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Ronda Rich

Stories by Ronda

RICH: Is it hoarding if you never clean out your fridge?

I’ll eat leftovers from the same meal for a week. Doesn’t bother me. As long as it’s in the refrigerator, it’s fine. In fact, I love leftovers.

RICH: The need for self-control

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

RICH: Sometimes it’s too late for public relations work

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.

RICH: Collecting food ideas can be a recipe for a mess

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?

RICH: The glorious Grant Tinker

Saluting TV legend Grant Tinker on his 88th birthday.

RICH: A reminder of why I love the South

It happened the other day. It’s funny how things so simple can remind us of things so meaningful, of those sweets that are tucked inside our hearts and unknowingly treasured.

RICH: Mama was cool in her own way

My parents, according to the world’s definition of “cool” were not.

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RICH: Learning to live with the new Southern Living

A few years ago, the magazine I have long loved – Southern Living – changed. Like most Southerners, I have an aversion to change which is why our traditions have such strangle hold. We never let go.

RICH: Sometimes history is better than fiction

Several months ago, I ran across a book called “Alone Among The Living,” one of the most powerful titles I have ever heard

RICH: Parents’ wisdom stays with us long after they pass

There are few who cannot say truthfully that they miss their parents after death has laid claim to those loved ones. The parents who taught us, scolded us and, at times, annoyed us are never forgotten, never put away on a shelf to be remembered no more.

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RICH: The joy of pinto beans and cornbread

One afternoon, I had a hankering, a primal-like craving, for a supper of pinto beans and cornbread with a tall glass of cold, rich buttermilk thrown in for good measure and extra filling.

RICH: Success comes thanks to the ones who lift you up

That’s the difference between success and failure. It’s not what we do, but how high we are lifted by those around us.

RICH: The apple tree that never found a home

That apple tree. Oh my goodness. Something told me it wouldn’t turn out well.

RICH: The pieces of life’s puzzle

This happened years ago. Mama was alive then so it’s been seven or eight years. I hadn’t thought about in almost that many years but when it came to mind the other day, I took to studying on it and how the circumstances and opportunities of life’s journey can be so fascinating.

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RICH: The obituary call tree

Yes, I know that I am, occasionally, prone to embellishment. But trust me when I say this is the law and the gospel: I have a long-time friend who only calls me when someone dies. Most times, I know the person but sometimes I don’t have a clue the person ever existed.

RICH: When Mama tried to write a book

Everyone loved Mama. And they loved stories about her. This is a column written before her death but never published. I decided to share it to celebrate Mama.

RICH: Learn to minimize the drama

Drama is only as big as you make it.

RICH: A love-hate relationship with air conditioning

So, you see, I love, as most do, the comfort of air conditioning. But, oh, how I miss that time with nature and all that profound daydreaming I used to do.

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RICH: Memories of hope and Easter

Celebrate Easter for the promise of hope it brings.

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RICH: A lifetime of bad decisions

When I have a decision to make that I am not well equipped for, I call someone who is smarter and has more experience. When someone wiser than I makes a recommendation, I take it. If it goes against what I want to do, I get a second opinion.

RICH: A salute to all homemakers

In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with being called homemaker. In fact, I think it’s one of the most beautiful words in the America language.

RICH: Why loyalty matters

When I think back on the days of my youth, that time when I had the privilege of traveling on the NASCAR circuit, it would be hard to pick a lesson learned that was more important than another. But there is one that deeply branded itself in the bones of my being – that of the importance of being loyal in all things.

RICH: Merle Haggard’s treasure trove of stories

May all storytellers learn from such an American master on how to turn our own lives into art.

RICH: Pretending to eat Southern

When business called Tink back to Los Angeles, he decided to take the opportunity to have his annual check-up. When it ended, he called home.

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RICH: Remembering the long, cold winter

They listened and learned from those who went before them and when you think about it, that’s a pretty wise way to learn about things like long, hard, cold winters.

RICH: Listening to Dale Earnhardt’s advice

My Daddy told me: “Choose a side. It’s despicable to see someone who is mealy mouthed and doesn’t stand for one side or the other.”

RICH: In the South, you’re either proud or humble

One thing I have found to be mostly true, as true as any rule can be, is that in the South, you are either proud or humble. There is very little in-between.

RICH: Tales of the hot pink luggage

You know the feeling I am sure. You find something that somewhere back in time meant so much but years have passed and you have forgotten its existence. Then you find it and it’s like running into an old friend who reminds you of happy times.

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RICH: Living in black and white

One Sunday while sitting around the dinner table, Louise and I began to tell Daddy stories, the ones that stretched back to the early days of his preaching life. Since I was born 12 years after he ‘made a preacher’, as our folks said back then, I could only contribute what he had told me about those days not what I had seen.

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RICH: The memories of youthful mistakes

When you add the opportunity to go off to college or move out on your own, we’re fooled into thinking that we’re mature enough and wise enough to make decisions that will affect the rest of our lives.

RICH: Crazy and proud of it

My grandmother – Daddy’s mother – was sometimes called “crazy” by others who didn’t quite understand her eccentric ways. Of course, in the South, we are proud of such a label for it means that we are interesting and worthy of being the center of coffee and cake conversation.

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RICH: Resolutely carrying on

For those of you who are faithful to this column, you will, no doubt, recall that last year I made brand new resolutions. I tossed out the old ones that I had failed at repeatedly and trudged ahead to new ones, optimistically believing that success was mine for taking.

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RICH: Christmas tree memories

I realized this year, though, that there is one day of the Christmas season that never disappoints me. In fact, it is always warmer, more loving, memorable, and joyous than I expect. That’s the day that I put up my favorite of three trees.

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RICH: A Thanksgiving for blessings and troubles

Whether this has been a year that leaned more toward blessings or tribulations, give thanks for it. Because even the hard times are leading to better times and when you get to those better days, you’ll celebrate them with pure joy.

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RICH: Living the American dream

The American Dream. Pure and simple. Why aren’t we doing more to extol it these days? Why aren’t we celebrating the opportunities of a country where the poor can rise mightily?

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RICH: A heroic family

It’s been 20 years without Davey Allison and I, at last, am able to laugh at his antics rather than recalling just the sorrow. And there are the lessons, too, that he taught.

RICH: Raised to shop better

I do not believe it is a coincidence that our family from Mama and Daddy’s generation lived, for the most part, long and healthy lives. There were no preservatives in their food and their water came either directly from mountain streams or deep wells.

RICH: Remembering the men of war

When the military guard stood at attention at Mr. Hoyt’s casket and taps played, I put my hand over my heart and cried.

RICH: Beautiful in a different way

She did not squander time on life’s foolish pursuits – shopping for pretty dresses, parties, choosing a new lipstick color or beach vacations. She was, all would agree, a statue for sturdiness, a monument to women who looked life and its troubles squarely in the eye and stared down those challenges.

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RICH: The little girl with red dirt feet

About the only thing that has changed is that Mama doesn’t make my clothes any more. And that is both a good thing and a bad thing.

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RICH: Lives in common

This is my South of which I am so proud, a community, broad and vast, where tribulations and triumphs alike are shared.

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RICH: Looking to help

When it’s born in you, you just keep doing the best you can to help those in need.

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RICH: The ugly casserole dishes

Any self-respecting Southern woman has a list of casserole recipes a mile long ready to bake at a moment’s notice. You got a sickness or a death in your family, we’ve got just the casserole for you.

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RICH; Well, bless my heart

She said it, of course, with smirk. Those women who really don’t understand the ways of the women of the South seem to always speak about us in words that are vividly cloaked in disdain.

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RICH: The final story from Charlie Tinker's grave

Charlie Tinker had a front row seat to history, ranging from a friendship with Lincoln to the Civil War to the hanging of those convicted. Thanks to his diaries, we are able to see what he saw.

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RICH: Don't wait on some day

“Some day,” Daddy used to say often as I was growing up, “I’m going to the Holy Land. I want to walk where Jesus walked.”

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RICH: Teaching independence

Having helped raised Mama to independence, I can tell you —be it teenagers or elderly mothers, independence is a good thing for everyone.

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RICH: How General Grant Became Mr. Grant

Upon discovering Charles Almerin Tinker’s leaf-strewn grave in Green-Wood cemetery in Brooklyn, NY, we – one of us more than the other – began to study the names and dates engraved on the towering monument.

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RICH: Don't overlook the importance of a pretty package

The renowned bow maker in my hometown died. Only in the South would this probably be news because we Southern women do admire a package well wrapped.

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RICH: The way she was

The way she was was a long way from what she became. I can't help thinking about how life veers so far away from the beginning of the journey and how the destination can vary drastically from where it all started.

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