I miss Mayberry and Andy Griffith
Written by Janet Denison
Thursday, 05 July 2012 06:45
Picture Andy Griffith, fishing pole over his shoulder, whistling as he walked down a dirt road. A young Ron Howard ran alongside, picking up rocks to skip on the lake. I bet you can close your eyes and hear the theme music that opened The Andy Griffith Show, in your head. Andy Griffith was in another of my favorite shows as well. I used to rush home at noon to watch Matlock reruns while I ate my lunch. I enjoyed seeing him “handle” all those cases – wearing that blue seersucker suit. Andy Griffith passed away on Tuesday and I am sad. There was something about him that made me smile and enjoy turning my television set on.
I was just a girl when he was the sheriff of Mayberry. I grew up in the Los Angeles area and I always thought it would be fun to live in a small town like that. Don Knotts had a job as deputy sheriff, even though he wasn’t good at it. Otis, who drank too much, was welcomed into his jail cell each night so he could sleep it off. Gomer and Goober would fix everyone’s car and Aunt Bea’s fried chicken was always a big hit. I was hoping I would marry Opie some day, because I thought he would probably grow up to be like his dad. Andy was a good sheriff, a good dad, a good friend and a good person. I miss Mayberry. I miss the days when The Andy Griffith show was considered great television. Is that just a time gone by? Are things as different as they seem?
TV Guide ranked the The Andy Griffith Show the 9th best show in television history. The popular show this week is America’s Got Talent. I’ve seen that show – and I would probably add the word “Sometimes or Occasionally” to the title. Andy Griffith was awarded the presidential medal of freedom by George W. Bush in 2005. That is the same year, Brokeback Mountain won 3 Academy awards. Matlock began in 1986 and ran for nine years. The number one TV shows in 1986 were The Cosby Show and Family Ties. I enjoyed both of those programs. Now Modern Family and Two and A Half Men are at the top of the chart.
Is it possible for a culture to turn around and return to kinder, purer standards? Yes, but it isn’t likely. Historically, nations prosper and grow to great strength, and then slowly self-destruct. Isn’t that a cheery, post July 4th thought! I wish that wasn’t true – but it is. Do television shows and movies accurately reflect the direction of our culture? I think the shows reflect the culture, and even more frightening, often “create” it. A Wikipedia article reports that in 1960 there were about 285,000 people in jail in the United States. In 2006, that number was closer to 2,500,000. Take a minute and REALLY give that statistic some thought. Last Fall I was privileged to hear a retired veteran from Afghanistan speak. He did an amazing job and then, at the end of the program, someone asked him how those of us at home could support our troops. His answer was profound. He said, “What the soldiers need most is for you to make sure this country remains something worth fighting, and losing friends, for. You could have heard a pin drop.
What should Christians do? Pray. But that really isn’t the best question to ask at a moment like this. The right question is, “What can I do?” To every reader of this blog, what are you doing to make this world more aware of God, his will and his plan of salvation through Jesus Christ? What are you doing that helps to raise the standards of our country and our culture? I miss Mayberry. But no matter what direction my culture will choose, I know the direction I have chosen for my life. I’m going to heaven and I hope to bring a bunch of people with me. Maybe our main focus shouldn’t be the big picture. Maybe we should focus on our neighbor instead.
One day, every nation and every culture will end. But you won’t. You will live eternally. “As for me and my house” – we are going to heaven. It’s like Mayberry – only WAY BETTER!
Dr. Denison’s cultural commentary originally appeared at http://www.denisonforum.org. It has been reposted here with permission of the Denison Forum on Truth and Culture.