Spent a few hours in downtown Mt. Airy, NC today. In case you aren’t from North Carolina, Mt. Airy is the birthplace of Andy Griffith and at least to some degree the inspiration behind fictional Mayberry.
Doesn’t take more than a couple minutes in Mt. Airy to figure out the connection. You arrive on Andy Griffith Parkway, drive past the Andy Griffith Playhouse on the way to downtown, where you’ll find Floyd’s City Barber Shop, Opie’s Candy Store, and an endless stream of Barney Fife photos, many life-sized.
But for some reason the whole town reminded me of something else. Trying to put my finger on it. Maybe you can help.
• The town is caught up in how things were done 50 years ago. Plenty of old-timey washing machines and antique stores. No Internet cafes. And I might have been the only person Twittering my experience.
• Lots of places to buy vinyl albums, cassettes, and even 8-tracks. Didn’t see many iPods, didn’t hear much current popular music.
• There was an obvious lack of people in their twenties. There were grandparents, and parents (like Kim and me) who drug our kids there. The only kids enjoying the trip were the ones who’d been previously introduced by their parents to the ways of Mayberry.
Frankly, I’m a little worried about the future of Mt. Airy, as the older folks pass and fewer and fewer young people really buy into “the way Mayberry’s always done it.”
And if I could figure out what it is that the town reminds me of, I’d be concerned about it, too.