Ronda Rich's blog

Decisions made in youth

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To this conclusion I have come: the most deadly years of our lives are the ages 16 to 21. Those years give us a headiness that comes from new freedom — a driver’s license — and the passing of the torch from strict childhood rules to more trust, different restraints and relaxed curfews.

When you add the opportunity to go off to college or move out on your own, we’re fooled into thinking that we’re mature enough and wise enough to make decisions that will affect the rest of our lives.

It’s scary. Read More»

The man who was

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Their histories, accurate and complete, are lost to time and buried with them and those who knew them. I wish I knew more for their stories would read like a page-turning novel.

The moonshining trio of Raymond Parks, Lloyd Seay and Roy Hall burst out of the north Georgia mountains from Dawson County in the 1930s to combine Seay’s and Hall’s driving skills with Parks’ business ingenuity to participate in a new sport that would become known as NASCAR. Read More»

Mama writes a book (or wants to)

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Dear Readers,

Everyone loved Mama. And they loved stories about her. This is a column written before her death but never published. I decided to share it to celebrate Mama. She was a true Southern original.

My worst fears are about to be realized: Mama has announced her intentions to write a book.

My payback is coming. Read More»

Crazy in the genes

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My grandmother — Daddy’s mother — was sometimes called “crazy” by others who didn’t quite understand her eccentric ways. Of course, in the South, we are proud of such a label for it means that we are interesting and worthy of being the center of coffee and cake conversation.

Who wants to be completely normal and boring? Read More»

Hitting Hell’s Hill

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It was an early summer morning, an enchanting time when flowers are blooming, blackberries are spurting to full growth and the birds are happy to have sunny warmth. I had taken myself out to the back porch where often I settle down to write after I have finished a gentle run.

All was perfect that morning except for one thing: The words wouldn’t come. It is a terrible thing to be a writer who is wordless at times. Repeatedly, I erased the words I typed. I began to do what all writers do when inspiration is lost in the world’s mist somewhere — I distracted myself. Read More»

Easter memories and hope

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It is each of the many Easters of my life that I remember more clearly than any other holiday.

Christmases blur together with only a few standing out in my memory such as the one when it snowed all day, the year I lost my voice completely, and the two times that I wasn’t home – one working in Washington, D.C., and another in London. Read More»

Southern manners

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There are many things I love about the South. We’re fiercely patriotic. We’re neighborly. We’re storytellers without equal. We’re unabashedly and unapologetically faithful. We’re proudly hospitable.

But here’s what I love just a little bit better than all the rest: We believe mightily in courtesy and manners.

Now, this isn’t to say that only Southerners are well-raised or that all Yankees and other non-Southerners are rude. That would be untruthful because I have met some extremely discourteous Southerners while I know some beautifully well-mannered Yankees. Read More»

Precious memories really are

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In the tiny country church where I spent most of the first 22 years of my life, where I found the Lord at the age of 11, where, without fail, I had the leading part in every Christmas pageant and where my daddy laid down the law in more ways than one, we sang hymns from a brown songbook and a green one that were filled with the haunting melodies that have penetrated the Appalachians for many decades. Read More»

Keep thy word

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Not long ago, a friend of mine was huffing, puffing and carrying on something awful about an injustice she had recently suffered. She had dealt with someone rather devious and the result was, well, rather devious.

“Rest assured,” I told her with the full confidence of a self-anointed know-it-all, a tone I learned well from Mama. “He will get his comeuppance one day. The score is always settled. Always.” Read More»

Mama and her money

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It was a couple of years before Mama just up and died without warning and when we least expected it, that I was visiting her one day.

I recall it precisely.

I was sitting on the edge of the sofa and she was in her well-worn recliner, sipping coffee. A look came over her face that was always specific to a well-thought out announcement. She tilted her head to the side, raised an eyebrow and said, “If I knew that I’d live long enough to get enough use out of it, I’d buy me a new bedroom suite.” Read More»

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