When I was growing up, we lived in a community where doors were kept unlocked at night and windows were left wide open (to let the brisk, cool air in). There was never a fleet of SUVs and cars in front of the elementary and middle schools. As children, we used to walk the few blocks (or take the school bus) to go to school. There were no predators lying in wait. Neighbors knew their neighbors. When a family was going through a tragedy or rough time, the neighbors – and, indeed, the entire community – got together and would rally around and offer their kindness and support. Police officers and sheriffs protected us as fiercely as family, if the need arose (although these crises happened so rarely back then). In our neighborhood, these men in blue or brown lived among us, friends to our parents, their children were our buddies.
Back then, the internet did not exist. No one worried about things like identity theft or hackers. There was less room for “he said”, “she said” scenarios. Everyone knew where the lines in the sand were drawn. Everything was much less complicated.
Does Mayberry exist? Or, is it indeed a fictional place, immortalized in a television show?
Recent events in my life have made me skeptical. And distressed. If you read my “Neighborly Love” blog (March 28, 2013), you will learn about the horrible burglary that occurred on our property just before Easter. Recently, we were informed by our dear neighbors (who, sadly, are always the unfortunate bearers of bad news) that the same thieves have struck again… but, this time, they have become more sophisticated, more organized…. assuming our identity. Our neighbors (who are community-minded, compassionate, and fiercely loyal) rallied on our behalf – once again. Since we live at the other end of the country and couldn’t handle this crisis in person, they tried to keep the thieves from removing a vehicle from our property. The authorities were called to the scene and our neighbors were harshly admonished for getting involved. It appears that the authorities were believing the authenticity of the thieves’ story and fake documentation.
This would not have happened in Mayberry.
Thank goodness, there was enough “reasonable doubt” to make the authorities pause and take note. The battle of “he said”, “she said” still continues. I am determined to keep the Grinch from stealing Christmas. Not another spoiled holiday. Not again. This has to stop.
To the thieves: You will be caught. Maybe not today, or tomorrow. Maybe sometime next year. But you will be apprehended and brought to justice, for preying on people in our neighborhood and God knows how many other neighborhoods.
To the authorities: We realize that today’s society has made all of us somewhat jaded. We and our neighbors are not the bad guys. Please leave no stone unturned. These thieves are organized. And they are laughing at all of us, as they sell our tools, valuables, household items and vehicles. They are preying on our weaknesses and absence. They are smirking as they assume our identities, through falsified documents. They are making a mockery of all of us. This ring of thieves needs to be stopped.
To our neighbors: As people of faith, we bow our heads to God, in gratitude for having neighbors such as yourselves. Your integrity, compassion and perseverance are inspiring, and humbling. It makes me believe in the possibility of finding Mayberry. And when we do find that small, communal town, we hope that you will move there as well.
After all, isn’t it the neighbors who make Mayberry what it is?
(Picture taken in 2005)