Columns LaFayette Sun


Andy knew how to choose his words
Front porch singing needs a comeback
Mr McBeevee was real!

There are a few things we here at the Arbor Springs Old Folks Hotel have in common. Believe it or not, our age is NOT one of them. Edna and Perry are in their 80s and Bill and Betty are in their 70s. There’s a lady here who is 104 and walks circles around us. I am representing the 90s age group, and so far I’m doing my part. As I’ve mentioned, one thing that IS the same among us is that we grew up in the rural south at a time that our lunch and supper were out the back door. All we had to do was go kill it or dig it up. Fortunately, I have found out another thing we all have in common: we enjoy the Andy Griffith Show.
Andy Griffith comes on TVland which is by far the most logical name for a TV channel out of all 5000 of them. I’m reminded that CNN stands for Cable News Network but my Yardbird friends used to say a more accurate name would be Crappy News Network. Anyway TV Land shows Andy Griffith from 4-6pm every day comprising four episodes. I had my daughter look up how many episodes there were because I’m starting to see the same ones over and over. (I asked her not to count the last two seasons because they didn’t’ include Don Knotts and everyone knows he was the best part of the show.) My daughter said there are 160 episodes total. That means if I spend a month watching, I will have gone through almost every version of plot lines in Mayberry.
Obviously this makes me an expert about the show. Two things I have learned….one not so relevant and one very relevant to today. 1) Andy Taylor lived in a tiny town but had Hollywood-looking girlfriends. This tells me that Andy Griffith was a writer and producer of the series. My daughter asked google and it confirmed this suspicion. Memorably, at some point between Ellie the pharmacist and Helen Crump the teacher, there was a pretty girl named Peggy who sang “Down in the Valley” on the porch with Andy. For musical and other obvious reasons, this is my favorite episode.
2) The more relevant thing I’ve learned is that simpler times were better times. Fewer things to do meant more time together sitting on the porch swing. Life went by slowly. Conversations took longer, and get this, they were face to face. Neighbors knew each other and kids were sent out for hours on Halloween night while the parents stayed home and actually answered the door. Opie was raised by more than just Andy. Sometimes Aunt Bee, sometimes Helen, and sometimes Barney would weigh in on how to best parent Opie. My daughter found this transcript from one of my favorite episodes:
“Barney Fife: Well, today’s eight-year-olds are tomorrow’s teenagers. I say this calls for action and now. Nip it in the bud. First sign of youngsters going wrong, you’ve got to nip it in the bud.
Andy Taylor: I’m going to have a talk with them. What else do you want me to do?
Barney Fife: Well, don’t just mollycoddle them.
Andy Taylor: I won’t.
Barney Fife: Nip it. You go read any book you can on the subject of child discipline and you’ll find every one of them is in favor of bud-nipping.”
And who can forget when Opie insisted there was Mr. McBeevee and no one believed him and everyone was concerned? Can you imagine that even being a problem these days? Kids are allowed to say anything including what gender they think they are each day. No questions asked!
We’ve messed up this world by making it more complicated. That’s my thought from 94 years of life. I think Barney and Andy would agree.

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