Sunday, August 12, 2007

Another Day in Mayberry

My friend Carol Ann was delighted when an article about Mount Airy, North Carolina, came up online. Having never visited Andy Griffith's hometown, the inspiration for Mayberry, she only knows it through my tiresome stories. According to the news, however, seems the outside world has discovered Mount Airy and the berg is rated as one of the best places to retire.

The following is why; I'll try to make this as simple as possible, so bear with me:

My uncle, Charles, has breakfast at Hardee's once a week with his high school buddies. (They're all 70, so I think they talk about the same things every meeting and no one remembers.) Anyhoo, they're sitting there at Hardee's when Jimmy Kirkman's phone rings. It's his wife, Judy, who is no relation to me, but is the aunt of my sister's daughter.

"Ask Charles if he has heard from Denise," Judy instructs her husband.

Jimmy asked my uncle if he had heard from my sister.

"Not in the last day or two, why?" he inquired.

"Because," said Judy on the cell phone. "Mama heard that Denise is on the prayer list at Flat Rock Baptist Church and we were wondering what's wrong."

Charles said, "I'll call Cindi and find out."

In the meantime, my sister walks into a restaurant in Bannertown (a Mount Airy "suburb") and her best friend, Diane, the restaurant owner, comes out of the office.

"Nisey, is everything okay?"

Denise was bewildered. "I guess. As good as usual."

Diane probed. "Is there anything going on I don't know about? (which, dear readers, is not possible in Mount Airy and environs).

No, Denise assured her, there was nothing wrong. Why?

"Because Sandra came in and said you're on the prayer list at Flat Rock Baptist Church and I wondered what's wrong."

All these inquiries occurred within an hour of one another, leading one to speculate that communication is more efficient in the hills of Carolina than on any other piece of our planet.

Denise has no idea who put her name on the prayer list. Flat Rock Baptist Church is not the church she attends. But she's grateful. It's good to live in a community where people care about you enough to pray for you, whether there's a tragedy in your life, or there's just life.

And that, dear readers, is why Mount Airy is a good place to live. . . . or retire.

(The Aunt Bee wallpaper, top, is available at The image of the country church by Sherry Masters is available at, and to find out more about the real Mount Airy, go to

Browsing Blogs

When you visit Mayberry's homepage, you'll see how important music is to the culture of the Appalachians. I miss it terribly. So I was thrilled to happen upon the blog of Byron Chesney, a musician from Knoxville, Tennessee. Byron both performs and is a huge fan of gospel music and his account of a recent gospel music show in his hometown brought back wonderful memories. The part I enjoyed most though was Byron's description of the "breakfast" afterwards:

After the concert, we walked over to the Marriott, where we had "Breakfast buffet with the Stars." At $20.00 a plate, I really expected to have an actual "buffet." It was limited to 1 plate, and 1 trip per person, and they only allowed 2 pieces of bacon. The rest of the food was just the usual runny powdered eggs, store bought biscuits, fake gravy, and half-cooked potato cubes. Oh, yeah, there was fruit too, if you are into that sort of thing.

Now here is the test of a real Southern boy! He allowed as how he loved the performances during the meal, but as a connoisseur of real food he was properly appalled by the fare. "Fake gravy!" Obviously, Byron, Yankees have infiltrated the management of the Marriott in Knoxville.

Read Byron's blog at, and visit his other sites as well. I especially applaud his efforts to clean up the highways and byways of his beautiful state, and he promotes these efforts at But I most love the stories he writes about himself and his family at

And Byron, if you and your family are ever passing through Topeka, I promise to make you some real gravy and real biscuits, and though it won't be as good as Granny's, it'll be better than the fake stuff!

1 comment:

Bro. Byron said...

Hey, ain't you scared of running off your readers with the picture of that Tennessee feller you got in this here post! ;)

Seriously, thanks for the mention of my little websites and blogs. I'm glad you enjoyed them.

I'll take you up on them there biscuits and gravy if I'm ever in your neck of the woods!