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Ronda Rich

Stories by Ronda

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Third row has precious memories

The Dixie Diva column

To be just downright honest, I never expected to miss him this much. And, if the deeper truth be told, perhaps it isn’t just the loss of a singular man, though great and admirable he was.

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Just what will people think?

The Dixie Diva

A major New York publisher sent a review copy of a much touted novel called “If Jack’s In Love.” Because I write about the South and because this book had won the Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction, the book’s publicist followed up with an email.

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Living a dream is the true reward

The Dixie Diva

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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Tradition’s something to parade around

The Dixie Diva column

If Tink had any hesitation about coming into a traditional Southern family, there was only one: our happy, colorful Easter parade.

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Inspiration the write stuff

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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Learning names key to connecting

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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Returned calls come at a price

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. Many mornings, I encountered something that would stick with me for the rest of the run.

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Kids in middle do pretty well

The Dixie Diva column

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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Better days are a-coming

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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Better days are a-coming

Opinion Column

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. Let me assure you of that. You just wait until you have children and see how they behave.”

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Being mean is the real error

Features column

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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Writers dig deep for fertile stories

The Dixie Diva column

Occasionally, someone truly interested in the art of writing will ask me, “What does it take to be a writer?”

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No economy in Mama’s stories

The Dixie Diva column

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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Southern home is inescapable

One evening back in late spring, I returned home from two weeks of flitting through major airports and hurrying bare-footed through security sensors. I was bone-weary from cramped planes — the center seat too many times — and delayed flights.

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Diary gives account of mourning Lincoln

The Dixie Diva column

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is final installment of a three-part series based on Civil War era diaries of Charlie Tinker.

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Story of woman may be lost

The Dixie Diva column

There’s a woman I’m looking for. Perhaps you know where she is. If you do, please help me find her again.

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Practical makes perfect at Christmas

Features column

When Mama was a small girl growing up in the Nimblewill Valley in the Appalachian foothills, it was the midst of the Great Depression. As she often said, “Times were hard but it’s all we knew so we didn’t know how poor we were.”

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The writings of Charlie Tinker

Editor Note: This is the second installment of a three-part series. It is running over a five week period rather than three consecutive weeks.

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Life lessons the best education

Features column

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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Diaries give glimpse into the Civil War

This is the first of a three-part series. It is not running three consecutive weeks but over a five-week period.

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Value of money valuable lesson

Features column

It seems to me that a lot of young people have it easy. Too many kids in high school and college are shielded from work and not taught the importance of money or earning it. It seems to me that this is a major default in the education of life.

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Sharing blessings something to be thankful for

Features column

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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Easier takes some getting used to

Nicole and I were working out together one day and for some reason, she brought up a self-help, faith-related book we had both read. The thesis, basically, is how men are born with wild hearts, which should be admired not restrained by women. “What did you learn from that book?” she asked as I attempted arm curls with weights too heavy.

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Southern accent comment I find very offensive

There I was, sitting at my desk, writing away, bothering no one when my phone rang. It was Hollywood calling.

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Cattle gate not my 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. She needed me to write an article to warn their commander not to send them back to her house.

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Southerners tell stories with flair

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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Lack of empathy often troubling

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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Grooming up for a zinger

A visit to the West Coast can't hide Southern elegance of a columnist groomed to find stories.

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Parents instill sweet lessons

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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Just remember: two pair please

Features column

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

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Home becomes a trail of words

In this house of wood and stones that I call home, there are books scattered and stacked hither and yon.

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The things you learn at a beauty shop

When I breezed into the beauty shop amidst the chatter of voices and clatter of hair dryers and curling irons, I noticed the thick book dropped casually in a chair and it struck me as a bit strange. It’s rare to see anyone reading that book these days. It was probably the first time in decades that a copy of it has seen the inside of a beauty shop.

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Calf now part of family circus

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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Rotten parents raise ‘em right

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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Miss Loretta gives new meaning to the word optimist

Several years ago, I befriended a woman in Cincinnati, Ohio, but then you know that, don’t you? I’ve told you all about Miss Loretta.

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Our childhood should be filled with happiness

A picture — even one old that has faded from black and white to soft gray — can tell a story, long and true. That one certainly did.

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Californian imparts wisdom from Deep South

There is a friend of mine — one of the heroes I have known and loved — who is fascinating in the life lessons he shares and the accumulation of wisdom that seems to come so easily to him.

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Star-making’s a quiet role

It was all my idea. As immodest as that might sound, it’s true. Now that my friend, Karen, has made it to the big time, she should be reminded that it all started with one of my hair-brained schemes.

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Helping others is the best legacy to give

Daddy and Mama both spent a lot of time seeing after the needs of others. They comforted, called and cooked for those who were, in some way, suffering.

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Yankee transplant a-musing

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.

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Good cookware is never ‘purdy’

Whenever I take out my biscuit pan — and every Southern cook worth her salt and grease has one — I can’t help but shake my head.

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I don’t cotton to those critics

A couple of years ago when I deemed it absolutely necessary to cross the big pond and investigate my heritage that had been seeded in Northern Ireland, I had the good fortune of being introduced to a renowned historian who, through greater good fortune, has become a friend.

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Do better because you know better

When Nix, the unpredictable, funniest kid in our family, was four years old, he found himself in some bit of trouble, though we’ve now all forgotten what it was. Only the punch line lingers in our minds.

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No. 3 raced through life

Several years ago, I was in Talladega for the NASCAR race and had stopped by the No. 3 truck to see Richard Childress and Dale Earnhardt.

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Don’t worry over what others might 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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Letter writing an overlooked art

We all need to be worried about the health of the postal service and, as good neighbors, we all need to pitch in and do what we can to keep the mail comin’.

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I could do better, if I only would

Someone wrote to complain about my grammar. This isn’t new, though it doesn’t particularly irritate me.

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Dixie Dew shares concerns about sharing her mama

It’s me, Dixie Dew, again. Y’all who read this column regularly know that I am Ronda’s adorable and svelte (though she writes differently) dachshund.

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Final words on one put so eloquently

A friend of mine who has a penchant for sending along lovely, thoughtful gifts out did himself a while back. The contents of the package quickly became one of my favorite gifts ever. I called him up immediately.

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Pray for those in need, whoever they may be

It’s just funny, I guess, the way I get caught up in the lives of other people, folks I don’t even know. Yet I share their sorrow or rejoice with their successes. And they feel like friends, though most of them I have never met and suppose I never will.