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Column: Tink’s heart: My side of the story
Ronda Rich
Ronda Rich

Editor’s note: This column is the second in a two-part “he said, she said” series.

In all my born days, I have never seen anyone who eats like John Tinker.

Occasionally, he has breakfast. Sometimes, he has lunch. But, ALWAYS, he starts eating toward the end of the afternoon and does not stop until he brushes his teeth for bedtime.

Never does he eat a bite after brushing his teeth. I understand, because he spends a solid 15 minutes flossing and brushing.

It’s one of the annoying factors of our marriage. His metabolism is so rapidly fast that half an hour after a huge meal and dessert, he will say, “I’m hungry.”

When we settle down at night to watch a film noir on Turner Classic Movies, he will get up from his chair and cross in front of the TV on three to four round trips to the kitchen. He returns, clutching cookies, peanuts and, often, a screeching-loud bag of pretzels.      

He eats like an 8-year-old latchkey child whose mother allows him to sustain on junk food.

I was a chubby-cheeked child and teenager until, finally, I resolved to lose the long-lasting baby fat. The majority of my days — since I was 16 — have been spent either on a diet or silently counting calories. I have exercised more days in my life than I haven’t. It is a prison in which I am serving a life sentence.

Given my druthers, I’d live on Cheetos and ginger ale. And, I’d never climb another hill or drudge along on an elliptical for a determined half hour. I’d eat until I was close to sick, the way I was when I was 12 and ate three big bowls of Mama’s hearty homemade potato soup with two chunks of cornbread. Lying miserably in bed that night, I promised myself and God that I would never eat that much again.

I haven’t.

So, aside from crunching bags and television interruptions, I am mad that Tink can eat like an adolescent linebacker and never gain an ounce of fat.

He never leaves the comfy chair in his office except for an occasional quick dash to the bathroom or, more likely, a trip to the kitchen where he studies the refrigerator like a chess player about to make a key move.

A couple of times a day, I’ll stop by his office and instruct, “Move your legs so you don’t get a blood clot.” Several years ago, a cardiovascular surgeon friend of ours warned that we should “brake pedal” our feet during our frequent five-hour plane trips between home and Los Angeles.

I don’t believe he thought that the technique would have to be implemented at home where we are free to roam around the house or walk the acres of the Rondarosa.

“One of these days…” I keep saying to Tink, who has learned quickly the mountain way of “payin’ no never mind.”

I thought “one of these days” had finally arrived. Both of Tink’s brothers had suffered some heart issues and when the healthiest one, who exercises vigorously and eats healthy, needed surgical intervention, Tink said, “Maybe I should be checked.”

He made the appointments. On the night before the results of the litany of tests were to be explained, he was restless. Worried. Even scared.

“Oh baby, what if?”

I felt compassion and tried to comfort him. “Then, we will thank the Lord that we caught it before it caught you.”

With a hung head and furrowed brow, he went off to the doctor’s office for the big news. Forty-five minutes later, he called.

“Aha!” His voice rang with glee. “I’m in perfect health. All my arteries are clean!”

“Dang.” A stream of annoyance ran over me. I will not lie. “Are you serious??”

He howled with laughter. “This really gets you, doesn’t it?”

“I’m glad that you are OK,” I replied calmly. “Jesus is being awfully sweet to you.” I paused. “Because one of these days…”

Ronda Rich is the best-selling author of several books, including “What Southern Women Know About Faith.” Sign up for her newsletter at Her column publishes weekly.