Ronda Rich's blog

The fire — and our memories

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We stood in the charred remains of a life that once was, my sister and I, and said not a word. What was there to say? Finally, I spoke.

“I refuse to cry,” I said evenly. I’ve been crying too much for the past several years over too much loss. Those I love as well as material but sentimental possessions lost to both thieves and a misfortunate plumbing disaster at Mama’s house that had flooded to ruin so much she left behind. It was time to follow the example of my people and stoic up.

But still ... Read More»

The case of chainsaw assault

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To be honest, I was more than a mite worried. I was plenty worried. My husband, raised not in the South or in the country, wanted a chainsaw. The one farm accessory that has brought down many a man. From an early age, I was taught respect for that chewing, sawing, respect-for-no-man power tool.

Tink, when he sets his heart and mind on something, is like a crafty teenager wearing out a parent to get what he wants. He begins a steady, strategic assault that puts General Sherman to shame. He follows me from room to room and will not stop pleading his case. Read More»

Miss Elinor’s thank you

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It often amazes me how many words of kindness and encouragement I receive for the stories I tell. Often, a reader will write, “You don’t know me but I feel that we are friends.”

They often express that the stories I tell feel like their own stories, like the way they were raised and many times one will say, “Your mama could have been my mama. They’re so much alike.” Read More»

Everything works out if you let it

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A friend of mine, long embroiled in upsets, distractions, problems and tribulations, called one day to announce happily that she was learning to “let things roll right off my back.”

“Really?” I asked. “And, how is that?”

She explained that her accountant had called to discuss a tax return, due that day after a couple of extensions and told her that she owed $15,000.

There was a silent pause, then she asked, “How can that be? We spent more money than we made last year.” I like that logic. If you spent it and don’t have, how can you pay it? Read More»

Looking back before I can look forward

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When the New Year arrives every year, I, like most, look forward to the next 12 months filled with promise, opportunity, and a chance to reform from bad habits.

I’ve already done that. In early November, I went on a serious diet instead of waiting until mid-January. Tink was puzzled.

“Don’t do that now. The holidays are coming,” he said. Read More»

2014: O Christmas Tree

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It was late in the summer of my parents’ lives that I was born into a family with three children well on their way to being grown and done with home.

Life had been a struggle for Mama and Daddy en route to escaping completely the poverty of their Appalachian childhoods. They were married for 12 years before they owned their first lamp (I have and cherish that piece of earthly gain) which was acquired through the generosity of a church congregation that pooled its money and bought it for them. Read More»

American Dream still is thriving

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You may be surprised to learn that people sometimes disagree with me. You may be equally surprised that sometimes I see their point in the disagreement. Sometimes I agree with that disagreement.

But that would not be the case with a reader named Lois who took me to task for a column on the American Dream. I lamented that we’re not doing enough to extol it. I asked, “Why aren’t we celebrating the opportunities of a country where the poor can rise mightily?” Read More»

Old money & old yards

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Sometimes, I look across our yard and sigh somewhat woefully, “Too much of that stubborn red Georgia clay shines through.” I think, “Oh, one day ...”

This I have been thinking for six or seven years. I’d love for grass to grow where the orangey-redness dominates and the rocks glitter in the unblinking sun. It takes hard work, money, dedication, and water to do what I’d like to do. I can supply the hard work and much of the dedication but the money and water are bosses unto themselves. Read More»

Justified South

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Hollywood, more often than not, gets it wrong about the South in movies and television. When they do get it right, we Southerners are both amazed and appreciative.

The best example of pinpointing near perfect the Appalachian South is the FX drama “Justified,” which, to show how good it is, was awarded the prestigious Peabody Award for outstanding drama. I am such a stout admirer of this modern day western about a United States marshal that I have given countless DVD sets to friends.

“It was our favorite Christmas present,” my sister, a longtime fan of Westerns, said. Read More»

Cooking with a friend

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It started accidentally. Some good ideas and memorable moments are like that. They aren’t planned. They’re born, bringing with them an ability to nudge a way naturally into our lives and become a tradition.

That’s how my longtime friend, Karen Peck, and I began cooking our Thanksgiving meal together. First, you must know this: Our friendship, strong and true, dates back to the long ago days of braces and freckles. Karen still has her freckles and two years ago, when a front tooth started to move, I went back to a retainer. Some things never change. Some things change back and forth. Read More»