We stepped back into the 1950’s the other day when we climbed the steps to the cottage-style restaurant in Albany, Georgia called “The Mayberry Diner.” I’d heard about the diner from my Albany sister-in-law, Reggie. So when her sister, Sally, and I went up from Cairo for a visit, Reggie said lunch would be with Andy, Barney, and, of course, Aunt Bea.
I really looked forward to the occasion and was not disappointed. I could hardly pay attention to the small, humble menu for gazing at all the pictures in the two rooms. Sally ordered chicken livers, Reggie a fried pork chop, and I salmon croquettes. At least two of us asked also for the fried green tomatoes. And then I began enjoying more memorabilia while we waited.
I had my picture made between Andy with his sly grin and Barney trying to use his one silver bullet–probably on his own big toe.
There were pictures of Aunt Bea (sometimes spelled Bee) as if she’d just set biscuits on the table. There was Goober all clean from oil and grease but otherwise authentic, and Gomer with his super happy smile, as if he’d just won a million dollars. Opie had that mixed look of innocence and mischief in several pictures, particularly the one posed with Andy, Aunt Bea, and even Helen Crump. Every wall was covered with pictures. Restaurant owners had to hang the television (showing, of course an Andy Griffith episode in black and white) up in one corner.
There were oohs and aahs from the three of us when our entrees arrived. Our waitress was efficient and fun to interact with. The prices were reasonable. And the food was delicious!
I hadn’t had salmon croquettes in a very long time and never deep fried to a golden brown crisp like those. The fried green tomatoes were crisp too and not greasy, made you feel as if fried was healthy! Reggie’s pork chop invited her to pick it up and eat with fingers and the whole restaurant felt like home so why not pick up with your fingers? I think Sally ate every one of her chicken livers, enjoying remembering how much her brother likes them too.
We sat around our table and visited for about an hour and, though there was a brisk business, we never felt as if we were in the way.
There is an authentic Mayberry, a whole town maybe, in North Carolina where it’s supposed to be just a few miles from Mt. Pilot, I guess. But that’s “a fur piece from here” so it’s very nice to find this charming restaurant nearby.
And, by the way, if you don’t want fried foods they have some luscious sounding salads and some desserts to make you “swallow your tongue.”
During our early years of marriage Charles and I looked forward each week to the Andy Griffith show. Later, we enjoyed it with our children. All ages could get a laugh over the “loaded goat” or Barney trying to catch a convict and getting locked up by the convict instead. The show was aired first in 1960 and was carried by CBS until 1971. But the re-runs are still going! In recent years we have laughed our sides sore with our grandson Charles D who particularly enjoys the old fashioned “Andy” humor. Recently he, his granddaddy and I sat around the supper table listening to Andy telling his old stories about football, Shakespeare, and such. Charles D had found them on his smart phone and we laughed uproariously.
You can tell I’m thankful for Andy Taylor (Griffith) and Barney Fife (Don Knotts) who gave us so much good humor, humor that lives on after they are gone.
Laughter is so good. Loosens up right muscles, makes your face relax, gives you a wholesome feeling throughout. And then when I hear Andy singing “How Great Thou Art” it’s like listening to a dear old friend.
Which leads me back to the diner. I snapped pictures of Reggie and Sally relaxing on the charming porch of The Mayberry Diner. I hope to take my two Charleses there soon. A treasure of a place!