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Ronda Rich

Stories by Ronda

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RONDA RICH: Listen to elders for pearls of wisdom

Ronda Rich column

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RONDA RICH: Some belongings are worth keeping

Ronda Rich column

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RONDA RICH: Family pessimist overflows with generosity

They all come with some kind of a price and all with a certain amount of disappointment but still Rodney keeps trying. He likes to help people. It’s something as deeply born in him as his constantly smiling blue eyes or wit that is quicker than a summer storm that brews when it comes up a cloud. He helps us all, so much so that there is often little time left to help himself.

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RONDA RICH: Southern women take pride in their casseroles

Any self-respecting Southern woman has a list of casserole recipes a mile long ready to bake at a moment’s notice. You got a sickness or a death in your family, we’ve got just the casserole for you.

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RONDA RICH: Know who you are, be who you are

I still laugh at that story but, more important than that, it has become a life’s truth for me. Know what you are and be what you are. Don’t switch back and forth. Stick to who you are.

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RONDA RICH: Reaching career goal takes perseverance

By chance, we happened upon him in a small gift shop. The clerk, recognizing me, laughed and said, “What a coincidence! She just bought a copy of your book!” She gestured toward a small woman browsing through a group of men’s sweaters.

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RONDA RICH: Look out for ‘dear’ in Southern conversation

She said it, of course, with a smirk. Those women who really don’t understand the ways of the women of the South seem to always speak about us in words that are vividly cloaked in disdain.

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RONDA RICH: Hanging brought closure to Lincoln’s death

It is the summer of 1865 and, according to Charlie Tinker’s diaries, it has been a summer of oppressive heat, its airless steaminess made more miserable by the heavy sorrow that he and his colleagues have shouldered since the death of their Commander-in-Chief, Abraham Lincoln.

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RONDA RICH: Independence can be learned at any age

RONDA RICH: Independence can be learned at any age

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RONDA RICH: Gravemarker key to unlocking family history

(This is the second of a three-part series on the discoveries made after a visit to Charlie Tinker’s grave.) Upon discovering Charles Almerin Tinker’s leaf-strewn grave in Green-Wood cemetery in Brooklyn, NY, we — one of us more than the other — began to study the names and dates engraved on the towering monument.

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RONDA RICH: A package should be pretty

The renowned bow maker in my hometown died. Only in the South would this probably be news because we Southern women do admire a package well-wrapped.

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RONDA RICH: A grave is both revealing and mysterious

It was during mid-flight, perhaps somewhere over Virginia, that a thought hit me and I turned suddenly, excitedly toward my husband Tink.

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RONDA RICH: A spoiled child can grow into a troubled adult

The way she was was a long way from what she became. I can’t help thinking about how life veers so far away from the beginning of the journey and how the destination can vary drastically from where it all started.

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RONDA RICH: Don't forget to thank a farmer

There’s nothing glamorous about being a farmer, nothing charming, little endearing and certainly few things easy about it. It is either a calling or a curse, depending on how one looks at it. Some are born into it and some just can’t find a way to escape it for it’s all they’ve ever known.

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RONDA RICH: Appreciate your blessings

Oh, the stories people tell. Not always good ones, mind you but the kind that will make you fall down on your knees and thank the good Lord up above that you don't have a story like that.

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RONDA RICH: Everyone has a story to tell

Over lunch the other day with friends -- all in the newspaper business -- I mentioned that I occasionally speak at writers' conferences.. "Everyone has a book in 'em," I commented, something I most surely believe though they all looked surprised.

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RONDA RICH: 'Last Lap' follows lives of early stock car racers

Somehow I ran across an out-of-print book called "The Last Lap." It is now 15 years old, but tells an intriguing, timeless tale of the early days of America's first stock car racers.

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RONDA RICH: Anyone can be steps away from misfortune

Anyone can be one step away from misfortune. It happened in Memphis. A lot of history and interesting stuff occurs in that magical city that sits grandly on the Mississippi River.

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RONDA RICH: Telling the truth is the mark of an honorable person

Telling the truth is the mark of the honorable. The waitress set down the cup of coffee and I poured cream into the hot, black liquid while quietly reflecting, pondering something.

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RONDA RICH: Statistics trump personal life in sports world

My parents told great stories. I've told you that. How they would both weave long, intriguing tales from not much of a story or one that was so good to begin with that it took little embellishment.

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RONDA RICH: Even a chipped bowl can be priceless family heirloom

Just as Tink started up the stairs, stepping slowly and carefully as he balanced a bowl and a cup of coffee to keep them from sloshing, I appeared around the corner. I paused, watched, and debated silently as to whether to speak.

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RONDA RICH: No happy ending for Peggy Sue's story

When Peggy Sue went away, just fell off the face of the earth with no warning or even a holler, we all wondered where she had gone.

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RONDA RICH: Mama knew the importance of education

Mama was stubborn. "Set in her ways," is what country folks call it and boy, was she.

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RONDA RICH: No need for foul language

Recently, I was in a bookstore with a friend.

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RONDA RICH: A dear friend is at peace, but I'm not

It seems too many loved ones recently have said good-bye to this vale of grief and sorrow and said hello to sweet eternity. Heaven is blessed, but I am distressed.

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RONDA RICH: Shape-note singing integral to Southern culture

Shape-note singing key to culture. of the South. One day over lunch, my new-to-the-South-but-thoroughly-loving-it husband commented on the choir singing at our church which is led by my brother-in-law, Rodney.

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RONDA RICH: Miss Eudora's doors finally open

In the past several years, I have had as much luck visiting the historically preserved home of Southern iconic writer, Eudora Welty, as I would have had when she was alive.

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RONDA RICH: Southern gentleman's passing hard to bear

To be just downright honest, I never expected to miss him this much.

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RONDA RICH: Easter parade a family tradition

Easter parade an. inescapable tradition.

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RONDA RICH: Southern mamas care what people think

A major New York publisher sent a review copy of a much-touted novel called, "If Jack's In Love."

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RONDA RICH: Don't let life's demands defer your dreams

It has long been my belief that the dreams tucked into our hearts are the compass we're given to find our direction in life. Children know at an early age what they're called to do.

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RONDA RICH: The Lord inspires wise witty prose

Before I say this, just know that I am not bragging. I am sure that this is not anything to brag about. But you and I are friends and I always endeavor to be honest with you so you should know the truth.

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RONDA RICH: It's important to know your kin

Importance of knowing your kin. It is of paramount importance that I teach my husband how to be a Southerner, at least a half-decent one if not one of regal bearing.

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RONDA RICH: Honest, hard-working people hard to come by

Back in the summer, unwillingly, I would rise early and take a run to beat some of the oppressive heat and humidity that smothers the South when the sun inches higher in the sky.

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RONDA RICH: Middle-of-the-road is best

Little Danny McGuire was the scrawniest kid in class. He was so frail, so downright skinny that his dungarees clung to his bony hips only thanks to a well-worn brown belt that was pulled tight to the last notch, causing the fabric to gather in folds.

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RONDA RICH: Parents' wisdom passed down through mantras

Mama's favorite phrase when I was growing up -- particularly during the defiant teenage years, especially when I sassed her -- was "you're gonna pay for your raising one day, little lady.

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RONDA RICH: Forgiveness is central to Christianity

Boy, can people be mean. I'm thinking particularly of a reader named Samantha, whose scolding of me turned into a scalding.

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RONDA RICH: To be a storyteller, observe others

Occasionally, someone truly interested in the art of writing will ask me, "What does it take to be a writer?"

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RONDA RICH: Mama never told a short story

It was one of those days. The kind when you have a lot of work to do and none of it you want to do, so you just piddle.

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RONDA RICH: Accounts of Lincoln's death traveled by word of mouth

Charlie Tinker, according to his diary, was feeling poorly on the morning of April 15, 1865. He had left the office on April 12th, gone home and to bed.

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RONDA RICH: A new year means struggling to keep those resolutions

Of course, I'll be having black-eyed peas and collard greens for New Year's Day.

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RONDA RICH: Family diary offers glimpses into Lincoln's personality

Thirty notebooks in pristine condition lay about me on the bed in Los Angeles after my husband had surprised me with the diaries of his great-great-grandfather, Charlie Tinker, a White House telegrapher who had been friends with President Abraham Lincoln.

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RONDA RICH: Teacher, mentor exchange benefits both

In those days -- the ones of my cherished youth -- my cousin, Ronnie, a year older than I, worked for my daddy.

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RONDA RICH: Let Thanksgiving inspire you to share blessings at Christmas

This isn't really a Thanksgiving column. It's more of a Christmas column. Well, actually, it is a Thanksgiving column because it's about being thankful enough for your blessings that you share them at Christmas.

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RONDA RICH: Working teaches youth the value of a dollar

It seems to me that a lot of young people have it easy.

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RONDA RICH: Be respectful of others' accents

There I was, sitting at my desk, writing away, bothering no one when my phone rang. It was Hollywood calling. "Hey," said a friend of ours who is a big-time movie producer.

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RONDA RICH: Even simple country folk have style

It all started with a break-in then continued to a breaking point when a crazy woman showed up at my door, ranting about aliens who had landed at her house.

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RONDA RICH: Southern women flirt through storytelling

It's a funny thing about us Southerners. If a Yankee criticizes us, we haughtily disregard it, muttering over their ignorance.

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RONDA RICH: Learn to empathize, not criticize

One night while out to dinner, I noticed an elegant elderly lady at the next table over who was dining alone. I was drawn to her because sorrow clouded her eyes and she smiled sadly, the kind we all force when we do not feel happy.