The Story – Calming The Savage Beast
My late wife was a picture puzzle addict from the get go. Over our 35-year marriage, there was almost no time that there wasn’t picture puzzle pieces strewn across her “puzzle table”. Yes, she had a table specifically in her hobby room for that purpose. Frequently during those 35 years she tried to convince me to take up this hobby. Stubbornly, I always said “No”, I had better things so do with my time. She ended up with 300+ puzzles in her inventory!
Eventually, five years ago, or about 30 years into the marriage, I finally agreed to work one, just one, I told her. Then I found the secret to why I should have agreed much earlier. One of my Aspie traits is that my mind is constantly running about a hundred miles per hour thinking about dozens of different things at the same time. Some were things that I should have said or done in the recent past. Many are worrying about the future, and my place in it. Those thoughts were always there every day and even kept me up many nights. I had long ago given up the idea of sleeping through a whole night, but then came picture puzzles.
When I finally agreed to work a puzzle, it took a while before I realized the soothing effect they had on me. I found that when I was working a puzzle my mind concentrated on that exercise and everything else moved into the background! My mind was finally at rest during my puzzle time. Of course, once I discovered this epiphany I was hooked. My wife, has frequently enjoyed telling me, “I told you so” every time I pulled out a new puzzle.
That first time was about 6 years ago, and my collection is now approaching 100 puzzles. I have worked almost all of them at least twice and some three times. Now that I am alone in a retirement community, I frequently end the last half hour of the day working at my “puzzle table”. Yvonne would have been proud of me seeing that I finally took her advice.
But I am a picture puzzle snob. The first few puzzles were a variety of artists, but then I discovered Charles Wysocki’s Americana puzzles. I love the pictures and especially the fact that there are no vast spaces in any of his puzzles without some identifying marks. I am also attuned to working only 500 and 1,000-piece puzzles. I can word a 500 piece one in a couple of days, and the 1,000 piece ones in a week or so.
Let’s close out this story/post with a picture of my puzzle tables. Thank you, my love for finally convincing me to take up “your” hobby. I think of you every time I sit down to work a puzzle. May you Rest In Peace.