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Ronda Rich

Stories by Ronda

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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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RONDA RICH: Attention, conversation on aisle three

THE DIXIE DIVA: Shopping in silence just isnt the Southern way

It is, I believe, a distinct and unique trait of the South, the way we carry on long conversations with people we are passing in the loaf bread section of the grocery store or in the checkout line.

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RONDA RICH: Those old sports guys

THE DIXIE DIVA: The old pros were extraordinary storytellers

Once, in a press box in Athens after a Clemson-Georgia game, I watched a grizzled writer from South Carolina call in his story, eschewing any written word or premeditation. He made it up as he spoke and it was pure genius.

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RONDA RICH: Righteous marrying into the renegades

THE DIXIE DIVA: Southerners have a history of refusing to back down

My husband comes from a family of gentility and civility – neither of which have ever been ascribed to my Appalachian kinfolk.

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RONDA RICH: Southerners love nicknames

THE DIXIE DIVA: Nicknames are a show of affection

For some reason, Southerners, more than any other region, love nicknames. It’s really a show of affection when we care enough to bestow a nickname rather than call a person by his Christian name.

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RONDA RICH: A Southerly introduction

THE DIXIE DIVA: Being introduced in the South can take a little bit

Connections and familiarity are important to the people of the South. When you meet someone, your name isn’t nearly as interesting as who you know. Or, more importantly, who you’re kin to.

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RONDA RICH: When Mama planned on dying

THE DIXIE DIVA: Home-going to heaven was always on her mind

For at least 20 years, maybe 25, Mama planned her home-going to heaven. Not a week – and sometimes not a day – went by when she did not use her impending date with mortality in some way.

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RONDA RICH: It goes by so quickly

THE DIXIE DIVA: A friend of mine died at 94 and even he was not ready to go

It makes me reflective, even sad, to think of the periods of time I wished would hurry by and leave just a memory if it needed to leave anything behind at all.

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RONDA RICH: Remembering those who have passed

THE DIXIE DIVA: Looking ahead first requires looking back

When the New Year arrives every year, I, like most, look forward to the next 12 months filled with promise, opportunity, and a chance to reform from bad habits.

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RONDA RICH: O, Christmas tree, how lovely are thy branches

THE DIXIE DIVA: Basking in the glow of Christmas

My love for Christmas trees continues. We have one in the bay window of the kitchen, one in the foyer at the bottom of the staircase, and one in our bedroom.

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RONDA RICH: It's hard to quit your raisin'

THE DIXIE DIVA: I admit I love to go barefoot

I have a story to tell and it requires that I own up to the fact that when I’m home, I’m barefoot in summertime and socks only in winter.

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RONDA RICH: Memories in the ashes

THE DIXIE DIVA: Things can be replaced, but not what those things represent

We stood in the charred remains of a life that once was – my sister and I – and said not a word. What was there to say?

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RONDA RICH: The legacy of Don Light

THE DIXIE DIVA: Don Light taught of you keep going, you will get the yes you are looking for

While Don Light leaves behind an admirable reputation, he leaves a legacy to those of us touched by his wisdom.

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RONDA RICH: When a man finds his destiny

THE DIXIE DIVA: I still shake my head in wonderment and marvel at the amazement of Gods plan

Inexplicably, destiny finds him. It threw itself into his path, tackled him, and when he stopped wrestling against the mighty force, saw he was staring right smack into the eye of what God had destined for him all along.

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RONDA RICH: Special friendship something to be thankful for

THE DIXIE DIVA: Great traditions are not planned, they are born

It started accidentally. Some good ideas and memorable moments are like that. They aren’t planned. They’re born, bringing with them an ability to nudge a way naturally into our lives and become a tradition.

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RONDA RICH: A rumor gets a life of its own

THE DIXIE DIVA: Nothing moves as fast as a rumor

A planned memorial service for a guy gets plenty memorable.

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RONDA RICH: Teachers also can learn at Bible School

THE DIXIE DIVA: Volunteering for VBS can be a learning experience

In the kitchen and dining room, we saw women who unselfishly put aside their own work and prepared food all day for 200 children.

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RONDA RICH: There's wealth in being poor

THE DIXIE DIVA: Poverty gives you a place to go -- up

My people, as I have long said, were raised up on hard times in the Appalachian foothills. I don’t know that I had a grandparent who ever saw the sum of $500 at one time or even held a hundred dollar bill in hand

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RONDA RICH: When time melts away

THE DIXIE DIVA: Memories bind us together later in life

Southerners are always buoyed by a sense of place and the stories that unfold there. For us – the pretty redhead girl and me – it was summer Sunday afternoons.

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RONDA RICH: You gotta be careful

THE DIXIE DIVA: Be careful what you ask for - - especially if it's powered

Having great power tools comes with great responsibility.

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RONDA RICH COLUMN: Ghosts in the ashes

DIXIE DIVA: Fire can't destory memories

One of Daddy’s self-penned mantras danced in my head as I looked around. “Kid, never worry over that which money and hard work can replace.”

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RONDA RICH: Steady like a chainsaw

THE DIXIE DIVA: Ouch, right in the frugal bone

To be honest, I was more than a mite worried. I was plenty worried. My husband, raised not in the South or in the country, wanted a chainsaw. The one farm accessory that has brought down many a man. From an early age, I was taught respect for that chewing, sawing, respect-for-no-man power tool.

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RONDA RICH: Miss Elinor's thank you

THE DIXIE DIVA: Miss Elinor might be a hundred, but she sure has got the lingo down

Well, Miss Elinor, here’s what I have to say to you and I want to say it publicly through the dozens of newspapers across the Southeast that carry this column, including your beloved Brunswick News: I can tell by the time that you have taken to encourage someone in a world that is not always kind that your South is one of gentility and warmth.

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RONDA RICH: Everything works out if you'll let it

THE DIXIE DIVA: Learning to cope is the gift of enduring many trials

If I could go back in time and give the younger me one piece of advice, it would be this: “Minimize the drama. Step over a disappointment and move onward to a new opportunity.”

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RONDA RICH: The American Dream lives on

THE DIXIE DIVA: America, as a land of opportunity, is at her best when the chips are down

When I’m accused of having lost touch with hard-working Americans who have faced misfortune, it’s a stab to the heart because I have long been one of those Americans.

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RONDA RICH: Old money, old South

THE DIXIE DIVA: Dry weather and red clay are formidable foes

I think of Rowan Oak when I look at my yard and remember what Faulkner told his wife, Estelle, when she told him that she would like to restore the gardens and make a pretty place of it. I can imagine him now, tilting his head down to look up at her when he spoke sternly: “Only new money would ruin a garden like that.”

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RONDA RICH: 'Justified' in the South

THE DIXIE DIVA: 'Justified' captures the Appalachian South

Here’s what “Justified” does best: It gets the Appalachian South right without reducing us to mockery or ridicule.

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RONDA RICH: Never toss out perfectly good food

THE DIXIE DIVA: I toss nothing until it completely withers

Pragmatism and caution prevents you from throwing out things that are reusable.

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RONDA RICH: She's out of control

THE DIXIE DIVA: A little advice gives a friend her just desserts

People who think they’re out of control have enough discipline to correct the problem. It’s the ones who don’t see that they have a problem who have a problem.

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RONDA RICH: P.R. work comes too late

THE DIXIE DIVA: When you are gone, folks remember what you did, not what is written about you

Will I be remembered dramatically different by people than the good things heralded in my “good-bye world” death notice?

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RONDA RICH: Cooking up a late-night project

THE DIXIE DIVA: Filing away recipes cut from publications can take a while

There’s a fine line between saving something and hoarding.

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RONDA RICH: Grant Tinker belongs to many

THE DIXIE DIVA: Grant Tinker helped numerous people get their first jobs

While Grant Tinker has been an influence on television, his greatest influence was allowing his sons to make it in the entertainment business on their own merits.

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RONDA RICH: What I love about my South

THE DIXIE DIVA: Things so simple can remind us of things so meaningful

Tink says often how he loves this South of mine – a place of hospitality, neighborliness, hard work and prayers.

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RONDA RICH: The world view on ‘being cool’

DIXIE DIVA: Good decisions pay off over a lifetime

She took nothing that wasn’t hers but she didn’t give up anything, either. Kinda cool, don’t you think?

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RONDA RICH: Living through Southern Living

DIXIE DIVA: Southern Living creates a change that has won me over

Like most Southerners, I have an aversion to change which is why our traditions have such strangle hold. We never let go.

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RONDA RICH: History is better than fiction

DIXIE DIVA: Real life always provides the best stories

It’s a funny thing about history. It can be so doggone fascinating, much more so than anything that the human mind can imagine.

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RONDA RICH: Wisdom is lost with parents

DIXIE DIVA: We learn much more than we’ll ever realize from our parents.

There are few who cannot say truthfully that they miss their parents after death has laid claim to those loved ones.

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RONDA RICH: Simple meals have the best flavor

DIXIE DIVA: Childhood memories are a powerful thing

What I can’t figure is why we return so longingly to the foods of our childhood and our homeland.

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RONDA RICH: Success reflects support around us

DIXIE DIVA: Everybody needs somebody sometimes

We all need someone to tell us our dream isn’t crazy and that we have what it takes.

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RONDA RICH: Digging a hole leads to rotten apples

A man reaps what he sows - or what he doesn’t sow.

That apple tree. Oh my goodness. Something told me it wouldn’t turn out well.

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RONDA RICH: Pieces of life's puzzle

THE DIXIE DIVA: Life is a puzzle with pieces that click into place

You never know where fame will find you. Sometimes it’s even at a homecoming service at a church.

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RONDA RICH: Obituaries a source of news in the South

Only Southerners understand the fascination with obituaries.

Yes, I know that I am, occasionally, prone to embellishment.

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RONDA RICH: Drama only as big as you make it

THE DIXIE DIVA: What seems important at the time often isn't

Many of the things that are breaking our backs today won’t be remembered on down the road.

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RONDA RICH: Comfort is nice, but memories are great

Like Mama, I prefer that things make common sense.

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RONDA RICH: Mama decides to tell all

My worst fears are about to be realized: Mama has announced her intentions to write a book.

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RONDA RICH: Making some bad decisions

We all make bad decisions in our lifetime in one way or the other.

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RONDA RICH: A salute to the skilled homemakers

Looking back, I see that it was FHA that began to mold me for the career I have now.

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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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