While my brother Richard was still here, last month, we went to a second hand store near where I live, just outside of Cologne, Germany, to look for some small nicknacks for him to take back to the U.S. with him. He was looking in the glass and houseware section while my daughter Anna and I were busy browsing through the children’s toy section. I was hastily sorting through a tall pile of used board games for kids that were all precariously perched and ready to come crashing down on me at any second, when I found a used puzzle set of four Maus und Elefant puzzles for Anna.
She has been all about puzzles lately and with her third birthday coming up at the end of this month I thought it would be nice to find her a 12 or 24 piece puzzle, one that would be a bit more challenging for her than the wooden cut out puzzles that she has at home right now and would be something that we could sit and work on together. I was tediously counting through what seemed like hundreds of puzzle pieces when I noticed that Anna was quite happily sitting on a little chair and playing with a toy next to a heaping pile of… well, junk that was covering something with white legs. This receptacle that was covered with a pile of dirty and broken, plastic toy rubbish was barely recognizable for what it was. Not until I noticed the three white wooden chairs surrounding it did I realize that there was something even under there at all. When I realized what it was and saw that there were no major flaws with it other than being extremely dirty and covered in junk I held my breath as I asked the sales lady “How much for the little kid’s table with ‘only’ three chairs?” (three chairs were no matter to me but I was hoping for a good deal). She looked me up and down with a stern gaze and said “With that puzzle you have in your hand how about ten euros?”. Trying to hide my excitement I quickly doled out the ten euros and immediately left with our purchase. Anna loves her “new” table and chair set and her puzzle box with four puzzles (all complete) and all I had to do when we got home was to wipe everything clean!