Welcome to Mayberry...

Rolling hills, dense woods, lakes..rivers and streams...camping, fishing, boating, hunting, and even snow-mobiling all can be had here where I live - a recreational playground in the center of Dairyland, USA and it is just hours away from many metro areas. It's the kind of area where once you drive through it you wonder what it would be like to live there...that simple life where strangers on the street will wave to passing cars.

You envision a little diner where locals meet every morning for coffee...at one table sits a couple of farmers chatting about the crops this year, while across from them sits an elderly couple enjoying their morning meal. The Police Chief walks in and everyone looks up to give an eager hi, as they go about their morning ritual of coffee and chat.

Where I live that place is called the Busy Bee, and is in the heart of my town. The place mats on the tables are the advertising section of the paper, and it's nothing to look down an find out there's a sale on undergarments - a clearance sale you should act on quickly if you want to take advantage of the savings. Oh, and that refill of coffee....well...just get up and get it yourself.

Simple, and quaint a stranger may think it all is....a life after living in the hustle and bustle of a ever in motion city, may seem like an oasis of relaxation. A place where little festivals throughout the year, along with church socials, provide you with a picture of what a community should be.

It's when you walk out that diner's door I suggest you take a closer look. Pay attention to the store fronts lining that street and you will notice that many are empty with for sale signs in the windows. Take a car ride down the side streets, and pay attention to those old houses that at first glance seem to add to the romance of the area and you will see a bittersweet tale; broken windows, houses in dire need of repair, and children wearing a few too many generations old of hand-me-downs playing in the yards.

You might even notice all those cars parked at what seems to be a community building, and yes look at all those people chatting as they walk in that door; a friendly bunch, yes indeed...what you may not realize is all those people...young to old...are converging at the local food pantry for their once a month stocking up of donated items.

If you get that local paper and look at the classifieds you may be stunned on that low rent of $450 for an apartment, and $550 for a house. It's not because the cost of living is smaller, it's because to live here you must ask for less. Turn that page of the classifieds you will see that there are only a few help wanted ads where the starting pay for only $8.00 per hour, and you better have that diploma to get it.

Realize that to live and work here you HAVE to drive ..there is no public transportation and to drive 100 miles a day for work is nothing out of the ordinary...even when gas prices were $4.00 per gallon.

Know that life has always been like that in this little quaint town - the recent economic downturn is nothing new to the locals as living on less than nothing is a way of life they have always known. Once you understand that, then you will truly appreciate that little diner where coffee and chat is found in the early morning hours; they are there because they need to know and to be reminded that they are not alone here in Mayberry.....Please remember to wave back on your way out as you return to of the hustle and bustle of the city and remember, you too are not alone.


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