Ronda Rich's blog

Keeping the dream alive

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By chance, we happened upon him in a small gift shop. The clerk recognized 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.

That began a cordial conversation when I thanked her for buying the book. Her son, somewhere in his 30s, perked up and listened. He settled himself down on a comfortable sofa and said not a word until his mother said, “My son is a writer, too.” Read More»

Oh, dear, bless her heart

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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.

“The thing about you Southern women,” she began as I shifted from one foot to another and instinctively crossed my arms defensively. Whenever someone says, “you Southern women,” it is not going to be a hymn of praise. “You think you can say anything you want about anyone then excuse it all with ‘bless her heart.’” Read More»

What Charlie Tinker saw

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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. Read More»

Don’t wait on some day

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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. In those days before the world was presented to us wrapped up in a passel of knowledge known as the Internet, Daddy bought big maps of that storied land.

They were gingerly rolled up and tied with a ribbon after each time he spread them out on the kitchen table and studied them like a child studying a new game. Read More»

Mama on her own

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Back years ago when Mama was widowed, it became suddenly and shockingly clear that she wasn’t completely capable of being on her own. This was news to us because she had always stepped up and did whatever it took to look after our family. She was quite ingenious and hard working.

“Ronda,” she said one day. “I need you to call the doctor’s office and make my annual appointment.”

“Why can’t you call?” I asked.

“Because I’m afraid to. I get nervous and I’m afraid I’ll say something wrong.” Read More»

How Gen. Grant became Mr. Grant

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(This is the second of a three-part series on the discoveries made after a visit to Charlie Tinker’s grave.)

Upon discovering Charles Almerin Tinker’s leaf-strewn grave in Green-Wood cemetery in Brooklyn, N.Y., we — one of us more than the other — began to study the names and dates engraved on the towering monument.

Three of his children, all born after the Civil War ended, were named in honor of men that Charlie had apparently held in great esteem: Lincoln, Stanton (Secretary of War, Charlie’s immediate boss) and Grant. Read More»

The bow maker

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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.

At 85, Miss Betty was still holding court at the drug store where she took great pride in her masterful skill of producing the most gorgeous packages. They were simply stunning.

Well, they were more than that — they were a work of art. Whenever I got a gift she had wrapped, I would smile and say, “I know where this came from.” Read More»

The way she was

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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.

To begin with, she was a beautifully made young girl with curves and a tumbling mass of blonde hair and bright blue eyes that danced with endless joy. Her laugh was contagious and her stories endlessly entertaining. Read More»

Charlie Tinker’s grave

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[This is a second three-part series on Charlie. This is the first installment.]

It was during mid-flight, perhaps somewhere over Virginia, that a thought hit me and I turned suddenly, excitedly toward Tink.

“Let’s visit Charlie Tinker’s grave while we are in New York!” I exclaimed. The notion sank into his brain and washed slowly across his face. Silently, he nodded in agreement. Read More»

The poor dirt farmer

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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. Read More»

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