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: