My adopted state is an embarrassment

op HB2By Stephanie Wampler • Guest Columnist

As a North Carolina woman who may or may not have a vagina (NOYB), I have several concerns about our new law requiring transgender individuals to use bathrooms different than those of their gender identity.

First, I am concerned about basic respect and human dignity. Urination (such a formal word — how about peeing?) seems a somewhat private act, and any legislator or governor dictating where I can pee seems problematic.

Time for a little torture, a la Trump?

op trumpStephanie Wampler • Guest Columnist

Good news, fellow citizens.  It’s only a matter of time before we can all sleep easily, comfortable in the knowledge that we will never be bombed in our homes or at Little League games. Candidate Trump’s chances of winning the presidency increase everyday, and it seems only a matter of time before he is making rational decisions for all of us, before our lives are in his hands.

My journey to the center of the Earth, and back

op frBy Stephanie Wampler • Columnist

Our Saturday morning cave adventure started out innocently enough. We would need flashlights. Check. I had purchased three apiece, plus four spare AAA batteries. Change of clothes. Check. Layers for warmth, since it was after all underground and therefore likely to be chilly. Check. Hiking boots. Water bottle. First aid kit, including snakebite venom extractor just in case we did happen to run across an angry and poisonous snake two miles deep into the cavern. (You never know. It could happen.) In any event, first aid kit, check. Sandwiches. Chocolate chip cookies. Check plus. They were very good cookies. I put a few in a bag to take into the cave and left the rest in the car for when we came out. We were packed and ready. The possibility that we might need anything else, like rope or a ladder or a safety net, never occurred to me. 

This diplomacy stuff just isn’t that hard

op frBy Stephanie Wampler • Guest Columnist

Well, it seems that John Kerry is our new secretary of state, ready to take on all the problems of the world. Up until recently, I would have been fine with that, but I have now realized that a better choice for chief diplomat could have been made. That better choice? Me. OK, so perhaps I wasn’t an obvious choice; in fact, I myself wasn’t really cognizant of my skills as a diplomat and negotiator until recently — this morning actually, 7:58 a.m. to be exact.

A little moss, hopefully, is forever

By Stephanie Wampler

A thick, green sheet of moss is growing across my roof. When I first noticed it the other day, driving home, I grimaced. I thought, “Somebody’s going to have to get up there and spray it off. We’ll get rid of it, but it won’t be gone forever. Oh, no. It’ll come back, next year and the year after and the year after that.

Some people really can work miracles

By Stephanie Wampler

I walked across the floor, the crowds cheering, the woman smiling as she handed me an award. Then the crowd fell utterly silent. I turned towards the camera man, smiled, and held up my plaque. It was a timeless moment, and I could think only one thing: How did I get here? No, really, how did I get here?

In the heat of summer, it’s every tomato for itself

By Stephanie Wampler

With a long flash of silver, the golf club revolved in a wide, smooth arc. The glinting club head cut through the air. Splat! It crashed against the tiny tomato and there was an explosion of juice and seeds. The lifeless remnant of the little fruit spun through the air and deep into the woods. It was gone.

Poo by any other name is still...

What’s in a name? What about Scat?

Would a rose by any other name smell as sweet? Maybe. Shakespeare seemed to think so at least. But what about, um, fecal matter? Would it too retain its aromatic qualities under other names?

A mother’s remedy for shark attacks

By Stephanie Wampler

It was one of those days .... One of those days when an unnecessarily shrill alarm clock tears you from deep slumber, when you swing out of bed and land your foot on a particularly sharp Lego, and while you are hopping and cursing, you crash into the corner of the door.

Encountering my own inner goddess

By Stephanie Wampler

I begin this article with a momentous announcement. This announcement will, I think, bring a general feeling of gladness to the community. (Drum roll ...) Everyone, I want to tell you that I recently found my inner goddess.

Page 1 of 2
Smokey Mountain News Logo
Go to top
Payment Information


At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.