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January 29th Is Puzzle Day

According to the Washington Post, January 29th is Puzzle Day. I have lived my whole life without this knowledge which should be surprising to those who know me best. I am a closet puzzler.

 
My mother Irene Knarr taught me how to puzzle. We would start a puzzle in the basement during winter break. Somewhere during the break, Mom would disappear leaving me to finish the puzzle. I learned the joy of persistence, completion, and knowing everything had its place. Mom got what she needed, an inexpensive babysitter, and I learned a few life skills.
 
When Mom retired, there was oftentimes a puzzle started on the dining room table. One of the hardest puzzles we completed together was of two polar bears in the snow. I bought it thinking the bears were cute neglecting to realize the picture was white on white. As torturous as the puzzle was, we had a moment of sadness realizing we had actually finished. Then we started another puzzle.
 
Even at age 90, Mom continues to puzzle. We have worked on numerous puzzles at Peabody Retirement Center together. Beware of the used puzzles—something is always missing or pieces put in boxes that don’t belong. The worst yet funniest Peabody puzzle experience was a photograph-turned-puzzle a grandchild sent. We desperately tried to finish it successfully, but not all of the pieces fit and a few were duplicates. Each of us pushed and pried trying to coax pieces into places they did not belong. Thus began our slogan: Bad puzzles should be thrown away!
 
Mom has assembled enough framed puzzles for each of us to have as a memory of one of her passions. I, for one, will not soon forget the hours we have shared mumbling to ourselves, “This piece doesn’t go anywhere!” or shouting, “Ha! I got another one!” 
 
Not all understand the passion of an OCD afflicted puzzler.  Those who do will shout for joy there is a day to celebrate puzzling. 
 
Learn more about storytelling at www.carolknarr.com