I was chatting with a friend recently, just a casual conversation about the holidays and how our respective families cook so much food. Seems that her family and mine are similar in that Thanksgiving is the larger gathering, at least when it comes to everyone being together at once, cooking enough food to truly feed a small army.
Then she mentioned her family had cut back a bit on the Christmas dinner so that everyone’s not so tired after cooking, and I replied we had as well. In my extended family, Christmas is a day with a bit of a revolving door. We used to gather at my parents house, and more recently that gathering has moved to the home of one of my sisters, but there are so many in-laws to visit that day we never know when folks will show up. Some come at 1 p.m., others at 3, and still others we might not see until nearly 5 o’clock.
“A few years ago we started just cooking soup,” I said, referring to my family’s practice of making vegetable soup, potato soup, a couple of forms of chili, and maybe roast beef biscuits.
Almost as soon as I got the phrase “a few years ago” out of my mouth, I realized it’s actually been more like 20 years we’ve been observing that practice. Maybe 25.
Funny, isn’t it, how time moves, sometimes so smoothly quietly we’re often scarcely aware of it? A few years turns out to be a couple of decades?
I see this in newspapering all the time. People will call and ask about a story that “ran a couple of days ago” when it’s actually been a few months. The best example I can recall was when I was working at a newspaper in Martinsville, Va. A lady called the office wanting to get a copy of an article that she said recently ran in the paper.
As managing editor there, I was familiar with most of the staff-written stories published, but I didn’t recall the story she was asking about.
“When did it run?” I asked.
“A couple of weeks ago,” she replied. “Maybe last month, but no longer.”
I asked her a few more questions, still didn’t recognize what she was searching for, so I asked who wrote it. She gave me the name of our lifestyles editor.
Or I should say our former lifestyles editor, a lady who had penned her last story for the paper more than three years earlier. Sure enough, she had written the story the caller was asking about, but it had been more like three-and-a-half years earlier, not a couple of weeks.
Again I ask, isn’t it funny how time slips by, almost without our notice?
This week many will visit our community to join with those who live here celebrating Mayberry Days. The values associated with The Andy Griffith Show, the ideal of that small town where everyone is neighborly and life is a little slower, are part of what made that show such an iconic part of America. They also continue to make Mount Airy — Andy Griffith’s hometown and basis for parts of the fictional Mayberry — the center of the Mayberry world.
We all know it’s been a while since The Andy Griffith Show made its original run on television. The show started in 1960 and left the air in 1968. That’s 45 years it’s been gone. We’re two generations removed from that last episode — many who were kids watching the series now have grandkids.
Those who put on the annual gathering known as Mayberry Days work long and hard to give us such a wonderful event. Among those who attend are often people who acted in the show, or close friends and relatives of those who starred in the series, though sadly the number of such people still with us seems to dwindle a little each year.
After next Sunday’s concluding service those who were guests at Mayberry Days will scatter, going back to their homes or to other entertainment engagements. The local folks who work to put on the event will, hopefully, get a short breather before jumping into planning next year’s Mayberry Days. And those who come to the city simply to enjoy and be entertained will, no doubt, begin thinking of next year’s festival.
In the midst of all the reminiscing about the show’s heyday and years gone by, before we start thinking about the next event to come to Mount Airy or start looking forward to the 2014 edition of Mayberry Days, let’s all take a deep breath and focus on the here and now, enjoy today for what it offers — and maybe say a word of thanks to the good folks who labor so hard to put on Mayberry Days.
Because time keeps marching on, and before you can blink an eye another week will have passed and the 2013 Mayberry Days will already be a receding memory.
John Peters is editor of The Mount Airy News. He can be reached at 336-719-1931 or at firstname.lastname@example.org