Today is the 100th anniversary of the first crossword puzzle. I came pretty close to finishing the puzzle that was part of today's Google Doodle, and while I filled in clues I thought of my late mother-in-law (MIL).
My MIL passed away in 2011 and although we weren't close, we were getting there. I had been married to my husband for almost 20 years before my MIL and I managed to develop a friendly relationship. She was an uncomplicated woman with simple tastes, and one of the activities she enjoyed was solving word search puzzles. In her house and in her car, there would always be one of more of those monthly puzzle books from Kappa or PennyDell. She would pick them up from the dollar store and work on them while she was babysitting the kids or waiting to pick them up from school. Every once in a while, I could get her to try different puzzles like sudoku or fill-in puzzles but she preferred the word search. As my kids got older, they would sometimes work the puzzles with her, so one year we got her a giant fold-out word search puzzle book. She seemed to get a kick out of that gift, even as she protested that we shouldn't have spent so much on a puzzle book.
It has been years since I worked a puzzle on paper, but when I saw the puzzle books in the dollar store today I had to pick one up. It felt like the right way to honor my MIL's memory today.