The 1960s sitcom “The Andy Griffith Show” was a big part of my childhood. The iconic whistle melody at the start of each episode will most likely be anchored in my head forever.
I’m not the type to watch TV episodes more than once, but if I was just surfing the channels and floating around, I would scream “Shazam” like Gomer Pyle and catch the classic American wave.
My favorite character is the deputy sheriff Barney fife performed by the late Don Knotts. His facial expressions and manners make me roll on a shag rug in stitches.
With a bullet in his pocket, Fife is dutifully keen to protect the fictional slow-paced southern community of Mayberry, NC
Sheriff Andy Taylor was performed by the late Andy Griffith. In 1990, the show’s 30th anniversary was celebrated in the childhood town of Griffith in Mount Airy, North Carolina. This one-day event has turned into a week-long family celebration.
On September 24, I spotted Henry E. Kidd sharing with his Facebook friends that he was having a great time at Mayberry Days, so I and others happily traveled vicariously through him.
“Stop by the drugstore and grab a malt,” Bev Mauck commented on Kidd’s post. “They still looked good when Opie got them.”
Kidd is one of the thousands of fans who flocked to Mayberry Days to remember “The Andy Griffith Show”.
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“I yearn for the old days when people respected each other, foreigners took off their hats and said hello in passing, Good Samaritans weren’t hard to find and TV shows were just clean fun that taught the right way. moral, ”Kidd said.
During his lifetime, Kidd never felt so depressed and angry about the current situation.
“America is under attack by COVID-19, politics, race relations, riots, war, crime and bad manners. It is easy to see that America needs a solution,” said Kidd. “Is there a place today where you can still feel safe in your home or is America beyond redemption?” “
Kidd found this perfect spot at Mayberry Days where people surrounded him with friendly smiles and laughter.
“They made me happy and proud to be an American,” Kidd said. “I grew up with the Taylor family and their friends, Barney, Floyd, Goober, Gomer, Otis, etc. It has helped me learn the values of friendship and a warm smile.”
At Wally’s gas station in Mount Airy, Kidd exhibited his new painting “Mayberry Carousel” which represents more than twenty-five episodes of the series. Visitors had fun trying to find them all.
Kidd also exhibited three of his prized possessions at the Andy Griffith Museum in Mount Airy: the Fife hat, badge and motorcycle helmet worn by Knotts.
Kidd gave me the pleasure of wearing the authentic Barney Fife patrol hat and badge. How cool is that? I loved it when Fife said: “Nip in the bud. “
“At the Wally gas station, I found myself surrounded by people in disguise like Andy, Barney, Goober, Gomer, Floyd, Howard, Earnest T. Bass, Briscoe Darling, Mayor Pike, Mr. McBeevee and the funny girls,” Kidd said. “They all had character and were having a good time.”
Kidd met Don Knott’s daughter Karen Knotts Clint Howard [Leon], Rodney Dillard [one of the Darling boys], and Ronnie Schell [Gomer’s friend in the Marines].
Betty lynn who played fife’s daughter Thelma lou served as Grand Marshal in the Mayberry Days parade this year. Three weeks later, she died at the age of 95. Lynn moved to Mount Airy a few years ago and has been embraced by the community and her fans.
Lynn autographed a picture Kidd drew of Lou and Fife. She included a love note to Barney from Thelma Lou saying, “Barney, I can’t wait to see you tonight and run my fingers through your hair. I love you, Thelma Lou. “
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“Thousands of fans were there, smiling and talking happily about the show and their favorite moments,” Kidd said.
Throughout the week, Kidd continued to meet the same people and started to make new friends.
“I was happy to be there, but found that my new friends were like me. They were also depressed about the news in America,” Kidd said. “They almost canceled their trip because of the gravity of things. The Mayberry Days helped us rediscover our smiles and laughter.”
Upon returning home, Kidd realized that “Mayberry is not a place. It is a state of mind.” as quoted in the new “Mayberry man“Film written and directed by Stark Howell.
Hmmm. I’ll have to check out this movie. He’s about an arrogant movie star who was ordered to attend Mayberry Fest for speeding in a rural southern town. Immersed in a modern day Mayberry, the posh fictional son of a former “Andy Griffith” actor gets the chance to experience the true meaning of friendship and family.
At 70, Kidd learned a lesson. Even though bad things are happening in America, the Mayberry Effect grabbed him and taught him that Mayberry is where you do it.
Kidd focused on his journey to raise funds for two nonprofits: Surry Arts Council at Mount Airy and the Side Street Gallery in Colonial Heights.
“What I discovered was far more precious than money,” Kidd said, his heart on his sleeve.
The nationally recognized historical artist resides in Colonial Heights. Kidd’s fine art has appeared in documentaries on the History Channel and on numerous book and magazine covers. His works are exhibited in many prestigious institutions and museums.
If you need a little Mayberry in your life, visit the Side Street Gallery at 135 Pickwick Avenue in Colonial Heights. Formerly a drugstore, the new space was recently used for a burglary scene in Episode 3 of the “Dopesick” miniseries.
The gallery is open on Tuesday. until Fri. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sat. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. It hosts over 24 artists with original paintings, prints, pottery, photographs, jewelry, stained glass and more. A variety of courses for all levels are offered at the gallery.
Co-owners Kidd and Rose Milazzo Mast will organize a grand reopening on Saturday, November 13 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Weather permitting, Santa will arrive at 1 p.m. in a fire truck.
For more information call (804) 536-0011 or follow Side street gallery on Facebook.
If you are interested in visiting Mayberry, go to visitmayberry.com or contact the Mount Airy Visitors Center at 800-948-0949.
“Life is too short to hate. Wear a smile and be kind to your friends and strangers,” Kidd said. “I plan to return to Mount Airy next year. As Andy says, ‘You all come back now, you get along.’ But until then, I’ll keep the Mayberry effect alive. “
– Kristi K. Higgins, aka The Social Butterfly columnist, is the Trending Topics and Food Q&A reporter at The Progress-Index. Do you have any advice on trends or local businesses? Contact Kristi (her, her) at [email protected], follow @KHiggins_PI on Twitter, and subscribe to progress-index.com.