Order in the World


Here in the Charleston area, The Andy Griffith Show comes on every day at 11 a.m. for a full hour, two episodes. News and talk shows come on before and after. If I don’t watch anything else, I try to watch Andy. I would rather watch a 50-year-old TV show than find out what’s going on today. A little Andy makes every day better.
The show was well-acted and well put together for its time, but that’s not what makes it a classic that is watchable lo these many years later. It stands the test of time because of its simplicity, which is lacking in a lot of newer programs that depend on special effects and complicated storylines. To me, the appeal in the show is related to the appeal in many old-fashioned pursuits such as canning or milking a cow. It’s retro comfort and basic in its purpose, meaningful in a way that is both ethereal and intrinsic. Everyone is happy at the end, problems are always solved, and even the bad guys aren’t really bad. It promises order in the world if we just try to do the right thing. And, best, I can stretch out on the couch while I’m watching it. It’s a weird kind of stress relief in the middle of my day.

I’ve become a sort of Andy Griffith expert over the time I’ve been watching the show. Recently, they started back again at the earliest episodes and I noticed that Andy spoke with a much larger, slower drawl, and smiled or laughed too much, playing more the “dumb” sheriff in the first episodes. Apparently at some point they realized somebody needed to be the “smart” one and it needed to be Andy. I also had never realized that there was a character Ellie who was his original girlfriend. He hasn’t broken up with Ellie yet, and I try not to miss a day because I want to see what happens when Helen shows up. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’re obviously not ready for watercooler talk about The Andy Griffith Show. It must be really embarrassing for you at the office!

Oh, wait.

Nobody’s talking about The Andy Griffith Show around the watercoolers these days.

That’s just me.

Except I don’t even have a watercooler. And I don’t go to an office.

Anyway. It had occurred to me that I have some kind of weird fixation on The Andy Griffith Show but it’s possibly no weirder than other weird things I do. They don’t make shows like this anymore, and if they tried, they wouldn’t last, and yet Andy’s lasted longer than he lived, and so far, all of my life. When I’m watching the show, I soak in all the little bits of atmosphere. Aunt Bea wearing an apron. Opie asking to be excused from the table. EATING EVERY MEAL AT THE TABLE. The clothes they wear, the manners, the sense of propriety even in a common everyday setting. There’s an underlying ambiance of honor that is integral and unaware of itself. It’s like a pillow for your feet, and I’m not just saying that because I put my feet on a pillow while I watch it. It’s safe and comforting and tells you that everything is going to be okay, just be nice and laugh. There’s a gentle structure to it that reminds me of driving to church in the backseat of my parents’ car or pulling up a chair to a heaping table at my Great-Aunt Ruby’s house.

There are many ways in which we can’t replay time to create the simplicity of days before the internet and interstates, but wherever we live, city or suburb, if we can a jar of something fresh from the garden, bake a loaf of bread, milk a cow, or pull a warm egg from beneath a hen, whatever it is we can do in our circumstances, those basic simplicities are a way to touch that past, put order in our own modern worlds, bring a little Mayberry into our homes. And every time we do something meaningful, purposeful, simple, however small, that is what we do.

We don’t need more complicated storylines pushed on our already complicated lives. We just need to make our own Mayberry. And remember that we can.

And now I gotta go. It’s almost time for Andy!


  1. liberalhippiequeen says:

    I have been a super fan since childhood. There are Andy Griffith celebrations, esp in in Mt Airy . There is a board game ( I lost custody in a break up with an idiot of a man) …. I love that every episode has a moral to the story. I suppose my favorites are the ones that feature the Darlings ( I love bluegrass music ), and the ones that have Ernest T Bass. It comes on here in middle Georgia every day at 5:30PM, and is a relaxing time in between the hideous news broadcasts.

  2. Audrey324 says:

    I’ve always loved the Andy Griffith show. I’m a sucker for old-fashioned things and a much simpler way of life. Once we used the episodes from the show for our Bible study group. It is really neat how you can always find a moral in the show. :cowsleep:

  3. Dumbcatluvr says:

    We West Virginians proudly claim Don Knotts (Barney Fife) as one of our own.He was from Morgantown. 🙂

  4. dalewestfallsgrandaughter says:

    “Nobody’s talking about The Andy Griffith Show around the watercoolers these days”
    This would be incorrect. I work a manufacturing facility in Southwest Virginia and what was on Andy Griffith last night is a common topic on break! Our local station shows Andy at 5:30 every day between the 5:00 and 6:00 news. You ought to come on down and visit, so you can join in the conversation! 🙂

  5. Jersey Lady says:

    Thanks for a such a fun post. I like to think we still live that life here in Liberty IN where the church, library, grocery, diner, bank, hardware, barber/beauty parlor, post office, and fire/police station are all on or within a block of courthouse square. Come visit us where the living is easy and the folks are just fine.

  6. suziQ says:

    I loved this post and I too am a huge fan of the Andy Griffith Show. I actually live in Andy’s hometown, Mount Airy, NC, the town that Mayberry is fashioned after. It’s a quaint little town and I love it here, but it’s definitely not like the good ol’ days on the show. Anyway we can recreate those in our lives is a good thing!

  7. Granma2girls says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts,Suzanne. We enjoy some of the older shows from the 60’s as well. We gave up our cable a long time ago. So we can get a couple of stations with classic TV shows. But I think you’re right. Doing simple things keeps us in touch with the past. Often when I knead my bread dough, I’m that little girl that used to watch my mothers hands punching down a big bowl of risen fluffy dough. Or when I make freezer jam, I think of my mother inlaw making it on a hot summer day when I was just a child bride of 18.

  8. OregonJoy says:

    I loved the show. The one issue I had was that it took place in North Carolina, yet I never saw a black or Indian classmate of Opie’s, nor did I notice any but Caucasian townspeople. One of my kids brought that to our attention when she was just 9 or 10.

  9. rurification says:

    I live not far away from Clay City, Indiana – the self-described Mayberry of the midwest. http://www.claycity.net/ I drive through at least once a week and every time I do, I have those same feelings you describe.

    Every time I check the garden to see if the peas are ready or pull a weed from around the lavender or make a batch of soap I feel connected to that earlier time and those people. I love that feeling.

  10. Sue, a Florida Farm Girl says:

    Oh, my goodness. The WRITER is back!!! Love it.

  11. Peculiar Cat Mama says:

    Oh, you really struck a nerve with this one. I, too, watch Andy any chance I get, over anything else, and noticed the change in Andy, as well. When the show began, he was using his style of character played in No Time for Seargants, which was also the prototype for Gomer Pyle, the character and the series spinoff. Ellie was Elinore Donahue, who played Betty in Father Knows Best. It seems like I remember Ellie moved away somewhere for an opportunity, and long distance relationships just didn’t happen so much back then. He met Helen later when Opie got into trouble at school. Ah, I love trivia – I wish you and I had a watercooler and could delve further into this! We would have a field day.

  12. MousE says:

    I love this post! Thank you. :snoopy:

  13. Joell says:

    Thank You!!
    We watch the show everyday. I was starting to think it was an old folks thing. I watched it when it first came to television and am enjoying it again now even more.
    Wouldnt it be nice if we could go back to that time for just a couple of days? For some of us that would be heaven, others, not so much..
    I lived in a very small town (back then ) in Texas as a child, and it was much like Mayberry.
    I love Aunt Bea’s kitchen, it is my dream kitchen, much the way I wanted my kitchen to look and it does a bit, we have the same dinnerware. I loved to those days, the favorite part of my life.

  14. DeniseS says:

    I watch Andy Griffith at times. Loved the show when I was young. The one show that seems to be my escape show is The Waltons. I realized it is not everyone’s favorite, but the closeness of family and the generations being together really hits home with me. Some of the history the show is set in reminds me of my Mom and Dad. They’ve been gone for a long time. I miss them. Clothing, music and the history happening reminds me of stories they told about that time in their lives. Perhaps I will look for when my cable has Andy on. It’s been awhile and maybe it is time to watch again. Thanks for the post. Yes, they don’t make t.v. programs like this any more.

  15. MMHoney says:

    St Albans,wv has a wonderful eating place called “Mayberry’s’
    They have a daily feature – It would be worth while to check it out.
    I think Thursday’s special is chicken n dumpling.

  16. Anita says:

    I’ve been a member of The Andy Griffith Show Rerun Watchers Club online for about 15 years now. They’re a fun loving group of folks who love the show and the time it represents. Just wait til you see Andy meet “Old Lady Crump” for the first time! She really takes him down a peg! She was a spitfire and every once in a while the writers would let a little bit of that show. LOVE Helen Crump/Aneta Corsaut.

  17. bonita says:

    When insomnia forces its way into my bedroom, I turn to the Andy Griffin Show. Here it’s on broadcast TV at 3:00 and 3:30 AM weeknights, 4:00 and 4:30 am weekends. Love the episodes in which out of towners come to Mayberry and think they have the upperhand. And you’re right, Aunt Bea’s kitchen is the best. They just aired the episode in which Aunt Bea was chosen to host a TV cooking show. Andy and Opie had to find dinner for themselves! Poor boys.

  18. Naturegirl46 says:

    I very much enjoyed this post, as well as your musings on the auction. So nice to hear your thoughts. You expressed them beautifully.

  19. sheilatrader says:

    Suzanne, Mike and I watched all the time. He used to recite the the lines before they did! He always said “Andy had Elle and Peggy but he ended up with Helen Crump!?????” LOL

  20. Chicken Crossing says:

    Amen sister! Well worded, I agree with everything you said! I love, love, love the Andy Griffith show! My 9 year old recently began watching it with me! She loves it too!

  21. clstinson1 says:

    It is possible to hide from the world, but only with great effort. Our children have a way of keeping us in the loop whether we want to be or not. I have a kid who goes to an engineering college and might invent something someday that will be either dangerous or computery. I have another who will probably end up in the military as a drone pilot or something like that. Meanwhile I’m just trying to plant apple trees and raise chickens. However my motives are not simplicity, but rather trying to put systems in place for provision in case the world at large goes cahpluey. I understand your desire to watch a world that values integrity over materialism. Your preacher dad instilled a value system in you that transcends the soulless offerings of our current society. The bible teaches us to work with our own hands and to not rely on others for our food. What your doing is good at it’s core. Andy Griffith was good too. Simplicity is not really simple though, is it?

  22. Leah says:

    I already did that. Watched all the episodes when my son was a baby. Long time ago. Love that show!

  23. ibpallets (Sharon B.) says:

    I have the Aunt Bea dishes (Blue Willow) that are old and I love setting the table with them.

  24. WvSky says:

    To OregonJoy: I do remember an episode where a Black appears in the background. But dont forget, there were many thousands of small towns where Blacks didn’t live. For instance, when I lived in Spencer WV in the late 60s, not one Black lived there. As I recall, there was only one or two Blacks in the entire county. So this issue never concerned me as far as the Andy Griffith show. Besides, most of the TV shows in the 50s and early 60s didn’t feature Blacks. I have watched Andy Griffith since the day it first appeared on TV. I still watch it and like Suzanne, I find it the most relaxing part of my day. One of the many ways you can tell if you’re watching a newer or older episode, is to watch Floyd the barber: if he’s standing, it’s an early episode. If he’s only shown sitting, it’s a later show. This was due to the effects of a stroke.

  25. WvSky says:

    Oh… one more thing: I cant watch Andy Griffith on “TV LAND” because the show itself is only 22 minutes long, while TV Land stretches it to a full 45 minutes with commercials. That’s more commercials than show! :hissyfit: ( I timed this a few months ago). That’s a real shame, so I record it and zip though the commercials.

  26. lavenderblue says:

    “Kerosene Cucumbers”

Add Your Thoughts