Tickled to Pieces


Urgency day: 486

500 Things Item 15: Charles Freitag Jigsaw Puzzle

  • Gift for Paul from Laura
  • They love doing puzzles together; I love watching them
  • They love new challenges
  • Gift for my FHF client and her son

Paul and Laura are puzzle buddies. Serious puzzle buddies. What makes it “serious?”

They have a rhythm.

They have an unspoken puzzle-doing language; they have an order: sorting, corners, areas; they work as a focused team, with no apparent competitiveness. There is seamless motion, and there also is an unselfconscious- running commentary:

“Can you believe how they covered up this part of the picture with a label?!”

“This red looks very different from the red on the box. Or is this brown?”

“Do you have any of my old man with a rag?”

“Yes, do you have half of the other white chicken?”

I don’t do puzzles with them. I cook their dinners and refill their glasses and revel in the easy rapport of my husband and my niece.

Besides, I’d just disrupt their dance.

Last week, to my delight, I discovered that I have other puzzle-doers in my life.

In the two years that I have known her, I never knew my FHF client loves jigsaw puzzles. And now she is teaching her four-year old to do and love jigsaw puzzles. I couldn’t be more tickled.

I was in her apartment last week, and there was a completed Thomas Kinkead puzzle on her kitchen table. It was very small, just 8” by 8” I would say, and I asked her if she liked doing puzzles. She absolutely lit up and said, “Always.”

I’ve seen that delight in other faces before.

I told her I had some puzzles I could pass along, but they were much bigger than the one on her table. “No problem,” she said. “We’ve got a felt!” And she pointed to a large piece of green felt that could role up and accommodate even an oversized puzzle in various states of completion.

I am so happy to share our old puzzles with her and her little boy. And she gave me a great idea for a Christmas present for my puzzling pair. [Hint: it’s green.]

So do I have to get rid of 501 things now?


2 Responses to “Tickled to Pieces”

  1. Sean Says:

    Being married to an avid puzzler, I have had ample opportunity to consider my aversion to the practice, but have yet to produce a satisfactory analysis. Is it that my brain fails to gel when confronted with that specific kind of pattern recognition challenge? Do I resent assembling the visual designs of other artists? Am I so accustomed to multimedia pursuits that I can’t find satisfaction in intellectual accomplishments that are bereft of syncopated sound and visual effects? While I ponder this, I’ll join you in the kitchen, at least in spirit.

  2. sydney Says:

    Wait wait wait… was I just called an “avid puzzler”? I am so not. I have never given even one kernel of my brain power to thinking about a puzzle that was not directly in front of me. I don’t collect puzzles, own a felt, or yearn for a puzzle project. That said, if puzzle pieces appear on a living room table, or in the staff lounge, something fires up in me and I jump on them.
    I think it boils down to a desire to bring order to chaos.

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