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Ronda Rich

Stories by Ronda

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RONDA RICH: Loyalty a valuable virtue

When I think back on the days of my youth, it would be hard to pick a lesson learned that was more important than another.

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RONDA RICH: Every Easter a touchtone of life

THE DIXIE DIVA: Christmases and birthdays may blend in memory, but each Easter is distinct

It is the parade of Easter suits, dresses and hats that I have worn over the years that ground me to a specific Easter. When I look at the photos or videos of our family’s Easter parade, I remember so clearly that moment in time. I recall the sorrows or joys of that season of my life and all that was happening.

RONDA RICH: Small moments create great stories

THE DIXIE DIVA: Challenges of life can make for a trove of treasure

It fascinates me to see what the journey of life will drill into our souls and our minds to make a good story.

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RONDA RICH: A Southern conversion

THE DIXIE DIVA: Low-fat buttermilk has no place in a Southern home

Always choose a Southern doctor, preferably an overweight one, over a fussy California physician.

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RONDA RICH: Mind what the wolly boogers tell you

THE DIXIE DIVA: Paying attention to small signs can help you prepare for big events

Nature has inside information it will share if you only know where to look.

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RONDA RICH: When you see a wreck, aim for the center

THE DIXIE DIVA: Swerving will not let you avoid the problem

NASCAR drivers are great sources of wisdom when it comes to risk taking, generosity, dream chasing, kindness and loyalty.

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RONDA RICH: With humility comes ... pride

THE DIXIE DIVA: As a rule, in the South you are either proud or humble

What I have come to learn, though it has taken a few decades, is that humility, while noble, can be as destructive as pride.

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RONDA RICH: A suitcase full of dreams

THE DIXIE DIVA: Some great memories come in the shade of hot pink

New luggage in bright, cherry colors a reminder of some great childhood dreams.

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RONDA RICH: Living in black and white

THE DIXIE DIVA: Stories of moutain religion harken to another time

Some stories, including old-time religion and and the days of moonshine toting ridge-runners, are best told in black and white.

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RONDA RICH: It’s scary to be young

To this conclusion I have come: the most deadly years of our lives are the ages 16 to 21.

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RONDA RICH: Folk heroes always make good stories

THE DIXIE DIVA: Historical fact or legend? It’s all fascinating.

Their histories, accurate and complete, are lost to time and buried with them and those who knew them.

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RONDA RICH: Crazy and proud of it

THE DIXIE DIVA: Who wants to be boringly completely normal?

Maw-Maw was smart as a whip, but she also had her peculiarities.

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RONDA RICH: The power of hard labor

TH DIXIE DIVA: Every kid should spend part of the summer doing some old fashioned hard work

When battling writer’s block, making an assault on Hell’s Hill a source of inspiration.

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RONDA RICH: Fried biscuits are a true art

THE DIXIE DIVA: In Southern cuisine, there is not much that cant be fried

Fried biscuits the way Mama made them will always be a delicious memory.

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RONDA RICH: Southern manners are contagious

FEATURES COLUMN: Southern manners tend to rub off on others

There are many things I love about the South. But here’s what I love just a little bit better than all the rest: We believe mightily in courtesy and manners.

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RONDA RICH: Songs help recall precious memories

THE DIXIE DIVA: Songs are a powerful tool for remembering sweet moments in life

That is the power of songs. They stick to the memory like a piece of chewing gum stuck to the underneath of a table.

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RONDA RICH: Keeping your word always pays off

THE DIXIE DIVA: The score always gets settled, but often not as fast as you would like

Lessons of honesty taught by our parents pay off big when we practice them in life.

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RONDA RICH: New year resolutions flash and burn

THE DIXIE DIVA: A mission to raise status of Robert E. Lee makes bigger hero out of Charlie Tinker

The diaries of Charlie Tinker, a friend of President Abraham Lincoln, are the first comments on Lincoln by a friend to be unearthed in the last 100 years, one historian notes.

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RONDA RICH: Christmas ornaments each have their own story

THE DIXIE DIVA: One Christmas tree in particular brings joy every year, a scrapbook of days past

Christmas is the time that we pack expectations into every package we wrap and for weeks anticipate that one, perfect Currier-Ives day.

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RONDA RICH: Mama and her money

THE DIXIE DIVA: Keeping a close eye on finances is a habit that never goes away

Taking care of necessities and bills first might cut our luxuries, but you sure do sleep better at night.

RONDA RICH: Have we forgotten about the American Dream?

THE DIXIE DIVA: Somewhere along the line, folks have quit talking about chasing the American Dream

An autobiography of actor Gavin McLeod is an inspiring tale of man who followed his passion and succeeded.

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RONDA RICH: Encouragement is the milk of kindness

THE DIXIE DIVA: An encouraging individual can make a difference in another’s life

To give warmth to a person’s body is admirable but to warm his soul with hope is a gift everlasting.

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RONDA RICH: Give thanks, no matter how the year has been

THE DIXIE DIVA: Thank the Lord for heartaches as well as blessings

Whether this has been a year that leaned more toward blessings or tribulations, give thanks for it.

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RONDA RICH: Davey Allison taught lessons for happiness

THE DIXIE DIVA: Facing life with a big smile was natural for Davey Allison

Two decades after his untimely death, memories of Davey Allison focus on the joy that he exuded every day.

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RONDA RICH: I was raised to shop better than that

THE DIXIE DIVA: Inspiration for a home-cooked meal leads to guilt over the cost

A trip to the grocer leads to feelings of sliping away from the values of Mama.

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RONDA RICH: Emotion hits as World War II veterans pass

THE DIXIE DIVA: Flag-draped caskets remind us of what we owe those who fought in World War II

American World War II warriors left the safety of the United States to fight for freedom across the globe.

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RONDA RICH: Beautiful in a different way

The Dixie Diva column: Rather than be concerned with beauty, this woman invested in true substance.

The lack of beauty in youth can be a precious gift in old age.

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RONDA RICH: The little girl with red dirt feet

With a little imagination and pie tins, a little girl can make some of the best mud pies arounds.

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RICH: Belongings reminders of journey through life

The Dixie Diva

For years, I blamed it on those richly royal blue suede high heel pumps. The ones with the ridiculously tall, spiked heel and absurdly pointed toe. I was 22 when I bought them, 36 when I donated them to the Salvation Army.

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RICH: The south is like one big family

The Dixie Diva

He nodded, stood up to greet her and took her hand she offered. Then, this woman continued her tale. She did not bat an eye at telling her childhood sorrow in front of this man still somewhat foreign to the ways of her kind of rural raising.

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RICH: Looking for help

The Dixie Diva

They all come with some kind of a price and all with a certain amount of disappointment, but still Rodney keeps trying.

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RICH: Ugly dish always returns

The Dixie Diva column

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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RICH: Mama’s story a life anthem

Features column

Mama had great stories. My favorite was the only one I asked often for her to repeat. It has become something of an anthem in my life.

RICH: Never give up a dream

The Dixie Diva

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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RICH: Bless your heart, dear

The Dixie Diva

She said it, of course, with 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. Whenever someone says “you Southern women,” it is not going to be a hymn of praise.

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RICH: What Charlie Tinker saw

The Dixie Diva

(This is the third part of a three-part series on a visit to Charlie Tinker’s grave.) 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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RICH: Make sure some day happens

The Dixie Diva

“Some day,” Daddy used to say often as I was growing up, “I’m going to the Holy Land. I want to walk where Jesus walked.” He talked about it a lot and dreamed about it even more.

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Bow maker was an angel

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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The way she was

Features Columnist

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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Where Charlie Tinker lies buried

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first installment of a second three-part series by columnist Ronda Rich on Charlie Tinker, her husband’s great-great-grandfather.

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Farmers have tough row to hoe

Features Columnist

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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Everyone has a book in ’em

Features Column

Over lunch the other day with friends — all in the newspaper business — I mentioned that I occasionally speak at writers’ conferences.

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‘The Last Lap’ recalls early NASCAR days

The Dixie Diva column

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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It happened in Memphis

Features Columnist

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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Truth always honorable

Features Columnist

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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Story’s great, fuzzy on date

Features Columnist

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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What’s in that bowl? Memories

Features Columnist

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 whether to speak.

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Triumph can turn to tragedy

Features Columnist

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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Mama always ‘figured it out’

The Dixie Diva column

Mama was stubborn. “Set in her ways,” is what country folks call it and, boy, was she. When she made up her mind, nothing stopped her.

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Shaped-note singing has a heavenly sound

The Dixie Diva column

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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