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.
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.
Only Southerners understand the fascination with obituaries.
Yes, I know that I am, occasionally, prone to embellishment.
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.
Like Mama, I prefer that things make common sense.
My worst fears are about to be realized: Mama has announced her intentions to write a book.
We all make bad decisions in our lifetime in one way or the other.
Looking back, I see that it was FHA that began to mold me for the career I have now.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
To this conclusion I have come: the most deadly years of our lives are the ages 16 to 21.
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.
THE DIXIE DIVA: Who wants to be boringly completely normal?
Maw-Maw was smart as a whip, but she also had her peculiarities.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
With a little imagination and pie tins, a little girl can make some of the best mud pies arounds.
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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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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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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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.
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.
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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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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(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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“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Over lunch the other day with friends — all in the newspaper business — I mentioned that I occasionally speak at writers’ conferences.