Lately, one of my families favorite things to do at lunchtime has been to bring our plates to the couch, turn on the computer, and watch an episode of “The Andy Griffith Show”. It makes a nice break in the day to step back in time and watch the antics of Andy, Barney, Aunt Bea, and Opie. On one occasion several years ago, my Uncle Tim, who lives in the big city of Seattle, made the comment that we “lived in Mayberry”. He meant it jokingly, but, all the same, I smiled. I liked the comparison very much. Over the years, I’ve let that comment roll around in my brain, thinking about why it pleased me so much. Here’s what I’ve finally decided about that.
Family was important in Mayberry. Just as it is in my home today, the family is valued. Each family member had a role to play and took their job seriously. Aunt Bea always had a delicious meal on the table, took time to can and preserve food for the family (remember the pickle episode?!), and kept the house looking great. Andy was the “breadwinner” in the family and faithfully went to work each day. He also took time aside from his work to spend with Aunt Bea and Opie, often singing a gospel song or two on the porch in the evening while they sat around and visited. Opie, who occasionally got into trouble, tried his best to honor his father and Aunt Bea’s wishes and to be respectful to others. Am I saying here that I think all families should be like this with Mom staying at home and Dad going to work? No. My family certainly isn’t like that. What I am saying is that I think each member of a family should do their best to fulfill whatever role they have and think about the ways that they can bless their family through this role. Whether it’s bringing home a paycheck, folding a basket of laundry, or picking up toys in the living room, every person in a family can make a proud contribution to the well being of the entire household.
Another thing I like about Mayberry is the strong sense of community. Mayberry was obviously a small town, probably about the same size as Calico Rock is today. Manners were thought of when folks interacted with each other. The characters on the show could walk into almost any business in town and meet someone they knew. Sounds familiar to me! Not everyone in the town of Mayberry always got along, but the citizens of Mayberry tried their best to settle things in a civil and respectable way. Christian values were upheld and adults in positions of authority, such as law enforcement, city government, teachers, pastors, etc. were respected and were honorable people. Neighbors took time to get to know each other and help each other out. That certainly makes me think of the area where I live.
Every episode of “The Andy Griffith Show” has a lesson. Life is truly like that. There are lessons that we can learn every day, if we stop and take the time to see them. When I watch the show, I am reminded to stop and think about my neighbor, to remember the difference between right and wrong, and to unplug. Now, I know that they weren’t invented then, but no one in Mayberry has anything “techy”. Andy never stops a face to face conversation to take a call on his cell phone, Aunt Bea doesn’t check her Facebook page before dinner, and Opie doesn’t kick back playing on his i-Pad mini. Do I think there’s anything wrong with being “techy”? Of course not. I’m writing a blog on a social media network for Pete’s sake! However, I have noticed how much all of our convenient little “techy” devices can take our attention away from the real world. Real world? You know, the other people in the room that are so distracting when we’re trying to blog, or update our status, or send out a tweet?
The thing is….those people are what’s real. They are what’s right now. It is so easy to get sucked into whatever device we have, that the minutes, and sometimes even the hours, slip away unnoticed. Once those minutes and hours are gone, they are gone forever. Unlike old episodes of “The Andy Griffith Show”, we won’t get a second chance to see them again. Think about that. It’s important. At the end of your life, do you want to look back and remember all the time you spend blogging, or on Facebook, or do you want to be able to look back and remember all the time you spent actually doing something face to face with your family and friends?
Now, I know that Mayberry is not a real place and that “The Andy Griffith Show” is completely fictional. Even so, it still makes me smile to think about “living in Mayberry”. With family, a caring community, and spending some time being unplugged, I think that life in Mayberry is just about as good as it gets.
How about you? Do you live “in Mayberry”? Do you ever watch “The Andy Griffith Show”? If so, what does it mean to you? I’d love to hear your thoughts.