Ronda Rich column
Ronda Rich column
Ronda Rich column
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
RONDA RICH: Independence can be learned at any age
(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.
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.
It was during mid-flight, perhaps somewhere over Virginia, that a thought hit me and I turned suddenly, excitedly toward my husband Tink.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mama was stubborn. "Set in her ways," is what country folks call it and boy, was she.
Recently, I was in a bookstore with a friend.
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.
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.
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.
To be just downright honest, I never expected to miss him this much.
Easter parade an. inescapable tradition.
A major New York publisher sent a review copy of a much-touted novel called, "If Jack's In Love."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Boy, can people be mean. I'm thinking particularly of a reader named Samantha, whose scolding of me turned into a scalding.
Occasionally, someone truly interested in the art of writing will ask me, "What does it take to be a writer?"
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.
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.
Of course, I'll be having black-eyed peas and collard greens for New Year's Day.
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.
In those days -- the ones of my cherished youth -- my cousin, Ronnie, a year older than I, worked for my daddy.
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.
It seems to me that a lot of young people have it easy.
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.
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.
It's a funny thing about us Southerners. If a Yankee criticizes us, we haughtily disregard it, muttering over their ignorance.
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.