What Would Mayberry Do?

Op-Ed

Ask Yourself:  “What Would Mayberry Do?”

By the W.W.M.D. Staff

From the cave dwellers to modern times, from big cities to small towns—communities have always shared the same old problems of the human condition.   We’ve heard our grandparents reflect with fondness on the way things used to be; especially in small towns.  What they don’t talk about so much is the fact that even then, communities large and small were replete with cliquishness, racism, immorality, gossip and corruption.  Yeah, yeah, nothing new to see here.

Go ask your grandparents or someone of their generation about the Mayberry of The Andy Griffith Show and watch their smiles and pleasant responses.  Ask them about a favorite episode and have them tell you why they thought Mayberry was a special place.

What you’ll learn is that The Andy Griffith Show of the 1960’s allowed our nation and its citizenry to reflect on its societal and individual problems, and to recognize that our lives and our communities run best when based on true principles.  Principles like The Golden Rule.

In that fictional town, Sheriff Andy Taylor and his deputy Barney Fife dealt with some sort of problem on a weekly basis.  Whether it was Otis and his still, or Gomer getting fired from the garage and moving in with Andy, there was an agreeable resolution by the end of each episode.  Nice and tidy like, as Andy would say.

Take for example the episode when Ellie Walker ran for Town Council.  The idea of her being a woman in politics was an affront to traditional gender values.  Even Sheriff Taylor had to let it penetrate his thick cultural biases, and by the end of the episode, he sided with Ellie and endorsed her qualifications based on her merit and not on gender.

But realistically, our problems are rarely solved so easily.   

Ask those who have always lived in Williamsburg, or any small town, and they will say with pride that their town used to be a lot like Mayberry.  But like a frog in a pot of water brought to a boil, they don’t exactly know when things changed–when the meth heads took over and the killing started, or when the truck stop became a Lion’s Den Adult Bookstore.

But we all agree it has changed, because no one in Mayberry would’ve robbed their own grandmother to score their next hit.  Mayberry never had a swingers club or weekend-long barn raves.  Nope.   And you didn’t see young girls, barely fifteen, pushing babies in strollers at Wal-Mart.  In fact, back then, teenage pregnancies made you an outcast, not a baby momma.  And certainly, Mayberry did not  have a corrupt sheriff.

Andy Griffith long denied that his boyhood home of Mt. Airy, North Carolina was the Mayberry of his show.  But it didn’t matter, because the people of Mt. Airy didn’t wait for him to validate the myth.  They claimed it as Mayberry and went with it.  They couldn’t afford to wait for the big box stores to take over, or for its people to abandon small town values for the draw of big city money and convenience.  They couldn’t wait for the Zombie Apocalypse, or for the Mayan calendar to run out of days, or for Jesus to come back.  And thankfully, they didn’t.

No, Mt. Airy would be just another fly-over little town (hardly a dot on the map) if it wasn’t for someone (or several someones) with a fragment of hope picking up the figurative banner of Mayberry and planting it firmly in the town square where such a standard could grow and be sustained.

But we believe that…

Our Williamsburg, Kentucky can be a type of Mayberry if we want it to be. 

In fact, we believe every small town in America can be.  But it all starts when we begin to ask ourselves one little question.

W.W.M.D.  What Would Mayberry Do?

+ So every time we face a difficult choice or are tempted to back down from the forces of corruption and evil, let’s ask ourselves, “What would Mayberry do?”

+ Whenever, there’s ridicule, unbelief, intimidation, threats, or censorship.

+ Wherever the meth zombies hide without hope of rehabilitation

+ Whenever we’re tempted to give in or join in, ask ourselves and ask it of each other, “W.W.M.D.?”

This one simple question can (and will) allow us to claim the safety and decency of Mayberry for ourselves–even without a Sheriff Taylor.

+++

Please join us in our effort to expose and clean up our community by supporting our publication, W.W.M.D.

Watch for our issue monthly in print and online at www.whatwouldmayberrydo.wordpress.com

Thank you for your support,

The Staff:  Shelby James/Will Barnes/Jesse Wasko/Dora Rae Phillips/Del Ray Phillips/Ellie Munson/Kylie Ellison

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  1. The following underground, student publication is a work of fiction and should not be construed as truthful or representative of any person(s), school(s), or of any community. Any similarities are purely coincidental and unintentional.

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