When in doubt, count your blessings
When in doubt, count your blessings!
That sounds Pollyannish but think about all we have in Clay County, Indiana, USA.
I read that there are people in some parts of America who live on $5,000 a year and they are happy.
They do without a lot of conveniences — electricity, automobiles, and more. But they are happy.
How can that be?
Hold on to your seats. People were happy before anyone had any of those modern conveniences.
The other night I was going through some of the photos on my smart phone (no, you can’t have a smart phone if you earn $5,000 per year. I never said I wanted to live like that.) I ran across a picture taken last summer at Danville’s “Mayberry Days.”
There were at least a dozen Mayberry deputies walking around (including one who kept hiding his cigarette — Andy smoked but Barney didn’t.) There were musicians playing bluegrass and other forms of country music.
But the fella I wanted to see was Floyd Lawson. Yes, Floyd the Barber was there in person. At least his tribute artist. Allan Newsome, was present.
Allan has a podcast that has been on the air for several years with more episodes than the “Andy Griffith Show.”
When commuting an hour each way to work for several years, podcasts and I communed often. I called Allan’s phone number several times and sent fan mail from time to time.
We missed the first few Mayberry Days in Danville but I was determined to make it last year.
We spent the better part of an afternoon enjoying the make-believe town of Mayberry. I thought I was going to miss Floyd but while we sat, listening to the music, here he came, dressed in white barber’s coat with a pair of scissors and comb in his pocket.
Allan apparently recognized me from my photo on the Web, for here he walked over to us and we shook hands.
My wife got a photo of Floyd trimming my hair and that picture with an autographed Mayberry newspaper hangs in my home office. It brings a smile to my face. These days, you have to take all the smiles you can get!
Anyway, last week, I shared my Mayberry photo along with a few others on Instagram and was pleasantly surprised by the reaction it got from people. Many of those folks I probably don’t know. I couldn’t recognize them by the nicknames they use on Instagram.
Andy Griffith is reputed to have said Mayberry was a combination of life in the 1940s and the 1960s. It’s not a real place and it’s not set in a real time but it makes people happy.
The characters of Mayberry lived without smart phones (they didn’t have dial phones but Sarah was on duty to handle their calls), without big IRAs (Sheriff Taylor once hinted his bank book was in pretty sad shape.) No one was excited about building a new home or getting a promotion, though Barney wanted to be Sheriff.
The kids found delight in dime ice cream cones from Miss Elly at the drug store, riding bicycles, going fishing and from pick up games of football and other sports.
The characters of Mayberry were content and we like to think we can be content. I think we have a much better chance of finding contentment in Clay County than in many other places.
When I sold securities for a short time, I attended a dinner sponsored by one of the companies that sells mutual funds.
During the program, the speaker put a drawing of a modern house on the screen.
“What is different about this house than the ones we used to see?” he asked.
I ventured there was no TV antenna. I heard several people chuckle in agreement. But, the correct answer was “No front porch.”
No front porch for people to sit on and peel apples with a pocket knife or wave at the neighbors as they drove by or strolled by.
I dimly remember that kind of front porch on my grandfather’s home in Winamac.
Grandpa didn’t have a TV, though he loved to watch Red Skelton when visiting family who did.
He had a table top radio and one summer when mom and I went to see him I looked it over and asked, “Where’s the picture?”
Grandpa had lost his businesses in the Depression and then worked in a factory until he was at least 70. He didn’t have a car (I was shocked to learn from a preacher who worked at the college I attended Grandpa had a car back in the ‘20s and had given that preacher a ride one day.)
Grandpa’s luxury was pipe tobacco and cigars ... and slitting on his front porch and speaking to his neighbors who strolled by his small house on Riverside Drive. He also gardened for the fun of it and kept a bowl of blueberries in the refrigerator for his favorite grandson when I came to visit.
We might not have everything in Clay County, but we can be content with what we have.