Somehow it seemed fitting this morning to turn on the TV for some news and to find the national anchors broadcasting a tribute to Andy Griffith. Mayberry is an All American 4th of July type of town, isn't it? The Andy Griffith Show is one of the few TV shows that parents could let the kids watch without fear of those little ears hearing bad jokes, swear words, or filthy talk. Their sparkling innocent eyes were not shown scantily clothed people or inappropriate behavior. Mayberry always reminded me of my childhood in the northern Iowa countryside.
Aunt Bea was my grandma, my aunts, and even my mother. They always wore dresses. Usually a small floral print dress, protected by an apron. They wore a hat to church. They fussed over a fried chicken Sunday dinner, and cooled the pies on the porch or on the kitchen window sill. The wash was done on Monday, and the dusting and cleaning on Saturday mornings. I can imagine a hug from Aunt Bea would feel like a hug from my grandma, a soft, cushioned, bath powder smelling hug against their ample chests.
Opie was my brother, my cousins, and every young boy I knew. Happy, whistling, freckle faced, suntanned, bike riding, baseball playing little boys, innocent, and far removed from the "too wise, too soon" members of the coming generations. In fact, Opie was all of us kids, playing outside every minute of the day when we weren't in school or church.
My dad was not an Andy looking man, as he wore a suit or dress pants and a white shirt every day, except Saturdays, in his vocation as the pastor of two small country churches. But like Andy, he was wise, and he was respected. When he spoke, you paid attention. He was the head of the household, a strong, loving rock that we all could count on, like Andy Griffith was.
One could go on and on, comparing those good old days in Mayberry with today, but we all know the differences. And, despite the wonders of today, the technology, the modern conveniences, the instant gratification society, I miss Mayberry.
Happy Birthday America! I wish you an Andy Griffith Mayberry type of celebration.