The worth of muddy jeans

Back in the early spring, Tink had spent several days of hard labor cutting up fallen trees and piling limbs into six bunches. Alternate bouts of rain, droughts, and ice have taken their toll on our family of trees. It’s a continuous clean-up on the Rondarosa. “Before you leave to go on location, you have […]

Kids who work hard

It had been a lovely summer afternoon. My niece, Nicole, was visiting the Rondarosa with a brood of kids in tow and we all were enjoying a lazy, country afternoon. After a picnic, Nicole and I chatted around the table while the six kids played in the pump house, splashed in the river, and enjoyed […]

The worst kind of gone

A friend’s mother died recently so I pulled out stationery and set about writing him a note filled with words of compassionate and deep understanding. “There is no worse kind of gone than that of Mama,” I scribbled. I paused, remembering a similar note that I had received from Senator Zell Miller when my own […]

I knowed that I knowed

Perhaps it’s the Scotch-Irish mountain streak in me but I love adding “ed” to words. It doesn’t bother me to say “knowed,” “borned,” “growed,” “blowed,” “drowned,” “tored,” when I’m amongst my people. And when someone else from the mountains says, “see’ed,” “sawed” or “tolded,” my senses are not offended in the least. It sounds like […]

Correcting correctly

It has been well over 10 years since I started a weekly newsletter for my readers, which is free and primarily tells the stories behind the stories I write as well as a weekly insider’s look at the tales I don’t write in this column. For the most part, it is loved by the subscribers […]

‘Mark My Words’ – Part II

The new book I’ve written about Mama is a compilation of past columns about her as well as new stories that give an insight into this remarkable woman and irrepressible, sometimes exasperating, Southern character. “Mark My Words: A Memoir of Mama” (available from booksellers and is something I will always be proud of. Often […]

‘Mark My Words’ – Part I

From time to time, as my writing career grew, Mama would say, “I built you, little girl. Don’t ever forget that.” She’d say it with a smile and twinkle in her eye and full sincerity in her voice. The truth is that she pretty much did. She didn’t write the words, she didn’t drive the […]

Charm of a graveled road

Several years before Tink and I married, I built a house that, eventually, would become our home together. This French Country cottage suits us very well other than closet space for Tink has been modest and challenging. We solved that by tossing or giving away the ugly shirts and keeping only the handsome ones. We […]

Easter 2018

Over a decade ago, we were happily looking forward to Easter and the warmth it would bring after a challenging winter of bitter cold. Boy, did we get a surprise. Next to the ravaging remains of a recent hurricane that left the Rondarosa damaged – the first hurricane in the history of the Atlanta area […]

When 2 worlds blend

It is no secret that when John Tinker arrived in the rural heartland of the Deep South, he was thrust into a cultural environment as different as custom-made wrought iron gates are from barbed wire. Yet this son of New England patriots and Hollywood star-makers eased comfortably into a world that is in such contrast […]

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