Ronda Rich's blog

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»

Looking for a woman

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There’s a woman I’m looking for. Perhaps you know where she is. If you do, please help me find her again.

It’s been several years since our paths crossed but the moment our eyes met, I was captivated. Her eyes told me she had a story to tell me, a life of adventure and a misadventure or two. I’m drawn toward stories but then you know that. My friends and families choose gifts for me, saying, “It has a story so she’ll love it.” It is always the story that is more valuable to me than the present. Read More»

Charlie’s diaries on Lincoln

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[Editor’s Note: This is the second installment of a three-part series. It is running over a five-week period rather than three consecutive weeks.]

Thirty notebooks in pristine condition lay about me on the bed in Los Angeles after my husband had surprised me with the diaries of his great-great-grandfather, Charlie Tinker, a White House telegrapher who had been friends with President Abraham Lincoln.

Gingerly, I picked up the wonderments of history and found them to be in exceptional condition as though they were only a few decades old not 150 years in age. Read More»

Learning life’s lessons

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In those days — the ones of my cherished youth — my cousin, Ronnie, a year older than I, worked for my daddy. Ronnie had cotton-colored hair and a face that, like mine, was smattered with freckles. He had what the lucky ones on Daddy’s side of the family inherit: a quick-thinking sense of humor that is succinct, clever and smart.

While I remember many good things about my sweet-spirited cousin in those days, the thing I remember most — and admire beyond explanation — is how he trailed around behind Daddy, hanging on to his every word and carefully processing his advice. Read More»

Charlie and Mr. Lincoln

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[Editor’s note: This is the first of a three-part series over a five-week period.)

His name is Charles Almerin Tinker and he was the great-great-grandfather of my beloved.

“Charlie Tinker,” I sometimes hear my husband say as he passes the large framed photo. “You’re spinning in your grave. Your picture is hanging in the home of a Confederate.” Read More»

Easy way becomes hard way

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It seems to me that a lot of young people have it easy. Too many kids in high school and college are shielded from work and not taught the importance of money or earning it. It seems to me that this is a major default in the education of life.

If you don’t know the worth of a dollar or what it takes to earn that dollar, how can you successfully manage for the rest of your life? How can you start a family? Raise a family? Survive professional setbacks? Retire? Read More»

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