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 Columnists.com, website of the National Society of Newspaper
oldest and largest professional organization
for columnists. She is the Web Editor of
Humorists.com and a founder of the Southern Humorists writers'
organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of HumorColumnist.com.
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Online Since 1999
weekend my honey and I decided to go to the Oktoberfest in
Germantown - that is, I decided and he went along. Other than
having the distinction of spelling October with a "k",
what's the difference between an October fest and any other fest?
Well, to tell the truth, not much. A few tents with crafts and
T-shirts, and a few with food and beer - which made honey hungry
as soon as we arrived.
Oktoberfest is a street festival billed as the oldest ethnic
festival in Nashville, this year celebrating its 25th year. However, I only
found out about it this year when I saw it in the paper. It's in the oldest
residential area of Nashville’s near northside, with homes and
cottages dating back to the 1800's. Some are still residences; many have
been turned into art studios, restaurants, or other business
In the olden days, the area was populated largely by German
residents, hence the name of the area. Capitalizing on a historic
past, many cities are trying to rebuild blighted urban areas. Germantown is in the
process of urban renewal, attempting to revitalize the area by updating and
remodeling older, dilapidated residences. My honey was less
interested in history than in finding a good parking place on the
narrow back streets.
The most ethnic part of the festival was the presence of several
polka bands dressed in native costume and entertaining with lively
music while visitors did the chicken dance. There seemed to be an
unusual amount of sauerkraut available, a dish that I've always
been able to pass by without regret – but I guess it wouldn't be
a German fest without out it.
I was most interested in was the tour of homes. I dragged honey
past the beer tents and we followed the map through the walking
tour. Can you imagine anyone letting thousands of people walk
through their personal residence? Some houses were in early stages
of refurbishment. Others looked like pages out of a
home-decorating magazine. Even homes that were not open for public
viewing had been refurbished in antique colors with appropriate
fall decorations on the doors.
In spite of a few jewels, the overall area still has a long way to
go before totally successful development. Its strongest point is the
location, within walking distance from the heart of the city. Several homes were
remodeled especially well and furnished with collections of
antiques and memorabilia that would excite anyone even halfway
interested in home décor.
An especially interesting detail was use of bright paint on walls;
some were red, and others featured various deep hues on different
walls of the same room. While it sounds rather strange, it seemed
to accentuate the older character of the homes. It also provided a
perfect backdrop for the various collectibles of the owners. While
I was visualizing my own walls painted in various bright colors,
my honey was visualizing more food.
I visited the arts and crafts tent while honey visited his
favorite vendor for refreshments. I've always found that the best way to become
acquainted with a community is to attend local events, and to join
in the spirit of the fun. Often the funds raised with these
activities go to further upgrade a community. So, we sat on the
street curb to rest and cool off while deciding what to do next.
As population and new construction have moved further and further
from the places where people work, many people have become
disenchanted with the daily commute in rush hour traffic, and
cities have turned inward, trying to reestablish the charm and convenience of the older neighborhoods. It is interesting to see
the possibilities and the lifestyles of those who have moved
toward the city instead of away from it.
My honey was just happy when we figured out where we had left the
Copyright 2004 Sheila Moss
Nashville, TN 37219
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