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RICH: A poet's pontification, philosophies fall on angelic ears

It wasn't intended to be a long conversation but I should have known better than that. No call to Poet is ever abbreviated.

I called out to Mississippi to remind him of the theater tickets I had and of our agreement to attend together.

"Oh yes, I recall completely," he said. "You're an angel."

"That's right." Our local theater survives with the help of benefactors and I had contributed enough to buy my wings and become an angel. With the purchased wings came two season tickets.

"I'm thinking of buying my way up to patron saint," I mused.

"If I were you, that's exactly what I'd do," Poet said. "Now, since I'll be attending this glorious event with an angel, will I be expected to be attired in black tie?"

Poet comes from a family of old money. So old, claims a mutual friend, that it was printed by the Confederacy. Not so, Poet denies. All that, he said, was captured by the enemy.

I, though, am just a simple country girl. I come from people who buried their coins in old Maxwell House coffee tins out next to the barn and hoped there would be enough there to pay the preacher when they died. That is to say we both proudly represent the diverse cultures of the South we both so love.

"Poet, I'm afraid this isn't going to be up to your normal level of cultural activity. We're just plain people here. But I hope you'll come anyway."

He guffawed and claimed he was looking forward to it. Then something was said about his father and his place in Oxford.

"I didn't know your father still lived there. I figured he had taken his fortunes and left Mississippi."

"Oh no," he replied. "You don't take your fortune and leave. You keep your fortune where you live and you circulate there. That way, there's a good chance it'll come back around to you."

He paused while I laughed, then continued. "That's why I do my gaming here at home. If I go down to Biloxi and lose, my money goes in a vault. I'll never see that again. But the money I lost at poker last night, there's a chance I'll see that money again."

Poet is full of pontifications and philosophies that, quite frankly, I revel in. I may be an angel, albeit a bought one, but he's a joy. I wish all my friends were like him. A couple of them are joyless and a few, at best, only minimally bring joy. In fact, I've got one or two who are so hateful that I'm about to fire them from my life. Don't you agree that friends should bring joy into your life rather than take it?

I lamented this to Poet who quickly replied with a scholarly drawl, "You can always judge a man by the fierceness of his enemies."

Though it did not pertain to my lament, I saw the value in those words. "That's a good quote. Who said that?"

"Aw, some Indian in a movie."

"Are you sure that's where it came from?"

"Of course. The cowboy sure didn't say it." With Poet, there's always a punch line.

See why conversations with Poet are never short? They're much too entertaining.

He did attend the play with me and to my amazement, he enjoyed it tremendously.

"Of course I did," he replied when I commented on it. "And, don't forget: I had the place of honor next to an angel."

"One who bought her wings," I reminded him.

He shrugged. "I have always said that money has an important place in society. It is the substance of all things hoped for in life."

That began another hour of his pontifications and, like the angel I paid to be, I listened sweetly.

Ronda Rich is the best-selling author of "What Southern Women Know About Faith." Visit www.rondarich.com to sign up for Ronda's weekly newsletter.