Floyd the barber messaged me!
Let me explain the headline.
Allan Newsome, who portrays Floyd in various events around the country, came to Danville, Indiana, on a recent weekend as part of a Mayberry Days event.
For four years now, Allan and other tribute artists have traveled to Danville to portray Floyd, Goober, Barney and other characters from America’s favorite small-town TV show.
There are also a bunch of people who bring their 1960s-vintage Fords painted like Mayberry police cars to Danville. There is something unreal about seeing a line of Mayberry patrol cars parked outside the Hendricks County courthouse when you’re used to seeing just one Andy-and-Barney mobile at a time on the show.
Floyd (aka) Allan not only gave me an autograph but said he recognized me and then proceeded to pretend to cut my hair for a photo-op.
“Wonder how he knew who I was?” I asked my wife as we left Danville after an hour or so in Mayberry.
Well, we are friends on Facebook and I might have mentioned our Facebook Live morning news show.
A couple days later, I got a Facebook message from him: “Hey, Frank! It was good seeing you! Thanks for saying ‘hey’ to Floyd.”
For several years I drove to Crawfordsville six or seven days a week. Each trip was about an hour each way. Podcasts became a big part of my life.
I found Allan’s podcast, “Two Chairs, No Waiting,” based on Floyd’s Barber Shop.
I enjoyed the down-home themes of the podcast, the interviews with Jim Nabors (Gomer), George Lindsey (Goober) and the rest. I liked the bluegrass music by the Dillards (reminiscent of The Darlings on The Andy Griffith Show.)
Allan broadcasts from his home near Huntsville, Alabama. He always asked for listeners to call or write so one day I picked up my cellphone somewhere north of Clay County and left a voice mail. “Hey, Allan, this is Frank Phillips from Brazil … Indiana,” thinking someone in Alabama might not know there is a Brazil in Indiana and that might be funny to hear. (When you spend that much time on the road, it doesn’t take much to be a source of humor.) I left other comments as the months wore on.
Allan played one or two of my voice mails on his podcast and I wished we lived closer to the town where a Mayberry event was scheduled.
Eventually, I heard an interview about the Mayberry Café in Danville, Indiana. Then I learned about a Mayberry event coming there, a city practically outside my front door!
I told Linda about it and we decided “someday” we would go to the Mayberry event in Danville.
This year we made it!
It was fun. I’m used to taking photos and doing interviews at such gatherings. But Danville is far enough away from Brazil I could just go and enjoy life as a tourist.
Meeting Allan was at least as much fun as interviewing a former Miss America (Vonda Kay Van Dyke,) or singer Bobby Goldsboro or Gov. Eric Holcomb while he was running for the U.S. Senate. (Just kidding about the governor — politicians are not that much fun to meet.)
Everyone says they wish our country would get straightened out. Some try to do so through religion and building super mega churches. Others try to do so through working for political reform. And some try to do both at the same time.
Most of us would like to visit Mayberry, maybe spend a weekend there. Maybe move there.
Of course, Mayberry is a fictional town in North Carolina.
I believe I heard on Allan’s podcast that Andy Griffith once said Mayberry was a town in the 1940s and the 1960s at the same time.
While TV reported race riots and Vietnam protests in the 1960s in our world, the most trouble that Andy and Barney encountered was breaking up moonshine stills or teaching kids not to steal apples or break out the globes on street light poles.
Yes, most of us would like to live in Mayberry. Except there would be no Google, no Facebook, no Twitter, no podcasts.
It might be worth it.