The “fog that comes on little cat feet” can also be dispelled by the same. On Sunday I sat down to puzzle my way through the morning. Yes, Wordle, now dordle and quordle too, but undoubtedly the grandfather: the Daily Jumble.
The Jumble, a feature of the Oregonian forever, was delivered to our front door daily. While my mom worked her crossword in pen, my dad stuck to the quicker relative—the Jumble.
I am the middle child of six, sandwiched between an older brother and sister and a set of twins and a younger brother—truly a “middle.” I’ve read quite a bit about us sandwich-filling kids and I can say that I became one of the driven ones. When my older brother and my younger sister, one of the twins, began their fierce daily wrangling with the Jumble, the attention of my father as the true prize, I bowed out. I did not want to compete when I knew I couldn’t win.
But I’m not 13 anymore, and the Jumble summons my father in a companionable, not competitive, way. Online it can be even easier than with pencil and paper. As a player today I can type one of the scrambled letters, and if it’s the wrong choice, red flares. So to complicate things, and in homage to my past, I solve on paper.
And the new habit brings me joy, not frustration. I can celebrate victory, and an occasional defeat, quietly, privately, imagining my father’s face and gentle hand on my shoulder.
On Sunday the Jumble is more challenging, six-letter words rather than five and six words rather than four. Two days ago, I set the timer by activating the first letter, picked up my pencil, and began puzzling. My goal is always to solve under five minutes. As I toyed with the letters, the timer tick, tick, ticked. I was stuck, stuck, stuck.
My cat Cowboy, off exploring, had returned to our desk and sauntered from food dish to his lap—mine—and as he made his descent, it struck me—the remaining unsolved scramble:
So…that fog that settles can as easily lift as little cat feet find their safe harbor. Thanks, Cowboy!