A Different America…

The other night I watched an old episode of The Andy Griffith Show, which was first aired January 14, 1963. Fans of the series voted that particular episode their favorite, and for good reason.

It’s a story about redemption and appreciation of life’s simplest but best gifts. The title is Man in a Hurry, a story about a city fellow whose car breaks down in Mayberry en route to an important business meeting in Raleigh. Though the episode is fifty-one years old, it shows a man who has become in our own time a universal character of brusque, impatient, insensitive, and assertive behavior. He can’t appreciate the simple tranquility of a rocking chair on the front porch, peeling an apple, or even conversation with other people about anything but business and making money. He has become a classic symbol of break-neck speed in getting nowhere, a man whose blood pressure could probably make him explode at any moment.

However, when confronted by sincere kindness, generosity, and good will from the people of Mayberry, the man changes in a way that still moistens my eyes at every viewing of that episode. At the end of the story, he is a different person, one, who perhaps for the first time since his childhood encounters the value of kindness for its own sake and the sincerity of people of compassion. The power of the story hasn’t been dulled by the years but has instead only intensified for us in a time when the world seems to be in love with speed and instant gratification, even over human relationships and charity. The episode lasts only about twenty-five minutes and is well worth seeing again, even if you’ve seen it many times. It’s beautifully done in every way…right to the final moment of the story on the front porch of Andy’s house. Here is the YouTube link:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9eYPvdL4AE

About John

John Bolinger was born and raised in Northwest Indiana, where he attended Ball State University and Purdue University, receiving his BA and MA from those schools. Then he taught English and French for thirty-five years at Morton High School in Hammond, Indiana before moving to Colorado. He spends his winters in Pompano Beach, Florida. Besides COME SEPTEMBER, Journey of a High School Teacher, John's other books are ALL MY LAZY RIVERS, an Indiana Childhood, and COME ON, FLUFFY, THIS AIN'T NO BALLET, a Novel on Coming of Age, all available on Amazon.com as paperbacks and Kindle books. Alternately funny and touching, COME SEPTEMBER, conveys the story of every high school teacher’s struggle to enlighten both himself and his pupils, encountering along the way, battles with colleagues, administrators, and parents through a parade of characters that include a freshman boy for whom the faculty code name is “Spawn of Satan,” to a senior girl whose water breaks during a pop-quiz over THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS. Through social change and the relentless march of technology, the human element remains constant in the book’s personal, entertaining, and sympathetic portraits of faculty, students, parents, and others. The audience for this book will certainly include school teachers everywhere, teenagers, parents of teens, as well as anyone who appreciates that blend of humor and pathos with which the world of public education is drenched. The drive of the story is the narrator's struggle to become the best teacher he can be. The book is filled with advice for young teachers based upon experience of the writer, advice that will never be found in college methods classes. Another of John's recent books is Mum's the Word: Secrets of a Family. It is the story of his alcoholic father and the family's efforts to deal with or hide the fact. Though a serious treatment of the horrors of alcoholism, the book also entertains in its descriptions of the father during his best times and the humor of the family's attempts to create a façade for the outside world. All John's books are available as paperbacks and Kindle readers on Amazon, and also as paperbacks at Barnes & Noble. John's sixth and most recent book, Growing Old in America: Notes from a Codger was released on June 15, 2014.
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One Response to A Different America…

  1. Jim says:

    Just stumbled across this blog post while searching for Mayberry info. Beautiful blog post John. I often lament the loss of simpler times and wholesome values.

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