January 15, 2014
“At every turn of my life,” author Ronda Rich says, “even through the tribulations, through the adversities, God has blessed me. He has used times of despair, times when it looked like things were over for me professionally or personally . . . He carried me through to a better day.” Several years ago God blessed Ronda by placing her in the real-life situation that inspired her novel (now an UP TV movie) The Town That Came A-Courtin’. “I spent several years working with NASCAR,” Ronda explained in a recent interview with Women of Faith. “I’d written a memoir of my lovely times there and was invited to come to a little town called Blytheville, Arkansas, an hour west of Memphis in the Mississippi Delta. They found out I wasn’t married (at the time) and when I got to the bookstore there were people lined up out the door and down the street; men and women. Everyone who came through to get a book signed said “You’re not married, right? You should meet our mayor; he’s not married.” This went on for an hour and a half! Everyone in the line had some great story to tell about him. Finally, two men walked in the back door. One pulls up a rocking chair, sits down beside me and starts rocking and talking. I held my hand out and said, ‘Don’t tell me: you’re here to fix me up with the mayor.’ He stopped rocking, leaned forward and said ‘Well . . . if he asks you would you go with him?’ I rolled my eyes. I said, ‘Are you kidding? A man who needs an entire town to find a date for him? I don’t think so.’ He said, ‘We haven’t met. I’m the mayor of Blytheville.’” If this had been a fairytale, Ronda and the mayor would have promptly fallen in love and lived happily ever after. Since this was real life . . . not so much. Still, they did go out on that date and Ronda said, “The town had assigned a committee to go on the date with him. What swept me away was there was this town of people who loved unconditionally. They had nothing to gain by it; they just loved their mayor so much they wanted to help him out. It just touched my heart so greatly that it inspired The Town that Came A-Courtin’. What I’ve always loved about this story is that it’s not a figment of my imagination. These people exist. These big-hearted, generous, kind, loving people exist.” This Sunday (January 19) those people will exist on TV in the UP Original Movie The Town That Came A-Courtin’ starring Lauren Holly and Valerie Harper. (You can even spot Ronda leading the pack into the store for the book signing!) These days Ronda describes herself as an “extraordinarily blessed” woman. “I know that God is faithful. I know that in the worst of times if you just keep taking one step forward each day that eventually you will break through that adversity and you’ll find the blessings.” The Town That Came A-Courtin’ airs Sunday, January 19, 2014 at 7 P.M. EST exclusively on UP TV.