CNHI News Service

Opinion

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!”

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