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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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Junk Cars....

Junk Cars, Tall Grass, and Tradition

I canít believe what I saw in the paper yesterday! Our local lawmakers, in their unfailing wisdom, have now passed a law against parking cars on residential lawns. What is the world is wrong with these council members? Do they not know this is Tennessee?

If they do not want to have cars parked on the yard, they should move out of the South. They should go to some place like Chicago where you not only canít park a car in the yard, you also canít park one on the street, unless you want to get it towed and a hefty fine to boot.

Cars in the front yard are a southern tradition, a part of our heritage. After all, this is Nashville, the redneck capital of the world. Do these lawmakers not know that it is no longer a matter of shame to be a redneck, but rather a matter of pride? Our right to have a few rusting heaps on the lawn is almost as important to us as our collection of Jeff Foxworthy recordings.

Everybody knows that the best racecar drivers and many a skilled auto mechanic grew up taking apart and putting together an old junk car of some sort. Like a proficient computer hacker, they learned by trial and error. Any grease monkey will tell you that he was convinced that one of these days he would get her running and take her cruising. Whether he did or didnít is of little consequence, rather the important thing is that he tried, that he persisted, and that he learned from his efforts.

Everyone should probably have a junk car or two, just to show support for our traditions. You might as well take away grits, turnip greens, guitars and the Confederate flag. Junk cars are as much a part of southern culture as trailer parks. Are we going to start towing mobile homes away next? Is nothing sacred any more?

To add insult to injury, the council, at the same time, passed a law that grass could not be over a foot high. Now isnít that a hoot? If they donít want to see the junk cars, they most certainly should not pass a law as senseless as this. Letting the grass grow tall enough to hide the old cars is how the good olí boys keep them out of sight. Iíll bet some folks have old cars that they donít even remember having.

If the council had a few old cars to work on, maybe they would be too busy to have time to sit around scratching and thinking up wearisome laws that infringe on the rights of others. A few rusting cars at the courthouse might be a nice touch. They could work on taking apart an engine piece by piece and putting it back together again. They might even learn a thing or two that would come in handy in fixing some of the problems with government.

Just like we need history and antiques to help us remember our past, we need a few old non-working cars for the edification of our heritage. Not only is it our right, it is our legacy as southern rednecks. It is our obligation as residents of a city known world wide for country music to uphold all its diverse southern traditions.

So, deflate the tires that are not already flat, boys, and put her up high on some cinder blocks! They are coming for your old heap in the middle of night. If you donít have a gravel driveway or a garage to park her in, she may be gone by morning and rusting away down at the city impounding lot. Probably she isnít worth the price of towing and storage, even if you had the money to bail her out.

There is only one hope, one small loophole. It allows growing of tall grass if essential to a landscape design. I say get a variance! If your landscaping happens to have a few rusty car sculptures in its design, who can say that is not beauty in the eye of a redneck?

Copyright 2002 Sheila Moss

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