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Join me and let's whistle along

From the publisher's desk
By: Keith Whitson

Can you whistle? If the answer is “Yes” and you fall into a certain age bracket, chances are you have whistled along to the theme of The Andy Griffith Show at some point. It’s addictive. You just can’t help yourself.
I am sure most of you know that Andy Griffith died last week at the age of 86. He was one of the few cast members left from the show and an icon for warm heartedness.
As a child, I can recall watching that show with fascination. As I grew older, I would often catch the reruns and be just as enchanted by them. Not only did the show bring me back to my childhood but it was always an escape to a magical place.
So many shows of that time were wholesome and simplistic. They consisted of a “do good” mentality, with lessons learned and neighborly folks all around. It seems to be a place we all would like to be transported to.
Watching the show compares to reaching for a good book, calling an old friend or wrapping up in a warm blanket on a cold winter’s day. All of these things are comforting.
I often think I would love to have lived in Mayberry and strolled down the streets past Floyd’s Barber Shop to step through the door of the diner and grab a bite to eat.
I don’t recall the jail ever being overcrowded. It saw very little action except for Otis, who turned himself in when needed. They didn’t argue over liquor by the drink because they had moonshine by the jug. Drugs were never mentioned, not even for prescription sake. Meth labs were unheard of and crime was very little even in the neighboring city of Raleigh.
Front porches were used for visiting and Sundays were respected. Grass wasn’t mowed on the Sabbath nor was it smoked in secret.
Barney’s date with Thelma Lou consisted of a movie and dinner, followed by a refreshing stroll. Sex wasn’t mentioned and certainly not thought of before marriage.
Gas was much cheaper and speed limits were much slower. Fast food wasn’t thought of but home cooked meals were to die for. The home was the gathering place for meals and that didn’t mean in front of the TV.
Phone calls were fewer and gossip was less. After all Sarah was listening on the line as she transferred the call. Cell phones and texting were not consuming our hours and computers were not claiming what little remains.
Life was much simpler and a balance could be found between work and play. When is the last time you went fishing or skipped a rock across the creek?
The entire Mayberry police force consisted of two and that was plenty. Sometimes they had to swear in a few extras but nothing really got out of hand. In fact one bullet for Barney could last an entire season unless it accidentally went off.
Elections usually consisted of a clean debate with the best man winning. Andy once convinced Barney to run for the office of sheriff because he had another job offer elsewhere. But when the job fell through, Andy returned, he expected his old pal Barn’ to drop out of the electoral race.
Instead, the two former chums became political enemies, culminating in a “great debate.” Rest assured, however, that all turned out well by the final commercial break.
Compared to most places, Erwin is still a bit like Mayberry. We hold true to values, families and the code of honor that crime doesn’t pay.
Mayberry didn’t take to kindly to outsiders at first but they always welcomed them in the end. James Lengel can relate to that.
Andy could play straight by the law and he also played a mean guitar with The Darlings. Mike Hensley fits right in with both.
Hopefully when the upcoming election is all said and done, Unicoi County will have the best man as sheriff. We are almost at the commercial break and down to the final few minutes.
No matter how bad things seemed in Mayberry each week, they always turned out for the best in the end. Join me now and let’s start whistling the theme song as the final credits roll.