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 from all that was previously familiar. “I have found my true home,” he said once and then again and now quite often. Whenever he is on location to shoot a television series, he pines mournfully for the land he has come to love.
“I am homesick. I have never felt this way ever. I miss the Rondarosa with all my heart.”
Truly, his case of homesick blues is like nothing I have ever seen or felt. Not even the times when I was homesick at FHA or 4-H camps. Or that time in the foreign land of Indianapolis when my sad heart dragged its way through the deep snow and gray days.
When Tink came South, he knew little or nothing about country music, SEC football or NASCAR. He had never heard of Conway Twitty. Seriously. It is remarkable but the unvarnished truth is that not once did he turn up his nose at our Southern quirks or express any condescension. He simply fell in love.
A couple of months after we married, I was on the back porch when he pulled up in my brother-in-law’s Chevy pick-up which he had borrowed. The truck windows were down and I heard the blasting sounds of Vern Gosdin belting out “Set ‘Em Up, Joe.” I peeped around the corner of the porch and saw, to my amazement, John Tinker singing along. He didn’t leave the truck until the song had finished. I laughed out loud and he looked at me.
Ronda Rich, Columnist
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