Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Mama Knows

I grew up in Mayberry. A town where everybody knew everybody else. You went to school and church with them, shopped with them, played with them, and were pretty much involved in their lives, for better or worse. When I was young and wanted to call my dad at work, I'd pick up the phone and tell Miss Sara, "I want my daddy." She knew who I was talking about and would connect me to "the Ford place", the way everyone in town referred to J. R. Smith Motor Company.

I'm not making this up.

Cokes at the Ford Place were six cents for a six-and-a-half ounce bottle, and you put your money in--exact change--and pushed a lever to turn the track so your Coke showed up behind the door you opened to get it out. It was, as they advertise today yet don't deliver, Ice Cold. There was nothing then, and certainly nothing now, like a Coke in that contoured bottle. In fourth grade I was amazed as the rest of my class when Howard Ethington, pastor of the First Baptist Church (the "town church"), showed us an artifact from his recent trip to Israel. A six-and-a-half ounce bottle of Coke with Hebrew lettering on the outside. I could now go to the Promised Land in peace. They had Cokes there.

(Know who Fred Lowery is? I do. He's the guy who whistled the "Andy Griffith Show" theme song. Know what the name of the song is? I do. "Down By The Fishin' Hole". Know the lyrics? I don't. But I know there are some. Mr. Lowery came to my school when I was in third grade and whistled the song. He was almost the highlight of the year, but kissing Kim Keadle took first place.)

As a result of the intertwined relationships my family had with every other family in town, I couldn't do anything--ANYTHING--without my parents finding out sooner or later.

I was walking to town one day with my friend Steve, picking up rocks and throwing them at street signs as I went. When I got home, a police car was in my yard. It was Steve's brother-in-law, Larry, who always played "bad cop". (Opie Pitts was the "good cop." Tubby Usery, the police chief, aptly named for his girth, was our town's Andy Taylor.) Larry said someone on Carleeta Street had called the police and said two boys were tearing up stop signs, and he knew it had to be us because she said there was one tall one and one short chunky one. I was the tall one.

Anytime I got into trouble, the one question I dreaded (and was always asked) was "What would your Mama think?" Apparently it didn't matter what my dad thought, only Mama.

I could go on and on about life in a small town, and I will, just not now. There's something more important to talk about today.

I believe Facebook is the new Mayberry. You'll see the connection shortly.

I got an email from a dear friend today mentioning that my wife's profile was more interesting than my blog. That can only mean one thing: he's seen her Facebook account.

My wife is a very young middle-aged beauty. I'm just not sure she needs to be on Facebook. Her older sister is, a sixty-year-old friend of mine is, older friends of ours are. I don't get it.

I've looked at her "page" a few times. When she first started it, my son said something like the end of the world was near, because his mom had a Facebook account. I've seen some pictures of our college friends on there. It's not pretty. They did not age well, whereas my wife and I, on the other hand, look just like we did thirty years ago. Maybe better.

I'm not sure I want everybody--or anybody--from my recent or distant past to know all the things you can find out on Facebook. On the other hand, I kinda like the idea that I can find out pretty much whatever I want to know about anyone I'd like to find. When I hear about some of the stuff that's on there, I wonder, does their Mama know?

If knowledge is power, then Facebook is an atomic bomb.

I'm scared my mama will find out about Facebook and get an account. She's eighty-one years old, looks sixty, drives like she's in a NASCAR race, and is feisty like a wildcat.

I'm not putting ANYTHING on Facebook. I don't want Mama to know.

1 comment:

Michael Ruffin said...

I had a facebook account for a while but only because I hated to tell people that I didn't want to be their "friend." I finally cancelled it, though, because I got tired of people inviting me to join them in a game of kill the alien or to join them in the cause of trying to save book dust covers from extinction and also because I became uncomfortable with people putting so much of their lives on display.

If they want to do that they should start a blog.