From time to time, my daughter has given me jigsaw puzzles. She rightly assumes that they invoke fond memories of my childhood. From an early age, we were flooded by cardboard puzzles of Disney characters made in the Bushwick Terminals by our family-owned toy business. And then there were all those summers when Dad splayed his favorite wooden ones over the sun porch table. I assume she also would not be offended to know that while I treasure my memories and the puzzles she gave me, I rarely opened them because my impatience and intolerance for the mess would get in the way.
But a new day has dawned. This year, she gave me a trio of 500 piece puzzles she found on Food52. And one Sunday, when it was raining, my husband and I decided to give one a try on our dining room table. We were quickly hooked.
There is the initial high of finding and attaching (almost) all the edges. After that you can find us, alone or together, hunched over the table for hours at a time. Or just passing by and all of a sudden seeing a piece that fit. Voila, arms are raised in victory! And then you start developing strategies for large swaths of similarly colored spaces. And what to do first is always a ponderable, as well as when to move on.
We bought a puzzle tray on Amazon. They are critical if you actually want to use your table for something else. We are now on our seventh puzzle, ready to graduate to 1000 pieces. We rotate who gets to pick the picture. You can spend whatever time you have whenever you have it. You can do it alone or with others. And then there is a tangible result and a feeling of accomplishment. It’s an inexpensive way to engage your mind, your eyes, and your fingers. What could be better?!
A perfect use for a dining room table—at least for one that is not the size of a ping pong table. Daughters do sometimes know best.