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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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Casual Dining...

Casual Dining

"We've been invited to eat out tonight," said Honey.

"Okay," I replied, thinking of all the things I had planned to do when I got off work. Plus, it had been a stressful week of reports, deadlines, and demanding assignments. I'm tired.

Maybe it will be a good thing, I thought; maybe it will help me unwind.

"Where are we going," I asked.

"Some place close."

They have a lot of nice restaurants over near the new mall in Murfreesboro. Or maybe we can go to Bonefish Grill and use the gift card left from Christmas. Visions of steak, soft music and immaculate waiters danced in my head.

When I got to the car, Honey pealed out into traffic and headed in the wrong direction.

"Where are you going? I thought we were going someplace close to home."

"They want to go to Rivergate to Hooters." I don't know why Honey had the idea we were going to Murfreesboro. My enthusiasm was fading rapidly.

Hooters is not the Bonefish Grill. It is a beer and wings kind of place. I've heard of it, but I can't remember ever going there. Not that these places can't be fun, but not tonight. But we were on the Interstate headed north in bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic.

We were not even sure how to get there. I turned on the GPS on my phone for directions. "Rivergate Wall is straight ahead, take exit 96," said the phone.

Eventually we arrived in spite of the traffic and directions to Rivergate Wall instead of Rivergate Mall. We pulled into the parking lot and found the other couple sitting on a picnic bench on a patio with a fabulous view of the parking lot. I climbed over the picnic table bench and sat down. I guess this is what is called casual dining.

Our friend went inside to find a waitress dressed in orange shorts and a tank-top with Hooter across the front. Oh, boy!

"Do you want to eat," she asked? Oh boy, again. Does she think we came to admire the view?

"Could we get some menus?"

"Sure," she said and brought us three menus for four people. Most of the entrees were appetizers. I ordered fish & chips - big mistake - I should have ordered a burger, something grilled instead of soaked in grease.

Meanwhile, the smell of beer from the table next to us and the scent of gasoline and exhaust from the parking lot floated in the air. I didn't need anything to drink as the fumes were making me high.

The waitress wandered around looking for the right table with every order that came out. Did you order cheese sticks? Who gets the tater tots? Apparently, Hooters is popular for reasons other than good service or food.

I gingerly tried a slice of fried dill pickle. They were as bad as they sound.

Across the street someone decided to mow a lawn and stir up the dust and insects. The sound of the mower whirred on and on, so loud we could hardly hear the people at the next table who were on the fourth or fifth round of beer.

Redneck ambiance.

The waitress finally found four forks and one knife, which we shared.
A guy at the table next to us climbed up on the patio rail and drank his beer. I don't blame him. I felt like sitting on the rail with a beer myself, and I don't even drink beer.

"We will call you next time we come," said the couple, as we waved goodbye.

"Make an immediate U-turn," said my phone, which I thought I had turned off.

No thanks, I have had enough of Rivergate Wall, Hooters and anything else Rivergate.

Copyright 2013 Sheila Moss

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