Ronda Rich's blog

Anybody seen a good hair day?

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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?”

Mama was notorious for grumbling comments about my hair. “You know,” she said on more than one occasion, “I liked you hair a lot better back when you used to comb it.”

Maybe she was right. Read More»

Code of the mountains

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There is a saying among the people of the rural South used to condemn anyone who has changed the terms of an agreement, especially those done with a word and a handshake.

“You went back on your word.” That is not just a comment, it is a curse, for nothing riles the Scotch-Irish more than to have someone renege on their word.

There is a code of conduct that you will find in the Southern mountains that is passed down generation to generation: a handshake agreement stands, your word is your bond, and when you take on one of us, you take on all of us. Read More»

The power of ‘hush’

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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.

“I was visiting a friend here and one of her neighbors had stopped by to visit with her 3-year-old in tow,” the woman recalled. “The little girl started to act cranky so her mother leaned down and said softly but firmly, ‘Hush.’ I decided right then and there that I wanted to live here.”

I looked puzzled and tilted my head. “I don’t understand.” Read More»

The power of a thank you note

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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.

“Now, Dew, you know you’ve got to write a thank you note for these,” I lectured as I permitted her one of the treats.

There was no argument. My child knows that acts of generosity require a hand-written note. We sat down together, she laid her head on my lap and we decided what should be written. Dew is a girl of few words but we got the thoughts down on paper and she signed off with a paw pressed into an ink pad and then stamped on the note. Read More»

Being too sensitive, or not

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You know, it’s beginning to occur to me that I’m not sensitive enough. This is quite a revelation since I spent a goodly amount of my life being told that I was too sensitive. As a child, Mama said that I got my feelings hurt too easily and I needed to snap out of it.

“Stop wearing your heart on your sleeve,” she’d lecture. “Be tough. Let things roll off your back.”

So, I tried. And, apparently, I have done an incredibly good job at tackling my sensitivity. Now, things that seem to bother other people in this politically correct world of ours doesn’t bother me at all. Read More»

Decoded: Sopping & mashing

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Rodney, the reigning patriarch of our family, loves sorghum syrup which, in the mountains, is called “soggum syrup.”

During one Sunday-after-church dinner, Louise had made a batch of hot, buttermilk biscuits so when she offered choices of two desserts, Rodney spoke up and said, “I’ll just have soggum syrup and biscuits.”

Dutifully, like the good wife and hostess she is, she went to the pantry, retrieved a jar that had been bought from some mountaineer at a roadside stand somewhere and handed it to him. Read More»

Dating the wrong man

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In a small town in Arkansas, I was leaving a social gathering of divorced women who had found solidarity in their situations. Many are women who, later in life, have found themselves divorced from influential men. And, as far as I could decipher, none of the divorces was of their choosing.

I was in town for a speaking engagement and had been asked to join them for their monthly gathering of pot luck and chit-chat because I am friends with one of the ladies. Read More»

A lesson in dying well

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Too often in recent times, death has visited itself upon my family, its intrusion bitterly unwelcome.

When my cousin Jacky, one of the younger members of our sprawling clan, received his personalized calling card to meet the Lord, we all discovered something that we never imagined was possible – happiness in death. His dying, in fact, was pure joy. Read More»

Daddy’s lasting gift to me

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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’ vale of tears and sorrow.”

I was probably 12 or so years old when I overheard him and Mama talking while sitting around the kitchen table, sipping on cups of coffee. It was a Saturday afternoon and Daddy had just come in from a hard day on the farm. He was talking about a newly purchased tractor and he kept using the pronoun “we” such as, “We brought the tractor,” “we thought it was a good buy,” etc. Read More»

Wearing a cloak of sorrows

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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. That isn’t unusual for anyone. Life bruises us all, even bloodies us up pretty good from time to time. But for her, sorrow has become a close, trusted, constant companion and she refuses to shed its friendship. Apparently, she likes its company.

After decades of marriage, her husband up and left. Not for someone else or because of something else. He simply had ceased to love her, he said to her in the kindest way possible. Read More»