A Different Look


All of us yearn for them, the nostalgia for the ‘yesteryears’, bittersweet longings for the past. And yet, despite all the pleasantries, the jukebox fawning for “Happy Days”… ‘the Fonz’, and “Opie Cunningham”– this ‘rear view mirror’ stare often offers a starker contrast than our ‘windshield view’ up ahead. 

You’ve heard the utterances of dismay: “Will things EVER  get better? Are you better off today than you were in the past?” 

These are the sentiments that summon the hunger… the tear-jerkers that keep us pining for “Mayberry”, the ‘whistlin’ and the skippin’ of stones at “The Fishin’ Hole”.  

And yet, this wistful view of life’s lemonade is only “half full”; for though this sugary substitute satisfies the tongue, it seldom reaches the bellowing, nor speaks to the source of our pain.      

You see, history must be viewed, not in a vacuum filtered by today’s “friendly 

lens”, but rather, examined relative to its day. 

If you’ve ever purchased a loose diamond… typically they take the diamond and place it against the backdrop of a black velvet, for it is against the backdrop of that black velvet so that the diamond shines.

Consider, if you will, the backdrop of Mayberry, Sheriff Taylor’s town: “the scourge of local moonshiners and out-of-town criminals, the “ill- considered romances and adventures” of Aunt Bee, and the gross “ineptitude” of Barney Fife. This, too, is the Matrix of Mayberry! 

For, in both America’s– ‘small towns’ of the past and in ‘urban hubs’ today– problems occur. People of all eras, cultures, and faiths are fallible and thereby make mistakes. 

Thus, this current ‘revisionism’ of America’s history creates more than ‘Southern Discomfort’, it fosters ‘Global Contempt’. 

For negating or minimizing ‘Misfits and Miscreants’ in the Middle East or the Midwest not only precludes us from the proper perspective of our shared misfortunes and collective inadequacies, it also keeps us pandering longing for a past that never was!  

Yes, the “black and white floor models” of the golden years reflect the SAME reality of ALL generations. Inspiring, yet Flawed and Susceptible to the same challenges of the “colorful wall mounts” today. 

And while yesterday’s “rabbit ears” have been replaced by today’s “Dish satellites”, each serves at the mercy of the storm clouds and rain. 

Most assuredly, when the weather gets bad enough, “the TV ain’t playing”, regardless of the region of the world, or the pixel count and technological advances. 

  There’s a silver lining to the “staticky” screen of inclement weather: however picturesque the past, we must demand a more sober, clear eyed critique. 

Whatever your political persuasion, PLEASE, turn down the random noise and accompanying transmissions of dissent. 


Regardless of your faith, the color of your skin or collar, both– Domestically downed poles and Internationally disconnected wires– just FIZZLE!    

Yes, remember the classics! Revel in their beauty on the screen! Enjoy the banjo and the bluegrass sounds; but, call the ‘Past’ what it is, a “place setting” for its time informal cutlery, crockery, and glassware; simply to be viewed as faint reflectors, and heard as distant receptors of those things behind, never blunting the view of the present nor impeding the sound of those infinite possibilities ahead!

Yes America, our headlights shine brighter when Mayberry is placed in its proper perspective; for, as the ‘Explainer in Chief, Bubba’, might say, “Mayberry is a Metaphor for HOPE!”



Anthony E. Jones is a Grambling native who now reside in  New Orleans.