There is a regularity with which I talk about The Andy Griffith Show (TAGS, for those of us who are woke to the happy benefits of reruns). I mention it again because “Make America Mayberry Again” is not just a bumper sticker on my car… it is, especially now, poignant to remember why we all love it there.
First of all, it’s not “Andy Griffin”; that’s nearly as annoying as “Star Track.” And, I just want to point out that it’s not just me. There are 62,000 people on a variety of Mayberry Facebook pages, and I think it’s obvious maybe I’m not the only one tired of politics and social media. I see posts, regularly, from people who say “MayberryAfterMidnight” is their favorite thing on the Internet because, simply put, it is plain friendly.
For starters, I know you’re probably already cursing me for putting that whistling theme song in your head, but, seriously, here are just some of the lyrics…
What a great place to rest your bones
and mighty fine for skippin’ stones,
You’ll feel fresh as a lemonade,
a-settin’ in the shade.
We’ll have no need to call the roll
when we get to The Fishin’ Hole,
If we don’t hook a perch or bass,
we’ll cool our toes in dewy grass.
How often do any of us really get to relax like that? Mayberry was set in the 60s, but was intended to reflect the simplicity of life in the 30s. When did you last sit on the front porch, just talkin’, for an evening’s entertainment?
The “Man in a Hurry” episode was about a businessman who fussed because they couldn’t open the fillin’ station, fix his car, and change up everyone’s Sunday afternoon so he could get back to his business. He wound up falling asleep in a rocking chair with a nearly-peeled-in-one-piece apple in his hand.
I happen to think we are all that guy, and, right now, all we need is to be still, on a quiet porch with someone singing old timey hymns, to make us remember how much we used to like calm places. Quite honestly, I’ve been waiting for this for a long time. I realize our economy and the hyperbolic convenience we have grown accustomed to will hiccup, but Andy Taylor NEVER said, “I wish I coulda been there, but things have just been soooo crazy lately.”
Sure, 2020 is not 1930. I’m writing this on a computer that cost more than the house Barney tried to sell to Andy. Reruns of TAGS are playing yonder on a TV as big as Miss Crump’s blackboard. But how nice it will be if no one can reach me Sunday afternoon because the Mendelbright sisters are using the phone line.
Everyone knows everyone in Mayberry. Johnny Paul Jason is the local Wikipedia. The Sheriff himself is a nice mixture of Abraham Lincoln and Will Rogers. They make their own ice cream and have a “Town” this or that… including just one problem drinker, Otis, and only one “nut”, Ernest T. Bass, who causes trouble, but underneath his slickety hair has a good heart. And, of course, when something breaks, you just CALL THE MAN!
I know we can’t go back to that. There are no towns with only one troublemaker, or law enforcement that can manage with one bullet in the one gun they carry. But there’s not much going on in the world that can’t be worked at with the deep love of friends and family, honest work by people in charge, and no one in town seriously trying to outfox anyone else, unless it’s time for blue ribbon pickles.
Suffice to say I plan to learn the names of my son’s friends, leave my phone on the nightstand more often, cook from scratch now and then, and remember that when the Almighty asks me what I did with my life, he won’t care who I voted for, or what I spent money on. He’s really only asking if I loved people.
So, this Sunday, after preachin’, I’m gonna have me a nap, then go on over to Thelma Lou’s and watch a little TV. Or maybe take a walk into town and talk to Mr. Schwump while I have me a bottl’a’pop.