Similarities, but we’re no Mayberry

Published 9:19 am Thursday, February 7, 2019

I’ve seen the Andy Griffith show more times than I would like to admit. Most episodes, I can tell what the actors are going to say before they say their lines. It annoys the heck out of some people because on some days, I can’t even remember what I had for breakfast.

But I keep watching.

Yes, Mayberry seemed like the idyllic place.The sheriff didn’t carry a gun, and the deputy only had one bullet and he kept that in his pocket. And other than a weekly visit from the town drunk, a couple of moonshiners and a few out-of-towners passing through, there was no real crime in Mayberry.

I’ve heard some people compare Mocksville to Mayberry.

It’s not, but there are some similarities.

We’ve got crime, drug abuse and bad people. Thankfully, they are in the minority. Good prevails in Mocksville.

Our police officers carry guns, computers and come with plenty of training; unlike Mayberry, when that town drunk was occasionally made a deputy to help keep an eye on crime. What the two police departments (If you can really call Mayberry a law enforcement agency because it’s make believe.) have in common is keeping their people safe.

Mocksville officers are going a step further, making our town in reality a little more like Mayberry.

You may have seen the officers with beards in November. Although it went against policy, that policy was temporarily suspended in an effort to support the Big Brothers Big Sisters program through “No Shave November.” Officers are still participating in that program, helping our young people who may need a positive role model. It’s sort of like how Andy always took time to steer the young people of Mayberry in the right direction.

The first Wednesday morning of every month, Mocksville officers, sometimes joined by officers from other agencies, host Coffee With a Cop at The Factory Coffeehouse in downtown; inviting residents to come by and meet their officers, tell them their concerns, tell them they’re doing a good job, whatever. Remember Floyd’s Barber Shop and Wally’s Service Station? They were Mayberry’s versions of “Coffee With a Cop.” Not exactly the same, but similar.

Let’s not forget Sarge Butters, the unofficial, official spokescat for Mocksville police. He’s a rescue cat taken in by the department, where he lives. Daily, and with some help from an officer or two, Sarge Butters makes Facebook posts, some just for fun, sometimes giving us information we need to know, and sometimes telling us about the accomplishments of other agencies. I can’t help but think if Facebook had been around in the times of Mayberry, they would have had a “spokescat” as well.

Mocksville police held its first Citizens Academy last year. This program gives residents a chance to “shadow” officers, learn their duties and what they go through on a daily basis. Another Mayberry comparison? Andy often took regular folks on patrol, even involving them in solving a crime or two.

No, Mocksville is not Mayberry.

It’s better.

We’re more diverse. We’re more welcoming. We’re more inclusive. We’re real.

Maybe they could make a TV show about us. But that didn’t work in Mayberry. When Hollywood came to town to make a show about the “sheriff without a gun,” everybody changed their looks and lifestyles to meet what they thought were Hollywood’s expectations.

Let’s just be ourselves and keep Mocksville the great place to live that is already is. Mayberry has nothing on us.

– Mike Barnhardt