My brother-in-law, Rodney, called me up one day. He’s one of my favorite people and even when I should get mad at him, I never can. He’s so charming and funny.
When word filtered out that she was gone, just packed up and disappeared like a vapor in the broad, bright light of day, I found no surprise in it.
Jerry and I were talking the other day.
In accordance to our weekly routine, we gather at my sister’s house every Sunday for dinner following church. Normally she who does most of the work chooses the menu, but the tradition is that each one of us gets to choose lunch for our birthday.
Singlehood is no curse. It's better to be single and happy than married and unhappy while waiting for the right guy to come along.
There's still a nice bit of kindness out there, but we could all use a little more.
Perhaps it isn’t a great mystery of life but it’s certain one of life’s more intriguing questions. At least for us women, that is.
One morning in Sunday school class, members were requesting prayer for those who were facing trials and tribulations.
As bad as it might sound, I have a couple of friends for whom I pray that they will outlive their spouses. The reason is simple: I want to see them have peace and happiness on this earth.
‘This is none of my business,” I said aloud to myself in a valiant, noble effort to mind my own business.
Until the day he died, Daddy had one prayer about his children that he prayed constantly. Probably every day of his life.
One night I was doing an appearance in a town where this column runs. A woman waited in line to speak to me and brought a clipping of that week's column for me to sign.
Just when I thought I knew most of what there was to know, or at least that which was mostly worth knowing, about what is alluring to men about women, I uncovered a stunning new truth.
There wasn't very much of me back then. I was a tiny girl, just big enough to reach up and grab hold of the wooden counter top in that old country store and lift my chin enough to allow my eyes to peer up in quiet fascination at the man who rang up the items that Mama had laid down.
It is one of the great mysteries of life. Why are some things so hard? Why, if some things are meant to be, is it so difficult sometimes to make them happen?
I wondered the other day how a mother could even think that, let alone say it. But then Mama was a woman who defied exact definition. She was strong, smart, courageous, sometimes outrageous and, above all, ruled by a faith that was simply unbendable and unquestionable. That part of her was definable and clear: She believed unyieldingly in an Almighty God who never left her side. Even when it could have seemed that He did.
It all started at the funeral home. A few other of my misadventures have begun there, too.
A few weeks ago, I was on the phone with a friend who lives in Las Vegas. Suddenly, out of the blue, he asked, "Is Easter this Sunday?""No," I replied. "Easter is one month from this Sunday."
My brother-in-law, Rodney, is a farmer of the most admirable kind. He farms, despite the heartbreaks, hard times, hot sun and little pay, because he loves it. Not even the relentless stronghold of healthy kudzu could choke the passion for farming from him. He is devoted to the land and what it brings. Good or bad.
Southerners tend to be practical folks, at least those of us raised in rural areas that have seen their share of hard times.
Any Southern woman worth her weight in Martha White flour has at least one drawer or cook book in her kitchen stuffed with recipes she has torn out of magazines or newspapers, fully intending to try each and every one of them.
Since I once called the garage area of the NASCAR Cup Series "home", working in the sport for several years as one of few women among hundreds of men, folks often ask my opinion on today's NASCAR.
Mama wasn't sentimental. In fact, I never knew of anyone who grew up in the Southern mountains during the Depression who was sentimental.
One night back in the summer, Louise, Rodney and I stopped to see Russell and Neva, whom we have all known in one way or the other for decades. Yet, we go ages without seeing each other. It's a crying shame, as Mama would say.
When Robert, a devout reader of this column who also happens to be an accomplished researcher in matter of family lineage, offered to trace my family roots, I accepted faster than kudzu can grow on a hot summer's day.
In digging through the material remains of what I consider to be my heart's one and only home, I have smiled repeatedly, even chuckled out loud on occasion, at Mama's thriftiness.
One morning when I went for a run, the good Lord blessed with such a joy, though simple that it was.
The other day I took a short cut down a back road, the likes of which I had not seen since I was a child in petticoats and Mary Janes and rode the big, yellow school bus.
A while back, I was on book tour when my publicist called to say I had been asked to cook on a television show.
It is my strong and abiding philosophy that good springs forth from the midst of whatever bad happens to us. In the recent days that now trail behind me as time spent sweetly, I have luxuriated in the good that came from the water line break that practically demolished my childhood home.
The text that my sister sent was simple yet so powerful: "He is gone to be with God."
There was a man I knew once who lived for a good time. Work, he believed and ardently practiced, was only good for providing a means to an end, the end result being that of his vigorous pursuit of wine, women and song.
The other day I ran into General Robert E. Lee, along with his wife, and his arch nemesis, General Ulysses S. Grant.
It is possible that I could say that I didn't believe my eyes. The truth is, though, that when it comes to the bizarre, the absurd, the downright unnatural, my eyes pretty much believe whatever they see.
Daddy always believed that the good Lord should be thanked for the hard times as much as He was praised for the good times.
I come from a long line of know-it-alls. Honestly, on both sides of my family, we can pretty much tell you anything you need to know for we know it all. Or so we believe.
When news came that one of the most memorable Southern characters had passed from this world, I found myself musing back on the color, interest, and myriad conflict he brought to the world around him.He was not boring. Not ever. And that, my friend, is the boldest mark of a fabulous character. Southern or not.
It's getting to the point that I don't believe my own eyes or trust what my ears hear. Sometimes it feels like I'm starring in the old movie, "Gas Light" where the world is conspiring to make me think I'm crazy.
When I had the privilege of delivering a keynote address to the National Association of Postmasters of the United States (NAPUS) in Anchorage, Alaska, I spoke on the joy that comes in the form of a card or letter.
One night as a particularly hard, extremely long rain poured down, I discovered a leak in my roof. The leak became a minor problem. Finding a roofer to show up and fix it became the primary problem.
There are those -- perhaps many -- who would claim that animals do not have a guardian angel. On behalf of my animals, I vehemently disagree. They have one and her name is Jill.
A friend of mine returned a call of mine one day while he was sitting in the Dallas airport, waiting for a flight out. He explained that he had just spent two days at the Texas State Fair and it was, he said, quite a sight to behold.
If you're like me, you probably enjoy handing out advice, both solicited and unsolicited. After all, those of us who have vast life experiences owe it to those with less experience to share our wisdom.Don't you agree?
In looking back at photos, I am left to wonder if I have ever had a truly good hair day. I'm amazed because when I see the snapshots, I think, "Now, I'm sure that when I left home that day, I felt pretty good about my hair. How could it look like that?"
Ronda Rich, Features columnist
A while back, a transplanted Yankee sat down beside me at a luncheon and proceeded to explain what had compelled her to uproot herself from generations of Northern influence and move South.
When Dixie Dew got a box full of doggie treats from one of her fans, she wagged her tail and jumped around the kitchen, eager to dive into them.
Often, I find myself thinking of the wisdom of my daddy. His observations and experiences continue to guide me daily 11 years after his departure from what he sometimes called, "this ol' vail of tears and sorrow."
A few years ago, I was in New York City to do a photo session for a book cover and found myself at the behest of a stylist and a hairdresser who also doubled as a make-up artist.
Too often in recent times, death has visited itself upon my family, its intrusion bitterly unwelcome.
There is a woman I know to whom sorrow clings like dew to grass on a Southern summer morning.Once, she got a bad break in life.