Curious Thing #1As some of you may know, last month we were in Montana, at Triple Creek Ranch, for several days of puzzling. We live in one of those, “You can’t get there from here” kind of places so we had to drive to Boston, fly to Minneapolis and catch a connecting flight from there to Missoula. We got to the airport in plenty of time, had a chance to grab a snack and enjoyed a nice smooth flight to the next leg of our journey. As Rick, Megan and I were waiting for our flight to Missoula we spent the time chatting and watching the people. There were plenty of cowboy boots in the crowd but hey, we’re headed west so why wouldn’t there be?! I didn’t think much of it until we were approached by a man asking, “Are you with Stave?” Huh? Who is this guy and how did he know who we were? It was my tote bag that gave it away! The gentleman’s wife had spotted the Stave clown from across the airport and recognized it immediately. It turns out Gwen and Steve are Stave puzzlers and were heading to Triple Creek to join us for the weekend! I can’t tell you how many flights I’ve made to one puzzling event or another and this has never happened. We quickly fell in love with Gwen and Steve and were so glad they chose to join us for the weekend. (I know, who wouldn’t want to go to Triple Creek, right?!)
Curious Thing #2As we eased our way into the weekend of puzzlement people began opening up and getting to know each other. We were thrilled when Steve and Gwen shared one of their experiences with Stave. Steve: My wife and I were planning our 25th wedding Anniversary last year (2016). We decided to go to Bora Bora in Tahiti because that is where we spent our honeymoon 25 years ago. Several months before the trip I was trying to come up with a great idea for an anniversary present I could take with us on the trip and give to her. Well, she has loved doing Stave puzzles ever since we were introduced to them 3 or 4 years ago at Triple Creek Ranch in Montana. So I thought I would see what puzzles Stave had that would be fitting. In looking at Stave’s website, I came across a puzzle example made up of various personal photos for some- one’s birthday. All of a sudden, that was the inspiration! I would send Stave a bunch of photos of events and/or travels during our 25 years together and have Stave make a collage of the photos displaying the number “25” prominently in the puzzle. So I called Stave and talked to Susan and she was very helpful. Over the next week or so she helped me choose the style and design and photo placement along with some silhouettes. What a perfect present that would be for my wife – the Stave lover! Stave sent me the puzzle without, of course, my wife seeing it, and before packing for the trip I took the pieces out of the Stave box and put into a non- descript bag so she would not see the ever familiar blue Stave box and spoil the surprise. We got to Bora Bora and the second day I told her I had an Anniversary present for her. I was very excited to see her reaction to such a great gift. She opened the wrapping paper and unzipped the bag and was thrilled to find Stave puzzle pieces fall out! But then she did a very curious thing – she looked at me very strangely and got up and said she would be right back. I sat there mystified. She came back moments later with a present for me. “Open this!” I opened her present, and to my complete astonishment Stave puzzle pieces dropped out! She had had the exact same idea for a present that I had thought of, with the photo collage and all, except she had chosen a different style of puzzle, a photo collage in the shape of a turtle! Even a few of the photos we had chosen were the same. The funniest thing about the whole episode is that Susan at Stave had coordinated both of our requests and never let on that each of us were working on the same idea! She had to be so amused at the whole thing! Anyway, I guess the conclusion you can draw from this episode is that if two people celebrating their 25th Anniversary both think independently that a personalized Stave puzzle is the best gift, Stave puzzles must be amazing. And they are!!