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.


Pilgrims stand in front of the Mercy Door.Pilgrims stand in front of the Mercy Door.



“Sleeping Beauty” came to mind every day when I walked past my reclusive neighbor’s house. What’s he doing in there all day?


In the old fairy tale, an evil witch curses a young princess to die when she pricks her finger on a spinning wheel. But a good witch make the death only “sleep” to be awaken by true love’s first kiss.

 Despite the her father’s banishing all spinning wheels, the princess discovers one and –as  the bad witch had proclaimed –pricks her finger. She doesn’t die, but she and all in her castle fall into a deep slumber. Over a hundred years, the “sleeping” princess awaits true love’s first kiss to break the spell.

My neighbor, however, had not been sleeping during the eleven years since we moved in.  However, though I lived two doors away, I had –maybe –seen the man ten times.

We were never been formally introduced, but he always smiled and waved when I saw him outside collecting mail from his curb-side box. He never stopped to chat.

 Unlike his house, which was increasingly overgrown, the man was clean and freshly shaven.  The lawn was tidy, too. He hired “Kevin,” a local yardman, to mow once a month.  It seems he is letting the bushes cover the whole front on purpose.


On a foggy morning, the salmon-colored house looked very overgrown.

A long-time resident of our street told me the little she knew. “He moved in with his wife and mother-in-law After both died, I almost never saw him.”

Poor guy. A sad recluse.


Several days ago I drove up the hill to our house and saw four police cars and several men in blue uniforms in the street.   Someone has died.

(A neighbor told me that if you report a death that is not “medically expected” –and verifiable –the police have to investigate it as “suspicious.” )

          Parking my car, I climbed out and saw Bob, another neighbor, walking past.

          Raising my eyebrows, I stepped toward him. “What’s all the excitement?”

          Bob stopped. “They think the old man died.  Kevin, his yard man, did not hear from him this month. Kevin asked me if the guy was on vacation.” He paused and looked down. “I didn’t know what to do. I asked Barb across the street from you. She knew to call the police.”

           I nodded.  Our neighborhood’s Sleeping Beauty! 

          I stood by the curb, watching the activity. Before long Barb walked over and gave me an update. “A policeman looked in the window after banging on the doors. He saw what he thought was the man lying on the floor.  He called it in. In minutes fire trucks and a rescue unit came. They opened the locked door.”

About then over Barb’s shoulder I saw blue-uniformed men roll a gurney with a black body bag to the rescue unit. The attendants all wore coverings over their noses.He must have been dead a while.


I remembered Barb had also told me the deceased was of the Greek Orthodox faith and had his house blessed when he first moved in.   He must have been a Christian….


In the fairy tale, Sleep Beauty was awakened by her true love’s kiss.  As a kind of parallel, perhaps this man “awakened” in a better place, in the presence of the one he prayed to and loved.

          May my reclusive neighbor be at peace.




Ninepatch Birthdays


Elaine 13



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