I can picture it now ~ sitting on the porch eating homemade ice cream on a Sunday afternoon...neighbors passing by for a visit...supper cooking in the oven. Can't you just smell the apple pie cooling on the counter? The leaves rustling in the breeze are the perfect accompaniment to the sound of children's laughter as they play nearby. I don't know about you, but I could use a stroll down Mayberry's peaceful streets where a visit to the sheriff's office is just to say hello.
Was there ever a more endearing male role model than Sheriff Andy Taylor? Not in these eyes. The lure of small town Mayberry and its lovable characters have made it my favorite since childhood. I've always thought that if I could handpick a place and an era in which to live, it would be Mayberry in the sixties ~ with Andy as Sheriff, Barney as his Deputy, and Aunt Bee and Opie as neighbors.
It was more than the small town appeal of the Andy Griffith Show that spoke to me. Andy's character in that sweet series was the epitome of a true man. He was always a gentleman. He put family first. He was strong and wise, yet humble enough to admit when he was wrong. Andy was kind and gentle, and compassionate towards all. In every scenario, he exemplified courage and honesty. Even the way he conducted himself as sheriff was inspiring. He tended to see the bigger picture. He used common sense. And he had a heart for serving the people in his community. Andy gave men a vision of manliness they could aspire to become. In a way, he gave women the same thing ~ who wouldn't want a man like Andy Taylor?
In a world that's obsessed with political correctness, getting ahead, looking out for number one, and overrun with busy-ness, I think we'd be wise to revisit the good old days of Mayberry. There's much we've given up in our striving for "more". Andy, Aunt Bee, and Opie have much to teach us, if only we'll take the time to pause and listen.
As much as I'd like to, I can't go back in time to the more innocent and simple days of Mayberry. But perhaps I can bring a bit of Mayberry and the spirit of those beloved characters into the here and now. I have a porch. I have people I love. I have good neighbors on all sides. And I can certainly bake a pie (though mine aren't nearly as tasty as Aunt Bee's). A lot has changed in the past fifty years, but some things remain. It's up to us to grab hold of them.
"Enjoy yourself. These are the good old days you're going to miss in the years ahead." ~Author Unknown