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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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Dunn River Falls....

Climbing Dunn River Falls

A trip to Jamaica! Wow, Iíd sure like to win a trip there! It caught my eye immediately as I clicked through the latest promotion for free stuff on my favorite website. Boy, I remember the last time I was in Jamaica. Yeah, itís true Ė nobody believes me - but Iíve actually been there. I can hardly contain my enthusiasm at the thought of going back. Is that the Caribbean Island where they drive on the WRONG SIDE of the road? Oh, no, that was Bermuda, I think.

You just canít imagine how scary it is for Americans as tour buses go flying down the roads, driving on the left side instead of the right. I must have died a thousand deaths on that bus, only to open my eyes and find nothing had happened at all. The tour guide called it driving on the "other" side or the "left" side. Ha, I thought, as I brushed imaginary glass out of my hair and checked for imaginary broken bones. I may not know Jamaica from Bermuda, but I do know wrong from right Ė at least when it comes to driving!

Unharmed by the many near misses, I later had a chance to visit the real Jamaica for the biggest adventure of my life - climbing a waterfall. Yep, one of the big tourist attractions in Jamaica is Dunnís River Falls. American tourists pay good money to get in rapid water and climb up sharp, slippery rocks. Itís called "having fun."

Well, everybody was doing it; so I figured it couldnít be that hard. Heck, I didnít want to be the only tourist in Jamaica that hadnít climbed the falls. I could have gone to the beach, I could have gone sightseeing, I could have gone shopping - duty free. (That has a nice ring to it.) But no, of all there is to do in Jamaica, I chose to climb a waterfall Ė now thatís either a woman determined to have FUN Ė or FUN determined to have a woman!

My mistake was being too cheap to buy special climbing shoes. I figured I could make it just wearing a pair of gym shoes. Wrong, wrong, wrong! Wet gym shoes weigh a ton. I didnít think of that.

The tour guides pranced deftly through the roaring water showing the novice tourists how to climb. We formed a human chain, holding hands, the swift water making it nearly impossible to stand up otherwise. 

I flip-flopped along on the rocks through the rushing waters in my wet, 40-pound gym shoes. We reached halfway, a pool of green water where the others fell in backwards, laughing. I fell in and my heavy feet went straight to the bottom. Laying on the bottom of the river bubbling and waiting for death, it occurred to me that the water was NOT very deep.

"STAND UP!" yelled the river guide.

Continuing to climb, we came to an overlook with stairs leading down the embankment to the river. An escape! I looked up at the waterfall cascading rapidly towards me. Should I "chicken out" or plunge bravely on?

Setting on the bank, pouring the water out of my shoes, I knew I would NEVER be entitled to wear a T-shirt saying, "I climbed Dunnís River Falls." I later gave the tour guide a small tip anyhow. He gave me a tip too, "Next time, lady, donít wear gym shoes."

Copyright 2000 Sheila Moss

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