Relax….We Are In Mayberry (Musings From a 3 Day Weekend)

For those of you unfamiliar with my life, in addition to being a single woman in my fifties, I am also the mother of two amazing grown daughters. My oldest daughter is also a mom and I have an adorably smart, cute and witty 5 year old grandson. Since they live about six hours from me, we plan small weekend getaways occasionally to visit and catch up on life. This past weekend was one of our visits.

We are not elaborate nor do we plan elaborate things. Our goal is simple pleasures and lots of giggles and memories. Most of which are well documented on social media for posterity.

There are always moments on these trips that cause a pause and for the next few moments, I will recount a couple for you.

Please Wait – For Breadsticks

We are an impatient humanity, growing ever more so by the moment. We want to do everything in an instant. There are drive-thru drug stores where you can pick up your medicine through a window. No time to stop and talk to the pharmacist about how a medicine might actually react to or work for you. We can check ourselves out at the grocery store. Does anyone know the produce code for Gala apples? And did you know that you can actually deposit a check into your bank account just by taking a picture of it using a phone ap? How is that even possible? We are inventing more and more ways to get things accomplished at the snap of a finger.  But all of that is irrelevant when we get hungry. For some reason, beyond my reason, we will suspend our lives for breadsticks and a Caesar salad.

Look, I’m not complaining. I love Olive Garden. I have to admit however, that as we were standing in the crowded lobby on a Saturday evening with an hour long wait, I looked around at this phenomenon that crossed all economic and social segments of our society. A single mom and her small daughter. A family birthday celebration. A lovely young couple on a date. People who needed to eat those breadsticks and those who probably should just stick to the salad. Well dressed. Strangely dressed. Those who needed more dress. That one room contained a micro-universe and at that moment we were all united with the same goal. I know, that’s pretty deep for pasta, but it is true. Within those walls were probably countless red lights run and instant messages sent and still, without fail we all made the choice to stand there and just simply do nothing and wait.

I am not going to say it left me feeling better about the human race; there were no meaningful discussions or problems solved that evening. Just a random acknowledgement that we are not all that different after all. At least not when it comes to those warm breadsticks.

And yet..….I am pretty sure if the pharmacist said we had to stand in the waiting area reading the latest National Inquirer for an hour before picking up our prescription, most of us would just have to itch, cough or hurt, because there is no way we would ‘inconvenience’ ourselves that long! Now what does THAT say?

Let’s Go To Mayberry  - Unless You Actually Have To Go

I am just going to admit this, even though I know it will be unpopular.  I never was a big fan of The Andy Griffith Show. (Please stop throwing things at the computer.) I didn’t hate it; just didn’t love it. But the town we stayed in this weekend was close to Mt Airy and Pilot Mountain. Which, of course, is where Andy Griffith was born and the basis for the Town of Mayberry and Mt. Pilot from the show. So on Sunday we went to check it all out.

Pilot Mountain is in fact that; a mountain. It was beautiful with easy access points for an old woman and a 5 year old. Very nice visit. Nature does not close on Sundays. However, we were not quite as lucky in Mt Airy. Obviously it is the off season and most of the main tourists attractions are closed on Sundays. No Floyd’s Barbershop or Otis’ Jail Cell. Despite that it was still a quaint looking little Main Street, even though quite deserted, so we decided to explore it anyway. We did find a cute General Store type establishment and I had a great conversation with the guy who ran it. He pointed out a few other places we could try. With so few visitors this time of year, business was welcomed. Or so I thought. Now, for anyone who has ever traveled with a young child, you know that certain bodily functions often come up urgently and with little warning. We were in one of those other stores when this happened to us. I have never had any trouble gaining access for these little emergencies so I very politely asked the shop owner if we (as in the child) could use her restroom. Much to my surprise, her answer was a solid No. There were public restrooms at the end of the block if we needed them. Hmmm. I don’t get riled easily and even then I usually keep my thoughts to myself. But we are talking about my grandson here. So in this particular instance I surmised out loud that she obviously did not want or need our business that day and out the front door we went.

Once the crisis was resolved we quite defiantly walked past that store front on to the next one with an Open sign. The lady within those walls was much friendlier. Store was brightly. Prices lower. We felt vindicated. Unfortunately, things again ‘moved’ in a direction that required additional attention. So once again I politely entreated with this lady for the use of her facilities. What? Again with the, No. Again with the end of the block speech. Really?  Somehow I do not believe Aunt Bee would have reacted this way! Barney would have been much more accommodating. With no other recourse except to leave again, we made our way back down to what was becoming a familiar street. And afterwards made our way quickly out of town, our spending money safely tucked in our pockets.  Needless to say I was extremely disappointed in Andy’s home town. The one place where you would expect more hospitality and understanding.  I am fairly certain that I will never again venture into this sad representation of Mayberry. It is not a nice place to ‘go’.  

The rest of the weekend went smoothly. We shopped more. Ate more. And both my daughter and I lost in Putt Putt to a 5 year old. He managed (4) Holes In One! (Can you say prodigy??) Well, I can!

All in all it was a great trip. Most of us have memories of trips and excursions with our children when they were young.  I consider myself extremely fortunate now to also be a participant in these adventures with my grandchild.  I love being a MeMe. 

It is always refreshing to see the world through the lens of a child. It is easy to lose focus of what is important or even become cynical with life around us. But spending a couple of days with a child can restore a sense of joy and wonder in us. We can ride esca-vators and fight with pillows. Jump way too close to edges of mountains and eat M&Ms for breakfast. 

Who needs Mayberry to provide a simpler view of life? I have the eyes of a 5 year old.

Hope Out