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
Break in Pittsburgh
people go to Florida for spring break. Some go on Caribbean
cruises or to other warm and wild locations. So where did
I go? Pittsburgh. Yes, of all places in the world, I somehow ended up in Pittsburgh with
not a Cracker Barrel in sight anywhere, just 334,000 Yankees and
I’d like to go on record as saying Pittsburgh is a very big
place. What I didn't realize before is how many hills and mountains are there.
I thought San Francisco was the city with all the hills, but Pittsburgh
streets are straight up and straight down, like a roller coaster. All
the houses lean to the left.
In addition to hills, the streets meet at strange angles instead
of having crossroads with square corners. Often the intersections
have five streets coming together instead of four. It’s hard to know where
to go with so many choices and navigating the city is somewhat
like working a jigsaw puzzle.
There are also a lot of bridges, with two rivers meeting to form
the Ohio River. It is impossible to go anywhere without crossing a
bridge or going through a tunnel. With all these obstacles, traffic is
very haphazard. Drivers have adapted to the adverse situation by becoming overly
aggressive drivers. It is surprising anyone gets anywhere,
as zipping in and out of traffic is a favorite game.
So why go to Pittsburgh, you ask? I was wondering that
myself, but my honey grew up there and wanted to visit family,
so I was talked into it. He drove just like the rest of
them, and I just hung on for dear life and tried not to look as
cars pulled out in front of us, cabs cut us off, and city busses
nearly sideswiped us on the narrow streets.
Cities do have a sort of beauty of their own, best observed from
a distance in my opinion. In most cities, the best view is
from the tallest building. But there, the best view is from the
top of a nearby mountain where the skyline, rivers, bridges and
odd angles are apparent. I must admit that it was
impossible to take a bad picture, though, with a bird's eye
Like most large cities, there are cultural areas, numerous
museums, entertainment, shopping areas and other "advantages"
that can be supported by a large population and a large tax
base. Unfortunately, to see any of them you must first
find a parking place.
The most amazing thing to me was to find that Pittsburgh is no
longer a city of steel. All the steel mills have closed,
unable to compete with foreign markets. The mill areas are
now ghost towns and mills stand empty or have been turned into
other things like shopping malls. I'm sure the city is
much cleaner than when steel mills belched smoke and soot, but
there is a certain sadness about the industry that gave
Pittsburgh its life now being gone.
There is abundant evidence of the people drawn there to work in
the mills, and Pittsburgh is a no nonsense sort of
middle-classed place with many ethnic neighborhoods forming its
roots. It seemed no matter where we went; we somehow ended
up in the old neighborhood seeing the places where my honey used
to hang out back in the good old days.
The strange thing is that the people who live there seem to like
it and not to notice the traffic, weather, or inconveniences. I
suppose that's a good thing, because it means most of them will stay there instead of
moving south to try and recreate us.
When we left Pittsburgh it was starting to snow, so it was a
narrow escape. So much for spring break in Pittsburgh, but I
think I've seen enough of Yankee land to last for a while anyhow
Copyright 2004 Sheila Moss
Nashville, TN 37219
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