieutenant Colonel were eating Chinese takeout. That’s when the question came to mind.

Have you ever noticed that on any television program that shows a couple of characters eating takeout Chinese, they ALL Continue reading Did You Ever Notice?

If I Had Known Then What I Know Now

I have a philosophy about the past: what’s done is done. Sounds pretty obvious doesn’t it? And yet you hear so many people rehash the past, blaming themselves and others for how situations did or didn’t work out. So what’s the point of all that ‘hashing?’ Can you change anything about the past? Well, maybe if you have access to a time machine you could. But would that even be a good thing to do? Never forget the space/time continuum Continue reading If I Had Known Then What I Know Now

My Love Affair With The Telephone

Me in 1942, Gatesville, TX

When I was about three years old I had a toy telephone. I talked long and frequently on that thing every day. My mother thought it was cute and took the photo you see here. She marveled at my propensity for being so earnest in carrying out these one-sided, make-believe conversations. What little kid hasn’t watched their parents and other relatives actively engaged in lively conversation on the telephone. Since they can only hear one side of the conversation, they naturally assume it to be a one-person activity.

A couple of years later, my dad went to Alaska to work on the Alcan Highway project, so my mother and I moved back to Fort Worth to live with my grandmother for the duration of the war. It was then I Continue reading My Love Affair With The Telephone

Innocence Ain’t What It Used To Be

Since I was a teenager in the 1950s, my “awareness” of life and some of it’s more “adult” themes was, at age 18, not what the youth of today would understand. Let’s face it. When I was a teenager, “I Love Lucy” was the biggest show on television and “Lucy” and “Ricky” slept in twin beds. In fact, any time a married couple’s bedroom was shown on television or in the movies, they had twin beds. Even in the 1960s, on the Dick Van Dyke Show, Rob and Laura Petrie had twin beds. All this is by way of letting you know that young, unmarried girls (at least those in the group I grew up with) lived in an atmosphere that didn’t impart much knowledge about sex.So, having set the stage, I will tell you about an incident that occurred on my first job after high school. A week after graduation, I got a position at Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph Company as a stenographer in the State Engineering Department. I was part of a “steno pool” of girls who Continue reading Innocence Ain’t What It Used To Be

How Dry I Am

In 1942 when I was three, most small towns in Texas were “dry,” and we lived in one. This meant that liquor was not sold in our town, and, in theory, drinking the evil brew was effectively curtailed. As always, there were ways around this situation. You could purchase booze in areas close by which were not “dry” and transport it back to your home, and this is how people who liked a little nip occasionally handled this mild inconvenience. But most of the residents were (on the surface at least) teetotalers.My parents were both very young at that time. Dad was only 22 and Mom was 23, and they frequently had friends over to our apartment for an evening of socializing and beverage consumption. I was usually up and mingling with the guests during at least part of these evenings (there was, after all, no television in those days.) Plus, I had many relatives back in Fort Worth, which was not dry, and they all enjoyed a cocktail or a beer every now and then. So, to me, social drinking was a normal component of a party.My Mom worked hard to get to know the townspeople and make friends. During the time we lived there, she was able to stay home and be a housewife, so it was important to meet people and establish relationships. A few months after we arrived, Continue reading How Dry I Am

Embarrassing Your Child – Advice From an Expert

Most parents have experienced some embarrassing moments, thanks to their offspring. The tiny tots have a tendency to throw tantrums and tell family secrets. Sometimes, in their childish innocence, they make comments in front of strangers that can reduce the parent to red-faced, squirming despair. It’s just one of life’s little moments and you pray for the strength to walk away with some dignity. At such times, your thoughts turn to the hope that someday, they too, will be parents and have their turn.But my child didn’t have to wait that long. She had her mother to do the honors. Without deliberate malice or forethought, I began paying her back when she was about eleven.I’ve had a slight hearing impairment for many years, and I sometimes hear things “funny”. So if I hear something that sounds strangely out-of-place, I repeat it to get clarification and it usually gives people a chuckle. When my daughter, Paula, was eleven, she didn’t find much humor in the way I heard things. One day we were shopping for school clothes and she was showing me a shirt she found. What she actually said was, “Look, seams inside out!” But I repeated back to her what I thought she said, which came out Continue reading Embarrassing Your Child – Advice From an Expert

The Deathly Hallows – My Personal Take

Last night, shortly after midnight, I finished J.K. Rowling’s’ latest (and sadly last) installment in the adventures of Harry Potter and his companions from the wizarding world.I’m not giving anything away of the plot when I say I was very satisfied with the ending. My admiration for the writing ability of Ms. Rowling increases Continue reading The Deathly Hallows – My Personal Take

The Exploits Of David – Part 2

Anyone who has been part of a family with more than one child can attest to the fact that the younger children often reach adulthood due to the benevolence of the older ones. Of course, if you personally happen to be a younger birth-order child, you might not agree with me. But I know older siblings will see it my way.
My baby brother, who is definitely no longer a baby, owes me his life. I was an only child for so long I had grown to accept it as my lot in life. While I sometimes wished for a sister to play with, and to stand with me against the tide of adult family members, I realized there were many advantages to my only child status. By the time I was thirteen years old, I no longer gave it a thought, and I was well entrenched in my identity as the “only” one. Then one drizzly, gray February morning I was home from school because I had a cold. I was sitting at the breakfast table with my mother after my father had gone to work. I was trying to eat my oatmeal and feeling generally “yucky”. My mother got it into her head to cheer me up, so she said, “Well, I have something to tell you that will make you feel better. You are going to get a baby brother Continue reading The Exploits Of David – Part 2

David The Daredevil


I can still picture exactly what I was doing and remember how I felt when I heard the squeal of the car’s brakes and my Mother’s horrified scream. It was the summer between my brother’s third and fourth birthdays, and he had just been hit by a car.David was a normal, rambunctious boy. He got into things, no matter how many times you tried to stop him. He never believed it when you told him something was dangerous and he could get hurt. He questioned every rule and defied every order. I’m told many little boys are like that. It’s just we weren’t prepared.My parents were only 18 and 19 when I was born, and I was an only child for fourteen years. They took my childhood in stride. They gave orders, I followed them. If I goofed up, there was spanking, scolding, and worst of all Continue reading David The Daredevil

Things I Find Annoying

On a day-to-day basis, there are plenty of things we can find annoying. Traffic is a good place to start.
Have you ever wondered what all those people you see talking on their cell phones while driving were doing ten or twelve years ago? The ubiquitous cell phone was still a few years in the future back in 1994-95. People somehow managed to go from point A to point B without the need to talk on a phone. They even went shopping without keeping up a running dialog with friends and family. So does the availability of such technology produce the need? Apparently so. Hurray for the new law that permits