Dearly Beloved We Are Gathered Here in Mayberry…

As we head into spring and summer we all know it’s the start of wedding season.  I was recently asked to do a reading at a family wedding we have coming up in June.  I agreed to do the reading with one stipulation…I get to pick what I read.

The bride, groom and the pastor will probably still have some input here, but I was thinking of reading from a script(s) of the Andy Griffith Show.  It’s not as farfetched as you might think given that my entire family is as big Andy Griffith Show fans as they come.

The bride is in her mid-twenties and in her second or third year of medical school at the Ohio State University.  So how is it that this northern (Ohio) born and bred young lady with scholarly aspirations come to love a TV show that went off the air 20 years before she was born?

One, she was raised right and was exposed to the show during her formative years by her parents.  Two, the appeal of the show is so universal that it breaks any generation barriers.  And third, the beauty of syndication (reruns) has allowed younger audiences to find the show.  It’s a shame that you can’t find it in regular reruns anymore.  Even the TV Land has stopped playing them on a regular basis.  I guess CD collections will have to carry the show’s legacy forward.  That’s if you can get today’s kids to stop watching Honey Boo Boo and Duck Dynasty long enough to watch a older show.  Don’t get me started on that!

So I did a little homework to find a few of my favorite Andy Griffith Show episodes that dealt with weddings and the institution of marriage.  I want the reading to be relevant and here’s my top 5:

  1. Season 3  Episode 31 – Mountain Wedding
    Ernest Bass makes his intentions known to Charlene Darling and is intent on stopping her wedding to Dud.  This the classic scene where Barney dons a wedding dress with a veil to trick Ernst T and give the real couple a peaceful nuptials
  2. Season 4  Episode 29 – The Rumor
    This episode didn’t feature a wedding per se but Barney, Aunt Bee, and Thelma Lou believed Andy and Helen were engaged.  Barney was the instigator of trouble again here and had the whole town whipped into a frenzy with a surprise engagement party.
  3. Season 4  Episode 5 – Briscoe Darling Declares for Aunt Bee
    Briscoe Darling woos Aunt Bee and carries her off to his mountain cabin.  Again, another episode that didn’t end up with an actual wedding but not for lack of trying by Briscoe.  The dinner table scenes in the cabin with Aunt Bee using he wooden spoon on Briscoe is as good as it gets.
  4. Season 1  Episode 27 – Elle Saves a Female
    A widowed Mayberry farmer doesn’t approve of Ellie helping his daughter discover the nicer things in life.  He wants Frankie to tend to her chores and not worry about fancy cloths and makeup.  Andy finally gets him to understand those things will help her land a husband who will help him on the farm.  We imagine a wedding soon followed for Frankie after the episode ended.
  5. Season 2  Episode 13 – The Framer Takes a Wife
    Farmer Jeff Pruitt comes to town looking for a wife and set his sights on Thelma Lou.  Watching the very nervous Barney try to dissuade Jeff from courting Thelma Lou was great theatre.  Making it even better was that the burly Jeff was the polar opposite of the rail thin Barney.

I am not sure what I’ll do for the reading but the possibilities here are endless.  I wonder if Rafe Hollister would be available to sing?  Or, maybe the Darlings can be the wedding band?

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