I'm just sayin' - There's a bit of Mayberry in all of usI’m going to get a bit nostalgic for this column, and I hope you bear me the patience to read along.
By: DuWayne Paul, Columnist, Alexandria Echo Press
I’m going to get a bit nostalgic for this column, and I hope you bear me the patience to read along.
Andy Griffith, one of America’s beloved character actors, died recently at the age of 86. Those of my generation can remember Andy from his portrayals of Sheriff Andy Taylor on the Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry RFD. The town and characters were fictional, but there is a bit of Mayberry and the personalities portrayed, in all of us. The weekly TV situation comedy aired from 1960 to 1968, and reruns have been a constant staple of cable TV over the last two decades. More recently, Andy starred in a weekly legal drama called Matlock from 1986 to 1995 (well, I guess not so recent!).
Mayberry was a fictional small town in North Carolina. It was a typical small town where everyone knew each other and could not stay out of each other’s business. They made a point of declaring wrong doing and calling each other out for transgressions, and most of the time it was silly and humorous; but the characters made the show.
Sheriff Andy Taylor was a soft-hearted law enforcement officer who would rather talk someone out of a dangerous situation and then send them home or put them in a cell (which was not locked) to sleep it off. He refused to wear a firearm and abhorred violence or physical actions. He let his reasoning and his persuasive powers calm the situation down. His chief deputy was a different story.
Deputy Barney Fife (played by Don Knotts) had low self-esteem and believed being a chief deputy made him powerful and feared. When confronted with a serious situation, he would typically melt down with nervousness and self-doubt. Andy did allow him to carry a weapon, but it could not be loaded and he was permitted to carry only one bullet in his belt. By doing this, Andy hoped he could impress upon his deputy that a loaded weapon was not needed to be a sheriff’s deputy.
Then there was Aunt Bea with her apron, baked pies, and lovingly home-cooked meals. She saw the good in everyone and refused to believe that someone could wish harm on another. When Andy would remorse over dinner about someone in the community breaking laws or rules, Aunt Bea would typically tell Andy about how nice that person was and they would not do that again. Usually Andy would just get over it with the help of Aunt Bea’s wisdom and advice.
Andy Taylor was widowed and had a son named Opie, played by Ron Howard. You may recognize that name. Ron had a starring role in American Graffiti and played Richie Cunningham on Happy Days. Today he is one of Hollywood’s leading directors and producers. Opie was a typical “awe shucks” kind of small town boy who loved to fish and keep his buddies out of trouble (much like his dad, the sheriff).
Many more characters were part of the show. Characters named Gomer, Goober, Cletus, Otis, Floyd, Briscoe and many more. Just by the names of the characters, you can imagine how entertaining it could be.
If we sit back and reflect on the “characters” in our lives and where we live, there is a lot of Mayberry in all of us. Rest in peace, Andy.
Then again, I’m just sayin’.
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“I was baptized alongside my mother when I was 8 years old. Since then I have tried to walk a Christian life. And now that I’m getting older I realize that I’m walking even closer with my God.”
- Andy Griffith
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DuWayne Paul of Alexandria is a regular contributing columnist for the Echo Press.