With the recent passing of Andy Griffith, I find myself fondly remembering his endearing role as the sheriff of Mayberry. With seemingly endless patience, he dealt with local small town problems and personalities. His steady evenness often proved frustrating to those attempting to get him riled up. Andy was a calming force in an unpredictable, though typically humorous situation.
For those unfamiliar with the story, Mayberry had one traffic light, one bank, one post office, and only one long-distance telephone line. The main crime threat was moon shining, although occasional undesirables made their way through the town with no good in mind. It was a small town filled with familiar faces, local hangouts, and a general feeling of security.
Many of us feel we could easily slip into a small town like Mayberry and be happy. Here’s a look at why many of us feel nostalgic about small town life:
Everyone knew each other. Walking down the street, residents tipped a hat and offered a heartfelt greeting to each passerby. There was no looking the other way when someone came toward you. Townspeople typically paused in the street to share a word or catch up on local news. The relationships between people were important and not taken for granted. No one was in such a hurry that they could not share a few minutes. They understood the importance of living together, not as strangers but as neighbors and friends.
Everyone trusted each other. Except for the occasional stranger, people knew what to expect from each other. There were generally no hidden agendas or ulterior motives, and they called it like they saw it. Barney may rant a bit in his typical high-pitched voice, but you knew he was ultimately speaking from his heart. You could always count on Floyd the barber to share his opinion, asked for or not, but you also knew he was genuine in his feelings.
Everyone helped each other. As in any idyllic small town, locals kept an eye out for the best interests of one another. Many an episode revolved around difficulties experienced by a neighbor with the rest of the town stepping up to help out. Knowing you could count on each other made Mayberry a safe and secure place to live. Otis may spend his days in the drunk tank, but everyone was tolerant of his situation and treated him as a human being.
The pace was far from hectic. In Mayberry, only on a rare occasion would you see anyone scurrying down the road. Residents moved along at a comfortable pace, knowing they would get to their destination in good time. With a slower and less hectic life, things seemed much less stressful than the typical life lived today.
Mayberry was a bit safer than the average big city, perhaps too slow for some, and not overly exciting by any means, but it is a town many of us will forever hold dear in our hearts. As you whistle that familiar theme song, imagine yourself walking the dusty main street with a fishing pole draped over your shoulder on your way to the fishing hole. Things could be a lot worse. Thank you Andy for sharing Mayberry with us.
Dave Bernard is the author of Are You Just Existing and Calling it a Life?, which offers guidelines to discover your personal passion and live a life of purpose. Not yet retired, Dave has begun his due diligence to plan for a fulfilling retirement. With a focus on the non-financial aspects of retiring, he shares his discoveries and insights on his blog Retirement–Only the Beginning.