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Brotherhood of Motherhood

by Peary Perry
Peary Perry
I think I've told you before that in my former life, I was a cop. That was many, many, moons ago. The funny about being an ex-cop is that you still carry around a lot of the things that you learned or experienced. Things like where you sit in a restaurant, the way you walk, stuff like that. I've had people look at me years after I left the police department and ask me…"Were you ever a policeman?" Now, you know the best thing about being an ex-cop is that there is this unwritten brotherhood of ex-cops. Once a cop, always a cop sort of thing. It comes in handy sometimes. But, my being an ex-cop isn't the reason for this week's article. Nope, I am here to tell you that there exists in our society today a brotherhood much larger than that of cops. This is the Brotherhood of Motherhood.

Now, the other night, the wife and I are out walking. We see a couple of kids in a front yard with sticks in their hands sword fighting. You've seen this; you've probably done this. Now, sure as shooting, out comes Mom on the front porch and says what? Well, you can fill this in as well as I can, since we all know what Mom's are programmed to say. "Put those sticks down before someone's eye gets poked out." How many times in our lifetimes have we heard these words of caution? How many people in our lifetimes have we ever seen with their eyes poked out since they didn't pay attention to their Mommas?

Another classic line from the Brotherhood of Motherhood is this one…."Don't stick your arms out of the window while the car is moving because a truck will come by and tear your arm right off." I have seen people walking around that had lost an arm, but have never had the nerve to ask…."Why didn't you listen to your Momma?" Is this a genetic thing or a learned thing? Do women learn this from their mothers and pass it on down from one generation to another or is this a form of learned behavior?

I'm beginning to think this is something they learn in school at some time or another. Perhaps, when guys are going to really important classes like woodshop or metalworking or football, those girls are off learning secret things in classes called 'home economics' or something. I don't think males are allowed to go into home economics classes are they? So that explains it.

The one common worldwide instruction for all mothers has got to be…"Be sure and wear clean underwear…." I've heard this all of my life. So have you. I have never known anyone in all of my years that has had to decide whether to go to the emergency room first or have the ambulance take them home so they can be sure they have fresh panties or briefs on.

I've been a number of emergency rooms and I don't know that the topic of who forgot to wear clean drawers ever came up. I mean, these folks talk about bullet holes and knife wounds, not underwear. These are serious people trying to save lives; not see who is naughty or nice. Perhaps women get some kind of a book from the government that kind of outlines their role in society and what they will be expected to say in certain situations. It's got to be something like this. Because all of the mothers I've ever heard say the same things using the same words. I've been in England and heard mothers in London tell their kids to be careful when they go to the bathroom. You'll hear a mother in Omaha say the exact thing.

Think back…how many times have you been in the grocery store and heard some mother tell her son or daughter…"No, you can't have that, do you think money grows on trees?" Where did that originate? Who would have ever thought money grew on trees in the first place? Who hasn't heard this before? Raise your hands…Just as I thought, I can't see any hands raised. Of course, when I bring up this topic for discussion with my wife. She just smiles and says…"Well, all of our kids have their eyes and arms don't they?" How can I argue with that?
© Peary Perry
Letters From North America >

April 25, 2007 column
Syndicated weekly in 80 newspapers
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