I watched the Andy Griffith Show in the summers in the late 70s/early 80s when I was a young girl growing up in Delaware.
These were re-runs, of course. The show felt “old” with its black and white format and simpler times. I felt like I was peeking through the fence at my neighbors, it was so real to me. But the messages were as contemporary as they could be, as they still are.
Andy and his gang became staples in our home on summer mornings. They started our day. My mom allowed us to eat our cereal in front of the tv to watch “Andy Griffith.” We couldn't get enough. We watched each episode countless times, never tiring of Andy's wisdom, Barney's shenanigans, and the antics of the town's “criminals,” whose crimes seem minor and silly compared to the things that happen in our world today.
Years later, as a young married couple, my husband and I moved to this area. We were living in Mayberry, as far as we were concerned.
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We met people who sounded like Andy, people who went to church on Sunday and enjoyed family dinners afterward. We met people who treated others the way Andy did. We met women who still baked pies like “Aint Bea” and men who still stopped on the side of the road to help a stranded neighbor.
We became a part of a community that still had a downtown and whose children still walked downtown to swim in the river on a hot summer afternoon. Moving to Conway answered my childhood question, “Are there really places like Mayberry anymore?”
Thank you, Andy, for a life well-lived, spent teaching and reminding us of our moral roots. I am sure your show will forever be a needed reminder of how we should treat one another, how we should parent our children, and how love and respect for one another should determine our actions. Rest in peace.
Thank you, also, to the people of Conway, who opened my eyes to the goodness in people that still exists, the inner “Mayberry.” I am fortunate to live in a town that would make “Andy Griffith” proud, our very own Mayberry.
The writer lives in Conway.