Solving the puzzle of life one piece at a time

Published 3:45 pm Thursday, December 1, 2016

Is life a puzzle? It often seems that way. I promise to explain what I mean by the end of this column.

First, I would like to start with my week from Thanksgiving day. I spent Thanksgiving day at my daughter Kim’s in Louisville. It was a great day with no complaints. As usual, the meal was perfectly delicious and the dining room table elegantly set. She listened to her momma to make extra cranberry salad so a container could go home with her to enjoy later.

When my daughters were young, I used to wonder what it would be like for me to go to their homes and eat. I wondered what the food would taste like, if they were good housekeepers or not, where they would live — I guess it was a game I liked to play. Anyway, I should say I can’t compare to either of them when it comes to entertaining. They make me so proud.

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My granddaughter Olivia came home with me for a four-day visit. Usually, the drive home from Louisville is spent with her singing or playing a game or her begging me to tell her a story that I have to make up as we drive along. Expecting this to be the case coming back on this trip, I was shocked at what actually took place.

We were singing carols together and had sang about four or five but when as I was nearing Shelbyville, I realized I was singing alone. I asked Olivia a question and there was no answer. I was a little startled since I am an overprotective grandmother.

I immediately wondered if something was wrong with her. This is a child who is not quiet for more than two minutes at a time. I kept glancing back and finally heard a little contented sigh come from her body and I was able to relax in wonderment that she was asleep.

I had to laugh to myself thinking you would have thought she was the one who cooked the Thanksgiving meal. Then I remembered she and her mom had run a 5K early that morning and she finished it.

She awakened just as I was pulling into Winchester and wondered how long she had been asleep. Of course by that time, she had rested just enough for me to have to be up most of the night.

Early Friday morning, Olivia nudged me with a whisper to make her some homemade from scratch pancakes and syrup, a favorite with my grandkids. Olivia seems to think as long as she whispers to awaken me, it is acceptable. I think I have mentioned I am not a morning person and it takes me a little while to even talk sensibly.

Anyway, I was still trying to recover from being up watching “Anne of Green Gables” and “Pollyanna” with Olivia. Driving to Louisville and back the previous day was not helping, nor did a busy Thanksgiving day. Anyway, I dragged myself to the kitchen to make pancakes and syrup, and begin my day with Olivia.

Friday night, her cousins Hayden and Simon and Aunt Shanda and I went to see the Southern Lights in Lexington. The night was perfect for that with the weather —crispy cool but not freezing. As usual, I was like a little child as I watched the magic of the lights before my eyes. As we drove along, we tried to decide which was our favorite. I think Shanda and I liked the three French hens on the Eiffel Tower as one of our favorites as the 12 days of Christmas is depicted on the tour. Another favorite of my mine is the horse race. I could sit and watch it over and over as they leave the gate and get to the finish line. I would suggest if you have not gone to see the Southern Lights, get a carload together and go enjoy a night together.

Saturday, with my little Louisville fan in the house with me, I was amazed as the University of Kentucky football team beat Louisville, which was favored by 20 points. She is as big a Louisville fan as I am a UK fan, so we have a pretty good banter go on. Knowing how bad it hurts to lose a game, I tried to go easy on her. However, once again I think anyone walking by my house would know UK won. Go Big Blue!

I did tell her mom and dad what a difference our quarterback made in the game compared to their quarterback in the game. Enough said!

Early Sunday morning, I was awakened by “Nana, can I get this puzzle out and work it?” I was not wanting that puzzle strung out in a place I would be picking up. I said no and then decided to go on and get up. I decided to get the puzzle set up on a table other than the kitchen table.

I have always loved puzzles and used to watch my friend Verne Orndorff work puzzles all year long. I had been wanting to work one, too, so the idea sounded good to me. I was frustrated that Olivia’s idea of working the puzzle was for about 30 minutes until she was on to something else. Now, I am intrigued with this puzzle and am so in to this puzzle it is driving me crazy. I thought this puzzle reminds me of life. I do not know why I relate everything to life situations but I seem to. Sometimes life can drive you crazy.

Anyway, life is like a big puzzle when you are first born, you have no idea where the pieces of your life will be placed. Some of the pieces you do all by yourself and sometimes others put your life together by helping you put the pieces together. Sometimes you put pieces in the wrong place and think how dumb you were. Other times you have the “eureka” moment when you solve a piece of the puzzle you have been working on for a long time. Sometimes you think you have a part of the puzzle and place a piece that looks like it fits but find out it was all wrong and you have to start all over and look harder to make it work. Some pieces of the puzzle are so easy and fit with no problems whatsoever. Sometimes life seems to go so easy and seems all good, then like a puzzle piece, there are bumps in the road or someone else messes up your puzzle when you were making progress.

In my experience, one never completes a puzzle by himself. They have help from others or a conversation with others come into play with that puzzle. Most all puzzles are never done alone. Life requires other people. A puzzle is more fun when done with someone else and you are all working together to solve the puzzle. I remember winters at my home when we all were working on the same puzzle and my mom getting involved and enjoying it. I look back on one winter more fondly now.

Life, like a puzzle, seems great once you have the puzzle finished. There comes a little sadness when the time comes that it is all broken into pieces, when it is torn up like tearing the puzzle up after you have worked so hard on it. You think it was still fun to do along the way and you are ready for another challenge in life.

I still think life always has a piece of a puzzle to be found and put in place. It is never perfect, but we learn with patience it will work better. We just need persistence to finish the puzzle of life.

Where are you at in your puzzle of life? I hope it is smooth sailing for you.