As noted last time, in 2010 when I attended my second Mayberry Days, I took my oldest daughter’s boyfriend. At the time, Elise and Mike were students together at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
It was a common practice of mine to jokingly (well, sort of…) ask if potential boyfriends of my daughters could answer a few basic questions about The Andy Griffith Show to determine their worthiness. Mike appeared to be a fan early on and brought the subject of The Andy Griffith Show up to me on his own more than once. But was he a true fan or just trying to score points with his girlfriend’s dad?
I mentioned at some point that we should go to Mayberry Days together and he indicated he would like to, schedule permitting. While we did not know until fairly late whether it would work out, in the end, he was able to go. Still new to attending the festival, I had not reserved a room early enough and could not find one in Mount Airy itself. After looking for a place to stay, I was finally able to find a budget motel in a town half an hour away.
I will freely admit that I have stayed in a wide variety of hotels and motels during my life. During my days on a public speaking team in college, we stayed at some fairly decrepit establishments. Those spots didn’t meet my general rule of thumb, which is that all I really need is a clean room. I am not generally traveling to enjoy the hotel but rather the area. I will also freely admit that my wife’s standards are definitely higher than mine and that, as a result, my daughters were not frequently exposed to any budget hotels or motels growing up, which explains the following.
I had made sure the budget hotel (I can’t recall now which chain it was) got good reviews for cleanliness. All the reviews consistently said you would be getting what you paid for (which wasn’t a lot) but that the rooms were clean and bug-free. As this spot was already half an hour away from Mount Airy, I reserved a room there so as not to end up even further away.
Mike and I came down on Thursday to attend a banquet at the local country club which is held on Thursday night as part of Mayberry Days. After getting autographs from many of the celebrities in attendance, eating dinner, and watching a program headed by The Mayberry Deputy, David Browning, we drove back to our motel. Planning to spend Friday exploring Mount Airy and nearby Pilot Mountain, Mike and I were going to turn in relatively early. However, Mike was deep in the courtship phase with my daughter, Elise, and so that night, as he would do each subsequent night, he walked outside to have a half-hour conversation with her.
That first night, Mike returned to the room chuckling. When I asked why he related that Elise initially asked if he was having a good time which he told her he was. She then asked what hotel we were staying in, and he answered her. There was a long silent pause, then Elise asked, “Michael, are you okay?” He laughed and told her the motel was fine at which point there was another long silence. Then Elise said, “Michael, you and I are very different people.”
We really did have a great time at the festival. Mike later admitted he wasn’t sure what the event would be like but by the end of the first day already understood why it was so popular. I am sure getting to meet Betty Lynn (Thelma Lou), Maggie Peterson Mancuso (Charlene Darling), and Elinor Donahue (Ellie Walker) didn’t hurt any.
And as to whether Mike is a real fan, there can be no doubt. He proposed to my daughter the next spring. Mike is currently completing a doctorate at Columbia University in New York City where they live along with my first grandson, Peter. They may live in New York City but my grandson definitely knows that Barney Fife says, “Nip it in the bud!”