Wishing for the fantasy of Mayberry

Published 11:55 am Wednesday, March 15, 2023

By Bonnie Brown


I want to invite you to take a little trip with me. It’s a trip not measured in miles, but in decades. 

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We’re going to travel back to the 1960’s and visit Mayberry, NC. You might remember the people there. There is the sheriff, Andy Taylor, (Andy Griffith) a widower, who with his son, Opie, lives with Andy’s Aunt Bee.  

The deputy sheriff, Barney Fife, (Don Knotts) is Andy’s cousin. Andy and Barney are friends to every citizen of Mayberry. Mayberry is a quiet, peaceful place. However, when necessary, 

Sheriff Taylor can call upon his trusted deputy to help solve any crime that might play out in this sleepy little town. The moonshiners and bootleggers are shamed and others committing crimes are banished from Mayberry. 

There are several other members of this peaceful community. There is Otis Campbell, the town drunk played by Hal Smith. Whenever he over indulges, he simply appears at the jail and lets himself into a cell until he sobers up.  

Andy and Barney are more his caretakers than jailers. Then there is Gomer Pyle, the gas station attendant, played by Jim Nabors. Remember him as the dim-witted Marine, but also think “Back Home in Indiana” at the Indy 500. 

Who can forget the mechanic Goober Pyle who also happens to be Gomer’s cousin.  

Now that you’ve been introduced to several of Mayberry’s residents, here’s what you are likely to notice about them. They are kind and respectful of one another.  They are not only neighbors, but friends. They socialize. They help one another.  

The residents take pride in their town and are hard-working, law-abiding citizens. When someone steps outside the law, they are punished and judged by their fellow citizens.  They know their neighbors and wish to be respected by them.  

There are few instances of illegal or immoral behavior. It doesn’t require a disaster for them to come together as a community and help their neighbors. There is a genuine spirit of friendship and trust among the people.  

Who wouldn’t like to live in this charming, idyllic place where manners are important, good behavior is on display always, and the only gun play is when Barney is searching his pocket for the single bullet Andy allows him to carry.  

Children are outdoors playing ball, jump rope, marbles, fishing, and learning about nature.  They are interacting with one another and learning to solve disputes and conflicts on their terms by themselves. They have had good role models who have taught them how to behave.

Mayberry provides a relaxed pace and simpler times. There are no protests depicting civil unrest.  Mayberry is a safe haven, and the citizens work to protect their community from crime and corruption.  

Yes, it harkens back to a time when things were simpler, when life was easier.  There were not so many disruptive influences as we have today.  People made an effort to be kind and considerate.  There was greater respect for one another’s opinions. People were polite and good natured. Children were safe in schools. We were safe in public places.   

Here’s why I would want to live in Mayberry.  Andy and Barney make it a safe place to live.  Aunt Bee would invite me for supper just to be friendly and Opie would be cute and polite.  Gomer would pump my gas for me.  Goober would fix my car for a fair price.  

I hope you have enjoyed our trip.  Now, let’s go have some libation with Otis.