LindaSue (July ‘17) shares her soul-game experience.

LindaSue’s visual concept of soul.LindaSue’s visual concept of soul.

LindaSue’s visual concept of soul.

“I chose number 1 –mostly. The soul is the same size as its body was in life. But, as in 4, the soul is also like a cloud or a vapor, a spirit without definite form.

I do believe in heaven and hell. ‘… to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.’

I also believe that when I believe, I will pass from death to ever-lasting life.”


I remember my first paying job! Like Frances, I consider my first formal employment as my first job.
My folks did not want me to work in high school so my first job came in my freshman fall of college. My sister-in-law arranged it. I became a front desk clerk at a hotel that primarily served the real estate developer on whose vast property it sat.
Those were the days when planes of buyers arrived from the east: Pittsburgh, Lansing, Detroit, Milwaukee, Toronto…. Such places had miserable winters. Men who worked in factories hoped to retire in a
place where they could boat, hunt and fish while leaving hard winters and their aching backs behind them.
20 to 30 salesmen would caravan in their white jeeps to the airport and pick up the victims –er –couples, bring them back to the resort and start plying them with food and booze. These middle-class factory workers took full advantage of this royal treatment.

The next morning the salesmen would pick them up and show them lot after lot (some without paved roads and utilities to them “yet”). They extolled the joys of the reservoir (which was just barely starting to fill at that time), pointed to the air-clear view to the purple mountain majesty (a quick hour away), and
the mild weather (bereft of humidity!)

After more food and booze, vision-blurred men would have talked their “tired of fighting
it” spouses into signing papers for property that would be
“building-ready” when gold watches were received and pension checks came rolling in.
Then jeeps filled with sleeping passengers would be caravaned back to the airport. They would receive a grand send-off as confirmation that they had made the deal of the century on a piece of paradise –and asked to tell their friends to fill the next plane!

My job was to check the Easterners in and out, and make sure to notify the sales team if anyone was bored, drifting off –or (horrors!) arguing about whether or not they should buy.

Rooms not taken by the east-of-the-Mississippi guests were open to the public. I had plenty to do as I was clerk, cashier, concierge, and evening housekeeping.
I worked 2:00 to 10:00 pm. We were the nicest hotel near the blue-collar town of Pueblo, Colorado. We were contracted by the Colorado State Fair for entertainers’ accommodations. I once made Glen Campbell’s bed and cleaned his room after he checked out. The maids had left and we needed it for a bride and groom coming that night. I met a lot of 70’s Country-Western entertainers and many a traveling salesman. Almost no families stayed there. It was too expensive and too far from town.

Me, sitting on a bench in front  of the property office of my first job. It was the winter of 1971. It was taken by one of the salesmen.

Me, sitting on a bench in front  of the property office of my first job. It was the winter of 1971. It was taken by one of the salesmen.

As an employee of the developer I was allowed to hitch a ride on the planes if there was a open seat. The salesmen who lived in the East, accompanied the guests West and made sure the drinking started once the plane was at altitude were very happy to show me around their various cities and introduce me their families.

I saw all the cities that most people leave rather than choose to visit for a vacation! Ha! The sales went along for a number of years more but it was almost 30 years before the community filled out and became beautiful.

Those “early adopters” lived out in the dust for a long, long time!

Georgene (July ‘17) adds, “The job only lasted two years. I got married and moved away, but every time I returned home for a visit I would make the trek outside town to see how Pueblo West was growing.”


Chantal (June ‘17) also remembers her first paying job. “Other than baby-sitting, my first paying job was while in high school. I worked in a dental office. 

“I called to remind people of their appointments and did filing. I also handled the ‘recall’ list. That task involved phoning and reminding patients it was past time for their routine dental check-up.

The job provided valuable experience in dealing with people, but also had a downside.  At the end of each day, I had to balance the day’s receipts with the day’s services performed. 

For some reason it often seemed there was some circumstance I was unaware of which led to a snag reconciling. That could be frustrating!”  


This month’s question, “My first paying job…” will hold over for September. It will be joined by a new question, “One thing I have always secretly wanted to do is….”


The most astounding things

about working in this cafeteria is

knowing you eat dinner here

every Tuesday, bringing your

tray of dishes

to me by six-thirty.

Your burgundy hair makes an entrance

I feel dangerous watching you pass,

wanting you

to raise your head from the plate

you set

before me.

Among your traces of salad and

mashed potatoes

is a strawberry. The top half

that your thumb and fingers touched

still holds a stem. The white center

and ripe outer edges outline marks

from your teeth.

I want to see you take that bite.

I imagine myself a salt-shaker

on your table. I see you

put down your fork and rest

a hand on your abdomen. The meal

you have eaten

resists, for a moment, anything more.

You watch the strawberry on the side

of your plate and delicately pick it

up to your mouth. The fruit’s tiny

hairs touch your lips as your teeth

make an impression for me

to wash away.

Brian Janisse (July ‘17) says, “In a dorm at Western Michigan University, I had a job in the cafeteria washing dishes. One fine young female caught my attention, so I wrote this poem, and used it to flatter her.”


Cynthia and I sat in the Dublin Diner

At the end of a school day when

Too early November frost

Had accumulated

on the window pane.

It was about 5:30 p.m. when back

In town cheerleaders were practicing

For the upcoming football game.

Cynthia knew something was wrong

But didn’t ask, preferring to

Talk to the waitress who told her

The specials for the day, then

Some corny joke.

My face was raw with pimples.

The waitress looked away

while I ordered

Mashed potatoes and applesauce.

Cynthia tried to make small talk

But my voice was hoarse and

I could barely talk.

Tears fell into my applesauce,

My face pressed against

the cold pane.

I don’t remember

what happened that day,

Maybe some boy

had made fun of me,

But I couldn’t talk about it.

Bluebird (July ‘17) comments on her lines, “Tears are blessings as they clear our hearts and minds and allow for clearing.  The tears that fell in this poem was when I was probably 16 wishing I had been a cheerleader, practicing, with others at school.  Tears have fallen many times after that. Along with happy tears there have been conquering tears, tears inspired by others and by my own successes.  Right now our whole family is filled with sadness and tears as a grandson, Aloha Sunbeam committed suicide last week.  Please go to my FACEBOOK page for more information. Thank you for appreciating my poetry; it is now my way of shedding tears.


Satan employs monsters

And blasphemes every

rule in the game,

Striving to maim brothers and sisters

Is his lame-duck claim to fame.

Vessels of bitterness, greed and glory

Are opened by alcohol and drugs.

Attempting to embellish

God’s Great Story

By smearing toxic sludge.

Only by prayer and His Spirit within

Can one survive in battle.

Left alone, we’re prone to sin

Being led like a herd of cattle.

But cows, by nature,

are a contented bunch,

Just mooing and chewing their cud.

Not plotting at all,

just enjoying their lunch,

While lowing in God’s clean mud.

DAPepple (July ‘17) expands on his lines, “Humans have a difficult time embracing the here and now. The brain works overtime with past, plans, future, questions, and dealing with all forms of thought invaders. Methinks it might be a good idea to be like a Holy Cow in a state of Wow, living in the here and now, while tending garden earth.”


It may be a stretch,

But striving for the light

Is always right.

Simon Stargazer III expands on the thought, “Often in a crisis, and even in everyday circumstances, we look above for answers. Sometimes, we look within, searching the dark corners of the brain for an answer. Stretching the mind opens up the inner eye to the light that leads us from within. When we find it, it often lights the way to better things. One of my favorite illustrations is of the tree that grows in the deep dark shade between two apartment buildings. Over the years it stretches its leaves and branches toward the light beyond the shade.

Tree reaches for light.

Tree reaches for light.


Patience and persistence are keys to success.

James (July ‘17) expands, “Difficult tasks may be completed if you stay with them.”


4. Notice small violin lower, center, right.

4. Notice small violin lower, center, right.

5. As the angst represented by the all black and white tangle eases, the violin (which is in color) grows large.

5. As the angst represented by the all black and white tangle eases, the violin (which is in color) grows large.

AmyKaren (July ‘17) discusses what she “saw” first in her next totally black-and-white image, and the following mostly colored one. “The ‘violin tangles’ are about how my husband’s music died with him.  Ed did such beautiful, painstaking work creating those instruments which now will never be played or enjoyed. The maker is dead, and their animation –at least to me –has ceased. At this point, I cannot even see them passed on to be used and enjoyed.  They and their music are just broken.  

Since I made those tangles and thought those ideas over a month ago, I have moved on. Now I feel maybe someone else can make music or enjoy their form.


According to the tradition surrounding the weather lore on our mountain, if it rains on the days Mary goes over the mountain in June, there will be rain throughout the summer.

If Mary’s skirts weren’t wet, there would be no rain during the summer, but it would start up again on August 15 (traditionally known as the day of the Irish picnic or the Ascension of Mary).

For another weather-marker, if Mary comes back over the mountain and needs her umbrella on August 15, this means a wet fall.

Apparently this lore was brought to this country by German immigrants. Where the Germans or Pennsylvania Dutch settled in Pennsylvania, this bit of folklore became a part of that area’s history (as in Dushore, PA.).

This weather marker or feast day can be traced back to 13th century Europe where it was celebrated on different days, but it wasn’t yet connected with weather. People looked for Christ and Mary to return and put an end to the Great Schism that was dividing the church.

The idea of Mary walking over the mountain came from the Bible. Mary, pregnant with Jesus, traveled “over the mountain” to visit her cousin, Elizabeth, on June 27th. She returned on August 15th.

I’m still curious as to how this eventually became connected with weather. But I know on June 27th this year her skirts were wet so were going to have a dry summer!

Malaina (July ‘17) comments, “The lore makes for interesting thinking, do’n’it?

EDITOR’S NOTE: On “brik-see-us” web site an article by Tim Brixius explains, “…( a) children’s book written by Conrad Richter, … called Over the Blue Mountain, … is based on a Pennsylvania German weather superstition similar to that of Groundhog’s Day. If it is raining on July 2, when Mary goes over the mountain, then we will have six weeks of rain. No rain, then we have a dry spell. Its origin is from a Catholic feast day known as the Visitation of Mary, when the Blessed Mother, pregnant with Jesus, traveled (over a mountain, perhaps) to visit her cousin Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist.  I recommend the book, especially for anybody who’s lived in Pine Grove, as you will recognize the setting. And it’s short.”

around the frame aug 2017 – our experiences

1950s A &W Stand in Goshen, Indiana

Hi Frances,

 I enjoyed your nostalgic piece “Heat Wave” in the July ‘17 Ninepatch. It featured a summer night on the street where you lived.  It was total Americana, Norman Rockwell-ish, and soothing to read.  It’s good to have those positive memories; they derail the negative intrusions.

When Bill and I were bopping around Savannah, Georgia, last winter, I found out that Johnny Mercer wrote the song, “Accentuate the Positive.” It’s a wonderful song that I love to remember when I’m feeling blue.  It’s beautiful!  

A good summer evening experience does that for you, I think.

Sunny days and high corn to you,


Linda Rosenthal (July ‘17) adds, “It’s the usual busy season and a very good year for us. Next week, we leave for Washington D.C. a reunion for my father-in-law’s Naval group.  It’s been 50 years since the aircraft carrier that he was stationed on during the Vietnam War caught fire at sea.  (U.S.S. Forrestal)  There’ll be a week for him of visiting with old shipmates and friends, as well as some special ceremonies.”



Hi Frances…

And not only the layers of time and reality you mentioned, in your Mid-month June ‘17 Reflection, but there are also layers of our personal relationships and society. I think of family, close friends, (Next.)

acquaintances. I want to also add people we interact with occasionally and randomly… from dense and highly inter-active to quite sparse and often hardly interactive.



Simon Stargazer (July ‘17) adds, “I enjoyed the tale of trees.”


Dear Frances,

  I just read your June ’17 Mid-month Reflection. I found it thought- provoking.

Layers are found in so many areas of our lives. For example, dreams take us back into other realities. We have layers in our learning and seeking too.

It’s good to ponder and evaluate these experiences.

  Bless’d be,


June Poucher (July ‘17) adds, “I sometimes find new understanding of old experiences.”



So glad I’m not “nuts” when I “hear” something the trees are trying to tell me! They can give warnings, especially when they are about to be cleared.

That used to happen to me all the time down home in Alabama. One year, I got physiccally sick to my stomach when passing a small wood. Within weeks, the trees were clear cut!

I could have done nothing to save that wood. But, I’m not

guiltless when it comes to cutting trees. I have cut down trees or had them cut.

Last November, a maple on the south side of this house had to go. Over half of her trunk was rotted. I asked a neighbor about taking it down. He brought over his grandson who is a professional lumberjack. (What else to call tree-cutters?) The maple was down in a matter of an hour.

However, about a month before “she” was cut, I walked by her and told her that she had to go. I apologized for what was to be.

This past spring, a little tree started growing out of the rotted part. A few “limbs” have sprouted out of two pieces of the trunk.


Malaina (See her story in FABRICS) adds, “I have got to find a place for these pieces to be moved to so these ‘babies’ may be saved. I can only hope that is ‘her’ way of forgiving me.”


Hi Frances,

Your reflection on trees and “layers” this month piqued my interest –especially since our book club is reading The Secret Life of Trees.  (Fascinating stuff.)

I’ll probably never look at trees again without thinking about the many lessons they have for us.

The “layers” you mention remind me of information I’ve learned about life lived in a hologram. When that happens, we experience different lives at the same time.  (Well, something like that.) Since there is only “now” that we experience, the idea would seem to bear that idea out.  

And then, there’s the belief that we are simply reviewing our lives as we roll back our illusionary life experience. This is based on the idea we never left God.

Did anyone read Richard Bach’s book One? In it, he delves into traveling “out there.”  His story illustrates there’s no limit to what our minds can achieve. 

Einstein is said to come up with his “E=MC squared” theory of relativity through meditation. His inspiration came from that space.

Just my two cents!

God bless,


Gail (July ‘17) adds, “I do like the idea that our life in Spirit, or our parallel life might be why we want to strive for a more conscious contact through meditation.


People wait in tellers’ lines.


I enjoyed your June ‘17 story, “My Saturday Roost.” So fun to read and picture your day at the bank.

I loved June Poucher’s story of her weekend at the pool with her son and family. How funny!

I’m glad she has those great memories with her sister, Virginia, who I know she loved so much.


Dottie (June ‘17) adds, “I play pickleball and think it is good not only physically but mentally, connecting people with similar interests, laughing together (so healing), and making plans to get together outside of the sport. 

We are having another tournament in which I play with another girl and also a mixed doubles (with a guy).  We are also having a pot luck in the park where we play so will combine eating with pickleball.”


Dear Frances,

You are right. We never know what God has in store. Mom always said, “Everything happens for a reason.” Well, Dad’s problems did bring the family together!

When we did meet to decide on Dad’s care, my brothers said, “We are doing this for Mom.” (They are still angry with Dad for all his years of drinking.)

I met a woman who also goes walking every day and we started going together. She told me about a new church that meets in an office building near me. She took me there the last two Sundays. It was different than what I have been used to, but OK.

My new friend has lots of ideas to keep me busy.

Love and Prayers,


LindaSue (July ‘17) adds, “I was not used to a church with a woman pastor, drums and a keyboard.”


Hi Fritizie,

In September, during a three-week trip to Europe, my husband and I will visit Prague. Years ago, we lived there when I was in my twenties. I enjoy reading yours and others’ reflections in Ninepatch.

I also appreciate your curiosity about “ordinary” life. (Is there such a thing?)

July is good for us here. However, elsewhere in British Columbia, there is a state of emergency, with 160 forest fires burning in many places due to heat and lack of rain.

Some of my usual activities are on a summer break. I’m preparing for several friends and relatives overnight visits.

Happy summer; I hope you are well and enjoying Goshen!



Alice (May ‘17) adds, “The prison book club still meets in the summer and I’m continuing to enjoy it.”


Dear Francesca –

I’m still in bed today. Usually I’m up hiking or working by this time. I was just in the mood to lollygag a bit. I’m sitting in bed drinking coffee and reading with my cats on top of me.

I’ve got to finish my dregs of coffee and get up. Now that I’m on summer vacation, I have many things to do in preparation for departure to Peru in a week. My younger son and I are traveling there to explore Machu Picchu ruins, among other things.


<3 Liz

Liz/Moascar (July ‘17) adds, “In California at this time of year, we have a heavy marine layer of clouds. It’s kind of grey and cool outside and very difficult for this once-Florida girl to wrap her mind around.”