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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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Looks Like a Duck....

It Looks Like a Duck and 
Quacks Like a Duck

Dear Duck Adventure Tour Company:

This letter is in regard to the recent exciting Duck Adventure Tour our writers' group took with your company while visiting Austin, Texas. Iíll be the first to admit I didnít even know what a Duck Tour is. Since Iím not into duck hunting or bird watching, I didnít think it would be much fun; however, I was willing to give it a try. Besides, it was raining and I didnít have anything else to do. 

Imagine my surprise when I found out that the "duck" was an amphibious vehicle which could go on both land and water (just like a real duck, I suppose). I found out later that this type of vehicle was first used in combat in WWII and was known as a DUKW. As much as it rained that weekend, a "duck" adventure turned out to be appropriate in more ways than one.

I must admit we were a little bit unhappy when you forgot to pick up our group according to the prearranged plan and left us standing around the hotel lobby for an hour. We do understand that scheduling exact times is difficult, especially when dealing with low-paid and forgetful staff. But aggravating 20 writers with Internet websites was probably not the best public relations move your company every made. We did, however, manage to pass the time by blowing soap bubbles from our own yellow duck-shaped bubble bottles, which got us into the spirit of the tour and shows how serious we are about our fun.

It was too bad the weather was so cold and wet that we had to view the city through the plastic enclosure flaps on the vehicle. We understand, however, that you are unable to give a poor weather discounts. Those vehicles must require a lot of gas, rain or shine, which isnít cheap Ė even in Texas. We also regret that we were unable to get a discounted group rate for our large party, however, we do appreciate the yellow plastic duck callers that you gave us instead. They really came in handy for quacking at the locals, like a bunch of yokelsÖ erÖ tourists.

We liked our friendly and courteous tour guide, Donald. His jokes were a bit stale, but we know that good material is hard to find. Actually, the one-liners from the group were funnier than his stuff. If we find any old comedy material around that is not being used, we will submit it for your consideration. Realize that we are not terribly motivated, however, because due to your low budget and high operation expenses, we could probably not expect any financial reimbursement and the satisfaction from having material heard by thousands of bored tourists only goes so far.

We hope that you will take notice of Donaldís driving. Was his previous work experience from driving a fire engine or from being a New York City taxi driver? We hope he is studying hard for his driverís test and will soon have a genuine Texas chauffeur's license. His foot probably slipped on the accelerator when we got to the lake, which would explain why we hit the water so hard with the vehicle. That large wave that came inside was quite annoying. But, perhaps if we had bailed a little faster, we would not have been so wet. Water wings might be a useful addition to the tour in the future.

We would like to take this opportunity to apologize for the international incident that we created by blowing our duck quackers at the demonstrators in front of the State Capitol building. Who knew that they would be such bad sports about it? We were also sorry to learn about the two old women who were hospitalized for heart problems when we quacked at them and the construction worker who fell three stories when we quacked our duck quackers at him. While we regret any embarrassment it may have caused, you may rest assured that Donald made us do it!

Other than the minor annoyance listed above, we were very pleased with the adventure tour and it was one of the highlights of our Austin trip. We hope this letter has not ruffled your feathers too much. You were very brave to let us pay for the tour after it was over. Next time, could we just put it on your bill? (Oh, all right, I had to get a little duck humor in some place.) And next time, could we have a just little less soup with our quackers?

Copyright 2000 Sheila Moss


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