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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 Columnists.com, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern
Humorists.com
  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of HumorColumnist.com

    To carry her weekly column in your newspaper, or to republish an article, please contact her. It's that easy. 

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Home Town....
 


Home Town

I usually say that I'm from Nashville, home of the Titans, country music, Al Gore, and big hair. There's a lot to write about when you're from Nashville. However, I'm actually from a small suburban community called Smyrna, where column material can be pretty thin.

The first problem is that no one can pronounce it. People always stumble over the name when reading it.

 "Smear-na?" They ask.

"No, S-M-Y-R-N-A, Smur-na." "It's a town in the Bible," I explain, hoping they have heard of the Bible. 

"Oh, I thought it was in Georgia," they usually reply. 

I give up.

Smyrna is one of those small communities that people drive through as fast as possible on the way to someplace else. For a long time, this rush enabled Smyrna to become known for the radar speed traps that enriched the local economy. But the Interstate by-passed Smyrna and the local cops were not allowed to trap cars on the Interstate -- or so the story goes. So, the speed trap image sort of fizzled, but you still better be careful about driving too fast in Smyrna - just in case.

Smyrna has other ways of raising revenue now -- taxes. Some years ago the Japanese automotive industry took a liking to the area and located a large plant in Smyrna. Strangers moved in and darn near took over the place. The economy boomed and the city was never quite the same after that. The automobile plant pretty much dominates the city now. What's good for Nissan USA is what's usually good for Smyrna too.

Back in the good old days, Smyrna didn't allow sinful influences, like the selling of liquor in city limits. But the first thing you know, the wicked new people voted it in. After that, it wasn't long until the restaurant industry noticed how conveniently close to the Interstate Smyrna was, and chain restaurants with liquor licenses started springing up like mushrooms.

Grocery stores and banks moved away from the old business district to be closer to the Interstate, and other businesses followed. People didn't have to drive all the way to Nashville to buy hardware or to have their prescription filled 24 hours a day any more. Traffic on Sam Ridley Parkway became worse than Nashville during rush hour. And, whatever you did, you never wanted to be near the plant when the shifts changed unless you liked stampedes.

These days, everywhere you look there is a bulldozer digging the red clay to make room for new construction. We are looking at new shopping centers, real movies, and a mall.  Another big hardware store has opened, and, of course, more restaurants are coming. I don't know where everyone ate before we had all those restaurants.

But in spite of all the growth, there is still a small-town mentality. The major place to see and be seen, other than the new and improved First Baptist Church, is at the Wal-Mart Super Center. On Saturday, you can hardly find a parking spot. 

There are attempts to bring back Smyrna's old business district, a small area of historic old storefronts. The railroad tracks run through the center of town, but the trains haven't stopped in years. They want to turn the old train depot into something, but I'm not sure of exactly what. There is a new hospital, a YMCA and a Junior College. People like our new image and don't seem to care much about history, especially history without convenient parking

I first moved to Smyrna to get out of the city, to find a home with a big lot where my husband could have a garden. Homes were cheaper outside the city and you could get more house for your money in Rutherford County. A lot of other people figured the same way, helping to make us one of the fastest growing counties in the country

So, I'm out of the closet now. If anyone asks what part of Nashville I'm from, it's Smyrna, home of Nissan USA, a new industrial park, a Wal-Mart Super Store, a bunch of restaurants, a lot of bulldozers, red dirt, a few rednecks, and a whole bunch of traffic.

It's Smyrna, S-M-Y-R-N-A. I know, you've never heard of it. You can just say I'm from Nashville and let it go at that.


Copyright 2007 Sheila Moss
 
 



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