Statute of Andy and Opie

Mayberry is the kind of place that stimulates thoughts of better times when life was less complicated, and people cared about each other. Perfection was not required and a second chance -- or even a third -- was common place.

Andy taught Opie to consider how his actions might affect others. He allowed Barney to come out on top when, as viewers, we all knew that Barney might not have received the same consideration from others.

Not so long ago I made my semi-annual visit to Mayberry, also known as Mount Airy, North Carolina. The midday meal was taken at The Snappy Lunch which originally opened in 1923. I was traveling with a friend, and we both ordered the World Famous Pork Chop Sandwich that was perfected in the '60s by owner Charles Dowell. I ordered mine all the way, which means chili (slightly sweet), cole slaw, mustard, onion, tomato, lettuce and mayo. The pork chop is lightly battered and fried. The pork chop was moist, and the flavors blended perfectly.

It was in an early episode of the Andy Griffith Show titled "Andy the Matchmaker" that Andy suggests to Barney that they go down to The Snappy Lunch to get a bite to eat. It has been reported that Snappy Lunch is the only existing Mount Airy business to be mentioned on the television show.

We had planned our visit around the multi-day festival Mayberry Days, which is put on by the Surry County Arts Council. The afternoon included an entertaining show at the historic Earle Theatre. "Remember me with Laughter" is a tribute show to James Best with Dorothy Best and David Browning. James Best was a lifelong friend of Andy Griffith. You may remember him from his role as Sheriff Roscoe P Coltrane on the Dukes of Hazard.

His wife, Dorothy, shared many stories of his long career as an actor and most importantly the fun he had on the journey. It was interesting to learn that Sheriff Coltrane's dog Flash was Best's dog, so the affection they showed on camera was real.

It was also nice to hear that James and Dorothy Best had moved from Florida to Hickory, North Carolina several years ago because of the great fishing in the area of which they frequently enjoyed until his death on April 6, 2015, was 88 years old.

David Browning, the "Mayberry Deputy," was also on stage and shared many interesting stories down memory lane. Just the "Barney" sound is enough to make you smile.

The rest of the afternoon was spent walking the streets of Mayberry, and a visit to the Andy Griffith Playhouse where outside stands a statue of the iconic image of Andy and Opie with fishing rods in hand. The marker reads a simpler time, a sweeter place, a lesson, a laugh, a father and a son. Presented by the people of TV Land.

In my travels, I have visited many places that say they are Mayberry and think I understand the message they are trying to get across.

It's not about geography; it's about a way of life, a way of thinking, a way of being. Some would say that Mayberry is no more, but this is simply not true.

We do live in trying times; however, I have seen Mayberry in the actions of many. It's not easy to be Mayberry when we are so distracted with demanding schedules and things that keep us from caring for each other.

The small towns, villages and out of the ways places in the Carolinas still offers a life less stressful, a place where hope and kindness are still alive. I have even seen it in the middle of our bigger cities; you just have to take the time to watch, listen and allow the other person to be Barney.

So, my friends, there is hope yet for our Southern Shangri-La.

Carl White is the executive producer and host of the award winning syndicated TV show "Carl White's Life In the Carolinas." The weekly show is in its seventh year of syndication and can be seen in the Greenville, Spartanburg viewing market on WLOS ABC 5 a.m. Saturdays and 1:30 p.m. Sundays at WMYA My 40. Visit www.lifeinthecarolinas.com, email White at Carl@lifeinthecarolinas.com.