Monday, April 20, 2015

It's MAYBERRY Season

Football is over…Basketball and Hockey is winding down…Baseball is in the early stages of their season…so what season is next you ask?  It’s Mayberry Season.

The anticipation of getting to a Mayberry Event is so exciting.  Many times the anticipation of an event builds to such a high level of expectation, that the event itself seems anti-climactic.  Not so with a Mayberry event.  The “season” is upon us as we start the spring and summer months and move through the major Mayberry Festivals.

Here’s what’s in store for you this year as “Mayberry Season” kicks off: 

Apr. 23 and 24, 2015: Eagles’ Wings fundraiser event in Tuscaloosa, AL.  Mark your calendar for this annual event that supports Eagles’ Wings efforts to assist adults with disabilities.  A golf tourney is on Thurs., and the dinner, silent auction, and entertainment, including the Tribute Artists are also slated into the fun.   For info, call (205) 345-5484 or visit www.eagleswingsoftuscaloosa.org.

May 1-2, 2015:  The next event on the agenda as far as major festivals is Mayberry comes to Westminster.  Mayberry tribute artists (including David “Mayberry Deputy” Browning, Allan “Floyd” Newsome, Kenneth “Otis” Junkin, Phil “Ernest T.” Fox, Bob “Briscoe” Mundy, Jeff “Howard” Branch, Keith “Col. Harvey” Brown, and Michael “Gomer” Oliver, Eric “Mayor” Lowery, Tim “Goober” Pettigrew, Christie “Andelina Darling" McClendon, and Bob “Briscoe Darling” Mundy”).  There will be look-a-like contests, trivia contests, Mayberry food, memorabilia, parades, car shows, music, Tribute Artist shows, concerts and “stars” from the Andy Griffith Show in Westminster, SC. LeRoy McNees will be on hand as TAGS alumni and special guest.  ATTENTION:  David Browning's new book, "We have Extra Security Tonight:  My Life as the Mayberry Deputy" will be on sale for the first time at any live event.  You want to be there to get your copy!  For more info, visit www.mayberrywestminster.com or check out Mayberry Comes to Westminster, S.C., on Facebook.

May 15-17, 2015: Mayberry in the Midwest returns to Danville, Ind. Among the festival’s highlights are the parade, the Mayberry Squad Car Nationals, and performances by the Mayberry Tribute Artists. The special guest stars this year are Maggie Peterson (Charlene Darling) and her Darling TV brother, Rodney Dillard, and the Dillard Band, who will do a concert on Saturday. Karen Knotts will also perform her “Tied Up in Knotts” show on Sat. and Sun. afternoons.  Visit www.mayberryinthemidwest.com for more info and updates.

June 5 and 6, 2015: David “Mayberry Deputy” Browning, Allan “Floyd” Newsome, Kenneth “Otis” Junkin, and Christie “Andelina Darling” McLendon are back on the truck (or maybe off the wagon in one case) for Mule Days in Gordo, Ala.

Aug. 22: Rodney Dillard and Maggie Peterson are joined by several of the Mayberry tribute artists (including David “Mayberry Deputy” Browning, Allan “Floyd” Newsome, Kenneth “Otis” Junkin, Phil “Ernest T.” Fox, Jeff “Howard” Branch, Keith “Col. Harvey” Brown, Michael “Gomer” Oliver and Bob “Briscoe” Mundy”).  ) for a concert benefiting the Montgomery County DARE program on Saturday at the James H. Garner Center in Troy, N.C. Tickets for the show are $20 for reserved seats and $15 for general admission.  Tickets for children 6 years-12 years old are $10. For more info, call Jeff Branch at (704) 985-6987, e-mail jbranch205@windstream.net, or visit www.bluegrassintroy.com.

Sept. 20-23: Life Lessons From Mayberry: It’s All There in Black and White in Ridgecrest, N.C. (just outside Asheville) is a Bible study event drawing on the biblical truths and life applications found in “The Andy Griffith Show.”  To register, call Ridgecrest Conference Center at (800) 588-7222 or visit www.lifeway.com/mayberry.

Sept. 24-27: 26th Annual Mayberry Days in Mount Airy, N.C.  This year marks 25th Anniversary of Mayberry Days, and also the 55th Anniversary of “The Andy Griffith Show.”   This is the BIG ONE…the granddaddy of them all. So many events, shows, Tribute Artists, Actual TAGS Stars and concerts…to many to mention here. For info, updates and tickets, visit www.surryarts.org .

These are just snippets from the extensive list of events and special concerts and performances involving Mayberry folks.   All I can say is that the actual events FAR exceeds the anticipation of going to them.  Make it your mission to visit one of these event this year.

For more complete information and ALL of the Mayberry Events, go to the Calendar at www.imayberrycommunity.com.  While there, go ahead and join up to be a part of the iMayberry Community. ..a great interactive site hosted by webmaster Allan "Floyd" Newsome.

So polish up your hats, dust off your good suit, bring your pens and T-shirts, charge your cameras and get ready for some great entertainment and good wholesome fun. 

Thanks and Happy Motoring!  See you at the events!   

 

 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

You Never Know When You'll Meet a Mayberry Neighbor

For those of us who love the Andy Griffith Show…and I mean LOVE the Andy Griffith Show…we probably have some sort of Mayberry memorabilia.  It might be a Mayberry coffee mug, a keychain, a hat, some of the collectible villages or plates, a book, a car license tag or tag frame, an autograph or two with pictures of the shows stars…or even a picture or autograph from the Tribute Artists.  But most likely, the most popular item in the Mayberry Collection is the T-shirt.  Most of us have at least one or two.  I’ve either shrunk some of mine through repeated wash and dry cycles, or have just plain worn them out.
 
We have T-shirts for our Official TAGSRWC Chapter, shirts with the different characters and famous character quotes on them, shirts with the iconic places and stores we visit at Mayberry Days, and of course the souvenir shirts from the events we attend.  Even if you don’t find yourself at any of the events, you can always visit old Ben Weaver over at Weaver’s Department Store (www.weaversdepartmentstore.com).  Lots of memorabilia, hats and shirts there.

One of the things that is so much fun about being at a Mayberry Event is looking at all of the great T-shirts.  Another thing I like about the Mayberry Events is this…as you think of lines from the show and throw them out, you know that everybody there pretty much gets every line you.  They know who said it and may even throw a line back at you.  For example if you’re walking down the street and somebody says, “Nip it”, everybody there knows what they are talking about.  You are sort of “braced” for the quotes and lines.  Last year at the Mayberry Days Parade, as I am walking in the parade as my Tribute Artist persona, Col. Harvey…I hear a shout from the sidewalk, “Hey Colonel…What time do the Indians eat?”   Of course I had to respond in kind with, “Indians? Oh….well, they eat most anytime…6:35…7:00…7:15.”
 
Now it’s quite different when you are back home, going about your day to day routines.  You, as huge fan, see Mayberry in lots of things and circumstances, but you don’t usually expect to hear a Mayberry line out of the blue…and I didn't...at least not until today.

This morning, as I was filling up the gas tank, I was leaning back on the side of my car, daydreaming about the day to come, waiting on the auto stop of the gas pump handle to click off, letting me know that I now had myself an “F” as opposed to having myself and “E” like when I first pulled up to the station.

Here’s where it gets good.  As I finished and was racking the handle, I looked over to a guy that was also finishing his gas purchase, and gave the customary nod, as we guys do.  I said something trivial like, “Gas prices were better last week. Hope they stay low.”  He replied to me as he was getting in his car and about to close the door, “Yep.  Depending on how many times the pump goes ‘ding.’  $2.10 a ding.”  By sheer instinct I said, “Water and air is free.”  He laughed, closed his car door, and drove away.

I don’t know his name. I’ve never seen him before. I don’t know if I’ll ever see him again. But this I do know…you never know when you’ll meet a Mayberry neighbor.  And I wasn’t even wearing a Mayberry T-shirt.  “Thanks and happy motoring!”

Have a Mayberry Day,

Keith
(aka Col. Harvey)

Monday, January 12, 2015

A Mayberry Cure for the Holiday Blues

I look so forward to the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons.  All they hype, the excitement of children, the tree and house decorations, the nativity, the services at church, family and the giving.  I pour a lot of my efforts into giving.  I don’t necessarily focus on the monetary values in the gifts I give, but try to focus on people.  How can I serve my family and friends?  What acts of kindness can I do for them?  How can I serve or give to total strangers or to organizations that benefit those less fortunate.  How can I spread joy of the season?

In doing so, as previously mentioned, I really pour myself into projects and making others happy during this time.  And after the holidays are over and we ring in a New Year…what happens?  A lot of people get a little depressed…they get down on themselves and life...they get the holiday blues.  And then it hit me.  Why do I just have to practice giving and sacrificing myself for the good of others just during the holidays?
 
For me, and I bet for a good number of you, the giving is the best part of the holidays.  It just makes you feel good.  Remember old Ben Weaver in The Christmas Story from The Andy Griffith Show?  Everybody else in town was so cheerful and happy…but not old Ben.  He was determined that he was going to remain miserable, and worked hard at trying to bring others down to his level of unhappiness.  On one or two occasions, Andy almost went over to the “dark side”, but fortunately, Ellie Walker was there to steer him back to a cheerful heart.
 
By not giving in to the negative attitude that Ben Weaver was putting out there, Andy and the crew eventually managed to force Ben into letting down his guard and “allowing” himself to be happy.  The turning point was when Ben fell off the crates in the alley, and Andy went to investigate.  Seeing Ben on the ground and asking him, “Ben, what in the world are you a’doin?”  Then glancing over to see the overturned crates stacked up as a step up against the jail cell window, as Ben lashed back, “Aww you’re crazy.  Why would I want to…?”  Then Andy interrupts and asks, “Yeah…Why would you, Ben?”

In the scene that follows, Ben brings his suitcases into the jail as Andy brings him in for Disturbing the Peace.  Barney is asked to inspect the contents to be sure the prisoner didn’t bring in anything illegal.  When the suitcases are opened, all of the gifts he brought from his store were revealed and passed out.  Although Ben gave out his gifts with a little gruff, he still did it with a cheerful heart.
What can we take from this blog and this episode? How can we fix it so we don’t feel so down after the holidays?  One:  be a cheerful giver all year long.  Find ways to devote your time and talents to those who will not only appreciate it, but will benefit from your efforts as well.  Two:  Be appreciative of those in your life that “steer” you back to a cheerful heart.  Three:  Stay persistent in your quest to be happy.  The negative people want others to be negative with them.  Stay strong.  Four:  Be a cheerful giver all year long.  Do things for people all throughout the year.  Don’t be afraid to let your guard down, so others can see you for the nice person you are under your exterior persona.  Giving all year will make you happier.  Five:  Learn to associate with positive, uplifting and fun people.  Ben Weaver finally did, and it brought him a great deal of joy.  You can easily associate with this kind of person if you spend any time in “Mayberry.”

So this year, decide to be happy.  Decide to share your talents and time with others.  Decide to finally make one of the Mayberry Events.  Decide to join one of the Mayberry related Facebook Pages…there are several out there:  I Miss Mayberry; Mayberry After Midnight; Mayberry, Our Favorite Hometown; and TAGSRWC “Only one word I can think of…Big” to name a few.  Join some of the Mayberry websites like the iMayberry Community at www.imayberrycommunity.com  I don’t have time for all that social media stuff you say.  It doesn’t take that much of your time, and it’s certainly more uplifting that many of the social media sites out there.  Go visit the Events Calendar and find a Mayberry Event near you.  “Thanks, and Happy Motoring!”

Have a Mayberry Day,

Keith
AKA:  Col. Harvey


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The HEART of Mayberry

I had the privilege of attending another Mayberry Days in Mt. Airy on the last weekend in September just a week ago.  As I return to my work and everyday life routine, I can help by think back to the excitement and anticipation of the events getting underway on that Friday morning.  As I sat down to breakfast at the bed and breakfast where I stayed, there was one couple there that had attended 15 or more Mayberry Days events.  We had met before, and always enjoyed our time together at the table.  But on this trip, there were lots of folks that were experiencing Mayberry Days for the first time.  That is just about as big a thrill for me as going myself.  

There was a couple and then three ladies traveling for a “girls” weekend from Florida.  It took them a few minutes to realize that I was the guy who portrayed Col. Harvey as a Tribute Artist at the events…but after that we got back to talking about the particulars of what brought us all together.  We all shared how we began watching the show as kids, when we really started loving it, and how we came to make the trip this year.

The consensus was of course the love of the show’s characters, the humor and the life lessons.  There was emphasis on the values taught on the show.  There was discussion of “the good old days” and simpler times when everybody spoke to one another as they passed.  There was discussion about how the world has changed so from the times where we felt safe walking down the street at night.
I enjoyed hearing them respond to my questions on Sunday morning, “What did you like best about your Mayberry Days experience?”  “What was the thing you were most excited to see or do?” “What experience can you not wait to share with friends and family when you get back home?”  The answers were a little different among the group.  Some liked the Parade best. Some liked the Museum the best.  Others liked the Mayor’s Proclamation, and still others liked Col. Tim’s Talent time, the Trivia Contest, the concerts and performances by the stars.  Everybody liked the interaction with the original cast members…the true Stars, and the fun they had with the Tribute Artists.  I made some new friends, added some more Mayberry folks to my Facebook Friends page, and got to visit with friends from before.  It’s pretty cool that when you’re at a Mayberry Event, everybody gets it…everybody knows the lines…everybody is in sync.

I have known for years…that the “heart” of Mayberry was the kindness, the welcoming spirit, and the compassion.  I know Mayberry as a place where we can step back in time, and actually bring some of that past to the present.  It is a place where as Barney says something like the following in the episode, Andy on Trial, “That’s because of something he’s been trying to teach me ever since I started working for him…and that is when…you’re dealing with people, you do a whole lot better if go not so much by the book, but by the heart.” 

Unfortunately, there was an incident that occurred, reminding us of the sad times where trust is broken and a person’s heart, although right smack dab in the middle of Mayberry Days, a person shattered our notion of this being a euphoric place.  One of our dear friends, a fellow Tribute Artist’s wife, was sitting on a bench during Mayberry Days eating a sandwich.  As she enjoyed the great weather and conversation with friends, a person from the area decided to steal her purse.  The crook was smooth and bold, taking advantage of a slight diversion to calmly pick up the purse and walk off, as though it were hers and nothing in the world was wrong. Thanks to modern technology and the cameras around town, the thief was caught and most of the items were recovered.  Credit Cards had to be stopped, and other identifying information had to be safeguarded.  It was a lot of trouble and quite an ordeal, as you know the anxiety something like that causes.  There was a considerable amount of cash that was not recovered.  These folks had all of their traveling money taken. 


Here’s the good news.  In no time at all, a campaign was underway with donations to get them back on their feet.  They had no idea that there were others taking such action.  I know and the others close to the situation know that there were many “Mayberrians” who stepped up to lead this charge and those who donated willingly and without hesitation to help them out.  You KNEW it was the “heart” of Mayberry when the victims were given the gift to help them out in their time of need, and you saw the gratitude in their faces.  Names of those who donated or helped organize and collect donations are not important here, but the ‘heart” is…just like Barney said.  

Have a Mayberry Day,

Keith aka Col. Harvy)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Andy Smoking on Tags

 Several folks have asked over the years, how many times and in which episodes was Andy seen smoking  on The episodes of The Andy Griffith Show.  This blog isn't so much a "blog" as it is the findings about this question that is asked so often.

Now the list below is not an "Official" report, yet just the compilation if what I and a few friends from my TAGSRWC Chapter, "Trivial Trivialities" have put together.  So, to my friends in the iMayberryCommunity.com, and my FB friends from the groups,  "I Miss Mayberry"..."Mayberry, Our Favorite Hometown" ... "TAGSRWC. Only one word I can think of...Big".... and "Mayberry after Midnight"... Here you go:

1  Quiet Sam ( after baby)
2  Jailbreak (on bench in front of Courthouse)
3  Wedding Bells for Aunt Bee (on porch)
4  Three's a Crowd (at Mary's house)
5  The Bookie Barber (with Floyd)
6  Mr.  McBeevee ( after talking to Opie up in his room)
7  Opie's Rival (waiting on Peggy)
8  High Noon in Mayberry ( at home after Luke Comstock called.)
9  The Great Filling Station Robbery (When Gomer tells Andy gas is 30 cents a ding)
10 the Cow Thief (While waiting with Fletch for the Mayor, Upchurch and Barney)
11  Prisoner of Love (home on porch)
12  Cousin Virgil - (back room of the jail waiting for Virgil to get Otis out of the cell!)
13  The Clubmen - (At the very beginning, Andy is seen with a cigarette as he and Roger  
              Courtney pull up to the court house after fishing.
14  Gomer the House Guest - (in this one he smokes IN BED - a BIG no-no)
15. Smoking Peace "Pipe" with Barney in The Pageant.

If you know others, please leave it in the comment section at the bottom if this blog.  
Don't forget that two big Mayberry Events are coming up:  
Aug. 22-23...The Cruise-In and Concert...Oakboro and Troy, NC
Sept. 25-27...Mayberry Days...Mt. Airy, NC

Thanks and "Happy Motoring!"

Keith
"Col. Harvey"

Sunday, July 6, 2014

What Are The Good Old Days?

Do you sometimes long for "the good old days?"

Many a day over the years, I have had occasion to feel like I just wanted to be somewhere else besides where I was at the time. I will also find myself wishing I could go back to "the good old days." The truth is, we really just want to experience the peaceful and fun times of years gone by.

The good Lord has a way of letting us remember the good times a lot more clearly than the bad times. Oh, we remember the passing of loved ones, the times where we experienced misfortunate times, but for the most part when folks say they wish they could go back to "the good old days," here's what I think we are doing:
We are longing for a simpler and less complicated life. We want to see old friends, as we remember them. We want to live a more carefree existence. We want to revert back to our fond childhood memories. We want to make people as happy as we once were. We want to belong and to share with others so they will also belong. We want to remember the times when we could walk down the street in the evening a fad feel comfortable and safe. We want to be able to go into our homes without having to lock up our cars. We want to go to the store without having to lock our house up and punch in the Alarm Code. We want to walk down the street or around the block and know all of the neighbors, which house was there's and which kids belonged to them.

My friends, we are looking for Mayberry. I don't want to assume that I am speaking for all, ...but getting to participate in Mayberry Events as a Tribute Artist (Col. Harvey), I get to share a little bit of Mayberry with folks. I get to see folks smile and laugh. People seem to relax, have fun, and for just a little while...are "back in the good old days."

So as much as we Tribute Artists get to do for the Mayberry faithful, know this: I suspect all of the Tribute Artists get as much out of interacting with you as hopefully you get from this group of re-enactors. So feed us lines from the show as we walk by. Make sure you take in one of the Tribute Artist's Shows at the events. Stop us and let's take a picture together. Come shake hands, collect and autograph or two, and revert back to a simpler day and time with us. If you get an opportunity to attend a Mayberry Event, even if you have to drive a little distance to get there, do it. Here's an event calendar- http://tagsrwc.com/the_ebullet/mayberry-event-calendar/

And for just a little while over the weekend events, we get to retreat back into our "child-like" personalities and share Mayberry with you...and we get to remember "back in the good old days."

Have a Mayberry Day,
Keith
(Col. Harvey)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

It's HARD to BEAT a Mayberry Event!


Everybody longs to be a part of something.  Everybody wants to contribute to their family or circle of friends.  Everybody wants to be valued. Sheriff Andy Taylor made that happen for the residents of Mayberry.  He did it for Aunt Bee in the very first episode, The New House Keeper. He did it for Opie in Mr. McBeevee.  He did it for Barney over and over; Lawman Barney, Crime Free Mayberry, Barneys Sidecar, on and on, and on. He even did it for old cranky Ben Weaver in The Christmas Story episode. 

 

Three days in Westminster gave me insight to another layer of Mayberry Magic.  My wife was not able to attend the Mayberry Comes to Westminster event with me this year.  She hosted a group of her college friends at our house for the weekend.  They had a great time “catching up” with them. Meanwhile, some 260 miles northwest of my home on the beautiful South Carolina coast, I was also having a great time...at another event celebrating our favorite "Home Town."

 

Most traveled with their spouses and or families to the event.  After all, it is a family event.  Some of us traveled alone to this event.  Now I say this, not to make those who did not travel feel bad in any way.  There were those that had other events, previous commitments, recovering from illnesses or even surgery.  Whatever the reason. I know for a fact it wasn't that those folks didn't want to attend. 

 

While at Mayberry Events, we enjoy parades, pageants, car shows, special breakfast events and dinners, silent auctions and shopping for Mayberry paraphernalia, Tribute Artist Shows, Trivia Contests, special musical guests, and especially those stars from the original Andy Griffith Show cast, and their families.  At the Mayberry Comes to Westminster (MCTW) event on May 2-3, we had the wonderful Karen Knotts, in her one woman show; paying tribute to her dad, the great Don Knotts.  We had Rodney Dillard, of the original Darlings from the show with his lovely wife Beverly and the Dillard Band, entertainment was nothing shy of awesome.

 

Now here's where I talk about the other STARS of the weekend...and to the layer of Mayberry Magic I spoke about earlier.  The merchants and residents in Westminster opened their town to us, just as if they were bringing guest into their homes.  The merchants and sponsors who support this fantastic festival are to be commended and supported.  Local stores and eateries were friendly and accommodating. Organizer Tom Rusk and his wife Kathy welcomed us into their home on Friday morning for a “Brunch” and time of fellowship for the Tribute Artists and the special guests, original cast members and grand marshal of the event.  The Rusk's pour their heart and soul into this event and it's always well planned and runs with efficiency. Mrs. Rusk commented as to the dedication of Tom to make this event great when she said, “Starting around February or March, Tom and I don’t see each other as often…he’s so heavy into the planning of the event.”  I’m sure Mrs. Rusk stays pretty busy herself with the event…we all know that behind every good “Mayberry Man” is a “Mayberry Woman.”

 

The rest of the STARS are here:  Being one of the newer Tribute Artists on the block, (as Col. Harvey) this group has welcomed me in and adopted me as a part of that close knit family.  We spend a good bit of time at the events together, either on stage, in parades, just walking around town, or in the hotel lobby.  We share fun times, meals and stories, like families do. We rehearse so we can bring fun and memories from The Andy Griffith Show to life for everyone.  We support and encourage one another, like a family should.  We engage with the festival attendees and recreate scenes from the show to enhance not only their experience, but ours as well.  And we share the love, compassion, and give personal value to everyone we meet, like a family would.  At any Mayberry event, whether you come alone or with others…what you experience is a step back in time to the wonderful values that make a "Family."  Oh, there are a lot of these values in families today, but it just seems different somehow, when you look back to your childhood.

 

Tribute Artists Barney Fife (David Browning), Floyd Lawson (Allan Newsome), Otis Campbell (Kenneth Junkin), Goober Pyle (Tim Pettigrew), Gomer Pyle (Michael Oliver), Howard Sprague (Jeff Branch), Millie Swanson (Tammy Branch), Andylina (Christie McLendon), Ernest T. Bass (Phil Fox), Salt and Pepper Barney and Thelma Lou (Ronnie and Elease Felker), Mayor Pike (Eric Lowry), Hoggette Winslow (Mike McLendon), Briscoe Darling (Bob Mundy), Col. Harvey (Keith Brown), and others would love to see you at a Mayberry Event near you. 

 

If you haven’t had the opportunity to attend a Mayberry Event, find an event closest to you, and go!  When Barney starts tugging at his collar…when he clears his throat…when he starts hitting his fist on the side of his holster…GO!  Don’t wait, just GO! He might count to three; he might miss you…but just GO!

 

Click HERE for the Mayberry Events Calendar

 

Click HERE to go to and join for FREE, the iMayberry Community….where it’s all Mayberry…all the time.

 

 

Have a Mayberry Day,

 

Keith “Col. Harvey” Brown