Not too long ago, I became aware of a wonderful website that I now belong to called the "iMayberry Community." The site is operated by a great guy named Allan Newsome, also known as the Tribute Artist, "Floyd, the Barber." The website can be found by going to www.imayberrycommunity.com
. It's a little slice of the Internet, just off the beaten path that allows us to go back a little over 50 years to a simpler time. To a time when life's pace was a little slower...and yet just the right speed for all to take in the lessons the Town of Mayberry taught. It was a town of character...full of "characters" from every walk of life. It taught us the basic values and morals like "Do unto others"... like "Go out there and act like somebody"...and "When you're dealing with people, you'll do much better if you don't go so much by the book, but by the heart."
In trying to put my finger on what makes "The Andy Griffith Show" and Mayberry so appealing, I remember the lines at the end of the episode. “Opie the Birdman” when Opie asked, “The cage looks awful empty, huh Pa?” Andy answers him back with a question to ponder, “It sure does son…but don’t the trees seem nice and full?” It’s this kind of mentality and simply choosing to look at life through optimistic lenses that make Mayberry so appealing. A life lesson was found in every episode. Then it hit me...I am so drawn into the simple life...with truth, morals, and dignity for all, that I truly feel like a real "Guest of Honor" every time I watch the show.
Not too long after, I ran across this neat perspective from a fellow member of the website. His name is Mitch Hyre. We know him in the iMayberry Community as "Dud." Below is his entry as my Guest Blogger:
The Perfect Town That Never Was
Can someone be influenced by a place? How about a fictional place? I’m going to go out on a limb and say not only yes, but emphatically yes. Think of a town that never existed. The influencing factors of the town are not limited by its geographic features but in a larger sense, extend to the people who live there, or never lived there I should say. It might sound strange but the place and the people are as real as your next door neighbor, at least they are to tens of millions Americans. They are avid fans of ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ and the place is the town of Mayberry. Idyllically set in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, just a ‘whiff and a whisker’ south of the Virginia/North Carolina State line, Mayberry is the home of about 2,000 fictional characters, and do they have their quirks. Some couldn't boast an IQ much above 85; others might laugh out loud at the corniest of jokes or become so enthralled with something as simple as an electric pencil sharpener that they were sure the world had entered a new space age. Wealthy? Not really. Beautiful? Not so much. Having trouble putting your finger on it? Me too. But I am absolutely in love with Mayberry and every corny, half-witted, quirky citizen that idly walked its fictional streets.
In trying to figure out why so many people are so taken by this town, I had to dive deep inside my inner psyche (A place I rarely like to go; some scary things in there) and I may have happened upon a couple nuggets of insight. First, the most endearing episodes of the series were set in the early to mid-1960s. If one were to try you could not pick a better time to be alive. Conveniently wedged between the Post War industrial boom and the radical social unrest ushered in by Hollywood, Rock and Roll and recreational drug use, the early 60s offered the absolute best of modernism mixed with sustained, shared and cherished moral values. More simply put, they had stuff and still knew how to treat their neighbor. This is a segway into the second thing I discovered. Their system of values wasn’t a system at all. It was a simple rule. Put people first. Above pride, gluttony, anger, greed, lust, and envy, people come first. Oh, there were those who came through Mayberry who lived by other, more nefarious and self-serving ideals. But by the end of the episode, they were either converted or were so uncomfortable, they just moved on. In Mayberry, if you were obese or not so good looking or not so smart or couldn’t hold a job or had a drinking problem (Otis) there was still room for you at the table and you were treated with the same dignity as its most respected citizen, the Sheriff himself. If you weren’t, it was an anomaly and the whole town was uneasy until harmony could be restored.
Strange how today, a scant 50 years later, we boast of modern technology, intelligence, and capability to use the threat of war to keep pseudo peace, but what so many truly long for is to return to the simplest place filled with the simplest people who live by the simplest rule. I watch reruns of the show on a daily basis. It continues reinforce that simple rule while providing wholesome entertainment. I’ve watched the scene a hundred times or more but I still laugh when Otis drunkenly stumbles into the courthouse and locks himself up. I think heaven must be a lot like Mayberry. I certainly hope it is.
Have a Mayberry day,