Ninepatch is the monthly publication of a non-profit organization by the same name. In the pages of this Ninepatch magazine, women – and the men who support them – share their spiritual journeys and life experiences through letters, essays, poetry, book reviews and more. Ninepatch offers a forum where contributors can be heard and enjoy an atmosphere of sharing and acceptance. Such sharing is vital in helping everyone find their place in an eternal spiritual circle where all know and are known.


[image used was posted as "public domain"]




Hello chilly Friends!

Most of us are experiencing a cold winter. Yes, I am not so cold in Northern Florida as many of you are in more northern climes, but when I think of those I am writing to, nearly all of us are experiencing a “colder than normal” winter.

Outside my window the sun is shining and across the street, the neighbor’s lawn is green though some of their trees are bare. Raised in  and recently staying in Northern Indiana, this looks– and at 50 degrees–  feels more like fall!

My reflection this month takes me back to a December 2017 bus ride from Goshen, Indiana to Gainesville, Florida.  Hope you enjoy it!


The “Amish Bus” (either Pioneer Trails or Crossroads Tours) often carries me to Indiana and/ or back. This December I rode Pioneer Trails from Goshen, Indiana to Gainesville, Florida. We had several stops along the way, but the bus didn’t end there. It continued down I-75 to Pinecraft, Florida, south of Sarasota.

          For me, it is a 17-hour, overnight ride.  Since my other choice is driving the more than 1,00 miles, I don’t mind the overnight trip.  That night I probably disturbed my seat mate from Berlin in Northern Ohio with my “restless legs,” but we chatted over breakfast at a Cracker Barrel in Tifton, GA.

Though most of the passengers were Amish, my seat mate wasn’t. Still, she said, “I’ve lived among the Amish all my life.”  Looking out the wide front window of the bus, she added, “I can hardly wait to get to my house in Sarasota.  I’ll make those little Ritz treats.”

 Ritz Cracker treats? Puzzled, I asked, “What are they?”

Her blue eyes opened wide in her lined face. “Didn’t your family make them?”

I shrugged. “I guess not. What are they?”

Her eyes glowed with happy memory. “Around the holidays, Mother got out the chunk chocolate and melted it.” She turned in her seat to face me. “We kids waited nearby, hoping for a chocolate morsel. She usually gave us little bits of the big chunk.”

Interested in this treat, I asked, “Chunk chocolate?  You mean baking chocolate?

The lady nodded. “Mother bought it in chunks. I suppose you can use even those little chips, or even Hershey’s candy cars.”

Watching her, I said “OK.”

My seatmate looked out the bus window again as she remembered her mother. “Next, she spread Ritz crackers with peanut butter to made a kind of sandwich.” She paused.  “I like to make my peanut butter real thick. It’s my favorite part.”

She took a breath, smiled and continued. “Last, Mother dipped the Ritz sandwich into chocolate and set it on waxed paper to harden.”

I had followed the description her until she got to the “dipping.” I asked, “How do you dip them?”

“I use a fork.”

        Fork?  I couldn’t “see” dipping Ritz crackers in melted chocolate with a fork.  I pressed her. “How do you use the fork?”

She cocked her head as if wondering how I didn’t understand. “I stick the fork into the peanut butter and dip the sandwich.”

I nodded. “Ah!  That’s it.  Sounds good. I’ll try it!”

The lady whose name I never asked added, “You can eat the whole sandwich,” she added, “But I cut mine.”


Here’s what I learned when I tried the recipe.

*Natural peanut butter was too runny.

*It took one cooking chocolate square for each “sandwich.”

* A deep bowl was better for dipping.

*I needed to cool the dipped Ritz goodies in the refrigerator.

*I needed a very sharp knife to cut them or they crumbled.


The bus conversation memory was sweet, and -though not pretty -the treats

were tasty! Sort of like a crunchy Reese’s Peanut butter cup!

Wishing you both sweet memories and treats in the coming year.






Ninepatch Birthdays for January:

Dorothy 4

Nancyann 10

Fred 20

Liz/Moascar 25

Sherryl 26



Ninepatch is updating our web site and looking for additional writers. We want weekly bloggers, monthly comments and occasional small pieces. We are even thinking about short stories!


Contact Editor, Frances.


Ninepatch is a non-profit. Every person who works for us– including Frances—is a volunteer. No one is paid. However, we do have business expenses. Paper, ink, software, labels, and Internet connections, are a few.

While e- readers see color, our paper readers seldom do. It’s too expensive. Yet, due to mailing costs and postage, they bear the brunt of “donation-for-service.” (Financially speaking, E- readers ride their coat-tails.)

If you enjoy reading our magazine and have not already made a donation for 2016, kindly consider making one. $5 is not too small.

We have a Paypal account, or you can send a check to our mailing address:

1014 NW 52nd Ter.

Gainesville, Fl. 32605

Thanks to those of you who support our outreach though coin-of-the-realm, service and prayers. Special thanks to our Board of Directors: Christa and Georgene, our membership coordinator: Dottie, our proofreaders: June and James and the sticky note writers: Leigh, James and Georgene. We appreciate their service.

Of course, you who contribute letters, stories, poems and drawings are the lifeblood of the newsletter and we are especially thankful for you!

Those who give in any way know the greatest return. Hence the old saying, “You reap what you sow.”

Editor, Frances


black and white sketch of tulips