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Life Can Be a Puzzle

We traipsed up to Jones Peak in the San Gabriel Mountains yesterday morning before heading out to Menifee, where David’s mother and stepfather now live. It was a fantastic hike on a beautiful trail, except I forgot my hairspray.

David, who can fix anything, corrected an errant cabinet hinge in his mom’s kitchen, climbed the stepstool to reach a light fixture too high for an 84- and 90-year-old to attempt, and did other generally handy chores like putting up extra towel bars and sorting out his mom’s computer glitches.

For fun, we brought a puzzle.  Last night after the chores were done, we poured the pieces out on the coffee table and set to it.  David’s stepfather José would have none of it, declaring bitterly, “I can’t stand those things,” which made us laugh. He retreated to his den to read a book about WWII while David, Bonnie, and I sorted through the pieces and slowly and gradually brought the picture of “Sleepy Fox Farms” to life. None of us had done a jigsaw puzzle in decades. José was amazed that we finished it, and reported that there were long silences while we worked on it, punctuated by occasional cheers when one of us found and placed an especially elusive piece.

Puzzle 1-25-15

Today’s entertainment consisted of driving to Perris Valley Airport to watch the skydivers. You can see them dotting the sky from Bonnie and Jose’s backyard, but we wanted to have a closer look, and the airport is only three miles from their house.

Parachutists 1-25-15

There wasn’t any sign warning about possibly plunging to your death on a skydive, but the officials are apparently quite serious about the perils on the ground.

Propellers Rip Off Heads

This plane is called “The Shark.”  It touched down every 20 minutes or so to pick up another load of 15 to 20 adventurers.

El Tiburon

It was lots of fun to gaze up as the plane mounted the sky, then dropped the divers that looked like grains of sand at first while they were in free fall, and wait for their parachutes to bloom and for them to drift lazily down, some landing delicately on their feet and others tumbling in the dust. We all agreed, us youngsters in our 50s and 60s and elders in their 80s and 90s, that we’re not going to try it any time soon.

About treacycolbert

I make my living by writing about health care. I've always written about life's chastening effect, but just as a way of sorting it out for myself. After years of doing this and keeping these essays quiet, I decided to put some of these impressions out there on this blog. Thanks for reading, and let me know what you think.

7 responses »

  1. Haven’t done a jigsaw puzzle in a couple of years. The last one Bill and I did was before we moved to Florida, but I have happy memories of doing many jigsaw puzzles with the kids when they were growing up. We’d either set up a car table in our family room or spread it out on the dining room table. We always said we’d glue it together to save it when finished, but we never did. Samantha went skydiving while she was in college. It was on her bucket list. Luckily for me, she didn’t call to tell me about it till after she had done it. Otherwise I would have been worried sick. I do not have skydiving on my bucket list!

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. I love this one, as always, because it takes me back. Jigsaw puzzles! What fun. The weekend sounded like a lot of fun. BTW jumping out of an airplane is NOT on my bucket list either! xo

  3. We started doing jigsaw puzzles again with the California cousins as part of our Thanksgiving and Easter dinner celebrations. It’s fun to work as a group. I get so obsessed with them on my own that I will sit until I’m in pain, so I don’t do it much!

    My mother did a tandum jump on her 60th birthday.


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