Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Friday, April 06, 2018

Snow News Mash-Up

Spring is supposed to be here, but we've had snow a few times lately (see here), and we might get some this weekend. I've noticed whenever it snows that the local (well, nearest actual city—not local to my rural area) TV newscasts forgo other news and devote their show to snow news if snow is expected/falling/etc. It's like nothing else newsworthy is happening in the world. And most of the snow coverage involves numerous newspeople standing out in the snow at various locations and telling viewers that snow is falling.

Because I usually watch the local evening newscasts before and after reruns of The Andy Griffith Show, I got to thinking about how snow coverage would have been handled in the small fictional town of Mayberry if the town had a TV station—which it didn't—and if it ever snowed in Mayberry—which I can't ever remember it doing.

I think a local newscast in Mayberry would go something like this:

The show opens with May Berry, a perky blonde news anchor wearing a tight low-cut dress.

May Berry: Howdy folks! This is May Berry welcoming y'all to our morning downhome newscast where the big news is that it's snowing! Really snowing! In fact, because of the snow, my co-anchor and weatherman couldn't get here from Mt. Pilot this morning, but don't worry. We know what the weather is—it's snowing! And we have a guest co-anchor today—local boy Gomer Pyle, who was home on leave from the Marines this past weekend and whose bus isn't running because of the snow, just happened to stop by and agreed to help me out.  Welcome to station W, Gomer. (Camera widens to include Gomer, who is smiling and staring at May's cleavage.)

Gomer Pyle: It's a real pleasure to be here, Ma'am. But ain't you a mite cold in that skimpy little dress?

May Berry: I'm fine. (Whispering) And please look at the camera instead my chest. (Gomer looks up and waves.)

Gomer Pyle: Howdy everybody! I'm real proud to be here. (He waves again.)

May Berry: Tell me, Gomer, did you have any trouble getting permission to stay away from your base.

Gomer Pyle: Heck, no. I just called up the sergeant and told him what was going on with the bus and all, and he told me to stay as long as I needed to. He seemed real happy. At least I heard him laughing. Miz Berry, can I ask you something? (She nods.) Why is it that this station only has one letter? Don't most TV stations have four?

May Berry: Yes, they do. But we're real small. so the FCC only gave us the one letter. Now we need to get on to the news, which happens to be all about the snow. What was the weather like when you came in?

Barney, Andy & Gomer
Gomer Pyle: It was coming down at a pretty good clip, and I said to myself, "Shazzam! I wouldn't be a bit surprised if we're fixing to get a couple more inches!" Ma'am, I'm still worried that you might be too cold and could get a real bad chest cold. I could go get you a sweater if you want me to.

May Berry: I'm fine, Gomer. Now we need to visit some folks out on the street to see what's happening out there. Since we've only got the one camera and we can't take it outside, I'll just make a few calls and see what's going on. Gomer, since we don't have a window in the studio to show the folks at home what the snow looks like, could you hold up these pictures that the first graders at Mayberry Elementary School sent in? They all did snow pictures when they heard it was going to snow. (She hands him a pile of artwork.)

Gomer Pyle: Well, Golleee! That first one looks just like the one I did in first grade. I reckon there ain't many ways to paint snowflakes though. (He holds up the picture. Then he holds up another that looks just like the first one.)

May Berry (at phone): Sarah, could you get me the court house. I'd like to speak to Sheriff Taylor. (She waits.)

Andy's Voice: Court House. Sheriff Taylor speaking.

May Berry: Hello, Sheriff. This is May Berry calling from TV station W. We'd like your opinion on the snow. And do you know if school is closed?

Andy's Voice: Well, it's still snowing up a storm. Looks like we might have about two inches so far, give or take. School is in session like always. Miss Crump over at the elementary school said that if the kids got a day off, they'd just spend the day outside playing in it anyway, so they might as well come on to school. My boy Opie won't real happy to hear that, but he went on like always. He did take a snow shovel with him in case snow sticks to the sidewalk and somebody needs their walk shoveled while he's on his way home.

May Berry: Have any problems been reported?

Andy's Voice: Well, not so's you'd notice. We did have a problem with Ernest T. Bass throwing some snowballs, but he didn't hit nothing and got cold and went home. Most folks around here have the good sense to stay home when the weather is bad. My deputy Barney Fife is out by the highway running radar, but he radioed in a few minutes ago that there hasn't been any traffic a'tall. But he's gonna stay out for a while just in case.

Gomer Pyle: Hey, Andy!

Andy's Voice: Hey, Gomer. I thought you was headed back to the base.

Gomer Pyle: I was supposed to, but the bus ain't running. I was coming back from the bus station when I ducked in here to get out of the snow and Miz Berry asked me to help her out.

May Berry: Thank you for your report, Sheriff, but we need to move on to some other folks. (Into phone) Sarah, can you get me Wally's garage? (While she waits, Gomer keeps holding up pictures.)

Goober's Voice: Hey, Miz Berry. Hey, cousin Gomer! I just heard on TV y'all was gonna call and doggone if y'all didn't do it! Gomer, you're doin a real good job holding up them pictures.

Gomer Pyle: Hey, Goober!

May Berry: Goober, what can you tell our viewers about the snow from where you are?

Goober's Voice: Well, we ain't had much business this mornin. Just a few folks wantin chains put on their tires, so Wally and me done that. We just been settin here watchin TV. That's a real purty dress you got on, Miz Berry, but Gomer is right. You ort to put on a sweater or something. But the snow is still comin down.

May Berry: Thank you, Goober, but we need to talk to someone else now. Sarah, can you get me Floyd's Barbershop?

Floyd's Voice: Barbershop. How might we help you today? If you need a shave or a haircut or both, come on down. For some reason, we're not real busy today.

May Berry: Hello, Floyd. This is May Berry calling from station W, and we were wondering if you could tell our viewers how the snow looks from where you are.

Floyd Lawson, the barber
Floyd's Voice: Oh, my! This is a surprise! I'm a big fan of yours, Miz Berry. I'll be glad to help. (He clears throat.) Well, looking out the window, at the north end of Main Street, snow is falling hard. At the south end of Main Street, same thing. It's not sticking to the sidewalk yet, but it might. It looks to be piling up on the awning at the grocery store across the street, so if anybody is going to risk going out to shop, they might want to be careful that the awning doesn't collapse on them.

Gomer Pyle: Hey, Floyd.

Floyd's Voice: Gomer! What are you doing there? You said you were catching the bus back to base his morning.

Gomer Pyle: I was supposed to, but the bus ain't running on account of the bad weather. So I'm helping Miz Berry by holding up pictures so they can see what the snow looks like.

Floyd's Voice: Pictures?! Well, why don't they just look out their windows?

May Berry: Well, it looks like we're all out of time on our morning newscast at TV station W, so we're signing off now. Good day and good news to y'all. (In a whisper to Gomer, who is still holding up pictures) You can put down those pictures now. 


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