In my office, every day at approximately the same time, one of my co-workers starts whistling The Fishin’ Hole, also known as The Andy Griffith Show Theme Song. This is a new development, and a bit strange.
You see, a few years back, I met Barney Fife.
Well…sorta. I met the man who is probably the most effective Barney Fife impersonator in the country. His name is David Browning, and he’s as close to the “official” Barney Fife impersonator there is. Even Mr. Knotts approves…
Browning came out to a Cracker Barrel Restaurant in Johnston County to help celebrate its opening. He was funny. Very effective as the bungling lawman. He had the car, the hat, the buggy eyes, the awkward stance…and yes, Virginia, he had the bullet in his pocket. It was a brilliant performance, brilliant enough to make my front page that week. (Sure, it was a slow newsweek. ALL of them were slow newsweeks in Johnston County.) And, frankly, brilliant enough for me to become a fan of the show and a novice trivia buff…(quick, why’d Fife decide he could put an “M.D.” in front of his name?)
Sometimes, I miss Raleigh so damned bad. I miss the incredibly lush quality that the foliage has there. I miss REAL barbecue. I miss being a stone’s throw from Chapel Hill. Hell, I miss Fuquay-Varina, believe it or not. And I really miss it every time I say “hey” to a stranger in this particular metropolitan area just to be walked through like I’m a ghost. So much as open your mouth in some parts of Carolina, and you’ve just shot the next 45 minutes on friendly conversation.
But I can’t ever deny that my spiritual home is D.C. I began the process of adopting this place when I was 13 years old. Visits with Dad showed this generally medium-sized-college-town youngster what the metropolitan life could offer. There’s no decent Thai food in Kent, no expansive art museums where you might actually see a Dali, no public transit. Of course, there’s not much chance that an airplane will end up flying into Brady’s Cafe. I guess a large part of life is picking your dangers. Proximity to the dastardly deeds of terrorists, or, um…boredom? Yep, I think I’ve pretty much made my pick.
But. I really wish they’d stop whistling that.