First Posted: 9/28/2009
This past weekend I watched as thousands of Mayberry fans converge on this town.
I cringed at the thought of congested traffic and the lack of available parking. I moaned at the idea of having to leave the sanctuary of my home to mingle among them as it was my weekend to work. Overall, I had no desire to take part in any of the festivities.
But then something happened. I left the safety of my home to venture out among the Mayberry fans. I talked to them and watched them interact with the actors from the show and the impersonators.
Those Mayberry fans were something else. They knew all of these nuances about the show and brought up events that occurred once in a single episode but that they nevertheless remembered.
I was amazed.
Another thing that struck me about this weekend was the number of people who I talked to who spoke of how lucky I was to be able to live here. Numerous people said something to the effect of how wonderful it was to have a place like Mount Airy that can embrace the ideal of Mayberry.
I had never thought of it that way before. I know that Mount Airy is known as Mayberry and I know that people visit this city in order to have the Mayberry experience. However, I never really considered what a rarity it is to be able to provide that experience.
There are few towns in the country that could convincingly pull off that ideal. There are even fewer places that do that on a daily basis with no real effort from the majority of its citizens.
Think about that for a moment. We all know that during Mayberry Days, Mount Airy becomes 100 percent Mayberry 24/7. But what about the other 361 days of the year that are not consumed by Mayberry Days? People still visit here on those days looking for the Mayberry experience on their own. And the remarkable thing is that they find it. Without having a parade and re-enactors or even the actors from the show, people find Mayberry in Mount Airy.
I think that says something about our little town. Whether you are a fan of The Andy Griffith Show or not, whether you think Mount Airy plays up the whole Mayberry thing too much or not, the fact that we have that ability is something we should all be proud of.
People across the country, and even across the world, come here looking for a little piece of happiness, looking for a reminder of a slower, simpler time, looking for a little peace. And all we have to do to find all of that is walk out our front doors. The reminders of a simpler time are all around us, mixed in with the signs of necessary progress.
We are lucky to live here and if you dont believe me, just find a tourist on the sidewalk and ask them.
Morgan Wall is a staff reporter for The Mount Airy News. She can be reached at [email protected] or 719-1929.