Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Stupid Me. I Thought Mama and Daddy Did It By Themselves.

I've never been overtly active in a political campaign before this year.

Granted, I voted for Jimmy Carter in 1976, and my Mercer classmate Phil Brock and I were there in Atlanta for the Victory Celebration, right in the front, holding a sign with a grinning peanut on it. It was the opening video for Channel 11 in Atlanta for the next year.

But, this year, I'm ridiculously active.

If I hadn't been before, last week would have made the decision for me.

The Chicagoan-In-Chief made some Off-The-Teleprompter remarks about small business owners that just really set me off:

"You didn't get there on your own," Obama said. "I'm always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.

"If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn't get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet."

Somebody else made that happen.

You know, he's right. Somebody else DID make that happen for Mama and Daddy.

As I wrote earlier this year, Daddy opened his Amoco Service Station in May 1972. But a lot of "somebody elses" helped make that happen.

To answer the President...

It wasn't because Daddy thought he "was just so smart". He did have a wealth of wisdom, however.

It was because he worked hard. It was because he had a "great teacher" somewhere in his life--his mother, who taught in a one-room schoolhouse in rural Lumpkin County, Georgia, until Daddy had to quit in the fifth grade to work on the farm. 

It wasn't because "somebody invested in roads and bridges". They lived on a dirt road, off another dirt road which led to a dirt road which went to town. A road the farmers built because they had to.

When Daddy was trying to open his station, the government did its part. The Small Business Administration (SBA) allowed him to get a loan. He applied four months before he opened and got it after he'd been in business nine months. So much for start-up money. He lovingly referred to them as the "Sonsa Bitches Administration".

He opened at 7am, closed at 7pm, six days a week, running everything by himself. Then he'd come home and Mama would do the books after supper. For seven years.

He helped the government back--paid Sales and Use Tax, Income Tax, Federal and State Excise Tax, license fees, etc. 

Yep, he had lots of help. Just none from the government. Just like today.

I can't stand four more months of this nonsense, much less four more years.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

RIP, Andy Griffth.

As I've said before--many times--I grew up in Mayberry.

While I may not have lived between Mt. Pilot and Raleigh, Barnesville, Georgia, was close enough.

It was a place where you could leave your doors unlocked and the keys in your car. Your one car.

The Andy Griffith Show was a part of our lives, and still is thanks to the proliferation of reruns on any number of networks.

And now the good Sheriff has died at 86 years old.

I remember Opie killing the mama bird, Aunt Bee's award-winning pickles, Barney Fife's one bullet, Gomer's working at Wally's Gas Station (followed by Cousin Goober), and Floyd's Barber Shop.

I remember Juanita down at the Diner, Thelma Lou and Helen, and the Fun Girls from Mt. Pilot.

I remember the theme song (titled "The Fishin' Hole"). We had the guy who whistled the song for the show visit Gordon Grammar School when I was a boy.

I remember Andy never wearing a gun, always in church on Sunday, being smarter than anyone from the city, and his Wellington boots (I had to have a pair).

I remember...

It always seemed like there was a lesson involved in almost every episode, subtle or not. I couldn't name many of these, but I know they helped me.

And doesn't it seem that if you grew up on Andy Griffith that frequently something will happen which reminds you of something you saw on the show? And you wonder WWAD (What Would Andy Do)?

He was the Television's Conscience, and always chose to do the right thing for all involved.

Wisdom seems to be in short supply today. Now, don't get me wrong, there sure are lots of "smart" folks out there who are more than willing to let you know exactly how brilliant they are.

But spouting opinions and espousing wisdom are two entirely different things.  Andy knew the difference.

He was Every Boy's Dad, and the kind of man you'd want your daughter to marry. Helen Crump got to him first.

Barney moved to Raleigh, Gomer joined the Marines, the Darlings went back to the hills, but Andy--and Mayberry--remained constant.

I'll miss Andy. And I miss Mayberry more every day.