Ronda Rich's blog

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»

Don’t throw out good food

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A friend, an only child, was talking about cleaning out her parents’ house after the death of her father.

“My parents,” she said, “were both children of the Depression so they saved everything. It is a big job.” She paused. “I finally found the key to the extra room that Daddy built on to the house. I opened it and it was filled with Mason jars.” Read More»

Out of control

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One of my friends called the other. One of my best friends. There was both urgency and distress in her voice.

“Listen, I’ve got to tell you something,” she began. “And this is confidential. Do not tell anyone.” Meaning, particularly, “do not write this in the paper.” Which, of course, I would never do.

“Okay.” I stopped what I was doing in the kitchen so I could listen carefully. “What’s wrong?”

She took a deep breath. “I’m out of control. Seriously. I am out of control.”

I rolled my eyes. Read More»

Public relations...

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A few years back, someone I knew ever so slightly died. Though I didn’t know him well, I knew him to be mean, egoistical, and quite a bully.

Stories abounded of his greed including how once he cheated a man out of a piece of land then sold it at quite a profit. He financed it so when the buyer ran into money woes, he quickly reclaimed it and sold it again. The couple of times I crossed his path, it was not pleasant so I preferred to steer clear and in that, I was not alone. Read More»

Scattered recipes

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My husband was out of town, working on location, when he called one night and discovered that I was still working though the hour had grown late.

“What on earth are you doing?” he asked.

“You won’t believe it,” I replied. “Because I don’t believe it. I am going through all the recipes I have torn out of magazines over the years I have lived in this house and am filing them in books.”

Do you do this? Do you flip through magazines or newspapers and find a recipe, tear it out, then stuff it in a drawer somewhere? And, worse than that, never give it a try? Read More»

My Grant Tinker

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It happened a few months back. My father-in-law celebrated, to our great joy, his 88th birthday.

There was no pomp or circumstance involved. He abhors that. Because he is among the most beautifully well-mannered people I have ever encountered, he politely took all the calls though he really wished we would just treat it as another day and leave him alone to watch the news channel. Read More»

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