If you’ve been following this blog for while, you might remember a post I made early on about the small town I grew up in. Geneva, AL. It was a wonderful place to grow up. It was my “Mayberry”.
For those of you too young to remember The Andy Griffith Show on TV in the 60’s, Mayberry was a little made-up town that had quirky, but honest, peace-loving residents. My hometown mirrored its profile. There were traditions in Geneva (as in Mayberry) that we kept and fiercely fought to protect. The people took their time making and being friends and they rarely said or did anything that would become a blemish on the town’s name. Daddies worked hard to bring home the bacon and mommas worked hard to keep it on the table. We all had vegetable gardens and fruit trees at our disposal, and our yard even had a Catalpa tree where we used the larvae that fed on its leaves for fish bait. Catfish, bream, and shell crackers loved them and cane-pole fishing on a summer morning was a taste of heavenly peace.
For the last 26 years we’ve lived in Music City – Nashville, TN. It’s a wonderful place to live, too. Stars come out there just like in Mayberry (and in Geneva) but most of them shine the brightest on Saturday night at the Opry. Yes, it was great to occasionally look up and see George Jones and Eddie Arnold (may they rest in peace) in line at the grocery store. Faith Hill and Tim McGraw attended our church at one time, as did Tammy Wynette (RIP). I mean, I saw Carrie Underwood at Bed Bath and Beyond not long ago!
But things changed. Our time in the city came to an end and here we are now back in Mayberry – this time it’s named Cleveland, GA – home of Cabbage Patch Kids, gateway to the Appalachian Mountains, and site of at least two nudist colonies that I know of. Or so I’ve heard.
It’s taking a little while for us to adapt to the change of pace. Everything moves slower here. Traffic. Time…even the guy at the jewelry store who promised to fix the clasp on my watch two weeks ago. “Gotta order the part,” he said after studying my broken watchband clasp but without lifting his magnifying glasses. “These things take time, you know.” And his pun didn’t seem to be intentional.
The stars come out here, too, on Friday nights in the fall. Every storefront has some words of encouragement for the hometown football team, White County Warriors, painted on its window. One merchant, who is obviously a Warrior zealot, attempted to emphasize its zeal by painting multiple o’s onto the word Go. Apparently the painter ran out of space. Now it just says “Goo Warriors”.
But everybody knows what it means. We’re in Mayberry after all. We speak the same language …a little slower though.