I’ve always been a big Andy Griffith fan and in thinking about his passing, I remembered a 61st birthday party that my daughters gave for me in 1993.  The theme was Andy Griffith and MayberryMayberry fans will recognize these characters and references to incidents from various shows.  This was the invitation (remember Ernest T. Bass meeting his “Romena” at Mrs. Wylie’s house?):

Quoting from my notes in my photo album, “The room was decorated with large, round, colorful decorations such as Mrs. Wylie might have put up for a party for her social group.  There were big platters of dill Havarti cheese, strawberry dip, vegetable dip, potato salad, bagel chips, croissants and baguettes.  There was a huge punch bowl of lemon/grape juice punch and we got to drink out of Shannon’s antique cranberry/chrome cocktail glasses.”

“All the gifts were wrapped in pretty paper with notes attached telling me which Mayberry character had sent something for the celebration.”  What an array of gifts there was and the notes were priceless:

Andy wrote on official Mayberry Sheriff’s Office stationery that he was sending me one of Aunt Bee’s favorite birthday presents, a whole carton of preserving jars.

Opie sent a set of Mayberry trading cards with a note, “Paw says this is a good present for a nice lady like you.  Aunt Bee helped me pick it out.”

Aunt Bee wrote about the time she left Andy alone while she visited Cousin Edgar and Andy had wound up with blisters from the hot pans, so she sent me a sturdy oven mitt.

Barney writes that Eleanora Poultice recommended two classical music tapes – A Carnegie Hall Christmas tape and another by Kathleen Battle.  Barney writes that he “was going to crochet you an afghan in the North Carolina State colors, but we had that gun seminar in Raleigh and I never got around to it.  Well, see you in the funny papers.  Ha ha.”

This note accompanied an “I’d Rather Be Watching the Andy Griffith Show” license plate.  Note the oil smudges on the paper.

Thelma Lou sent a note along with a tin of cashew fudge, “Barney and I really enjoy this when we’re watching TV.”

Floyd, the barber, sent a note that when Ellen Brown was working at his shop as a manicurist, she had left a bunch of bottles of nail polish and he sent one to me.

Ernest T. Bass had his girlfriend, Rowena, write a note explaining he was sending something he has always treasured – a rock and his gold tooth.  “You are my favorite mother figure.  I hope your birthday is more fun than a moonlight possum hunt.”

Daphne and Skippy, the “Fun Girls”, sent a video of a George Raft movie with a note that said, “Last time we were in town, Andy and Bernie told us about this great George Raft movie over at The Grand and you just have to make sure you see it for your birthday.”

Otis Campbell wrote that he thought it was undignified to drink out of a brown paper bag and picked up a special “Dipsy-Doodle” cup in Mt. Pilot for me to drink from.

Bobby Fleet and his Band with a Beat sent a tape of Andy doing his comedy routine from his early years.

The Darlings sent over a tape of the Dillards’ latest hits.

Clara Johnson sent a can of allspice to improve my pickles.

Malcolm Merriweather sent a beautiful English tea set of cup, saucer and “crumpet” plate.

Jennifer and Clarabelle Morrison sent a little Mason jar of their beverage “just for this special holiday (and for medicinal purposes later!)”.

Helen Crump sent a Mayberry Union High sweatshirt which the alumni was selling to raise money for the reunion ball.

The hostesses of the fun Mayberry party:

The happy 61st birthday girl!