I've been plodding around the planet for, well, quite some time. Let's not get specific here, let's just say for....some decades.

Bouncing around a bit over the years, I've known and worked with folks from about every walk of life, farm fellas, ladies from big cities, men and women from here and there, and a few from waaay over there. And the older I get, the more I find myself talking about growing up on a little farm right outside a little town.

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The comment's I get after spinning tales of my 'growin' up years' usually come in two forms: 1) 'You're Kidding!', and 2) 'Geez, did you grow up in Mayberry or what??'

Usually, I'd just laugh, but after the last time, it got me to thinking (No, I don't think often, but every once in a while something will pop into this 'ol bald head)...yes, yes I did. I grew up in Mayberry.

We had the little gas station, the little hardware store. We had the little grocery store, the little barbershop where everyone knew everyone. We didn't have a town drunk, at least not that anyone talked about. And no, we didn't have a Sheriff or Deputy, but we had folks who pretty much made sure things stayed in order.

But most of all, looking back through the mist of memory, what we had in common with Mayberry most of all was...community. The pride of keeping things looking good, the sense of knowing that if we needed help, we didn't have to ask, our friends and neighbors just showed up. Like the citizens of Mayberry, we stopped outside the cafe or grocery store and didn't just say 'Hi', no....we did something you don't see as much anymore. We asked 'How are you?' and actually meant it. We gathered together, whether it was once a week at church or once a year on the 4th (Oh Lordy Lordy, the 4th...now that was somethin'!).

And I guess maybe if the truth is known, we had the small-town gossip, the old 'everyone knows everything about everyone else or thinks they do' kind of thing. And thank goodness for that, too.

So yes, I grew up in Mayberry by another name. We may not have had the Andys or Barneys, the Gomers or Floyds or Opies. Our 'Mayberry' townfolks had names like Gerrit and Herman, Arnie and Edna and Sophie. There wasn't an Opie insight, but we had a lot of Opies with names like Larry and Jerry, Craig and Lon, Gene and Gene and Shirley, and Darlene and David. Heck, we were all Opie, just spelled with different letters.

And with the old 'Andy Griffith Show' being a legendary classic TV comedy, with millions watching it around the country, I'll bet a lot of you grew up in or near Mayberry, too. Only you didn't call your town Mayberry either, did you? But hopefully, you were as lucky as I was to have that very same sense of belonging.

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