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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

    To carry her weekly column in your newspaper, or to republish an article, please contact her. It's that easy. 

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Truth About Tennessee....

The Truth About Tennessee

I have decided to let the rest of the world in on a secret that they have always suspected anyhow. It is the truth about Tennessee. 

The truth is we are all rednecks here. Some claim the name comes from working out in the sun and getting sunburned, but most of us don't really work too much any more since we all started getting welfare checks from the government and don't have to. 

We all wear straw hats, plaid shirts and overalls. Of course, we do not wear shoes here. Most of us do not even own a pair. If we do we just keep them on a shelf someplace in case company comes. Yep, just like you thought, we are all a bunch of barefooted hillbillies.

Everybody in Tennessee drives a pickup truck. It is a required by law. A driver's license, however, is not required. We usually just drive a vehicle until it wears out then we put it out to pasture, so to speak, out in the yard some place, and get another one. This comes in real handy as you always have spare parts in case you need them. 

Nearly everyone who is anyone has at least 3 or 4 old junk cars parked in the yard although you can't always see them due to the grass growing so high. Working on the old junk cars and trucks is what really makes us appreciate a good fast car, which is why we are all NASCAR fans. 

Tennesseans are all illiterate, or close to it, though many have finished the fourth grade and read the Bible. For the most part, we don't trust book learnin' or those that have  it. We can learn all we need to know just from life. 

A lot of our intelligence come from the good food we have here. We eat grits, turnip greens, hog jowl and cornbread - three times a day. These are really good vittles and if you've never tried 'em, don't knock 'em. 

We are all like kinfolk here. In fact, most of us are kinfolk since nearly everyone marries a cousin. This keeps us really close and friendly with each other. We don't like outsiders much, but they don't really bother us often and everybody keeps a shotgun behind the door, just in case we need it. 

The shotgun also comes in good for squirrel and coon hunting. We all have an old hound dog around. The population of hound dogs is about the same as the population of Tennessee. 

Of course, the best thing about Tennessee is the country music. Everyone in the state is either a songwriter or a musician. We all know how to play the guitar, banjo and fiddle and never miss an opportunity to have a shindig. 

Although the entire population lives in log cabins with outhouses out back, we do have a few barns which come in really handy for square dances. 

We drink a lot of moonshine right out of the jug. Every family has someone with a moonshine still in the woodshed or basement, so there is never a shortage of liquid refreshment. The number of stills is exceeded only by the number of coon dogs. A few people have gone into pot growing, but this is mostly just a cash-money crop since the government has cut down on our tobacco growing.

Well, I sure hope I've exploded some of the myths and stereotypes about Tennessee. Funny thing about stereotypes. They always have an element of truth just to make 'em believable. Stereotypes are exaggerated and untrue beliefs about a group of people in case you didn't quite make it to fourth grade either. 

Guess everybody pretty much knew the truth about Tennessee anyhow. I just figured it was about time that we set the record straight. If yawl ever come to Tennessee, be sure to come by. We can set on the front porch and rock and ponder about it. We might even ask you stay for supper if you don't talk too much like a Yankee. Can't you just smell those turnip greens cooking now?

Copyright 1999 Sheila Moss


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