CNHI News Service


February 12, 2013

Life, like puzzles, best lived in small pieces

Someone once said, “Life by the yard is hard, but life by the inch is a cinch.”

My sweet, late Aunt Edith loved putting together the big, 1,000-piece puzzles. She was an accountant by trade and, therefore, possessed the patience to tackle the “big boy” puzzles. I struggle today with the “Big Bird” puzzles that consist of 50 pieces. Usually, I wind up flicking open my trusty Barlow knife and making the stubborn piece fit.

Folks, in seconds flat, I can pound in a puzzle piece that won’t fit.
I really don’t remember ever going to her home and not seeing a big puzzle in progress on that old, four-legged green card table tucked in the corner of her kitchen.

Every year, family would gather for reunions in her home and invariably wind up at that table jabbering away like a bunch of monkeys in a tree, working on a puzzle.

Life was sure simple back then – eating dinner at the table as a family, no cellphones, no Internet, no computers, three channels on the TV (only if the antenna was jiggered just right), leased rotary phones anchored to a wall and sporting a 50-foot cord, and puzzles.

As a kid, I recall leaning over the card table and looking at the massive pile of jumbled puzzle pieces, some right side up and others facedown, thinking there was no way in the world she could ever put this together.

The picture on the box was of a beautiful, snowcapped mountain; with blue skies; soft, billowy clouds; colorful, leafy trees; a clear stream with jumping trout; and deer grazing in the foreground.

This scene on the box was the goal and a far cry from the scattered mess on the card table. Again, as a youngster,     I thought, “No way!”

Text Only
  • taylor.armerding.jpg Warren's populist pitch on student loans is off key

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren's populist rhetoric pumps up students about their loan burdens, but she conveniently neglects to mention the real problem - the exorbitant cost of college - much less how she's benefitted from those high prices.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Obama's equal pay exaggeration leads us all into danger

    The president's claims of national shame over gender-based pay inequity spring from distorted calculations, as well as some convenient political math.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Voters beware of oligarchs and bogeymen

    Scaring voters to distract them from issues is a tired - and bipartisan - ploy sure to be in heavy rotation this campaign season.

    April 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Put teens to work by laying off minimum wage rhetoric

    Idle teen workers may be a national problem, but frugal private employers aren't the reason for it. Minimum wage hikes - like the one championed by President Obama - squeeze these marginal jobs out of the economy.

    March 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Legal marijuana can be government's new cash crop

    Officials holding out against legalized marijuana may "evolve" their thinking because of one number: Colorado says it gathered $2 million in taxes from pot shops in January, as business was just getting started.

    March 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Banning a 'B-word' teaches girls the wrong lesson

    Striking the word "bossy" from the language doesn't help young girls learn to speak up or become leaders. It teaches them how to be, well, bossy.

    March 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Giving businesses choice is not legalizing discrimination

    The owner of a California gay bar should be allowed to refuse service to legislators he considers "crazy, ignorant or stupid." The problem is the popular double-standard that supports his version of "discrimination" while raging against anyone who disagrees with him but wants the same freedom.

    March 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Obama twists Constitution to cut U.S. military

    President Obama's plan to slash the military to pre-World War II levels endangers the country, especially when our enemies don't know the war is over.

    February 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Benefits of hiking minimum wage are an illusion

    The president's latest economic fantasy says raising the minimum wage will incentivize work, lower unemployment, juice the economy and may even lower taxes. All while businesses swallow billions of dollars more in labor costs.

    February 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Coastal residents should pay true cost of flood insurance

    The environmental champions in Congress took a big break from their moral scolding this past month with a gigantic “Never mind!” after their constituents discovered the law requiring them to start paying the true cost of living in flood-prone areas.

    February 14, 2014 1 Photo