Thursday, February 24, 2011

Visit To Mayberry

For as long as I can remember, I've been a fan of the The Andy Griffith Show. Growing up, I never missed an episode. Then came cable TV, and I was in "hog heaven". I've read somewhere that since going into syndication, there hasn't been a single day The Andy Griffith Show hasn't been on a channel somewhere.

Once Barney Fife (actor Don Knotts) left the show, I lost interest. It was also about that time the shows went from a black and white format to color. (That's right kiddies, TV hasn't always been in color.) I don't care for the color versions because:
• Barney isn't a main character
• Helen Crump--Andy's girlfriend--is much grumpier than her black and white version
• The episodes lost their small town charm as Opie became a teenager and got all caught up in trying to be groovy and impress the girls with his cheezy band and mock turtlenecks...sorry, kinda rambled there for a second.

I recorded all of the B&W episodes (seaons 1 through 6) on VHS years ago. Some years later, I received all of those episodes on DVD for Christmas. I purchased and received as gifts several books about the show and it's characters--including one of Aunt Bea's recipe books. I also have an Andy Griffith Trivia board game, but no one in my family will play with me. To quote Barney: "He's a NUT!" (referring to myself) when it comes to Andy Griffith.

Well... a few months ago, I received an email about a business related conference to be held in February 2011. I kicked around the idea of attending, but really got excited when I noticed, looking at a map one day, that the conference was in Hickory, NC. Now there's nothing that really grabs me about Hickory, NC...except the fact that it is just south of MOUNT AIRY, NC which just happens to be the boyhood home of Andy Griffith, as well as the Andy Griffith Museum! Mount Airy also hosts Mayberry Days each Fall, the first weekend after Labor Day, but I've never been able to attend. Dana and I have talked about it, but it's just never worked out.

By now, I'm sure you've figured out where all this talk about Andy Griffith is headed. I registered for the conference, and with my boss' approval, booked my flight for a couple of days before the conference--turns out I got a cheaper ticket doing so--and made plans to visit Mount Airy!

Mount Airy sits at the top of the state, just east I-77 and about an hour north of I-40 and is the inspiration for the fictional town of Mayberry where Andy Taylor--played by Griffith--is the town's Sheriff. I landed in Charlotte, rented a car and drove to Mount Airy this past Saturday. I arrived in town too late to eat at the Snappy Lunch diner--famous for their pulled pork sandwiches, but I did have a little time to walk through the "historic downtown district." Floyd's Barber shop is there next to Snappy Lunch; and down the street is the Blue Bird Diner, businesses immortalized on the AG Show. Many of the street names in Mount Airy were also used in the show, as well as names of locals Andy grew up with.

As dumb as it may sound, it was a thrill to be walking on some of the very same streets that Andy may have walked on while growing up. The museum was closed by the time I arrived in town, but it was open on Sunday afternoon. I stayed the night and planned to hit the museum the next day.

Sunday morning, I made my way back to the downtown area where I found a couple of old buildings that appeared to have been restored and modeled after some of the businesses in Mayberry. Obviously, a lot of the town's appeal is Andy Griffith and many of the businesses have capitalized on that appeal, including "Mayberry" in their name or advertising Mayberry souvenirs. I also went by Andy Griffith's boyhood home. It has been purchased from the family and offers the opportunity for visitors to stay there! Wish I had known THAT in advance.

The highlight of the trip was the museum--filled with photos from the Andy Griffith Show, as well as promotional posters from movies and other television productions which starred Andy Griffith. Barney's suit, the "salt-and-pepper" complete with his hat, is there, as well as Otis Campbell's (played by Hal Smith) frumpy jacket and tie. One of Sheriff Taylor's uniform shirts is on display, as are the original signs from the Sherriff's office doors--SHERIFF and JUSTICE of the PEACE. Several items that sat on the courthouse desk are on display, including Andy's gavel. There are also items donated by Goober (George Lindsey) and Thelma Lou (Betty Lynn), Barney's on camera girlfriend, in the museum. Newspaper and magazine articles chronicling The Andy Griffith Show line the walls along with many other items either used in the show or related to Andy's time living in Mount Airy.

I imagine I was grinning from ear to ear as I looked at each display, recalling particular episodes and/or memorable lines from the shows characters. My favorite episode is when Barney buys a new car. Barney and Andy are sitting on the front porch of Andy's house, waiting on the car's owner, Mrs. Lesh, to arrive.

Barney: This is just about the biggest thing I ever bought.
Andy: It's a major step.
Barney: Last big buy I made was my Mom's and Dad's anniversary present.
Andy: What'd ya get ‘em?
Barney: Septic tank.
Andy: [amazed] For their anniversary?
Barney: Yeah. Oh, they're really hard to buy for. Besides, it was something they could use. They were really thrilled... 2 tons of concrete, all steel-reinforced.
Andy: You're a fine son, Barn.
Barney: Well, I try.
I laugh every time I see that episode as if it's the first time I've ever seen it. The only thing that could have made the trip any better, was if Dana could have come with me. Of course, she probably wouldn't have enjoyed it as much as I did.

I left the museum,and snapped a couple of pictures of the statue of Andy and Opie that sits out front. And for just a moment, I think I heard somebody whistling the "Andy Griffith theme song"(It actually has a name--The Fishin' Hole and lyrics, though I don't recall hearing them on the show.)

One more thing to I can check off my "Bucket List". Thanks Andy, Barney, Aunt Bea, Opie, Gomer, Goober, Floyd...and all the others for the memories/laughs.

More Mt Airy pictures here

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Yesterday, I was a Senior in High School and I had big plans. As long as I can remember, I have been able to draw just about anything. I also have a love of type/fonts. And finally, I LOVE music, especially music from the 70s. My plan was to graduate, pack my stuff and move to Macon, GA --home of Capricorn Records and most notably, the Allman Brothers Band. Other artists recording at Capricorn were Wet Willie, The Charlie Daniels Band, and The Marshall Tucker Band--I loved them all. I was going to walk into Capricorn and ask for ANY job they might have. ANY JOB! I just wanted to be in the building and I didn't care if I had to work for free and sleep on the floor. I wanted to be where I thought the center of 70s Southern Rock was happening. During that same period, there was an artist by the name of James Flournoy Holmes that had done several album covers by the aforementioned artists. I hoped to meet him and maybe be able to show him some of my stuff. I just knew he would look at my work and say: "We gotta hire this guy!"

I graduated from High School and never made the trip to Macon. Seems like yesterday, but it was 35 years ago.

Yesterday, I graduated from OSU-Okmulgee with a diploma in Commercial Art. There were 75 of us that began the program; 12 of us finished. There were three of us that quickly became friends and throughout our time at OSU, it was a contest to see who could outdo the other, whether it was our class assignments or the pranks we pulled on each other, as well as our classmates. We graduated at the top of the class--I was number three--with very high hopes and prospects. Two of us made the decision to open our own design studio rather than working for someone else. We were going to make it big and we were going to make a LOT of money.

We did pretty well for a while, but making a long story short, we weren't very good money managers and ended up closing the doors to go our separate ways. It seems like yesterday, but it was 32 years ago.

Yesterday, I met this girl. I was painting a window sign on one of the businesses in the town where I grew up. She and some of her friends stopped to watch. "Did you draw that freehand?" "How do you make those lines so straight without a ruler" "Are those special brushes?" I answered all their questions, but the whole time I'm thinking: She is CUTE!! I've got to get a phone number.

I got the number; we dated for a couple of years. We got married in May of 1980--over 30 years ago--but it seems like yesterday. (She's still cute!)

Yesterday, we went to the hospital for the birth of our first son, Ryon. A few days later, we were back at the hospital for the birth of his brother, Alex. Ryon is now in college; Alex graduates from High School this Spring. It seems like yesterday...

Yesterday. It goes by pretty quick. Actually, it FLIES by! There were a lot of things I intended to do, but never did. Some of them, I'll get around to; some I'll never have the opportunity to do again. The things I did accomplish--those are good. I wouldn't trade them for anything. That's yesterday.

I still have today and tomorrow, which opens all kinds of possibilities. Sometimes I take on too much and get bogged down in the details of all the stuff to be done. But all that stuff is really surface.

One of the most most important things I need to work on is Yesterday, I got married, and became a father. Those things are way more important than all the other stuff. Sadly, I don't do those jobs very well sometimes. Today, I'm going to try to do better, but I better get busy...because tomorrow, today will be yesterday...

Monday, February 07, 2011


We've been remodeling our house. Until recently, we've never really had the time or money to do anything major, but in the past couple of months, we've embarked on a fairly large project, i.e. new wood floors in the living area and hallway, new carpet in the master bedroom, and new paint throughout the house.

Still on the list is new trim and baseboards throughout (I'm making most of that), refacing the kitchen cabinets-including replacing the existing cabinet doors, replacement doors throughout the house (the builder's used a cheap hollow-core door; we're upgrading to a craftsman style 5-panel door), new appliances in the kitchen, and replace the tile in the entry and one of the bathrooms. I'm still deciding on what I may or may not do to the master bathroom. Now, don't get the wrong idea--we're not loaded and we're not spending near the money on these projects we could, mainly because I'm doing a lot of the work myself. And, we're pretty simple people; none of the changes/additions we're making are extravagant.

We live in an older neighborhood, the houses are all close to 20 years old or older. When we moved into our house, the neighborhood looked pretty good. Now, there are several rent houses on the block and people haven't kept their homes up like they could, so it looks a little worn in places. We stay because we like the layout of our house and it's CHEAP. You'd die if I told you how low my mortgage payment is. I'm pretty sure that we've over-built for the neighborhood, but we're not doing any of this to sell the house in hopes of getting more money for it. We just want to fix it up the way we like.

So, this past week we've been confined to the house because of that huge snowstorm that has hit the Midwest United States. Our town received 21 INCHES of snow in 24 hours! We sat in the house for several days...thankful we had heat, plenty of groceries, and a dry roof over our heads. During that time, we watched a bit of television, especially DIY, HGTV and A&E--all of those channels that show the "How-To" shows, and people flipping houses, etc. What really gets me about those shows is the amount of money people spend on some of their remodels. "We've got a budget of $75,000 to renovate the kitchen." Geezo-PETE! That's more than I paid for my entire house!

When the TV remodelers are asked about their projects, they say things like: "We entertain a lot, so we really needed a large area for friends...because we entertain a lot!" What does that mean, we entertain? Do they juggle? Have a trapeze act? Do a little standup comedy? It must be something like that because they just added 5000 square feet to their 4500 square foot house! And just how many people do they entertain that they need so much space? Since moving into our house 19 years ago, I can safely say that there's NEVER been a time we needed that kind of space. In fact, I can't remember there ever being a time we've had more than 10 other people in our house at a time!

Maybe we're just not very entertaining people...but we do have a nice, new floor.