Monday, June 9, 2014

The Trip, part 2: Mayberry

“For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving…”1 Timothy 4:4 With our plans all settled and our tank full of gas, we prepared to set off on our adventure. But first we enjoyed some excellent time with Eric and his wife Jennifer, in Nashville. They have been married seven months now and are a beautiful couple, inside and out. After that, we headed east. The first stop of the trip would be a walk back into the world of Andy Griffith. In between Nashville and Virginia, we drove a bit off the main highway to extreme northern North Carolina. We stopped in Mt. Airy, North Carolina to pay a visit to Andy Griffith’s hometown. It was the backdrop and storyline to Mayberry on the Andy Griffith show. The Andy Griffith show is simply a marvel of the entertainment world. It originally aired more than 50 years ago, but is still broadcast today on multiple television stations. Thousands and thousands of television shows have come and gone, but the Andy Griffith show continues to capture the hearts of America. Why? Like any “legend”, it had multiple ingredients that made it special: it was produced by then star Danny Thomas, its cast was an all-star team of experienced actors, it had a tremendous group of writers, and it appealed (and still does) to the best values of America. The show taught us that everyone is important, whether they’re the sheriff or the town drunk. The same is true of each of us. God does not create junk. Without exception, He creates people of worth and use. Each one of us do best when we’re true to who God created us to be. Like someone once said, “Don’t live out someone else’s dream for your life.” Be who you are and let God use you. Andy Griffith's hometown is truly a "Mayberry." Virtually the whole town has been transformed to look like Mayberry did in the TV show. Of course, some of the places were originals, like "The Snappy Lunch" known for it’s great pork chop sandwich. Andy based most people and places in the show on those from his hometown. I can picture Andy sitting in on the writing sessions, giving his suggestions on ways to make the show authentic. Apparently, they needed his southern “flare.” Of the producers for the show, Andy was the only one from the south. While Danny Thomas, the original producer, hailed from Toledo, Sheldon Leonard, who ran the show, was born in NYC. Another Griffith Show producer, veteran comedy writer-director Aaron Ruben, was a Chicago native. By the way, while working on the series, Ruben gave young Ron Howard an 8mm movie camera that piqued Howard's interest in cinematography, probably one of a number of things that fueled his move into directing. In Mt. Airy, there's a Bluebird Diner, Wally's Service Station, Floyd's Barber Shop, and a replica of the Mayberry courthouse that you can go inside. You can take a tour of the town in a sheriff's car just like the one from the show. If you're lucky, you'll get D.C. as your driver. He was a childhood friend of Andy's and adds a special touch to your tour. We didn’t take the tour, but we drove through most of the town. We did take the time to visit the Andy Griffith museum. There were so many memories from the show. You leave with a really good feeling, like you've gone back in time to the 'good ole days'. At the end of the day, we continued our drive to Virginia, but not until we soaked in Mayberry and the simplicity of a peaceful and gentle life. After all, that’s what God’s intends for us everyday. Life will always have its problems, but we can find comfort knowing that a loving God has it all covered. We left Mt. Airy smiling, relaxed… …and whistling the Mayberry “fishing hole” song. By Eric Joseph Staples ©

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