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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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White Stujff....

The White Stuff

It snowed today. Itís January; thereís supposed to be snow in the winter, isnít there? Thatís the way it always works with the four seasons.

But you donít understand. It snowed in Nashville. We have seasons here, and we have snow Ė sometimes. However, it is a rare event and not often enough for people to know exactly what to do about it when it happens.

It isnít as if the snow was unpredicted. Every since last weekend, the weathermen have been jumping up and down screaming, "SNOW on Thursday." No one believed them. "Yeah, yeah, you said that last time and it didnít happen." Like the people in the proverb of the boy that "cried wolf" too often, we quit believing.

Last night on the news, "SNOW, SNOW, itís going to snow!" This morning we got up and looked out the window - no snow. So everyone went to work as usual, figuring predictions were wrong again, as always.

Then at 9:30 it happened Ė SNOW started to fall - lots of snow, big snowflakes, falling fast. Office workers pressed their noses against the windows, staring in disbelief. SNOW? SNOW!

Almost before people could decide whether to go home, the ground was covered. It fell rapidly, inches in an hour. Childcare facilities began to call to say they were closing. The snow continued to fall. Panic! People started going home. Schools closed. The snow continued to fall, almost in defiance of our disbelief.

Auto accidents occurred, hundreds of accidents, multi car accidents of the kind that close down Interstates. Traffic is soon in a gridlock. Kids canít get home from school because busses canít get there to get them. Offices are nearly empty. State offices close by mid afternoon. Courts close. Shopping malls close. Remember that this is the south. S-n-o-w spells disaster. The snow continues to fall.

People in the south donít have a clue about how to drive in snow. Wheels spin as they accelerate too fast; then they panic and hit the brakes. After all, how do you learn to drive in snow? Well, you learn by doing it. And in a city where snow is a rarity, so is snow driving experience.

The snow continues, wet snow; snow that sticks to everything. It is beautiful as it clings to the branches of trees and covers everything with a white blanket. We gaze at the winter scene and wonder how something so pretty can cause so much alarm.

Some give up and get hotel rooms, deciding it isnít worth the effort to try to get home. Others, stranded on the highways, seek shelter at truck stops along the way, waiting for accidents to be cleared and roads to reopen.

By the time the snow quits falling, seven inches cover the ground, the biggest snow in many years in Nashville. We remembered snow, but after so many years without very much, we had closed it out and denied the possibility. Complacency has now been replaced by reality.

The snow finally has mercy on the defeated city and stops. On the highways, abandoned cars litter the roadside and ditches. For one who has lived in Chicago and St. Louis where snow is the norm instead of the exception, the disaster seems unbelievable. To one who has lived in Nashville and seen snow in the south before, disaster is expected.

Finally safe at home, we are happy to be out of harmís way. Buried in white stuff, we wonder where the snow shovel is and finally decide to wait until tomorrow and let it melt. Thankfully, snow in Nashville doesnít happen very often and seldom lasts very long.

Copyright 2003 Sheila Moss

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