The Real Mayberry: Just Passing Through

 

Mt. Airy, NC: The name of this place is Brintles Truck Stop. One of the few mom and pop truck stops that isn’t completely dilapidated, the staff is thoroughly friendly. Then again, what else could one expect in Andy Griffith’s home town? Mt. Airy was the inspiration for Andy’s town of Mayberry on The Andy Griffith show. Floyd’s Barber Shop really does exist here. In fact, a portion of the truck stop is reserved for Mayberry paraphernalia. Everything from Mayberry coffee cups, Aunt Bea’s Cookbook, Mayberry bibs, back scratchers, travel mugs, sheriff badges, thimbles, water bottles, dvds, and more can be found here. The restaurant has been remodeled, the rodents evicted, and flat screen televisions set to Fox News Channel adorn the walls. Supper last night was great. They don’t serve dinner here, only supper, and that suits us just fine.

Reluctantly, I have to leave this quaint little place in a few minutes. The good thing about being a long haul trucker is that I get to spend some time in wonderful towns like this. The bad thing is, I invariably have to move on. But its been that way most of my life, from being a minister’s kid and moving from church to church, to transferring from one base to another in the military, so that the nomadic existence of a trucker fits like a glove.

But I wonder, as these quintessential American small towns fade in my rig’s rear view mirror, are we losing these wonderful little places, or might we be wittnessing a revival of small town ethos in America? Something to think on, as the highway hums beneath 18 wheels, on my way to Maryland today.

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  1. Profile Photo Member
    @

    When I was about twenty I was driving, on Labor Day, from Minnesota home to Texas. My car began to overheat so I stopped in a little Nebraska town. Everything was closed and everyone was at some community observance/parade. I asked the around, was pointed to the town mechanic. He opened up his shop, replaced my thermostat, and only charged me for the parts. I was away inside an hour.

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  2. Profile Photo Member
    @AaronMiller

    I grew up just outside of Houston, but both my parents were raised in the Deep South. I think that’s why I use “dinner” and “supper” interchangeably.

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  3. Profile Photo Member
    @

    If you come up into Maryland on Route 301 instead of the big interstate, blow your horn as you pass through Waldorf. It’s my hometown.

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  4. Profile Photo Inactive
    @GADean
    Dave Carter

    …are we losing these wonderful little places, or might we be wittnessing a revival of small town ethos in America?

    Gosh I hope you are right about the “revival”. The new communications tech ought to help. At my small firm we have three people working out of a very inexpensive office in Western Michigan. One of our major (and much larger) partners has their main data operations in Nebraska. It’s easier to move the data around than the people, and they get to raise their families where the lifestyle and the cost-of-living suits them.

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  5. Profile Photo Podcaster
    @DaveCarter

    Jimmie, actually I have driven down US 301 through Waldorf. It was a few years ago, and I believe I stayed the night at a little place by Newburg, MD. It was enjoyable mainly because I was leaving the DC area. If George Washington had a rear view mirror on his horse, I’m sure the sight of the place fading from view must have been exhilarating to him as well. Today, however, it was western Maryland and then up into Pennsylvania. If it’s any consolation, I did use the air horn a couple of times.

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  6. Profile Photo Podcaster
    @DaveCarter

    Mr. Coyote, excellent video! There’s an internet music service I get through my Droid phone, and I listen to almost every type of music there is. Today though, it was trucking tunes, and that song was included. I think I’ve been to just about every place named in the song. The only state I haven’t driven through is South Dakota, and I’m not convinced I missed very much.

    I appreciate your well wishes, and yes, I stick to the interstate whenever possible. This beast of a truck can be enough of a challenge without gratuitously taking on small roads.

    Stay safe out there.

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  7. Profile Photo Member
    @
    Dave Carter: The only state I haven’t driven through is South Dakota, and I’m not convinced I missed very much.

    Had you said “aware” instead of “convinced,” there’d be some forgiveness in my message. My friend, you’re missing out on America’s greatest transition from Breadbasket to The West. Farms begin to thin into ranches as Case hats play tug of war with cowboy hats across the Missouri River for cattle dieting from feed to grass on ten times the land; pioneer reminders skirt the route such as the Mitchell Corn Palace, 1880 town, Wall Drug (skip that one), and billboard enticements of Deadwood’s gold. The earth begins to crumble and fall out just past John Thune’s Murdo, and by the time Rapid City and its limestone shoulders cradle the rays, you’ll see why bikers to the sunrise of the Great Plains wind through the winter wheat to sleep in the shadows of The Black Hills. There are stretches where NPR passes out into a Hank Williams tribute fuzz, I think you should go.

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  8. Profile Photo Inactive
    @TheMugwump

    Poor Maryland, my Maryland. I grew up in Rockville when I-270 (then 70-S) was a four-lane, divided highway. The last time I was back the interstate had grown to ten lanes with the most bizarre series of on and off ramps imaginable. Dave, you’re lucky you went through on a weekend. Still, I imagine it must have been an experience not unlike negotiating through a herd of charging wildebeests.

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  9. Profile Photo Contributor
    @GeorgeSavage
    Dave Carter Then again, what else could one expect in Andy Griffith’s home town? Mt. Airy was the inspiration for Andy’s town of Mayberry on The Andy Griffith show.

    Dave, unfortunately Mr. Griffith has gone native, the inside-the-beltway form of native.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bu8q0EU4b9w

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  10. Profile Photo Member
    @WyleeCoyote

    Fair winds and following interstates, Mr. Carter.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmFN9C9PVpg

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  11. Profile Photo Podcaster
    @DaveCarter
    Joe Steinbronn: you’re missing out on America’s greatest transition from Breadbasket to The West.

    Joe, okay, you’ve “convinced” me that my remark about South Dakota was unkind. I retract it and look forward to visiting. Besides, any place that can substitute The Black Hills for NPR obviously has its priorities in order.

    George, sadly I’ve seen Andy talking up Obama care. I don’t mean this in a patronizing way, but there are times when some folks reach a certain stage, late in life, when I just smile respectfully, remember them as they once were, and let it go. After a lifetime of smiles courtesy of Andy Griffith, I would charitably draw the curtain on this video and move on.

    ~Paules: Poor Maryland, my Maryland. I grew up in Rockville when I-270 (then 70-S) was a four-lane, divided highway.

    Paules, the worst thing about Maryland today was the heavy weight in the mountains. The scenery was beautiful, but seriously, in the time it took to get up some of those hills, I could have ordered pizza!

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