Ronda Rich's blog

When Mama made up her mind

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Mama was stubborn. “Set in her ways,” is what country folks call it, and boy, was she. When she made up her mind, nothing stopped her. Especially when she set her jaw and punctuated her declaration with a firm nod of her head. If she also threw that crooked forefinger in your direction, you knew that it was set in stone. Destined to be. Read More»

The rusty truck

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Back in the summer, unwillingly, I would rise early and take a run to beat some of the oppressive heat and humidity that smothers the South when the sun inches higher in the sky. Many mornings, I encountered something that would stick with me for the rest of the run.

Few cars were out so early on non-school mornings, but I often saw a rusty pickup, perhaps 25 years old, ancient according to today’s need for new vehicles. A man, whose face was covered in gray whiskers, hunched over the steering wheel while a lanky, teenage boy slumped in the passenger’s seat. Read More»

Being Danny McGuire

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Little Danny McGuire was the scrawniest kid in class. He was so frail, so downright skinny that his dungarees clung to his bony hips only thanks to a well-worn brown belt that was pulled tight to the last notch, causing the fabric to gather in folds. What a sight he made with blue jeans cinched to the waist and little ol’ legs hidden somewhere in the yards of material. Read More»

Paying for my raising

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Mama’s favorite phrase when I was growing up — particularly during the defiant teenage years, especially when I sassed her — was “you’re gonna pay for your raising one day, little lady. Let me assure you of that. You just wait until you have children and see how they behave.” Read More»

The scolding

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Boy, can people be mean. I’m thinking particularly of a reader named Samantha, whose scolding of me turned into a scalding.

By the time she was finished with her vicious tirade, I was skinned, boiled and over-cooked. It didn’t make me mad, though. It didn’t even hurt my feelings. It made me sad. Real sad.

She wrote to point out a factual error I had made in a column about the King James Bible when I said it was the first English translation. I was wrong and I apologize for my mis-information. It was not the first English translation. Read More»

Uncle Jesse’s truth

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Occasionally, someone truly interested in the art of writing will ask me, “What does it take to be a writer?”

The answer is one that often surprises them for they expect me to say something about talent, a love of language, or even a passion. But it’s a bit more complex than that.

It takes an ability to observe life in general and people in particular in order to pick out universal truths that can be understood by others — those pieces of wisdom that enlighten and even entertain. Read More»

Tink is drafted for a parade

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If Tink had any hesitation about coming into a traditional Southern family, there was only one: our happy, colorful Easter parade. The one we have every year, rain or shine, when we return to Louise’s and Rodney’s house after church and before the ridiculously big meal we have.

Tink likes parades but not ones that call for his participation. He’s reserved and firmly believes that his place is behind the camera whether the camera is in Hollywood or Georgia. Read More»

For Mama, no short stories

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It was one of those days. The kind when you have a lot of work to do and none of it you want to do, so you just piddle.

Tink and I both were piddling. He had a script for a pilot to write and I was rewriting the content for my website. Both creatively “stuck,” we sat in our office — he in a cushiony comfortable chair and I on the sofa — and we piddled. We checked email, discussed the brief rain that came, then, just as I set about serious work, Tink picked up the diary on the coffee table. It was Mama’s.

And that is where the piddling ended and the story began. Read More»

Coming home

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One evening back in late spring, I returned home from two weeks of flitting through major airports and hurrying bare-footed through security sensors. I was bone-weary from cramped planes — the center seat too many times — and delayed flights.

Home never felt, smelled or looked so good. The cows bawled a hello, the two cats joyously bounced around the garage and a lick-happy, shivering Dixie Dew danced with delight. The world felt perfectly right and cozy. And the funny thing is that I hadn’t even realized it was askew until I stepped from my car. Read More»

When Lincoln dies

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[Editor’s note: This is third in a three-part series.]

Charlie Tinker, according to his diary, was feeling poorly on the morning of April 15, 1865. He had left the office on April 12, gone home and to bed. A doctor visited and said he must stay in bed since he had an intermittent fever.

Sadly, that sickness would confine him to bed for the next two days, meaning that the last he would see of his good friend, Abraham Lincoln, was when the President had comically frolicked out of the telegraph office on the 11th. Read More»

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