Thanksgiving on the farm. Out came the card table, a place for the children to sit. Once the meal was over, the eating table was transformed into a puzzle table. Not everyone in the family puzzled. Dad would once in awhile place a few pieces, Mom puttered in the kitchen or crocheted most of the day conversing with the puzzlers. Cousin Betty, my sisters and I would be glued to our seats puzzling over the puzzle. Puzzles are addictive, especially if you are the addictee. (I wonder if that’s a word?) Working together to complete a picture was only part of this puzzle ritual. We spent time together. I was much younger than the rest yet was treated as an equal. I joined in adult conversations or just listened learning what it was to be an adult. I grew up on puzzles.
Now we know that our memory improves with this putting together of puzzles. Not ‘puzzling’ considering the fact that you sit for hours determined to locate a piece of puzzle either by shape or by color. We are not deterred, refusing to surrender to 1000 pieces of challenge. I have no idea if my memory is better, since I don’t have any idea what it would be like if I didn’t do puzzles. Hm. Are you still with me? My granddaughter brought with her a puzzle that she had received from her grandpa one Christmas. 1000 pieces of Labrador retrievers standing in a grassy marsh. 1000 pieces of green grass and black dogs. My thought was that she should have taken it to her grandpa to complete since he bought a puzzle that was entirely too difficult for this child. Each time Sydney walked through the door she asked, “How are you doing on the puzzle, Grammy?” Argh! Determined not to back down from this broken up picture, not to allow my granddaughter to think her grandma is a failure, I finished the puzzle marveling at what I had accomplished alone.
Most people are eager for skiing and winter fun when fall comes on. I love to stay inside with a puzzle on the table, justifying the time I sit at that table as a memory building exercise. My memory may not be better, but my determination is impressive.
Pam Drake is a former resident of Darke County and is the author of Neff Road and A Grandparent Voice blog. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in these opinion pieces are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.