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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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Dollywood Dolly...

Dollywood Dolly

Hooray for Dollywood! Okay, I got that out of the way. Just had to say it. I did it, went to the Mecca of Tennessee tourism, the redneck Disney World, Dollywood, number two tourist attraction in the state in be-u-ti-ful Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Why Dollywood? Cause this is Tennessee, folks, and Ms. Dolly herself owns it Ė Dolly Parton. Yes.. THAT Dolly!

My partner, bless his heart, never quite grew up and he still just LOVES these adolescent havens of hedonist thrills. We were in the area anyhow for other reasons, and being so close to a theme park was more than he could stand. Actually, Iíve gotten to where I rather like roller coasters too, so I went along Ö. just in case they had one.

Now, to the parkís credit, there are plenty of things that mature adults might enjoy there. They focus a great deal on musical shows and entertainment. Tennessee is well known for its talented musical folks and they were there in abundance, singing, dancing, toe tapping and guitar plunking -Ė normal entertainment fare in these parts. Even Dollyís family had a show.

Unfortunately, not being normal mature adults, we hit only a couple of the shows. Yes, we rode the rides Ė like teenagers, like idiots! Problem is that most of the rides were water rides. I donít mind getting splashed. Thatís part of the fun. DRENCHED is another matter. SOAKED is another matter. HALF DROWNED is the reality of the matter.

The water racing coaster, the Slidewinder, I think they called it, was fun. Whoopee! Like a bobsled. But, stay out of that Blazing Fury fire and water ride thing. It seems harmless enough. But I was sitting in the front seat when we hit the water. A tidal way hit me right in the face. I didnít even see it coming. As I went down for the third time, I wondered how Iíd missed the diving board. Floating out the door, I waved goodbye to the friendly attendants. As I emptied a small lake out of my tennis shoes and blew my nose, I wondered if Dolly ever really rode this thing.

Only one thing to do at this point, get on the roller coaster and blow dry. They had one, a metal triple upside down loop type, called the Tennessee Tornado. Funny, if I shut my eyes tight enough, I canít even tell that Iím upside down. Kinda like being in Australia, I guess.

The souvenirs are slightly above average. The Smoky Mountain area is famous for crafts and craftsmen. Problem with buying stuff at a theme park is carrying it around all day, or getting it wet. I looked, but saved my bucks for elsewhere. Well, I guess you could count the caricature I bought from the street artist. I looked so stunning all soaking wet with my big hair plastered down that he had to use a LOT of imagination!

Personally, I like to go out to the nearby craft community and try to cut a deal with the craftsmen. Heck, I found a place in Cosby with fantastic quilts, all homemade, not the imported kind. They saw me coming with tourist written all over me, of course. Probably the camera around my neck. I did manage to escape after buying only one country quilt.

While, Iím on the subject of Dollyís East Tennessee enterprises, I might as well admit that we also hit her "Dixie Stampede," a music show with horses. Something about trying to eat and watch a glitz and glitter horse musical didnít work for me. The food was good enough, though it was all eaten with our hands, hillbilly style. I think it was just the horse smell and food together. Actually, I spent most of the evening trying to figure out how the horses did all that running around in the dirt without making any dust. Iíve still not figured it out.

Frankly, I enjoyed the pre-show better than the main attraction. The bluegrass banjo picker and fiddler were just plain talented. The county is "dry," i.e. serves no liquor. You know, family oriented. Ever had a virgin frozen margarita?

SoÖ thatís the scoop on Dollywood. Iíd rather spend the day hiking. Smoky Mountain National Park is just right over the hill, but if youíve got kids or a honey like mine, they are gonna make you go. Hey, at least I didnít do the discount mall. If ya go, stay away from that fire and water ride or take wetsuit and a snorkel!


Copyright 2000 Sheila Moss

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