One theme which popped up during my Mayberry Days interviews with Betty Lynn and James Best earlier this week is the celebration has a homecoming element, even if it is centered on the Taylor home, which existed only on television but quickly became a part of its viewers’ lives.
It’s like that rarest of events, a good class reunion, where you step back into that circle of friends and it’s like you picked up the conversation in midstream. Another thing which impressed me was the level of commitment to fans exhibited by Betty Lynn, who is going to find a way to keep that connection strong as she recovers from surgery which has, temporarily taken away the hugging option.
How wonderful to experience performers who get that they are there because of the fans. They relish the times they are in and the importance of their audience. All too often it seems we are confronted with stars or politicians who say in essence, you saw the show and that’s the end of my responsibilities to you.
Mayberry Days on one level then, gives a chance to connect or at least feel connected to a time (fictional or not) when Washington and the world wasn’t so willing to forget we are struggling so they can make a philosophical statement. Oh, the signs are out there. The weather is just plain strange and Piggly Wiggly, whose motto has been they have been local forever, is selling most of its stores. It appears a longstanding trend. Captain Smith of the Titanic, for instance, was so eager to “down-size” officers one man left with the key to the binocular safe. Those would have come in handy later on.
I think it is wonderful Surry County for the most part has maintained a good deal of community spirit. Granted, we all continue to live in a national atmosphere where everything seems to have gotten so big and corporate the little guy has no chance to go to the dance.
Just this week I saw East Surry High School rally around a flag pole to support a family in grief and I saw a day full of laughs and tears with the Pink Heals Tour. We have kept our perspective. I don’t relish the jobs of festival organizers. There are a lot of events (which might one day be an issue of itself). The balance between profit to stage the events, town resources and the vision of a festival is complicated and a lot can go wrong.
Take the upcoming congressional clash over the national budget. It’s as if we have resigned ourselves to let the children fight because we can’t do anything about it. We don’t seem to have a way to make our lawmakers realize the point of government is not re-election.
So, on a lot of levels this year I find myself grateful for the event’s chance for us to stop and smell the roses, which is really easy to say but hard to do. Hope to see you there, guys. Wholesome family fare will once again be served up.
Come to think of it, I may be viewing this situation from the wrong angle. Bureaucratic rules have gotten so silly it reminds me we could be stuck in another television show… “Green Acres.”
David Broyles is a staff reporter for The Mount Airy News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1952.