Back to profile

Ronda Rich

Stories by Ronda

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

‘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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

Heaven’s blessed, but I’m distressed

Features Columnist

It seems too many loved ones recently have said good-bye to this vale of grief and sorrow and said hello to sweet eternity.

Tease photo

My luck has to change

In the past several years, I have had as much luck visiting the historically preserved home of Southern iconic writer, Eudora Welty, as I would have had when she was alive. The front door is always shut to me.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.”

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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?”

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.”

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.

Tease photo

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.