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Another Day in the Country

Living in Mayberry RFD

© Another Day in the Country

My son-in-law loves watching old reruns of “The Andy Griffith Show.” In this way, my grandson has been introduced to Mayberry, RFD, the mythical town that I secretly hoped Ramona would turn out to be like when my sister and I moved to Kansas the year of the millennium.

One of the more recent shows we watched was about a meeting of the Mayberry town council. It was quite a hoopla with the mayor attempting to sway the council’s opinion on whether the town should get rid of a defunct cannon in the park. (Maybe you remember that episode.) The vote kept flying from one extreme to the other, depending upon who spoke last, and the mayor was trying to keep up, like a cowboy riding a bucking bronco.

At one point, I mumbled, “It sounds like town council in Ramona.”

“Really?” my grandson piped up. “Is it really that bad?”

“Worse,” I said.

He wanted to know, since he had never sat in on a town council anywhere, how it could possibly be worse.

“Trust me,” I said, with a wink.

Right about then, it hit me. I had always wanted Ramona to be a Mayberry RFD in the middle of Kansas, and here it was, all along!

As I compared reality to my fantasy of rural life, I remembered the sweet, warm, friendly parts of Mayberry, where issues were resolved within 30 minutes, and I’d forgotten the difficult parts of living in small-town reality, 24/7.

“For sure, Mayberry, has an advantage in that they had a local sheriff,” I said.

“And he’s a really nice guy like Andy Griffith,” my grandson threw in, grinning, “and Barney!”

“And really good script writers,” I thought to myself.

Today, I heard in the news that where a person lives has at least as much influence on your health, well-being and longevity as your DNA has.

I had always been a little concerned about that, moving from California, where the environment is very much an issue for the majority of people, to Kansas, where it seems environmental carefulness is still being explored.

Rural life carries with it the fantasy of being unregulated. It’s the wild west, where independent thinking is supposedly paramount.

Farmers traditionally chaff under “government regulations,” it seems to me. These are wide-open spaces, and it’s often a “new concept” that what we do on our acreage affects everyone else for miles and miles.

“We’ll burn that pile of trees at night,” I heard a country guy say when we first came back to Kansas, “and we’ll throw some of those old tires on it to make sure it burns nice and hot.”

All that pollution just went up who-knows-where, and you killed two birds with one stone. No longer was there junk in a pile, and you got rid of some of those old tires. You guys aren’t still doing that kind of stuff, are you?

In our own small puddle of township, we have a chance of making our neighborhood safer for everyone.

We plant and nurture trees to clean the air. We plant flowers and veggies to share. We clean up our messes and help our neighbors. We watch out for each other.

This wonderful land that we all share is such a gift. Let’s take good care of it.

At the same time, we’re taking care of each other. Surely we didn’t need some scientific study to tell us about the benefits of a healthy environment? But they did one! And sure enough, they discovered something we should have known all along — that the nicer we are to one another, the better our health prospects and the longer we can expect to live in our own little Mayberry RFD, on another day in the country!

Last modified July 19, 2018

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