Brody: Why I never work on jigsaw puzzles

Here at Brookdale, we have many jigsaw puzzles sitting out for residents to put together, and people have often asked me why I never once worked on one. Maybe this memory is why.

Way back in 1990, my fifth-grade class surprised me with a precious little kitten. We named the kitten Miss Aggie. I was not ready to have two cats, but when the entire class saved allowance money and did extra chores to pay the $50 fee to adopt her at the shelter, well you get it.

She was a calico, and she was needy so Gene and I spoiled her big time. The thing is she wanted our laps and our attention constantly and this began to cause a problem in our big white house on the hill.

Recently, as I was reading through my old published columns, I came across one that Miss Aggie wrote herself. Rather than tell you her story, I want to let her tell it. It was first published February 20, 2001.

“Jigsaw Puzzles”

I hate puzzles. I hate them because in the nine years I have been the princess of this home puzzles are the only thing that can absorb Jean’s undivided attention, which leaves me out. I can’t stand it.

Now, I never complained about crossword puzzles. Jean does one first thing every morning while drinking her coffee, and I can live with that because she doesn’t know who I am in the morning or who she is at that hour. If it goes on for too long, I sit on the paper or on her chest, both of which pretty much interrupt things.

However, true evil has come into my life. Jean’s latest obsession is jigsaw puzzles. We have this huge glass top table. It is there she dumps the entire mess of tiny pieces and begins to create a picture that looks just like the top of the box it came in.

The first one she and Gene did went together quickly. Neither of them could even pass by that dang table without trying to find and fit another piece. I watched them do this by lying on my back under that table.

The second one had many more pieces, all shaped pretty much alike and it did not go so quickly. Jean got a little testy when they couldn’t find the border pieces.

As for me, I realized she was spending way too much time looking at all of those dumb cardboard pieces.

Finally, they finished that puzzle, and I hoped like crazy they would quit puzzling for a while but, oh no, out came another and another and another. And I swear I began having withdrawal symptoms. I hated those puzzles.

Then came one showing Monet’s garden. Jean went on and on about how beautiful the colors were.

For three solid days, that’s practically all they did and when I heard Jean announce on the third day neither one of them were going to bed until it was finished. I knew things were getting too serious.

It upset me terribly, and when they didn’t even turn on the TV that third day I knew Jean needed help. I jumped to the far end of the glass tabletop, “Don’t you even think of walking or touching that puzzle young lady,” snarled Jean. They never yell at me, and my feelings were hurt. I had to do something.

It got later and later, and still, they sat, moving little pieces of cardboard back and forth. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

Suddenly, at 1 a.m., I awoke to the two of them, like chickens with their heads cut off, dancing around the table. Why? That ugly puzzle was all put together.

Jean said, “Look Aggie at our masterpiece! I’ve decided I’ll have it framed. You know we’ve been in Monet’s garden and in his home.” All I could think to myself was, “Ugh. It’s hideous, but I’ll fix that.” When I was sure they were asleep, I quietly crawled off the bed and walked to the room where their nasty old puzzle sat like a trophy.

Gracefully I lept to the tabletop, landing smack dab in the middle of the puzzle, breaking apart the edges, making way for the little pieces to skew left and right. Then one swipe of my paw and hundreds of the pieces so perfectly fit together went into all directions onto the floor. By the time I quit skidding back and forth on the glass table, not one piece was properly attached to the correct next piece.

After viewing my masterpiece, I hopped off the table and returned to the bed. Gene is an early riser, and the first thing he does is feed me. But that next morning, I was a bit worried about their reaction to what I’d done.

The most amazing thing happened. As I passed the scene of mass destruction, there was Gene. Surely he wasn’t laughing? Yep, he sure was laughing. Do you know what he said to me? He said, “I guess I know how you felt about our Monet puzzle. Now about some breakfast?” As he turned and got the cat food for me, he laughed again and whispered to me, “Yup. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, right Miss Aggie?”

So, this is Miss Aggie’s way of getting all of our time and affection back. As for me, just looking at all that mess all over the table and floor sort of turned my stomach upside down. I doubt I could ever put together a jigsaw puzzle again.

The view from the mountain is wondrous.

Jean Brody is a passionate animal lover and mother. She previously lived in Winchester, but now resides in Littleton, Colorado. Her column has appeared in the Sun for more than 25 years.