People who love jigsaw puzzles frequently share their favorite completed puzzles with each other. Puzzles move from home to home, table to table, being reworked and enjoyed by more than their original owner. I love passing my completed (and dismantled) puzzles along, whether to a friend, family member, or someone who wants to purchase one (usually at a yard sale, although I’ve sold some via Craisglist as well). And, on occasion, I’m also the recipient of a previously-completed jigsaw.
Recently, my best friend’s mother-in-law, Margaret, passed along a puzzle she’d enjoyed years ago. She’d heard that I loved working on challenging puzzles, and thought that this one fit the bill:
She was not kidding! The puzzle was only 500 pieces, but the entire image was a close-up of grass. Thousands of blades of grass from one side to the other, top to bottom. On top of that challenging image, the puzzle was also cut in a circle, which made it extra difficult to distinguish which pieces would go together to form the outside border. The circular shape also meant that the interior pieces weren’t cut in traditional shapes, but instead each had unique bumps and grooves that fit together in unusual ways.
It definitely took a while to complete this puzzle – about a month from start to finish. As always, I worked while watching some of my favorite shows, this time completing the last season of Downton Abbey and a couple of seasons of Parks & Rec. 🙂
Because of the unique nature of this puzzle, the best way to approach it was from the outside to the inside – which is not my usual method (I prefer to start in the middle). Eventually I could see the light at the end of the tunnel as the unfinished portion in the center grew smaller, and there were only a handful of pieces left. And then…
I was missing a piece! I immediately felt sick – firstly, I’d been dying to see the ridiculously repetitive image completed, and secondly, this was not even my puzzle. I had a flashback to when I was a kid, and I remember my mom had a ton of cool jigsaws stacked in a closet. Almost every time I asked her if I could work one the answer was no, mainly for fear that I’d lose a piece (or all of them). Unfortunately, since I was just a kid that was a huge possibility, and although I’ve never lost a piece as an adult I’ve grown to understand how upsetting it would be. Nevertheless, I fessed up to Margaret as soon as I had the chance, and she assured me that it was no big deal – the puzzle was pretty old and she wasn’t sure all the pieces had been there to begin with.
The ironic thing about this puzzle is that inside the box there’s a slip of paper telling you how you can receive a certificate of completion after submitting a photo of the completed puzzle. As frustrating as it was to not be able to fully complete it due to that lone missing piece, it kinda cracked me up thinking that despite all my efforts I might never have qualified for that certificate (not that I really would have sent it in).
As far as I’m concerned, I completed this puzzle. Missing piece or not, it still counts. Kinda makes you wonder where all the missing puzzle pieces could be though, right? Maybe they are in hiding with all those lost socks… 😛