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Ronda Rich

Stories by Ronda

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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.

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RONDA RICH: 'Be sweet' a powerful parental teaching

When I was growing up -- probably well into my college years -- Mama's last words as I walked out the door were always the same.

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RONDA RICH: Only a woman can be wise in the ways of other women

One evening I was sorting through clothes in the bedroom while Tink, settled in a comfortable chair, was (as usual) fiddling with his phone.

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RONDA RICH: Books are my treasures

In this house of wood and stones that I call home, there are books scattered and stacked hither and yon.Some might say this house is cluttered with books but I would never be that irreverent, for cluttered seems to mean "unnecessary" or "junk."

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RONDA RICH: Orphaned calf could become the family pet

It was a sweet sight, no doubt. My heart is always drawn to God's animal creatures, especially those who have found themselves abandoned young.

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RONDA RICH: Parents taught me hard work, value of dollar

One day I asked a friend how her son was doing in college. She smiled then began a discourse on how he was enjoying his field of study and what he could do with his degree when he graduated.

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RONDA RICH: Shiny rings keep memory of Mama alive

It would never have occurred to me that it would mean as much as it has, and it never crossed my mind that I would cherish it as I have.

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RONDA RICH: A Southern writer with a Yankee muse?

When the column appeared where I lamented that my longstanding muse, Claudette, had lost a significant amount of humor due to medication so I needed a new muse who could inspire my writing, several stepped up to volunteer for the newly vacated position.One plea was particularly engaging.

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RONDA RICH: Really strange things are happening around here

This is how bad times are getting -- Claudette has taken to crying and Grace Ann has taken up cussing.

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RONDA RICH: Life's too short to worry what others think

One day at lunch, I ran into a beautiful older woman, a friend from years past, whom I hadn't seen in quite a while. She had changed very little since I first met her when I was in college.

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RONDA RICH: Some people are just plain mean

Now, we all knew that wasn't going to work. Not for one cotton-picking minute did we think that those two could say "I do" and keep that vow until one of 'em stopped breathing.

RONDA RICH: Cook up some comfort for a friend

A friend, en route from Charlotte to Atlanta, stopped to spend the night with me.

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RONDA RICH: Even your best friends may surprise you sometimes

When you've known someone since you were teenagers and have shared deep secrets ranging from boys to money to worries and wishes, you think you know them well and that there is nothing they can do or think that will surprise you.That would not be the case with Karen, one

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RONDA RICH: Nothing more pitiful than those who throw away their potential

Over lunch, Debbie and I were having a conversation about someone we knew in our youth and were wondering what had happened to him. This is what happens when lifelong friends gather -- we trip back in time and memory and ponder what or who has come and gone.We concluded that whatever had happened to him was not what could have happened, that he had had so much potential, talent and opportunity that he could have become rich and famous. Life offered it to him but he slapped away the hand of sweet fate.

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RONDA RICH: Celebrate the beauty of all women

In a conversation recently, a guy friend commented on seeing someone, saying, "She was in evening make-up."I'm still pondering that because I have never heard a guy -- or woman for that matter -- comment on "evening make-up." That got me to thinking that I don't have "evening make-up." What you see at 9 a.m. with me is pretty much what you're gonna get at 9 p.m.

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RONDA RICH: Dixie Dew looking forward to her 'bark tour'

I'm the adorable red dachshund who is known and loved by many. My mama is Ronda Rich who normally writes this column. She makes a living by writing about family, friends and other folks she knows, including me.

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RONDA RICH: Family, friends, faith and food add up to the perfect Christmas

If the experts are to be believed, then Christmas seldom lives up to our high expectations and that's why so many are stricken with depression and gloom during the holidays. It's a let down after a big build-up.

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RONDA RICH: Storytellers abound in the Mississippi Delta town

Once I was aboard a riverboat called the American Queen on which I had spent several days cruising along what I consider to be the majestic Mississippi River. I boarded in New Orleans and, along with the other passengers, crawled toward St. Louis.

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RONDA RICH: Southern storytellers abound in the Mississippi Delta town of Greenville

Once I was aboard a riverboat called the American Queen on which I had spent several days cruising along what I consider to be the majestic Mississippi River. I boarded in New Orleans and, along with the other passengers, crawled toward St. Louis.

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RONDA RICH: Wit, humor require a comic muse

I guess it had been more than a year that I had been thinking that I wasn't as funny as I used to be. When you make your living with witty observations and entertaining stories, this isn't an asset you want to lose.I fretted a bit, thinking that stress and problems were slowing the quick draw of my wit.

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RONDA RICH: The art of storytelling from the very best

Out of the blue one day, I got an email from an old, beloved friend from my NASCAR days. In the days when first I met him, Jim Freeman was the public relations director at the Talladega track. That was when the publicity at all the tracks was run by men, some college educated, some not, who were amicable, back-slapping and well-liked.They worked hard to beg attention for a sport that few media outlets cared about so when the reporters did show up, they made them feel at home, almost smothering them with Southern hospitality. They inched their way, little by little, to big papers like USA Today, the Washington Post and the New York Times sending out reporters. USA Today was the first to step up and commit, sending Jerry Potter, a good friend of mine, to cover the beat on a regular basis. The others mostly visited only for the Daytona 500.

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RONDA RICH: Fine china, silver shouldn't be saved for special occasions

When Miss Virgie, my beloved mentor on all things Southern proper, came to visit with her husband, Bill, she lovingly lectured me whenever I fell short.

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RONDA RICH: Fine china, silver shouldn't be saved for special occasions

When Miss Virgie, my beloved mentor on all things Southern proper, came to visit with her husband, Bill, she lovingly lectured me whenever I fell short. "Oh my goodness, what a cook you are," she said, smiling approvingly as I set a platter of country fried steak on the table then pulled a pan of homemade biscuits from the oven. "Those are the prettiest biscuits I ever saw."

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RONDA RICH: Men aren't nosy enough, so women must ferret out the juicy details

A couple of years ago, I was in Fayetteville, Ark., having dinner with a few folks including two of the loveliest people I know -- Gen and Frank Broyles.Now, if you're a college football fan, you'll know whom the legendary Frank Broyles is. For those of you who don't, he was a titan of football while reigning as head coach for the University of Arkansas Razorbacks for 40 years and leading them to a national championship.

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RONDA RICH: Men aren't nosy enough, so women must ferret out the juicy details

A couple of years ago, I was in Fayetteville, Ark., having dinner with a few folks including two of the loveliest people I know -- Gen and Frank Broyles.Now, if you're a college football fan, you'll know whom the legendary Frank Broyles is. For those of you who don't, he was a titan of football while reigning as head coach for the University of Arkansas Razorbacks for 40 years and leading them to a national championship.

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RONDA RICH: Looks aren't everything, but they sure do help

"Who is it?" I asked with a great deal of wariness in my voice. Long ago, I stopped being hopeful when folks call up with someone they'd like to fix me up. Men outnumber women so all the good ones are snatched up and gone.

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RONDA RICH: Looks aren't everything, but they sure do help

My brother-in-law, Rodney, called me up one day. He's one of my favorite people and even when I should get mad at him, I never can. He's so charming and funny.

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RONDA RICH: Don't listen to critics — find your peace

When word filtered out that she was gone, just packed up and disappeared like a vapor in the broad, bright light of day, I found no surprise in it.There was a substantial part of me that had expected it all along.. A woman who is restless with her serving of