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Ronda Rich

Stories by Ronda

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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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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.