I miss Mayberry.
I am not typically one to use a TV show as a guide for life, but there is one exception: “The Andy Griffith Show.” It’s more than a show; it’s a way of life. I’m guessing not many college students even know what “The Andy Griffith Show” is, considering the first episode aired in 1960. But the values it conveyed have certainly withstood the test of time.
Mayberry is technically a fictional town in which the show took place, although much of Mayberry is based off of Andy Griffith’s hometown of Mount Airy, North Carolina.
Recently, my siblings and I had the chance to travel to Mount Airy for its 30th annual “Mayberry Days” celebration. It is a week-long event intended to make people feel like they’re living in Mayberry, and it can’t get much closer.
Walking down main street, you can talk to Floyd the Barber outside his shop, stop by Walker’s Drug Store for an ice cream soda, talk with Deputy Fife in the courthouse about moonshine stills he’s tracking down and listen to the Darling family pick and sing over at Wally’s Filling Station.
Tribute artists impersonating the characters from the show are around town all week, and they treat you like family from the moment they meet you. The show’s cast members and directors who attend treat you like old friends too. In fact, everybody we met treated us like we were family. It was like a family reunion with family we didn’t know we had. And that’s what I mean when I say “I Miss Mayberry”.
Mayberry is a place where people aren’t caught up in their own lives. It’s a place of tight-knit families that teach strong family values. It’s a place where people drop everything to help a neighbor, and where people don’t let trivial differences between each other get in the way of building a community or having a good time. It’s a community of people who have each others’ backs and who genuinely try to understand one another.
Unfortunately, today’s world no longer seems very Mayberry-esque.
What’s unique about “The Andy Griffith Show” is that Andy insisted every show have a life lesson. Sometimes, it took the form of Andy teaching his son Opie, and other times the adults ended up learning a lesson from Opie themselves.
You can pick just about any subject and find an episode applicable to it: fair dealing, living within your means, criminal justice, how to treat women, doing unto others; it’s all there. And even if police work kept Andy and Barney awake all Saturday night, they’d be singing in the pew Sunday morning. And it was all done in a way that’s downright hilarious with no need for raunchy humor. Even the show’s music is great. It’s truly a show for all ages.
The heart of Mayberry is how down to earth and genuinely kind its citizens are. And that rings true of the thousands of “Mayberry Days” attendees.
The division in America today feels nonexistent in Mayberry; it’s really not possible to understand until you’ve experienced it. But one thing’s for sure: “The Andy Griffith Show” brings out the best in people.
Everyone in Mayberry and Mount Airy alike strives to “act like somebody,’’ as Andy always said. Not because another person may be watching, but because that’s the right thing to do.
Martina McBride once said, “I believe many of this world’s problems could be solved if “The Andy Griffith Show” was required viewing.” I believe she’s onto something there.
So next time you’re wondering what to watch on Netflix, type in “The Andy Griffith Show.” I guarantee it will brighten your day. Hope you have a Mayberry life.
10-4, over and out.