Ronda Rich

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RONDA RICH: Jim Lofton one of the great ones

THE DIXIE DIVA: Coach Lofton touched many lives during his life

I saw coaches, roaring like lions on the sidelines or in the locker rooms, become gentle lambs at the appropriate time when a player’s personal life called for compassion. I saw them take fatherless boys and rebellious ones and guide them onto the path of respectability. I watched them make a difference when the rest of the world turned a blind eye.

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RONDA RICH: The Yankee and the pocketknife

THE DIXIE DIVA: The sexiest men drive pickup trucks and carry pocket knives.

A few months ago, a reader showed up at an event I was doing and handed me a newspaper clipping of a column I wrote eight or nine years ago. He grinned happily after he asked me to sign it. “That’s me to a tee.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a Case knife. “Got more at home, too.” He pointed out the window. “That’s my truck, too. Got another one at home.”

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RONDA RICH: Mama B: A most memorable mother

THE DIXIE DIVA: Bedelle Nix, a memorable name for an unforgettable woman

As my sister’s mother-in-law, Mama B, as she was known all over the countryside, became part of our family when I was seven. This introduction into our family meant that Mama B, a strong, mindful woman, would meet the closest thing to a match she would ever encounter: My mama.

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RONDA RICH: Social media can be a little too social

THE DIXIE DIVA: OK, that is too much information

Facebook can be something akin to a soap opera, or a train wreck.

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RONDA RICH: Dying before it's all read and done

THE DIXIE DIVA: I have been best friends with books since before my birth

I have no doubt that I am going to die, leaving stacks of books behind me that are unread.

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RONDA RICH: Pictures not quite hair-raising

THE DIXIE DIVA: Camera shy hubby shudders at sound of a shutter

Never volunteer — or try to get out of it — if you agree to be photographed.

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RONDA RICH: A story in a name

THE DIXIE DIVA: No one in the South is known by name alone

In the South, everyone has a story. Every name is followed by a few sentences or paragraphs. No one is known by name alone.

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RONDA RICH: Shopping in person a pleasure

THE DIXIE DIVA: In seeking convenience, we lose wonderful things, like independent bookstores

I, like many of you, love shopping that is easy and requires no effort or gas. It is because of us – yes, you and I – that bookstores, built from brick and mortar, are disappearing. Especially the small, independent ones. We should be ashamed.

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RONDA RICH: More than an Easter basket

THE DIXIE DIVA: The real meaning of Easter

A family member recently died. Once, as she drifted off to morphine-induced sleep, whispering the name of Jesus, it reminded me how living with faith is important, but dying with it is crucial.

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RONDA RICH: Being a proper Southerner takes some real work

THE DIXIE DIVA: Doing Southern 'right' can be a full-time job in itself

It takes a lot of time to be the proper Southerner, the kind respected for thoughtfulness and kindness. In fact, it takes so much time that it’s looking like I may have to give up my job just to act like Mama raised me and Daddy expected me to do.

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RONDA RICH: The heart remembers

THE DIXIE DIVA: When I was 6, the boy came to live with us

His father had been summoned to the jungles of Vietnam to serve another tour of duty in a war that didn’t affect the little boy and me. Or so we thought. His mother, blonde and beautiful, had disappeared into the sky one day, his baby brother in tow, returning to her native Germany.

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RONDA RICH: Southerners seek out good stories

THE DIXIE DIVA: Minding your own business is boring

Southerners tend to collect stories. And, we tend to talk to anyone who will talk to us. The latter tends to lead to the first.

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RONDA RICH: Wrong time for 'write' time

THE DIXIE DIVA: Some days its hard to find time to make a living

It was somewhere near the end of summer when it just came to me that perhaps my writing days were over. That it was time to just give up the ghost and move on from making a living as a writer and just settle into handling daily problems.

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RONDA RICH: What Mama taught me

THE DIXIE DIVA: Knowledge stays alive, even after our parents are gone

There’s not a day goes by that I don’t think of Mama and do something the way she taught me to do it.

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RONDA RICH: Decisions seem to get harder with age

THE DIXIE DIVA: It is a blessing to know common-man philosophers

It is a blessing of a life to know common man philosophers. Those people, though not formally educated, who are plenty smart when it comes to sizing up life.

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