The clatter. The racket. The noise. The excitement. The angst. The constant beeping of text messages. The consistent ringing of the landline.

It was all too much.

Chaos blanketed our normally tranquil home. Tink’s television series was in the full throes of production and there was constant commotion. Horses that took off a-runnin’; actors with sore throats; rain when the script called for sunshine; actors who requested line changes in their dialogue.

Tink is a pro. Easily, he caught the flying bullets. But me?

I’d had enough of the rumbling disruption.

“I’m goin’ to Mama’s,” I announced, throwing my notebooks and laptop into a crate. “I need some peace and quiet.”

“Are you going to take her with you?” Tink asked, tossing his head toward my beloved dachshund, Dew Drop.

“Yes.” He smiled.

“And Biscuit can stay here with you.” Biscuit is our rescue beagle who dances around constantly with happiness.

Most women go home to Mama when they’re escaping a husband or unhappiness. I go home to Mama’s when I need to crawl back into the simple raising of Rural Route One and push the noise of Hollywood behind me.

The moment I pull into the driveway of that little abode where my dreams were born and I was sternly raised, an easy breath returns to my chest. There are the trees I climbed, the red and white glider where I sat to string beans in the dusk of summer evenings, and the front door where my college boyfriend kissed me “good night” as Daddy flipped on the porch light.

It is my respite. The bricks and mortar where I run to push behind me the bright lights and over-rated glamour of the television business. It is ironic. In that little house, I used to sprawl on my belly in front of our RCA color TV with my face cupped in my hands while I daydreamed of being in the television business. I suppose it was my gut’s compass for where I was heading.

Then, the dream caught me and it’s not at all what my 10-year-old-self imaged. So, I frequently return to the roots of my raising and remember, sometimes emotionally, that little freckle-faced girl.

Dew Drop was sniffing happily in the yard while I unloaded my things. I had much work to do, and I was eager to dive in. In my way of thinking, I could do two days of work in two hours. I dashed out to the car to retrieve something just as a deputy’s car creeped by — then stopped, backed up, and pulled into the drive.

It was Calvin, our local patrol. He is a gentle, Southern man with gracious manners and a drawl of kindness. He often leaves us notes to tell us he is keeping an eye on us.

“Hey there, Miss Ronda.” I walked over and squeezed the hand he offered through the window. “I wanted to check on y’all.”

We talked of life’s surprises and disappointments; how strong sweet gum trees are and how hard it is to find hired help.

Calvin had just left when I settled into the covered swing under the arbor of maples and began to write. Peeping between the cascade of leaves, I saw a white sedan pull to a stop. The door swung open. I knew the voice before I saw the face.

“I thought you were here!” It was my cousin, Don. He settled on the swing to visit and said, “I don’t want to hinder you.”

“Please stay,” I urged. “I may get a story.”

An hour or two slipped by as we talked, an increasingly sweet calm creeping over me. I waved as he left, thinking about all the times that folks dropped by the house. Just to say “hello.” Like Calvin and Don.

Hollywood ain’t what I thought it’d be. But home will always be as I remembered.

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Ronda Rich is the best-selling author of the new book, Let Me Tell You Something. Visit to sign up for her free weekly newsletter.


I have been editor of the Rockdale Citizen since 1996 and editor of the Newton Citizen since it began publication in 2004. I am also currently executive editor of the Clayton News Daily, Henry Daily Herald and Jackson Progress-Argus.

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