Thursday, November 11, 2010

Mongoose and Puzzles

When I was young, from 5-8 years old. my Grandma and Aunt Elda regularly received visits from Willard and Nita.  I think they may have been related to us, but I'm not sure.  Regardless, they were so interesting.  They traveled all over and at that time, it was not a typical thing to do.  They always brought pictures of their trips, stories and tricks.

Yes, tricks.  Willard always had tricks and puzzles and I was his favorite target.  Often the puzzles were metal shapes.  He would hand me two entwined shapes for instance, and tell me to figure out the trick to get them apart.  I'd finally get them apart, and Willard would tell me to put them back together.   After several visits, I really got pretty good at figuring it out.

Heart puzzle

One visit, he asked if I ever saw a mongoose.  Well, he was a trickster so I thought it was like a snipe - non existent.  I actually ran and got the encyclopedia, looked it up and there was a picture of a mongoose.  It existed!  So did I want to see it?  Of course!

Willard brings in a wood box.  The box is about 12" x 12" x 24" with a carry handle on the top. You can't quite see inside even though there is a mesh grate, like a window on one 12 x 12" end.  He warns me not to get too close because these are really dangerous animals.  In fact they can kill snakes!  That's why he has it, because they have a snake on their property in Illinois and he knows the mongoose will get it.  He goes on to describe the battles mongoose have with cobras in the far east.  They are so fast, the cobras can't strike them. (By the way, this is true!)  Still, I can't see anything inside.

"Look closer" he says.  "He's hiding towards the back of the box.  But be very quiet, people make him jumpy."  So I am primed - on alert and trying to see it.  I get my face about 3 inches from the box and Willard surreptitiously releases a door on the back of the box. Willard yells, "Oh No!" The door flings open and attached to it is a piece of fur.  I can't believe I didn't wet myself.  It sure did scare me. 

While I HATED this trick, I always loved when they came to visit.  They laughed and told stories and were so much fun to be around.

To this day, puzzles make me smile.  I bought a trio of wooden puzzles.  I have had them for quite awhile but had never taken them apart.   Katie and Micah found them and asked if they could try and figure them out.  Soon Katie got the one puzzle apart, but they couldn't get it back together.  No problem, I think.  I do have the diagram showing how to put it back together.

So, I have been working on it for the last 4 days - with the answer sheet!  And I still don't have it back together.  Bill has worked on it too.  I am officially losing my touch.  These puzzles used to be conquerable, now not so much.  So here is the puzzle in pieces and the directions.  Can you figure out how to get the last pieces in?  I CAN'T!  Maybe I should say, I haven't yet.  There's always hope, isn't there?

1 comment:

Jim said...

For what it's worth, the key piece is the one with a notch off-center. I don't remember if that needs to be partly out to slide in the last piece, but I think that's how it worked. One of the other pieces slides in to the middle past the notch and then the oddball is slid back in place.