Mayberry or Mayhem?

I was saddened to hear today of the death of Andy Griffith.  I, like many of you, grew up on the Andy Griffith Show and to this day can catch myself whistling the theme song without even thinking about it.

Andy talented?  Got that right.  Remember “What it was, was football”?  It is Andy’s description of a college football game as viewed by a naive country preacher who attends the game accidentally.  Who else could have taken football and made it so cotton-picking funny?

Remember the movie “No Time for Sergeants”?  My favorite line is when Andy invites one of his fellow soldiers outside because Andy “aims to bust him up”.

Remember Andy’s musical talent?  Especially his recordings of some of our most treasured hymns that were a reflection of his own faith in Jesus Christ?

And, of course, The Andy Griffith Show.  Grew up on it.  Loved it.  Still love it.  Loved the characters.  Loved Mayberry.  Still watch every episode I can – mouthing almost every line of dialogue with the actors!

Mayberry became more than a fictional town for most of us.  It became a state of mind.  Quiet.  Charming.  Endearing.  A place where drama, hassles, or crossed-up relationships were remedied by the end of the day.

Mayberry taught us…

…that right and wrong do exist and that it takes wisdom and courage to do what’s right(remember Andy’s talks with Opie?).

…that everyone is in some way crazy, weird, goofy, and self-centered but forgiveness rules and we can still get along if we want to do so (remember the cast of crazy characters? Barney? Ernest T. Bass? Goober? etc.).  Somehow they were all welcome and tolerated in Mayberry.

…that we all have our addictions and compassion toward one another is a good thing (two words:  Otis Campbell).

…that life is to be enjoyed at a slower pace.  They did an entire episode on that very subject with a traveling businessman whose car was in need of repair on a Sunday afternoon.  One of my favorite scenes is when Andy, Barney, and the businessman are on the porch singing, “Come to the church in the wildwood.  Come to the church in the dale.  No place is so dear to my childhood as the little brown church in the vale.”  Wow.

…that going to church on Sunday is a good thing.  (I’ll leave it at that.  Don’t want to get “preachy”).

Unfortunately, for most of us 21st century folks, our Mayberry has turned into mayhem.

We go too fast.

We absorb too much.

We waste more than we should.

We spend money we don’t have on junk we don’t need to impress people we don’t like.

Our relationships are strained at best and broken at worst.  And forget about fixing those relationships by the end of the day – we carry grudges and resentment for years and years.

We go to church on Sunday only if there’s nothing better to do (if at all).

Mayberry?  I’m all for it.  My reality?  Not quite.  But it certainly has my vote – and my desire.

Hats off to you Mr. Griffith.  You gave us something to strive toward…

~ by jackpickel on July 3, 2012.

2 Responses to “Mayberry or Mayhem?”

  1. Great words. Jack. It sums up my feeling about Mayberry, also.
    Most people have never seen Andy Griffith play
    anything but the good ole boy so trying to track down the movie “Murder in Coweta County” will be worth your time. It is based on a true story and Andy gets to play the evil character. It is one of his finest performances I’ve ever seen. It truly shows his great skill as an actor. As a bonus, he plays opposite Johnny Cash who also did an amazing job.

  2. Well said, J.P., as always. My eyes filled with tears as you contrasted the reality of the lives we live to Sheriff Taylor’s life in Mayberry. So sad that we are so far away from a “quiet, charming, endearing life, where drama, hassles, or crossed-up relationships were remedied by the end of the day.” The enemy must chortle with glee at how we’ve allowed ourselves to be deceived in our pursuit of “happiness”.

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