Moonshine Madness at the Rest Home

It's Nursing Home Week. In one of the three facilities I visit, the staff has decided to celebrate this with five days of of festivities that center around a "Mayberry Days" theme.

What is it with North Carolinians and Andy of Mayberry?

I walked in this morning to find the social worker dressed as Goober, right down to the high-wader pants, white socks, black shoes and wacky black felt cap. Her face was smudged with gray and green grease stains and when she smiled, well, I hate to say this but she "favored" old Goober right well.

But when the maintainence man walked by with a still on a cart, I had to stop.

It was copper. It even worked, dispensing apple juice through copper tubing.

"Any residents wanting a little moonshine report to the day room," a cheery announcer called over the loudspeaker.

The Director of Nursing was Barney Fife.

It was all just a little too real for one of my old guys.

Laura was sitting in her room when I found her, slowly nibbling on her lunch and shaking her head back and forth, clucking and frowning her disapproval at the day's festivities.

"You know," she said. "This is the heart of Baptist country." She looked at me, making sure she had my attention before she clarified her statement. "Now, I'm not one of them. I'm Methodist. But I'm just sayin' there's lots of Baptists here and they don't approve of drinking."

Laura takes another nibble of her chicken casserole and looks out into the hallway carefully, like she's being careful not to be overheard.

"You know," she says. "I don't think they gave this very careful consideration before they decided to do this. What if word of that still thing gets out into the community? I think there'd be big trouble then. And Sheriff Andy and Barney and the whole lot of them were there, standing right alongside that still, handing out the cups to everybody."

I try to explain the reality of the situation. "Oh, but they were just the staff members dressed up as..."

"Oh, no," Laura says, shaking her head. "It was them alright. I was right up there next to them when they started pouring the juice into those cups. I asked the man where did he get that machine and he said he made it! Well, I said those tubes are copper. How do you know what's coming out hasn't been poisoned from the tubing?"

Laura is now raising questions I hadn't even considered.

"Andy Griffin isn't going to be very happy about this," she says, absolutely certain. "I bet they didn't even call him about it. If they had, he would've told them it wasn't a very good idea. Not in Baptist country."

I try again. "I'm sure they didn't mean any harm," I demur. I try to explain the moonshine is apple juice and it's all make believe but Laura seems to feel this is irrelevant.

"Tell that to the Baptists!" Laura says. She pushes the bedside table away so she can lean closer to me. Suddenly she barks, "Where are we?"

"What?" I stammer, momentarily confused.

"Where are we? What is the name of this place?"

Boy, I think, Laura's really losing it.

I carefully ennunciate the answer, as if I might be breaking bad news to her, in case she thought perhaps we were at her old home or Mars or somewhere else. But when I name our location, it's Laura who beams at me like I'm the prize pupil.

"That's right!" she crows. "And where is Mayberry?"

"In Mt. Airey?" I answer uncertainly.

"Co-rect! This is not Mt. Airey! So how do you think they'll feel up in Mt.Airey if it gets out Andy, Barney and the rest of 'em are all down here drinking out of a moonshine still?!"

I am speechless.

Laura leans in close again, checks the hallway and whispers, "Do you know, one of them standing up there handing out the cups is a minister's daughter?"

I give up.

"No!" I gasp. And here I thought I was the only minister's daughter in the building.

Laura nods. "Yep. A minister's daughter." She shakes her head again. "Poor man! I just hope he's not Baptist!"


Sam said...

Can you hear me whistling the Andy Griffin theme? ;)

Anonymous said...

I don't know about other North Carolinians, but the thing with Andy Griffith and North Carolina for me is the character of Andy Taylor. When I see him, I hear and see the mannerisms and expressions of my father who died 30 years ago. No other show comes this close to rural North Carolina.

Billy Jones said...

Wonder what Andy would think of my tagging you?