Missing Pieces and Candle Boxes

February 7 – Last week Dale’s blog post filled you in on the bird puzzle that took so long to put together. David had given it to him as a Christmas present, knowing how his dad always sticks to the task till everything is in place. This puzzle had two colorful robins looking out over the landscape that included an equally colorful barn and green grass.

I think he spent more hours on that puzzle than he has ever done before. Too many greens, light and dark, and colorful flowers with pieces of pink and white. As we went through the days, I would often see Dale bent over the table trying to fit in a few more pieces. Not that he had planned to work on that puzzle, but each time he went past with another object in mind, there would be the puzzle to tempt him to hunt for another few pieces.


[ The missing piece ]

Finally came the day that the big puzzle with one thousand pieces (and small ones at that), was just about completed. Of course, when it came right down to the wire, I stopped now and again to find a dark green or tan or pink; anything that I could press down into the place where it would fit. Another day or so, and Dale announced that the puzzle was finished, EXCEPT for one dark greenish-blue piece! As we remembered that a piece of the last puzzle had dropped off the table and lay on the floor in front of the closet, we both got down on our hands and knees hunting in the same area. Nothing. Moving out a couple feet all around the table, we once more found nothing that looked anywhere near like a greenish blue puzzle piece.

“Just like the last one,” Dale said. “Neither of these was picked up at the Thrift Store as I had to rip off the plastic covering on both of them before I could open the box. Straight from the manufacturer!”

“Well, I’m tired of scooting around on the floor,” I answered. “At least there’s just one piece missing, and when you glue up the puzzle and put it on a big board, who’ll know the difference. Maybe you could make a piece to fit into that hole. You’re good at things like that!” So Dale at last took the puzzle down into the basement and put it on a big sheet of cardboard. Who would know that every piece wasn’t on the board!


[ Boxes and boxes of candles ]

I have written in the past about cleaning the basement, sorting through all kinds of things, tossing some into the waste basket, and setting aside things I wanted to keep or give to others who would appreciate them.

Well this time, I sorted through the candles, all shapes, sizes, and colors! After sorting through three boxes full of them, I asked Dale what in the world we had kept them for. “Don’t you remember about ten years ago when the electricity was off for several days, and we had no light in the house at all except that coming from the fireplace?”


[ Have a heart! ]

Yes, I sure did remember, but I missed the heat more than the light! We slept in pants and a couple shirts with a jacket over that, along with four blankets and a comforter, and sleeping on the pull-out bed in the living room where we could get warmed up a bit from the fireplace. I even “cooked” using the fireplace. I kept a kettle of soup simmering there all day, along with mugs of hot chocolate. We used all of the candles we had then, so it’s no wonder we started to save them.

Since I make up the church bulletin each week, I have several boxes of the bulletin blanks waiting to be printed up. These sit on the bookcase shelves. As I went through the candles, I thought it would be a good idea to sort through those boxes and keep the duplicates together instead of having them in several different boxes. Soon the top of the chest freezer was covered, along with the top of the bookcase, and several places on the floor. Finally, when I had emptied the six or eight boxes and sorted them out, I began filling them up again with matching items. As I put the last box in place on the bottom shelf, I saw something that hadn’t been there before. Lying next to the bookcase on the carpet was a strange greenish-blue shape!


[ The missing piece ]

I bent over and picked up what had been the missing puzzle piece, not missing any longer – but HOW did it get where it was?! This is probably a crazy thought, but could this have been a miracle? Surely the Lord could help us out! I didn’t doubt His power one bit, but I sat there on the floor marveling at what had happened. I knew the puzzle had never been in the basement before, so how could this piece have arrived in the basement?

Quickly I picked up the piece, walked around to the table on the other side of the bookcase and moved my hand around over the puzzle lying on the table. It took awhile because so many of the pieces are that same color, but I finally found the empty space, pushed the piece in, and completed the puzzle. I could almost hear the robins singing out loud, “Well, it’s about time you found that piece!”

I hurried up the stairs, puzzle piece in hand, to show Dale. “I have a story you’ll enjoy,” I said, “so listen.” He had to finish some of the paragraph on which he was working, so I waited patiently—that should have a prefix—to tell him about that piece. I could tell that he was just as amazed as I was, because he knew the whole story before this last incident.

Back I went with my camera to take some pics of the finished puzzle, the area around the bookcase, and the puzzle piece. Since the carpet and the puzzle piece were both dark, I had to put a sheet of white paper under the piece, so it would show up on the picture.

Who would know that a puzzle could be so, well, puzzling! – CHRIS


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