Ronda Rich's blog

The writer in you

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Over lunch the other day with friends — all in the newspaper business — I mentioned that I occasionally speak at writers’ conferences.

“Everyone has a book in ‘em,” I commented, something I most surely believe though they all looked surprised. “They do,” I insisted. “Everyone has a story to tell that is interesting enough to be read by others.”

As Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., poet and doctor, once said, “I have tasted the intoxicating pleasure of authorship.” Many long to do it but they never follow through. Read More»

‘The Last Lap’

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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.

These colorful characters ruled the sport 30 years before I ever set foot at a track. The legend of many of those men outlived their years on earth, so I sometimes heard tales of their wild, renegade ways. Whenever we raced at Riverside International Raceway in California, someone was likely to mention Joe Weatherly. Read More»

Small town life

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Around the corner, out in the country where we live, is a hardware store owned by a guy I have known since the day I was born. Our bassinets were next to each other in the hospital nursery.

Down the road a piece is a dairy co-owned by a guy whose bassinet was on the other side of mine in the nursery. When I need a helping hand with a lawn mower stuck in the thicket or a pasture that needs bush hogging, I call that guy and he is Jerry-on-the-spot to help. Read More»

Changing fortunes

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It happened in Memphis. A lot of history and interesting stuff occurs in that magical city that sits grandly on the Mississippi River. Elvis held court there, the blues grew up there and barbecue is queen. Elvis, of course, is still king. Read More»

Speaking the truth

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The waitress set down the cup of coffee and I poured cream into the hot, black liquid while quietly reflecting, pondering something.

“Why do people lie?” I asked Tink. We know a couple of people who, as Daddy would say, “the truth’s not in them.” They lie about many things, big and small, consequential and not consequential. And if you have them pinned against the wall with absolute evidence of the lies, they will lie about the lies. It’s baffling. Read More»

Stories they told

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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.

The good-to-begin-with story needed only a dusting of well-placed words while the not-so-good-ones-but-still-worth-telling were spruced up and shined to a fare-thee-well. My parents only introduced me to the art of storytelling, so once I graduated, I moved on to a master’s program: Sports reporting. Read More»

The chipped bowl

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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 as to whether to speak.

“It’s not important,” the internal dialogue began.

“But it is,” another voice insisted. “You know what that bowl means. It’s a treasure. He has no idea and he would want to know.”

One of the loveliest things about my husband is that he deeply cares about the people who have gone before in my life and how those people shaped who I am and how I think. Read More»

Where did she go?

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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.

She’d been a big deal for so long that her abrupt disappearance from sight was mystifying, to say the least, and worth a few gossip sessions to say the most. After a while, I just got tired of wondering and tired of asking her whereabouts so I just sat myself down to figure it out.

Not to sound boastful but I’m pretty sure I’ve got the mystery solved. You’ll understand when I tell you her back story. Read More»

Whatever became of decency?

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Recently I was in a bookstore with a friend. We stopped at a table near the front of the store and it was loaded with different books that had such obscene titles that many of the words were expressed as @?*#.

She picked up one, a New York Times bestseller and said, “This book is ridiculous. I just flipped through and read a few pages. The guy is a real jerk.”

I picked up other books. “Look at these. Can you believe there is an entire table of books with obscene words in the titles?” Read More»

Harmony in those old notes

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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.

“Among the several things I love about the music at church is that people sing different parts,” he said. “At most churches today, everyone sings together.”

True. Many churches have turned away from hymn singing and toward what is known as praise worship. In doing so, an important feature of Southern history is falling to the wayside. As an advocate of our history and legacy, I chose a church that honors that tradition. Read More»

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