Daylight Savings time and the Mayberry Cafe

All the hubbub about Daylight Savings Time starting this week reminded me of one of the, shall I say, less than memorable moments in my work with teenagers (for those who don’t know it, I was a youth pastor for a long time). As a youth pastor, I wanted trips to be memorable, so when I planned a mission trip, I would be sure that we did something fun on the way to and from our location. I would try to find a fun place to eat and some sort of entertainment option that the kids would remember. On one such trip, we were to go through Indianapolis, so I planned for us to visit the Indy Motor Speedway. But I couldn’t find a memorable place to eat around there. I looked through several travel guides, and one place kept popping up, the Mayberry Cafe. The ads in both the Indiana and Indianapolis travel guides promised a wonderful experience as “you stepped back in time to the days of the Andy Griffith show and the beautiful town of Mayberry.” Never mind that Mayberry is actually in North Carolina. They promised a good home cooked meal and an experience filled with props and memorabilia from the show. So I called the Mayberry Cafe to get more information, and was assured that we would feel like we were in the show and that everyone would have a great time. Well, I thought this would be a fun experience, and based on the map, it wouldn’t be too far off the trail. We planned to get to the Speedway at 4:00 and then arrive at the Mayberry Cafe at 6:00 PM.

During our travel to Indianapolis, nothing went right. We blew a tire on a rental trailer, and could not find a replacement. It took several hours to find a solution and get on the roll again. By the time we arrived in Indianapolis it was already closing in on 5:00 PM, so as we drove by the Speedway, I made an executive decision. Since the speedway closed at 5:00, it was of no use to go there, so we decided to proceed directly to the Mayberry Cafe for this dining experience. What looked like a ten minute drive on the map took 45 minutes during rush hour. We pulled up to the cafe at 5:45 (or so I thought), and I went in to speak to the manager to inform them that we were ready to be seated. He looked at me with this strange look and said, “We won’t be ready for you for quite a while. You are not supposed to be here for more than an hour.” I looked down at my watch, shook it once to be sure there wasn’t something wrong, and then assured him that I made the group reservation for 6:00 PM. It was at this moment that I learned something about Indiana… They don’t participate in Daylight Savings Time. As a state, they refuse to “spring forward and fall backward”. They are content with their time just the way it is, thank you very much. Not only did we miss going to the Speedway, which disappointed everyone. I now realized that we had plenty of time if we had known. Furthermore, we had an extra hour to check out the Mayberry Cafe.

This is the part that I still don’t live down. The Mayberry Cafe was a little hole in the wall diner, a greasy spoon sort of place. I was expecting wax figures of Barney Fife and Andy Taylor. I thought I would see Barney’s gun, or Aunt Bea’s famous recipes. I was expecting a museum in the form of a restaurant. What they actually had was pictures of scenes from the show sitting in cheap frames and hung on the wall. That’s it, nothing but photos from the show. That was the memorabilia from the show. Of course the food on the menu had catchy names from the show, but it was not that good. They did have TV’s hanging from the walls in each corner of the restaurant, playing rerun episodes of… Happy Days. I am not making this up. In the Mayberry Cafe they had the Fonz and Richie Cunningham on TV. This adventure happened close to ten years ago, and Leon Allen still gives me a hard time.

OK, so I am rambling, but there is a point. This past Sunday we looked at a text in 1 John that shared a bit of the pitfalls of loving “the world or the things in the world.” Often what the world offers has much in common with this cafe. The advertised offer seems to be a great adventure, offering a lot, and promising a great time. But when the day is over, the experience isn’t all it was cracked up to be. We wasted part of a day on a mission trip exploring the Mayberry Cafe. But, when we get caught up in what the world is offering, we might waste so much more than a day on a trip. Jesus stands outside of time, promising the eternal, and offering something so much more.

Oh yeah, one more thing. Don’t forget to spring forward an hour this Saturday night. We don’t want you to miss church. Have a great week.

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