Shannon here: Patricia Lee shares her experience with matchmaking for friends that inspired her latest Contemporary romance, Love’s Autumn Harvest. Comment or answer the question in this post to enter the drawing for a print or e-book copy. Deadline: Aug 15th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Patricia:
Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match:
How many couples do you know have found love for the second time? Did they meet by chance? Had they been friends or acquaintances when their first spouse lived? Or did that happen when said spouse moved on? In my lifetime I played a small role in helping a second chance love blossom and my new book reflects that.
The novel that releases this week is the tale of a widow and a widower who are neighbors. They met before the widow’s husband died and have known each other for a while. But the possibility of mutual attraction has never entered either of their minds. Both are busy with their private lives. Romance is not an option.
And then. . .something happens!
Now the real life story. . .
When my husband and I were first married, we each had a friend who lost their spouse. I worked with a widow whose husband had passed away five years before. She’d been married nearly twenty-five years and had two grown children she would travel to see. One lived in Alaska and the other Hawaii. They provided many opportunities to vacation in style. She visited when she could.
The woman also had an independent spirit and resolved to move on with her life. She loved to hike and purchased a campervan, spending her weekends exploring campsites and outdoor parks. Add to that the rigors of her job and the upkeep of her home, she had little empty time. She often invited my husband and I for dinner at her home. I admired her ability to live life to the fullest.
Enter my husband’s colleague who suddenly lost his wife of thirty years. His daughter stepped in to help while he adjusted to single life, teaching him to cook healthier meals and providing company. He’d drop by our house on occasion and he and my husband exchanged lively conversations. But no matter how enjoyable the evening, his loneliness veiled him like a shroud. His grief was too fresh, his singleness a foreign word.
One day not long after we’d had dinner with my widowed friend, my husband had an epiphany. Why not introduce his colleague to my co-worker? I wasn’t so sure. The man was a devout Catholic, she a lifelong Protestant. That seemed like a major obstacle. My husband
disagreed. They could at least spend some time together. I agreed to ask my co-worker though matchmaking ranked up there with meddling in my book,
She reacted much as I had. Unsure. Dubious. I encouraged her by suggesting they only meet for coffee. I’d go with her and introduce the man. She agreed to that.
Soon we had a date for coffee. I made the introductions and let conversation take over. They each had a lot to say. I had to excuse myself for another meeting and discreetly exited the scene. The next day at work my co-worker told me they had arranged to meet again.
Dinner followed. My co-worker confronted me. “You didn’t tell me you were setting me up with a devout Catholic? My Baptist father will certainly have something to say.”
I reassured her with my husband’s logic. “I didn’t say you had to marry him, just enjoy some time together.”
The dates, though, became more frequent. Movies. Day trips to the mountains. Hikes along hidden trails. The pair had become an item. Who knew?
Six months later they married. Her father gave his blessing. My husband was best man and I the matron of honor. Their marriage was filled with travel adventures, often visiting national parks in their fifth wheeler. They flew to Hawaii to see her son and we were invited to meet his daughter and her husband. They attended a WWII navy veterans reunion. We camped with them at the coast. They attended each other’s churches. Year after year passed until they’d been married twenty-five years. We celebrated the milestone with dinner together.
Two years ago age caught up with them. The husband, now in his nineties, passed away from ongoing heart failure. The children, grandchildren and great grandchildren came to support their parents, his kids and hers alike. They came to acknowledge the legacy of love lived before them. Between two marriages, our friends had achieved more than fifty years of marriage, a major accomplishment in our uncertain times.
We may have played a minor part, but God, in His wisdom, knitted them together.
About Patricia: Patricia (Pat) Lee has had a fascination with words and what they can do since she wrote her first short paragraph at the age of six. She doesn’t remember the content of her story, but her teacher became excited at what she’d done. “Obviously,” Pat says, “words made people happy.”
Pat worked as a stringer for a local newspaper during her middle and high school years representing the school’s news to the community. She received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oregon, then went on to work as a tabloid newspaper editor at her local church.
After she married, she began her freelancing career and sold to various publications, including Expecting, Moody Monthly, and Power for Living. More recently she has published in two anthologies, Cup of Comfort Bible Promises and Heavenly Company, as well as featured articles in Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse magazine. An Anchor On Her Heart, her debut novel, released in July, 2017. Love Calls Her Home, the second in the Mended Hearts series, released March 1, 2018. The third novel, A Kite on the Wind released October 1, 2018.
She lives were her husband and a handful of furry friends in the Pacific Northwest. They have two grown children. Learn more & connect:
About the book – Love’s Autumn Harvest
All Eily McKintrick needed was an onion.
Across the fence an entire garden waits, but her brusque and unfriendly neighbor Marshall Frye doesn’t want to trade for the needed vegetable. Annoyed, Eily crawls through the fence to borrow the onion anyway, risking the wrath of the contrary man at the property line. If she’s caught.
Marshall would only be too happy to gift the widow with an onion, if it weren’t for her choice of friends. She spends time with Hillary Shepherd, a determined divorcée with her sights set on him. After his wife died, he retired early as a high school principal to live a contented solitary life growing vegetables for the local food banks. But when he finds Eily on her knees in his garden, the ensuing adventure is more trouble than either are prepared to handle.
Will Eily and Marshall find love for a second time? And what will Hillary do?
Question for Readers: Have you ever played match maker or do you know any couples who got together due to matchmaking? Tell us about it.
Come back August 11th for Kathy Cretsinger!