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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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It was more than we could resist.  We had just been talking about how long it had been since we had been on a riverboat and how we need to get out and do something. Then an email came offering tickets at half price.  Kind of makes you wonder about ESP, doesnít it?

"Itís Chinese acrobats," said the voice on the phone when I reserved tickets.  "And dinner is Land & Sea." Yes, I knew that.  It was in the email.

The night came and we got dressed and drove over there.  They have been doing construction on Briley Parkway for years it seems.  Will, they never get it finished?  Between my honey's aggressive driving and the crooked ride between concrete barriers, I felt a bit like I'd been on a roller coaster by the time we arrived.

All we had to do was park and get on the boat.  Park?  Easier said than done.  They just keep building things, shopping centers, theaters, and restaurants, all in a confined space with limited parking. We rode around and around until someone finally backed out and we swooped in and parked.

We stood in line to get aboard, getting our picture made whether we wanted a picture or not.  Once on the riverboat we thought things would get better. But it was hotter than ... well, it was hot.  For some odd reason, we were not allowed inside the theater until the boat left the dock and we stood in the sweltering heat, fighting the bees that buzzed around my coke.

At last we got inside out of the heat and our waiter introduced himself. Land & Sea turned out to be strong salmon and a small steak that appeared steamed instead of broiled.  But I'm getting ahead of the story.

The waiters paraded out with trays held high and began serving.  We waited and waited.  No food.  Other people ate. We sat.  Finally, we attracted someone's attention and a different waitress brought our food.  We still don't know what happened to our waiter.  We didn't see him again until time for the tips.

The show started and the acrobats twirled, tumbled, climbed, contorted, juggled, balanced and all the strange things that acrobats do.   Before he did his disappearing act, the waiter had pointed to the sign above the stage and said the entertainers would get up that high.  We thought he was exaggerating, but they actually did with a feat involving stacking chairs higher and higher and balancing on top of them. Cheap seats were in the back, but I was glad we were far enough away to avoid getting acrobats in the middle of the table if they fell off the stage.

At least we didnít have to sit with the Mafia this time.  The last time we went, we had some very strange folks at our table.  I still think they were gangsters.  This time, however, we sat with ordinary locals who were bringing some out of town guests.  It's a tourist sort of place. Come to think of it, the last time we were there we were taking out of town guests.

"How did you like it?" asked my honey afterwards.

"Well, except for the traffic, parking, food, heat, and waiting, it was fine."

"Thatís pretty much all there is to it," he said.

Now I remember why it had been so long.

Copyright 2005 Sheila Moss

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