The legacy of Andy and Mayberry

Published 6:22 pm Friday, January 13, 2023

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Many nights I turn the TV to the Andy Griffith Show.

Andy and Barney were not part of my growing up years.

Actually, when the show came on television, I was already pretty much grown up and ready to take wings and fly. Now days, it’s called  “finding yourself.”

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If I had told my mama and daddy that I wanted to go “find myself,” I probably would have found myself on the doorsteps with my Samsonite suitcase packed and ready for the next Greyhound bus out of town.

While Andy and Barney were figuring out who would be the comic lead and who would be the straight man on the show, I was graduating high school and heading off to Troy State College on the much-used Rambler station wagon that Daddy bought for me to commute all the way from Brundidge to Troy.

While America tuned in to The Andy Griffith Show, I flew the coop and was changing sheets and scrubbing toilets in guest cabins at Yellowstone National Park for $50 a month. 

During the long television run of The Andy Griffith Show, I graduated from college, got a teaching job, got married, went back to college to learn what I missed the first go-round, bought a trailer house and had a baby. All without guidance from the Mayberry gang.

But I didn’t need that vicarious Mayberry experience. I had grown up in Mayberry.

I had grown up at a time when children rode bicycles, chased lightning bugs, made mud pies and jumped rope. I went to the picture show on Saturday afternoons, cut paper dolls from the Sears Roebuck catalog, floated on an inner tube in Mims Creek, picked up pecans for my spending money and licked the bowl when Mama made a cake.

I slept with the windows open, played outside after dark and a good switching when I needed one. I went to Sunday school every Sunday morning and Daddy read me the funny papers after Sunday dinner.

I could yoyo, spin a top, lasso a calf and drive a tractor. I was excited when the circus came to town and scared to death when the Gypsies came through.

I knew the value of a quarter, that “heck” was a cuss word and to always say “thank you” and “please.” I said my prayers at night and thanked God for my family and all the good things He had given me.

As my granny would say, it would be a “dose of good that every young’un ought to take.”

The Mayberry way of life may be a thing of the past but it’s a legacy that Andy Griffith left behind. What a way to go.