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Meet the Columnist

Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of

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Daddy's Garage....

Daddy's Garage

Daddy has always had an outside building of some sort. Some men have sheds or barns, but Daddy’s private place was always a garage. The garage was a “man place” where he could keep his tools and automotive stuff, a place to call his own away from the women in the family.

Daddy’s garage has tool benches that he made himself at some point in time so long ago that the exact date has faded into oblivion. He keeps all his tools there, hammers, saws, screwdrivers, and gadgets that I don’t even know the name of, much less how to use. Each one has it’s place in the structure of his life and only he knows where it belongs.

I don’t really understand what all these tools are for, as I’ve never known of Daddy building anything much. He just likes to piddle, we say. When my sister and I were kids, we would sometimes “borrow” his tools, and we always forgot to put them back where they belonged. You would think we would have learned to be sneaky so we wouldn’t get caught, but we never did.

The walls of the garage are covered with old license plates, hubcaps, bumper stickers and yard tools. The shelves are full of ancient dusty objects. There are piles of scrap lumber that Daddy has collected, just in case he ever does decide to build something significant. It’s all pretty dreadful to a woman’s prying eyes, which is probably exactly what Daddy had in mind.

At one time, Daddy decided to build birdhouses. He did not stop at one or even several. He built them by the dozens and they lined the shelves on the walls of his garage. He gave them away to family, and to people he knew and liked.

When Daddy had his heart operation, he had us take a birdhouse to the hospital to give to his favorite nurse. I hope she appreciated it. It meant a lot at the time because we didn’t know then if Daddy would ever be able to build his birdhouses again.

Daddy also built benches for a while, and we womenfolk figured out ways to use them. I still have several of Daddy’s benches. When everyone had a bench, Daddy started making wooden boxes. My sister added dirt to hers and planted flowers. I have some in the attic and I’m still trying to think of a way to use them.

Daddy whittled and he carved out birds and other assorted wooden objects with only his pocketknife. This particular interest ended drastically when he cut his hand rather badly and had to go to the emergency room two times in a row.

Daddy’s favorite craft, though, was building houses for Christmas nativity scenes. He cut sticks and built crčches from them. He built them year round and gave them away to anyone who wanted one. Word got around and there was actually a waiting list.

Daddy doesn’t make it out to the garage much any more. He has grown older and walks with a walker. He had to give up driving a car this year. He still goes out to his garage occasionally, probably just to have time to himself in his own world and to reflect in dusty solitude.

We women will never understand Daddy’s garage, and have given up trying. There are just some things in a man’s world that are off limits and better left alone.

Copyright 2005 Sheila Moss

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