Sue Spitulnik

Writing, Sewing, Travel, and Thoughts



I am a retired grandmother that grew up in western New York state, left for 25 years, and am now back in the area. I happily live with my husband and two cats. I am pro-military, food, family, and quilting. I am con-exercise, insulting commercials, and lack of common sense. I have met some great friends through this website.

Choir Practice is Uplifting

Wednesday lunchtime, Michael said to Tessa, “I made a mistake when we talked about my sabbatical?”

“You did? I’m enjoying you being home more. You aren’t going cross country for a speaking engagement, are you?”

He chuckled. “No. But somehow, the church youth choir got left out of the conversation.”

Tessa looked at him in mock horror, then laughed. “You silly man, guiding those kids renews our optimistic outlook each week, especially when one of them has a personal breakthrough to come tell you about. I never thought of that changing.”

“I should have known that’s what you’d say.”

Written in response to Charli Mills January 23, 2023, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that is optimistic. Feel free to explore optimism in all its forms, from a positive mindset to toxic positivity. Is it a heartfelt story or a devious one? So much wiggle room for the optimistic writer. Go where the prompt leads!

Patriotic Quilt

I made this quilt for Bob Whalen after he became a member of the Rochester Veterans Writing Group. The triangle in the middle is a replica of his 13th Armored Division shirt patch, which he wore during WWII. The outside blocks are called kaleidoscope blocks.
Bob became a father figure to me. He shared his positive attitude with everyone he met, had group lunches at his home, and always had a compliment waiting. He left us at the age of 95. I miss him deeply.

A Quilt for Hudson

My new great-great nephew was born on January 20, 2023.

The “Jar Quilt” I made for him tells the story of his Great Grandmother, my sister, and Great Grandfather. Joanne was the canner in the family and always had a big garden. Ray did the plowing and weeding in the garden and helped with the canning. On the back of the quilt, I used a fabric panel that was a picture of a cartoon-type mechanic because Ray always drove with no music on, so he could hear the engine to make sure it was running in top condition. He could fix any type of engine and enjoyed mowing the grass with his John Deere tractor.

The Moral Injury of War

The Band of Brothers was finishing a practice session at the No Thanks when two young women arrived. They purchased beers and went to the back corner, darkest booth like they were regulars. Soon, Kurt joined them.

They sat in the shadows long enough to have a second round that Mac delivered. At the bar, Katie asked who they were.

Mac explained, “We met them on Thanksgiving eve. Their MOS was the same as Kurt’s, but a generation later. They are discussing how to deal with things I hope you never experience nor volunteer for.”

“I won’t volunteer, Grandpa.”

Note: MOS stands for Military Occupation Speciality Code. In past episodes, it was revealed Kurt was an army sniper. Currently, there are less than 100 women in the Army that could be assigned the same job, but women are gradually becoming part of the front lines. It’s also a fact that only 10% of the troops deployed to the front experience combat. Others are mechanics, cooks, vehicle drivers, medics, etc.

In this episode, Mac doesn’t want his granddaughter to enlist in the military as service is often a generational family occurrence.

Bad Dog

Tessa was babysitting Emma and when Lexi arrived to pick her up, she found the toddle sitting on the porch pouting. Emma said, “Wanna go home. Jester’s mean.”

Lexi went inside and asked what the dog had done.

“We were watching a rabbit in the yard, then Jester saw it too and asked to go out. Without thinking, I opened the door, and he chased the rabbit into the field.”

“That’s all? She’s acting like it was more than that.”

“I explained he didn’t hurt it, but that didn’t help.”

“If it were a squirrel, she would have laughed.”

Michael Needs a Break

Tessa noticed that Michael’s morning routine was taking longer than usual. “Honey, do you feel all right?”

Michael gave her a funny look from where he sat on the bed. “Why do you ask?”

“You act tired and are moving slower.”

“I didn’t think it showed,” he said. “Maybe a type of sabbatical is what I need. Keep up with DC and the band only. That would leave more time for us, and guarantee I would be home when Lexi has her baby.”

Tessa sat beside him and took his hand, “That’s a fantastic idea. I’d love it.”

Written in response to Charli Mills January 2, 2023, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a sabbatical. Who needs one or has had one? What kind of tension could a rest create? Where can a break take your story? Go where the prompt leads!

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