I saw the new Sherlock Holmes movie a couple of days ago, and coincidentally, I recently happened to catch a few episodes of the TV show The Mentalist, as well. There is something about the deduction that these characters demonstrate that resonates with me. I have the sense that the all clues we need to decipher most situations are always there, if only we have the patience and intuition to find them, and I like it when those guys amaze us with how it can be done.
A few days before Christmas, my mother and my nephew, Richard, made a gingerbread house. With the extra dough, they cut out two gingerbread people to go with the house. One was liberally decorated with green sprinkles and the other just as festooned with red. Later that day, Richard approached my mother with concern. "Grandma," he said, "the green cookie is missing! We have to start an investigation."
Naturally my mother considered the most likely suspects. "Let's ask your mom and dad and sister," she suggested.
"I already talked to them, and they didn't do it," he assured her. "I have a clue, though. I found a little yellow feather by the gingerbread house, and I think it was a duck!"
By the time I arrived that night, there were two clues: a yellow feather and a quack that Richard heard around the time of the disappearance. Believe me when I tell you that we pursued the case of the missing cookie all weekend long. How did the duck get in? Where did it go? What had become of the cookie? And even when we were at the park, Richard questioned the geese, but they hadn't seen any yellow ducks.
In the end, we gave the cookie up for lost, ignoring the trail of green sprinkles that led to a certain four-year-old detective.