Column: What it was wasn't Indiana

Mar. 03, 2014 @ 11:04 AM

Now just a cotton-pickin’ minute here.

Do you mean to tell me that someone is trying to move Mayberry out of North Carolina to some spot way up North?

Uh-uh, naw sir, that won’t do. That won’t do ay-tall.

The Indianapolis Business Journal reports that the town of Danville, Indiana, is planning a two-day “Mayberry in the Midwest” festival in May. The idea apparently sprang from a Mayberry-themed restaurant in the town.

Now, you might not have been able to tell it from the accents of many of the people populating Mayberry in “The Andy Griffith Show” – the mayor, the lady druggist, Barney, Aunt Bee, Otis, the chorus director and any member of the state police who passed through town, to name a few – but Mayberry was set in North Carolina, not central Indiana barely more than a hop, a skip and a jump from the home of the Indy 500, where the cars may all keep turning left but look more like cigars than anything in a dealership’s stock.

Andy Griffith, of course, grew up in Mount Airy and based the fictional Mayberry in great part on his hometown. There has long been a Snappy Lunch there, just like in the show, and you might recall the frequent references in the TV show to the nearby town of Mount Pilot and notice on a map that Mount Airy is very near Pilot Mountain. Mount Airy, in turn, has been a top attraction for fans of the TV show and long ago adopted Mayberry as its alter ago. It hosts an annual Mayberry Days festival, and the actress who played Thelma Lou moved to Mount Airy a few years ago to escape California and settle in to a place where people make her feel like family.

Considering all this, you just have to ask yourself two questions. One: Do the good people of Danville, Indiana, think folks don’t remember that the show was set in North Carolina and won’t notice the decided lack of any Andy-like way of talking in those parts? That hardly seems likely.

Now, what would all those folks up in Indiana think if we down here tried to take up one of their better-known attractions and make like it was ours? Maybe the "World's Largest Ball of Paint" in Alexandria, or the Giant Lady's Leg Sundial in Lake Village.

They might not like it one bit, and who could blame them?

No, right is right, Mayberry belongs in North Carolina, and anyone who knows anything about Mayberry knows exactly what Danville, Indiana, has to do to make this here sitchyayshun right.

Nip it. Nip it in the bud.