Thursday, April 11, 2019

Eating Fried Okra in a Stranger’s Driveway By Patti Jo Moore

A few years ago, on a Sunday afternoon in January, I drove my son to a friend’s house to work on a school project. I’d never been in that neighborhood, so my son pointed out the house, and I dropped him off. I was to return three hours later to get him, after picking up a meal from our favorite fried chicken place.

Since I was able to get our food quicker than expected, I arrived back in his friend’s neighborhood twenty minutes early. No problem—I had the latest book by my favorite author with me, and couldn’t wait to dive in. I located the house (in a lovely neighborhood with circular driveways in front) and pulled right up near the front door and a large window. I was confident my son would easily see me, since I was parked so close to the house. I turned my car off, bundled up in my coat, and grabbed my book, eager to read until my son finished the project. The aroma of fried okra drifted to my nose, so I nibbled a few pieces. Perfectly content, I read as I munched fried okra and waited on my son.

About ten minutes later, my cell phone rang.

“Mom, we finished our project, so you can pick me up now.”

“Oh, honey, I’m already here. I arrived about ten minutes ago, so I’m reading a book.”

A few beats of silence, then a sigh as my son replied. “Mom, you’re parked in front of the wrong house. You went three houses too far down the street. Just stay there, and I’ll come to you.”

Yikes! I suddenly felt ridiculous as I gazed at the house where I was parked. What if the residents glanced out and saw a stranger, parked in their driveway…reading a book and eating?!

A minute later, my son climbed into the car, shaking his head. I smiled as I offered him some okra.

I’ve thought about that incident several times in recent years, and have been reminded that because I love that author’s work so much, I’d hurriedly parked my car and grabbed the book (in my defense, those houses were all similar). 😉

As writers, we know our work will not appeal to everyone. But whatever genre and whatever our writing style, we need to continue working to improve and write the best stories we can. Maybe our stories will provide such enjoyment to certain readers, they’ll be eager to devour them---with or without okra.

**I will add that at one point I was tempted to order a t-shirt that read: Embarrassing my children---just one more service I offer. 😊


Gracie Norton loves her life on Florida’s gulf coast. When a handsome widower with adorable twins moves in next door, Gracie’s life soon changes. As Gracie helps her neighbor during a crisis, she must face her biggest fear. Could young twins be the matchmakers for an unexpected romance? 

Patti Jo Moore is a former kindergarten teacher who now writes full-time. Her “Sweet, Southern Stories” feature characters who face realistic struggles and challenging situations but always have a happily-ever-after ending.  

Patti Jo loves Jesus, her family, cats, and coffee. When not writing, she loves spending time with her family—especially her precious grandbaby. She enjoys connecting with readers and can be found on Facebook at Author Patti Jo Moore. You can also visit her blog at 

She has two books with Forget-Me-Not Romances, with a third book coming out soon. 

EMERALD COAST ROMANCES series by Patti Jo Moore:

 A Seaside Romance

 An Unexpected Romance

In Tune with Romance (due out soon)