By Andy Mayberry
In the immortal words of Barney Fife, I'm going to "nip it nip it in the bud."
If you've been chuckling to yourself since you first heard my name, that's OK. Plenty of other folks laugh aloud, though others never make the connection.
I've heard all the jokes before. So, let me go ahead and set the record straight about a few things - or at least as straight as retold family legend will allow.
For starters, here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions:
Yes, my name really is Andy Mayberry.
No, my middle name isn't "of."
No, my siblings each have "normal" names.
And, yes, I am supposedly named for the sheriff in the 1960s classic television sit-com, "The Andy Griffith Show" - depending on whether you believe my mother's or my father's version of the story.
According to my mother, she had never made the connection between my name and that of the fictional Sheriff Andy Taylor of Mayberry. It was first pointed out to her when I was 4 years old and she was enrolling me in kindergarten.
She went home and asked my father, "Do you realize what we named our son?"
"Sure I do. Why do you think I wanted to name him that?" was the response my mother says she received. My father has since denied making that claim.
Either way, it's a great show, and I'm a big fan. In fact, my wife Julie and I have assembled a pretty nice collection of "Mayberry" memorabilia through the years, including several pieces of Hawthorne's Mayberry Village. And, of course, the classic literary work, "Barney Fife's Guide to Life, Love and Self-Defense" has a position of prominent display in our home alongside my Mayberry High School pennant and Mayberry Trivia game.
But it's the nature of children to take every opportunity to torture each other, and "Andy Mayberry" sure was a tough name to carry as a youngster - especially when combined with the fact that I was the smallest boy in class. (A combination of good home-cooking, bad fast-food restaurants and not enough exercise changed that along the way.) Reflecting upon it now, I suppose things could have been a whole lot worse. After all, "The Andy Griffith Show" was chock-full with names like Opie, Gomer and Goober, all of which give one a much greater appreciation for the name "Andy."
Sometime after junior high school, I started to change my attitude regarding my name. I began to look at it as more than the punch-line to a joke I'd heard a thousand times before it was almost like being tied to a piece of Americana.
What is Mayberry thinking?
In my opinion, "The Andy Griffith Show" is the best television program ever made. If one has to go through life associated with a television show, I'm glad to be linked with that one. To me, it humorously demonstrates the morals, ethics and sense of small-town values I hope my daughters grow up to learn. Trust me, we've got many hours of episodes in our video library for my girls to watch, learn from, and enjoy.
People in Mayberry loved their family, gave praise to God, and helped each other. They helped their friends along with those who weren't necessarily their friends. And they never, not once, asked whether you were a Democrat or Republican before they offered their assistance. Perhaps best of all, they used common sense and worked together to solve problems. That's precisely the kind of thinking and attitude I'd like to take to Washington, D.C.
Reason for Thanks
But if I have no other reason to be thankful for my name, it helped bring me together with Julie.
Back in February of 1997, mutual friends of ours, trying to set us up, had written my name on a piece of paper and given it to Julie. Skeptical about the prospect of a blind date, she unfolded the note to see my name. Her initial thought? "With a name like that, he's got to be a nice guy." Well, at least nice enough to take a chance on a blind date.
Three months later, we were engaged. A month after that, we were married. A little more than two years later our first daughter, Ellie, was born, soon to be followed by her sisters, Katie and Zoe. I don't believe any Hollywood writer could have scripted anything better for me.
You know what? It makes me feel pretty lucky to be named Andy Mayberry, after all.
Thanks, Mama and Daddy, whether I was named for the show or not.
>From the Mayberry.com Web site ...
Q. I have a tape that starts out saying "Andy of Mayberry" instead of "The Andy Griffith Show." Why the name change?
A. During the original run of "The Andy Griffith Show," CBS began to show reruns of the show during the daytime hours. To reduce confusion, they re-titled the show "Andy of Mayberry." When the original run was over, the titles were changed back, but when VIACOM began looking for "uncut" episodes, some of the best ones still had the "Andy of Mayberry" title on them and the tape distributors didn't fix it. They sometimes show up on your local stations, too, so be on the lookout.