Some stories just kind of get a lowly scribe such as myself excited and challenge them to do their best.
Such was the case late last week when I had the opportunity to interview a couple who traveled to Mount Airy from Florida for Mayberry Days.
If you didn’t read the story, Tom and Peggy Loyless came here after she suffered an aneurysm and used “The Andy Griffith Show” as a sort of therapy, helping her speech improve.
“I don’t know why, but it made her feel very comfortable. It seemed to calm her down,” Tom Loyless said in the story.
After hearing about Mayberry Days, she kept reminding him how much she wanted to travel to the area.
It didn’t make the story, but during the interview her husband kept commenting on how friendly and welcoming the Mount Airy community had been.
Which stuck in my head as the little lady, Mason and I scrambled to get ready at about 8:35 Saturday morning for what we’re insisting will be an annual family tradition: The Mayberry Days parade.
As the parade, which started just seconds after we arrived on Main Street, streamed by, the crowd was enthusiastic and full of smiles, and Mason was quite the hit, smiling and laughing during his first-ever parade. (He even got pulled into the street by Betty Lynn, who played Thelma Lou on the show. She insisted on giving him his first kiss from a famous person. He ate it up, smiling and cheesing as hard as he could.)
But it was the crowd lining Main Street that caught my attention.
Some were dressed as characters from the show, many were wearing Mayberry T-shirts, but all were smiling.
After the parade, we decided to “stroll with a stroller,” for a few minutes, and being the ever-inquisitive (read nosy) individual I am, I kept my ears open.
So many of the people were talking about how wonderful Mount Airy is, and saying they wished they could live here.
Which is the point of this little missive.
After returning home, the little lady and I went out onto the porch for a few minutes before we went for a walk on the trails that run through our hometown.
From our porch, we could hear the music and smell the festival food.
“This is just a wonderful place to live,” she said. “We have great schools, great people and great friends.”
And I agree.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:
After living all over the country in big cities and small towns, there is no place like Mount Airy.
Keith Strange is a staff reporter with The Mount Airy News. He can be reached at email@example.com or 719-1929.