MOUNT AIRY, N.C. -- Doug Reeves parked his station wagon at the meterless curb on Main Street, leaving it open and unlocked -- you can do that here -- and walked through the door of Floyd's City Barber Shop.
There, like an old black and white television rerun come to life, the customers looked up, put down their magazines and joined in friendly banter: How's the family ... Good to see ya ... Yer lookin' well ... Thank you, kindly.
Back home after eight years in Nashville, Tenn., Reeves wasn't looking to get his well-moussed silvery mane touched up; nor was he looking for Floyd the barber -- for he knows no Floyd exists.
Instead, he was checking on sales of his new CD, a collection of songs about Mayberry, the fictional North Carolina town in "The Andy Griffith Show" -- modeled after Mount Airy, some maintain -- where the pace was slow, the people friendly, and the problems, well, never so serious they couldn't be solved in 30 minutes.
As Reeves sees it, Americans, especially since Sept. 11, 2001, are aching for the simple, secure, wholesome and worry-free life that Mayberry epitomized.
So, taking a couple of songs from other writers and writing or co-writing eight more himself -- songs such as "Ernest T., Don't Throw That Rock at Me," "It's Sunday (Aunt Bee), Fry That Chicken," and "One Bullet Man," an ode to Barney Fife -- he assembled his first CD, "Searching the Map for Mayberry."
It starts off with a narrative, backed by the mournful strains of a dobro: "In today's world, more so than ever before, people are searching for a Mayberry," Reeves says. "Is Mayberry a fictitious town? Well I don't think so, because I'm from there."
Reeves released the CD, under his own label, a few weeks ago and commenced to marketing it -- taking it to the local AM radio station and talking local merchants, like the owner of Floyd's, into selling it.
There, on a recent weekday, the barber who is not Floyd, longtime shop owner Russell Hiatt, left a customer in mid-haircut to share small talk with Reeves, and report that sales were brisk:
He does, at least, in Mount Airy, the town of 8,500 that lays claim to being (and has increasingly marketed itself to tourists as) the inspiration for Mayberry.
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