My husband and I have started feeding the birds.  We bought two feeders and put them out close to the shed in the back yard.

We have a small pond behind our section of the complex.  Of course, we have ducks and geese.  And they also come up to eat food.  I put the food in about 9 rows because there are so many. They also get the food the birds push out of the feeders.  The birds also eat the food on the ground.

One hot day I went out to fill the bird feeders about 6:30 a.m. and lying on the ledge of the feeder was a sparrow.  He was not in good shape.  I went on to feed the ducks and geese.  When I came back to the bird feeders, I examined the little bird.  I thought he was dead, he looked so rough.

Then I saw him breathing.  He opened his eyes and was, of course, frightened.  (I had on my rubber gloves because the feeders are so dirty. I wipe them off before I put the feed in.)  But the bird actually let me pick him up.  He flapped his wings, but was so weak he could not fly.

I took him into the house to show Bob. We agreed that I could get a sheet and a really soft cloth and make a bed for him.   (The deck is not soft and I didn’t know how much pain, if any, he might be in.)

I covered the small end table with the sheet and laid him on the soft cloth close to some feed and covered him to protect him from the sun. (There was an opening at one end of the sheet so if he revived himself, he could get out.

I went back in the house and started cleaning.  I kept looking out the window to be sure he wasn’t bothered.  Sometime about 5 hours later, I got up enough courage to go out and see how the little bird was doing.  I was afraid he would be dead.  But he was gone!

It looked like he had eaten some of the feed.  The area did not show any signs of disturbance, so he had revived, gone out the opening and flown away.

What kept going through my mind when I found the small bird and decided to try to help him was the Bible verse where God keeps his eye on the sparrow.

I prayed he wouldn’t suffer but he did one better, he revived!


Patricia (Aug.’18) adds, “This story reminds me of another event. Several years ago a dove had been caught by none other than our cat, Mr. Gray.  I took the bird away from my cat and put it under a deck chair and covered it up.  The bird must not have been hurt too badly. After a while, he also flew away!”


My heart is grieved this morning. I was standing, waiting for the bus at a stop near downtown where I work. A kind of shiver came over me.  I knew the feeling to be The Holy Spirit of warning me of something. I didn’t know what.

All of the sudden I heard yelling. An argument erupted between two people at a nearby house.



Next thing, I saw one of guys chasing the another down the street screaming at him. Gunfire was frightening, but I felt assured knowing the soon- to-arrive bus was safe and the area was also routinely patrolled.

It grieves me that there may come a day when the very people called to protect us and serve us (police) are not going to be able to do their jobs.  Political correctness!  The men-in-blue are already being portrayed by the media as “bad guys.”

However, I have great reverence for the police and what they do to protect me from the wickedness I see all too often on my way to work.


Bookworm (Sept. ’18) adds, “When I see a policeman, I thank him for the job that he does. On a day like today, I am grateful they are around.”



Previously: Elaine told about having a blind date with a man she met online. Afterward she wrote him a “Dear John” letter.


The same day I sent Bill the “Dear John,” he wrote back.  Here’s what he said.

“Hi Elaine,

I appreciate your honesty. Can you tell me what type of man you are looking for and what I can do differently in meeting a lady? Or, did my looks or personality play a factor in your feelings? Does this mean I have to reimburse the couple that paid for our drinks as they wanted to attend our wedding?


   After thinking over his reply for a few minutes, I wrote to him again.


Oh, goodness. No one has ever asked me that before.  I really respect you for allowing yourself to be vulnerable by asking those questions.

Who am I looking for? That is a surprisingly hard question to answer. So, by example, I will tell you that I am attracted to men at my church who take

leadership positions, have solid communication and interpersonal skills, and exhibit good humor, kindness, warmth and always –intelligence. I also like a measure of vulnerability. These men are always married so I don’t mean to infer that I attempt a romantic relationship with them.

About you –I think you should continue to be just who you are. I thought that taking me to dinner was especially nice, and I liked your choice of restaurants. It concerned me that you mentioned something about not being able to help but compare your dates to your deceased wife. Maybe that’s not a good thing to say. It didn’t sit quite right with me that you asked me if I was well off, but it is important information to gather at some point.

        We gave that couple at the next table something to tell their friends about! 

       They can say, “We saw this ‘older couple’ who were on their first date and ….”

       Again, the best to you, William.          



Elaine (Sept. ‘18) adds, “His question to me about who I am looking for was actually quite helpful!”

around the frame oct 2018 – our experiences

Dear Francoutoftouchduetome,

In a week I am flying to London! It will be the first time I have been in UK for 14 years.

I’m going to stay at my brother’s flat, but he may not be there for all four days i will. I am looking forward to seeing my nieces and their children whom I haven’t yet met. I’m also hoping to coordinate some meetings with a couple of school friends, one of whom I have known since we were four!



Liz/Moascar ( July ’18) adds, “I’m playing Debussy’s ‘Claire De Lune’ on the computer and remembering a party I attended yesterday. The hostess played this piece on the piano and was accompanied by a violinist who toured the world with singer/songwriter Yanni.”



Dear Frances,

Thank you for the card and the prayer!  I haven’t been sleeping well. And, yes, my mood still goes up and down.  I pray and do the best I can with it every “down” day.

No more September Truck Show weekends with family for me. For the last two years my second brother brought his drinking buddies when he came. He stayed drunk all weekend. No one wants to be around him.

Thus, another family tradition is gone.     That brother is following in the footsteps of his father and older brother who both had drinking problems. Sad.

I don’t do much with brother Bill and his wife Barb anymore, either. Things changed last year after Dad and their son, Steve, both died.  I miss the happy family times. Now, between deaths and the drinking, no one gets together anymore.

In other ways I am content. I read and write lots of cards and letters to friends and family. I walk when the weather is good and go to the Senior Center and church. (See next page.)

Life goes on like it always does.

Love and Prayers,



LindaSue (Sept. ’18) adds, “I have a new sewing project for the winter!”


Hello Dear Frances,

I hope that your summer was good. I can imagine that you looked forward having more time to write after JK left.

I do so little real writing; I can’t seem to make the time.  I miss it, but I don’t think it’s so important to me or I would work harder to find time.  I fought so long to make something of my writing.  I just got tired.

Perhaps your personal experiences are making up for the lack of time to write?  I find so much richness and meaning in life through experiences. They often come with learning and traveling.  I feel fortunate in that regard and not at all empty or wanting.

I have resolved to work on my body this year. When we returned from Israel, I made it a point to go to the local fitness center and signed up my husband and me. It has been very rewarding!

We have developed a discipline for exercise –and we needed it!  I have been going to a twice-weekly gentle yoga class and enjoying that, even with the challenges that it presents. Most of participants are older than I.  We have some 90-year-olds in the group. They are inspiring.  They use chairs and modify the yoga poses for their abilities.

One day, after finishing his treadmill work, Bill met a man who is in his 90s and still runs marathons!

Yikes! I’m not sure if I could walk 26 miles let alone run them.

Best Regards,



Linda Rosenthal (Sept. ‘18) “I’ve also taken to meditating at least 10 minutes every day.  I haven’t been as consistent as I would like to be, but it is making a positive difference. It has brought a calmer attitude with regard to conflict.  I need that.  I haven’t been depressed, just very busy.  (Too busy.)  If I do get down, it passes and I don’t stay there.  I can’t afford to stay there.  I’m not the same lump of sad that I used to be and I’m not the same person.  I can’t dwell on mistakes or my past character flaws.  I can’t change those things and I don’t want them to define me.


Editor’s Note:  Following is a page from my spiritual journal.

Humidity from recent rain hung in air graying distant objects. JK wanted to see harness racing at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair.  When the early morning shower ended, the weatherman predicted no more for the day. JK, my son, David, and I headed for the fair’s grand stand.

Harness racing at the 4-H Fair

Harness racing at the 4-H Fair

Several races had been run when we climbed steps to sit under the roofed section of the bleachers. JK knew harness racing from his teen years in Chicago and explained a few details that make pacers different from other trotters.

However, after the first few contests, only JK stayed focused on the dirt track races. David walked the grandstand. I looked around from my high perch and photographed the scene. After a few more races, JK said, “That’s enough.”

We descended and began exploring the fair at ground level near the Dairy Bar. The day was hot. JK got in line for an ice cream cone while David went off to get a specialty coffee. Several minutes later, I was seated in shade while David sipped his brew and JK licked his cone.

I was eager to see the “Home Arts” displays.  A seamstress in my extended family had made matching dresses for her granddaughters and won first prize in her division. I wanted to see the work and also study the quilting, art and crafts that had also earned ribbons.

JK dropped off from our trio at the Dairy Barn, saying he wanted to look around.  I shook my head. “I’m going to see the homemaking displays.”

JK nodded and entered the Holstein barn.

David and I walked to the next low white building. I first turned toward the Ladies Room.  David said, “I’m going in to look around.”

I nodded. “OK.”

Entering the Home Arts building, I turned toward the displays. Across the room, David lifted his arm and waved me over. He stood with a slender, blond, young woman. Who’s that?

I made my way through a crowd toward the pair. Reaching them, I recognized his cousin Kara. “Hi , Kara!” I glanced around for her daughter or husband but saw no one. “Did you come out to the fair alone?”

Kara shook her head.  She pointed behind me to a white-haired woman bent over her walker looking at a glassed-in quilt display. “I have family-duty.”

Seeing the lady made my gut clench. Years before I had been close to the once dark-haired elder. Then, several years after my divorce she had said, “Don’t send me birthday and Christmas cards. And, stop coming by the house. I don’t want to see you.”

Clearly divorce was not acceptable. In her eyes, I was like a Hindu Untouchable.

The woman’s words echoed in my memory. I didn’t want to “be social” with her. I needed to get away and calm myself. Looking back at David and his towhead cousin, I said, “I want to see the Blue Ribbon outfit my little cousin wore for her grandma’s project judging. It’s here somewhere.”

I skirted the chatting pair and crossed to the sewing display.  Standing there, I felt tremulous and my breath came in short puffs.  Adrenaline! I can’t let this encounter get to me. She’s an old lady now….

I straightened my spine and took a deep breath.  I’m OK.  I was just blindsided.  I calmed my nerves by studying sewing winners and also found my young cousin’s blue ribbon outfit.

Trying to act normal, I returned to David and Kara. I chatted with the young woman I sometimes saw downtown. “Are you still working at The Exchange?”

She shook her head. “My boss was driving me crazy!

Wide-eyed, I said, “Jerry? He seems so laid back!”

Kara shook her head. “I told him he was driving me nuts. “ She grinned and I realized she meant it was a joke.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the old woman still had her back to us. She rolled her walker to the next display case.

David, his cousin and I moved to remain behind the old matron who continued slowly down the long display of ribbon-winning crafts. When the dowager reached the end of the show case, she turned. Facing her now, I said, “Hello, Carolyn.”

As if I were a favorite person absent a long while, she gave me a big smile. “Hello Fritzie! How are you?”

At her unexpected greeting, I replied, “Fine.” Remembering her love of crafts I continued, “Are you looking for a new project?”

After two more polite exchanges I turned to David. “I think JK has gotten lost. I need to look for him.”

Before leaving I turned to the old woman, “Nice seeing you, Carolyn.”

My unexpected encounter with the elder lady triggered old hurt. Ordinarily, I would have avoided her potential snub or just escaped the situation.  However, that day I overcame past emotional injury enough to do the “next right thing.”

I am blessed.


Gracias! Merci Beaucoup! Denki! THANK YOU!


I don’t often have the space to thank all the volunteers who help get this newsletter to you.

First, I want to thank those who touch this copy right before it goes to print –the proof-readers. June Poucher reads first by e-mail. She sends me corrections. Once those are made, James proofs a paper copy which presents other little trouble-spots.

With the WORD format e-issue, Ninepatch goes to our website volunteer, Lynn D., who posts the issue to our site. (

Special thanks to our treasurer, Georgene. Every month she reviews receipts I have sent and notifies me which one(s) I have forgotten to send or are otherwise questionable.

She also puts together an end-of-year report for the board members so we can plan for the following year. In addition, she also serves on our Board.

Speaking of the Ninepatch Board, thanks to Christa, who serves on it and brings a unique, more youthful point of view to our discussions.

Another thank you goes to our note-writers. Paper issue readers receive a sticky note on every issue from one of our three note-writers: James, Georgene and Leigh.

Last, thanks to Bill who helped set up our Facebook Ninepatch Group and still helps trouble shoot!

Without the assistance of these folks, many of whom have multiple arms of assistance, publishing this newsletter would be impossible.

Editor, Frances Fritzie


If you have not yet found us on Facebook, type “Ninepatch group” into your Facebook search line. (Not just “Ninepatch.” That single word will take you to our business page which offers no discussion/chat.)

Here’s the weekly topic line up for September 2018:

Week 1: “Tomorrow I need to…”

Week 2: “The sickest I’ve ever been was …”

Week 3: “The last time I went camping was …”

Week4:When I play Monopoly, I usually…”


Many thanks to everyone who has taken time to make short comments to our weekly NINEPATCH GROUP postings.

Following is a letter-like comment reader Linda Rosenthal (Aug. ‘18) made on last months topic, “For fun I like to…”

For fun, I like to travel and explore. Like discovering a sky full of hovering, dancing fireflies in a remote Kansas field very late on a summer night, I enjoy the unexpected. This past spring, Bill and I were returning from our winter trip to New Mexico. We made a stop in Nashville, Tennessee. We drove to the city’s Centennial Park.

In Nashville Centennial ParkIn Nashville Centennial Park

In Nashville Centennial Park

As we wandered through the park, hundreds of people began showing up. They were strolling around, holding up their cell phones as they walked. “What are they doing?,” my husband asked. I thought that they were playing “Pokemon” and indeed, they were. I don’t know anything about the game, but it was fun to watch the people having fun. The park became a playground for adults and children.”



This month Georgene (May ‘18) comments on “What item you don’t currently possess would you like to have in your home?” Georgene says, “What item I would like to have in my home?

Because we just finished an August heat wave, it would have to be a bedroom air conditioner that goes through the wall and vents outside. Our bedroom has no windows, just a slider door, so a window unit is out. There’s also no floor space for a floor-vent-through-the-wall model.

When the quote for the wall unit turned out to be $5,000, we decided we’d just keep the free standing fan for a few more years!

If I take the A/C out of the equation, I would very much like to have a high quality carpet for my dining area. It would be 8 ft. round, contemporary style and in neutral colors of taupe with some accents of turquoise.

To make my dream a reality I keep checking outlet websites
and discount stores like Home Goods. However I’ve been looking on line for two years with no luck!

I’ll just keep scouting.”

Our Monthly Question for September 2018, “What item you don’t currently possess would you like to have in your home?” will continue and a new one will join it: The thing I love most about nature is…”


In the room of soft light,
I have all I need,
Paintings on the wall,
Open screen, 
Pale rain has started, 
Against a darkening sky –

I have thoughts about all
I can’t

Is it important to agree
Or just to love,

Rain is a given, an
Explained by some.
The weatherman reports
I cannot argue with.

I accept it,
Rain –
A strum of love.

Gayle Bluebird (Sept.’18) adds, “Rain has a way of making us feel pensive, reflective, questioning of what is beyond us to understand.

Rain comforts me and seems to tell me, ‘It doesn’t matter.’ Rain is immediate, you are impacted directly. Go to my Facebook page for more of my poems.”


May the vibe of the tone

of the Song of the World

still come through. May it

like early September

sun through spaces in

its cooling clouds

to warm us when

the breeze slows. May it

come drying up the fresh

lush Chi-town trees

and pavements after morning

rain, may it though

we’ve charged ourselves up

to give more credit

to the moment. May it

like our dreams coming

true, unfolding as the present we

imagine too often

is not; may it come thru

like the truths

of our beings, like

supersleuth artistry leaving

its evidence on our quick-

moving bodies as

ink stains and paint blotches

on our favorite

jeans. May the song come

through as we turn

down our music and

tone down our ignorance

to listen with our hearts, our eyes

our open souls,

to see around us the brilliance

of this

deep sea dream expressing itself

in gentle surprise,

a daughter’s prophetic

scribblings of red ink

on the inner found pages

of a new trip, keeping

always fresh its present segue.

Brian Janisse (Aug. ‘18) adds, This poem is a prayer for a change of attitude, a call to slow down and rekindle a misplaced sense of harmony with the world.

*Fusel: (From Wikipedia) Fusel alcohols…also sometimes called fusel oils in Europe, are mixtures of several alcohols (chiefly amyl alcohol) produced as a by-product of alcoholic fermentation. The word fusel is German for ‘bad liquor.’ “Brian adds, “I referred to the occurrence of fusing together.”