My Trip to Mayberry Ended With a Surprise Random Act of Kindness!
In Search of Ernest T. Bass
This all started because my human wanted to go see Mayberry, the town where Opie and Andy live. More importantly, she wanted to find a picture of her favorite character, Ernest T. Bass for a Christmas present to herself.
For those of you who don't know him, Ernest T. Bass is sort of a hillbilly rebel without a cause who got his kicks from throwing bricks through the window of the sheriff's office, upsetting Sheriff Andy and, especially, Deputy Barney Fife, no end.
Ernest T. would cackle and yell nonsensical stuff as he skipped down the street after each incident.
No wonder my human likes him - they have so much in common.
The real town isn't called Mayberry.
It's called Mount Airy and it's just north of Pilot Mountain in North Central, North Carolina. It's where Andy Griffith was born and they've kept it the same as it was (pretty much) for tourists all these years. So we loaded me into the trailer one Saturday in December, and set off to find those pictures of Ernest T.
I didn't really want to go, but, being a good natured bovine, sometimes I do things just to please my human and I pretend to like them to keep the peace. Keeping an open mind is also something I pride myself on and maybe a little of the Christmas spirit got into me that day. Who knows?
The minute we got there, my human did her best impression of Ernest T. Bass, darting out like a madwoman, in search of her pictures, dashing in this souvenir store and that, pretty much forgetting about me.
I felt comfortable, though, wandering through the main street of the friendly little town all decked out for Christmas - it was almost like coming home.
All the people nodded and smiled at me and one little old lady even said, "Bless your heart, Merry Christmas! You're a lovely cow!" which made me feel real special and loved, even though I am a bull. I felt it would be kinder to accept the compliment without correcting her so I did and continued on my way.
They even had a Snappy Lunch Restaurant, just like the TV show. I looked at the sign that said "Home of the Famous Pork Chop Sandwich," and decided to peek in the window. Unfortunately, I also saw "Cheeseburger" on the menu and this caused me to high-tail it across the street, fast as my hooves could carry me.
As I caught my breath, I heard Christmas music wafting through the door next to me, which turned out to be the Mt. Airy Downtown Cinema Theatre, where there was live music going on right at that moment. It was beautiful Blue Grass Holiday Music, and the group was called The Cherokee Drifters.
The sign said "Free" so I meandered in, hoping to blend in with the other listeners in the darkened theater. Even though I'm a bull, I'm very adept at adapting to my surroundings. I think that comes from being a writer.
People were dancing up in the front row, right under where the band was playing. There were couples and people dancing alone - young and old, in overalls and dressed up in shiny clothes.
I stood there, tapping my hooves and swishing my tail. Then a force took over and the next thing I knew I was up there doing a little dance swaying to "Deck The Halls."
Now you might think that a bull like me dancing would shock people and Deck The Halls isn't exactly Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree or Get Jiggy With It, but I did my best.
These folks weren't shocked at all.
They greeted me with open arms and a nice lady with shiny black shoes and white ankle socks, even danced with me!
So even though my human never found her picture of Ernest T. Bass, I found something better in that welcoming little town - I found a family of man and womankind that embraced me wholeheartedly on that wonderful Saturday afternoon just before Christmas.
They taught me it's what's inside your spirit that counts, not what species you are or what you look like on the outside. I bet they would have danced with me any time of the year, no questions asked.
So, I guess you could say that Ernest T. Bass taught me something, albeit, indirectly.
I found the light and discovered that after all is said and done, a little kindness to a stranger, human or animal, can go a long way any time of the year.
On a return visit to Mt. Airy in 2012, I discovered, to my dismay that the Downtown Cinema Theatre had been sold to someone who renamed it after themselves calling it, "The Earle". Stupid "The Earle" owner decided it would be smart to charge 5$ admission instead of the free admission that had been in effect for many many years.
It was empty and there was no music to be heard.
Greed came to Mayberry and swallowed up the Downtown Cinema Theatre..