Backchat: Jigsaw Puzzles

Backchat: Jigsaw Puzzles

That’s when I thought about Grandad’s jigsaw-puzzles. ‘Cause it’s like families sometimes lose the box, or throw the box away, or decide they don’t need the box anymore. And they can no longer remember what the picture should look like.

AT LEAST 100 YEARS AGO, when I was still a small boy, my Grandma used to let me stay in the school holidays. And my Grandad used to let me help him do jigsaw-puzzles. Well, that’s not quite true, ‘cause 100 years ago I was too young to do really difficult jigsaw puzzles. And his were really REALLY difficult. But he used to let me try … 

There were thousands of very small pieces, lots of trees and seas and skies, which all looked the same and were impossible to join-up no matter how many times I turned them around or how hard I pushed them together.

Grandad used to do jigsaw-puzzles on the dining-room table with the ends pulled out. And some of his really REALLY difficult jigsaw-puzzles took days and weeks to do. And when there were no more pieces and no more holes and not even one lost piece lying upside-down on the floor, we would all stand around saying isn’t it lovely.

There was always a box that the jigsaw-pieces came in, which Grandad said we mustn’t lose. And I think I know why. ‘Cause the small picture on the box was what the big picture on the jigsaw-puzzle should look like when it’s finished. So if you lost the box with the picture on it, then you couldn’t do the jigsaw-puzzle anymore.

See?

I THOUGHT ABOUT GRANDAD just the other day. I was thinking about families, actually. Families who won’t talk to each other, who don’t love each other, who can’t stand each other anymore. And I was wondering what goes wrong.

And that’s when I thought about Grandad’s jigsaw-puzzles. ‘Cause it’s like families sometimes lose the box, or throw the box away, or decide they don’t need the box anymore. And they can no longer remember what the picture should look like. 

All they’ve got are lots of separate little pieces …

I just wish they could find a nice Grandma or Grandad to talk to. ‘Cause, even though they’re old, nice Grandmas and Grandads haven’t lost the box. They still remember what jigsaw-puzzles – and families – should look like. And they might help make the pieces fit again …

JOHN HAS BEEN GRAPEVINE’S FOUNDING EDITOR FOR AT LEAST 100 YEARS. WELL, MAYBE NOT QUITE THAT MANY. BUT GRAPEVINE DID TURN 36 A COUPLE OF MONTHS BACK. WHICH ISN’T BAD FOR A MAGAZINE, EH?