After dinner in the nearby town of Dobson, everyone returned to the Mayberry Motor Inn and joined those who were not with us for dinner. Fans gathered around the gazebo and enjoyed trivia led by Ken Junkin, the Otis tribute artist.
Several presentations were made, the most important being Steve Jackson receiving the Mayberry Appreciation Award from the members of the rerun watcher’s club. Steve did a lot of work not only for the meet up but also for a small town festival held in Danville, Indiana called Mayberry in the Midwest. He also made keychains for everyone inspired by Barney’s single bullet he usually carried in his shirt pocket. Steve’s award was unquestionably well deserved.
I was surprised to be called before the group by Dewey Lamb who thanked me for the posts I do on The Gomer and Goober Pyle Comic Book Literary Guild and my contributions to Allan Newsome’s Mayberry podcast. Dewey gave me a wooden sign he made with the name of our Facebook group and my name. The gift was completely unexpected but surely appreciated.
After the games (which also included a “Mayberry Murder Mystery”) and door prizes, it was finally dark enough to watch episodes of the show under the stars. It is always a different experience to watch with a group. Maybe the nicest thing of all was being with a group of like-minded folks all gathered for the same reason. No one talked politics. No one talked religion. No one incessantly checked their cell phone. No one updated others about the national news of the day. Everyone simply enjoyed one another’s company and watching classic episodes together.
The following afternoon, many people went to The Andy Griffith Museum to attend a lecture by Prof. Neal Brower. Neal is the author of the excellent book Mayberry 101 and he conducts a presentation every year at Mayberry Days called “Prof. Brower’s Lecture.” He also does three presentations over the summer at the museum. I was really happy to finally be able to attend one of the summer lectures. As always, it was an informative and fascinating event, but a highlight had to be that Neal was wearing one of our Facebook group t-shirts!
The second evening, food was ordered in and everyone ate together around the gazebo. A group photo was taken followed by more trivia until Mother Nature decided to attempt to spoil the evening with lightning in the distance. Everything was hastily disassembled, folding chairs were put away, and that could have been the end of the evening. Instead, roughly 25 of us stayed outside sitting in the gazebo while the rain gently fell and just had an evening of fellowship. Allan told stories of experiences he has had as a result of being the Floyd tribute artist and spoke about his podcast. At one point, Dewey started a round of people each giving one of their favorite lines. Mine? It’s impossible to pick a true favorite but I have always been amused by a more obscure line delivered flawlessly by Don Knotts in Season 1. Upset with Andy, Ellie Walker said she would go to the church picnic with the first man to walk into the drugstore. When Barney walked in he was taken aback when Ellie authoritatively told him that he would be escorting her to the picnic. Afterward, he looked stunned and said, “I just come in for some foot powder.”
At the end of the evening, while I had enjoyed watching episodes together Friday night, the gathering under that gazebo was so enjoyable I found myself thankful it had rained.
I had to leave relatively early the next morning so Saturday night was the end of the Meet Up for me. It was a drastically different experience than Mayberry Days, but an experience I heartily recommend and that I plan to repeat.