in the last month, I’ve found myself sitting at the bedside of a loved
one preparing to step out of this life and meet their Savior face to
face. Both my grandmother, Ruth Clark and my father-in-law, Bob Cooper
have played such a vital role in making the me person and writer I’ve
become, stretching my faith and encouraging me when I didn’t always
believe in myself. It only seems fitting to share their memory with you
grandma encouraged my love of reading early, and I attribute her with
introducing me to my first Harlequin Romance when I was around twelve
years old. That was because every Friday, Momma would load all of us
into a car and we’d head out shopping, Grandma’s favorite activity. Of
course, a day of shopping was completely without a trip to the
Woolworth’s cafe. On one of those visits, I noticed the new book section
of the dime store featuring Harlequin. Being twelve and only getting
enough allowance to go roller skating with my friends, I couldn’t afford
even one book. But Grandma wouldn’t hear of it. She’d pull a five
dollar bill from her purse and hand it to me, telling me to get whatever
books I wanted. To this day, I think Grandma had some insight from
above and decided to give me a head start by helping me ‘know the
Harlequin brand.’ Years later, when I published, Grandma would share
family stories she thought I might want to use in my books. She share
her stories of being a poor farm girl in rural Georgia right up until a
few weeks before she passed September 30th.
knew I’d met a kindred spirit when my (future) father-in-law quizzed me
the first time Danny took me home to meet the family. Bob didn’t shy
away from asking me about my beliefs, how my relationship with God was
or what my life goals were. That he loved his stepson enough to find out
if I was good enough for him touched me--and I must have passed the
test because Danny and I are still together all these years later. Over
the last thirty-two years, Bob has challenged me, made me think out of
my comfort zone, and helped me grow my faith in Christ. He shared
history books out of his personal library to help me research ideas for
my stories, always encouraging me in my mission field of writing.
Alzheimer’s cruelly robbed him of that wonderfully sharp brain, but even
at the end, I see his sweet spirit etched on his slumbering
very different people that God used in my life, to grow me in my faith
and encourage me. I’m a blessed woman to have been loved by them both.
Dr. Joshua McClain is headed west
stop: Hillsdale, Michigan, to break the marriage contract his late
mother arranged between him and Katie Clark. Years ago, Katie left him
behind in Charleston. But after a train crash, he comes face-to-face
with Dr. Kathleen Clark, his childhood friend all grown up.
Josh shows up in town, claiming they're betrothed, Katie refuses to
consider an arranged marriage. She'll marry for love or not at all.
Besides, he's headed for Kansas Territory; her practice is here in
Hillsdale. So why are they both finding it hard to break their betrothal
and say goodbye?
More about Patty:
Smith Hall made up stories to keep herself occupied since on boring
Sunday drives into the Georgia countryside when she was too young to
stay home by herself. Now she's happy to share her wild imagination and
love of history with
others, including her husband, Danny, two smart and gorgeous daughters,
and a Yorkie she spoils like a baby. She resides in North Georgia.