Snapshot Of Happiness

Barney Fife impersonator at Mt. Airy’s Mayberry Days

Memories. A solo trip to Raleigh, North Carolina in my new 1991 Ford Probe. There, I met one of the computer scientists who developed digital audio. He had worked on the team that made the IBM 704 computer sing “A Bicycle Built for Two,” and he had built one of the first Windows-based digital audio workstations in the US.

After just five minutes of a demo showing me the miracle of non-linear audio editing, I knew I had to have it. For me, and the rest of the audio industry, this was the dawn of digital. No more tape hiss. No more razor blades and splicing tape. Unlimited “undos” with non-destructive editing. As many tracks as I’d ever want. This, and machines like it, changed everything in audio production.

Driving home through the Blue Ridge Mountains, filled with excitement about how I would put this new technology to work in my little business, I pulled into a small diner in Mt Airy, North Carolina. There was a Blue Plate Special, a plastic checkered tablecloth, and a waitress who told me I might want to drive into town and catch “Mayberry Days.” I did.

It was Andy Griffith’s hometown, all done up with reminders of the TV series their favorite son had made famous. I saw a small crowd of people walking behind a fellow who looked just like – – could it be? Is that really Barney Fife? No, but he was a damn good impersonator. He even had the walk down pat. I slowed to gawk and wave. Then, “Barney” yelled at me in that high, excited Don Knott’s voice “Get that car outa’ here!!” I obliged before he could pull out his citation pad and lick his pencil.

It was one of the happiest moments I can recall, as the past, present, and future seemed all wrapped together in that moment of laughter.

Thought In Memory Of Thomas Brown

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.

J.R.R. Tolkien