Landrum Human Resource Companies Blog

Mayberry Monday – “The Bed Jacket”
November 22, 2010, 6:18 pm
Filed under: Mayberry, Notes from Holly

November 22, 2010

Mayberry Monday – “The Bed Jacket”
By Holly McLeod, PHR

There are many facets to Andy Griffith. He is a great friend, an understanding and patient boss, a talented musician, a loving father, a practical joker at times, and a trusted leader in Mayberry. He is also fiercely devoted to his family.

Andy and his son Opie were fishing one morning, and Andy was catching fish after fish after fish. Opie commented on how many fish they were catching, and Andy replied that Eagle Eye Annie was doing herself proud that day. Eagle Eye Annie was the name of Andy’s fishing pole, and Andy and Opie spoke of “her” as if she was a dear and precious to friend.

Mayor Stoner walked up to their fishing spot on his way home, tired and frustrated because he had not been able to catch any fish. If you’ve read other Mayberry Mondays, you may recall that Stoner is the mayor I don’t like because of his obvious disdain for Andy and all things fun.

Stoner commented that it was a waste of time because the fish weren’t biting. As he was saying this, Andy cast his line into the water and almost immediately gets a bite. Opie said, “Ol’ Eagle Eye Annie did it again.” Stoner looked in Andy’s basket and saw all the fish. “You got all those today?” he asked. Opie told the mayor that they could catch even more with Eagle Eye Annie. After the mayor asked who he was talking about, Andy explained that Eagle Eye Annie was his fishing rod.

Being duly impressed with Andy’s results with Eagle Eye Annie, Stoner promptly tried to buy the rod for $20.00. Andy declined the offer. Stoner then offered $25.00, to which Andy also politely declined. Stoner walked off, only to return a few moments later with a final offer of $27.50. Naturally, Andy turned it down.

As Andy and Opie left the fishing spot they began talking about plans for Aunt Bee’s birthday, which was coming up the very next day. When they got home they carefully hung their fishing rods on their proper places of honor on the wall, and Aunt Bee came in and asked to ride to town with Andy and Opie. Knowing that Andy would be shopping for her birthday gift, Aunt Bee told Andy she would be upset if he did anything foolish about her birthday. She wanted him to be sensible.

When they got to town, Andy and Opie went off to do their shopping and Aunt Bee started window shopping. For those of you who may not be familiar with the term, window shopping is when you “shop” by looking in the storefront windows instead of actually entering the stores. I have pleasant memories of window shopping with my mother when I was a little girl, going from storefront to storefront looking inside the shops as we used to walk along the sidewalks of my hometown.

When Aunt Bee was window shopping, she had only gotten to the second store before she saw something that caught her eye; a beautiful, white bed jacket hanging in the window. Modern-day bed jackets look like simple short jackets worn over pajamas; or, as a colleague pointed out, “kind of the female version of a smoking jacket for guys.” In the 1960’s, however, bed jackets were apparently very fancy.

Aunt Bee looked at the bed jacket longingly, and headed off down the sidewalk. She didn’t get far, though, before she turned around to look at it again. She decided to enter the shop – Lucken’s Style Shop – and Mrs. Luckens took the bed jacket down and held it up to Aunt Bee. Aunt Bee gave a look that indicated she knew the jacket was much too extravagant, then returned the jacket back to Mrs. Luckens and left the shop.

While this was going on, Andy and Opie were at another store – a practical store. Opie picked out salt and paper shakers for Aunt Bee’s present, and Andy decided on two dozen preserving jars. What woman wouldn’t want two dozen preserving jars, right? Oh well, at least Andy’s heart was in the right place.

When Andy met back up with Aunt Bee, it was right in front of Mrs. Luckens’ store. Aunt Bee did her very best to hint to Andy about the bed jacket, but Andy didn’t catch the hints. Instead, he left to go finish some paperwork he was preparing for Mayor Stoner. As the mayor was leaving the office after looking over and complaining about Andy’s paperwork, he asked Andy to do him a favor and return the guest towels he had bought his wife, in exchange for the bed jacket hanging in the window. Andy went to do this favor and as you might guess, Aunt Bee was across the street and saw the exchange. Naturally, she thought he was buying the jacket for her birthday since she had practically drooled over it in front of him that very morning.

The next day was the big day. Aunt Bee opened Opie’s salt and pepper shakers, then with very shaky hands tried to unwrap Andy’s gift. When she opened the box and saw the preserving jars, the disappointment in her face was obvious. She was so disappointed that she fled the room to avoid crying in front of Andy and Opie.

Andy was perplexed at Aunt Bee’s behavior until Aunt Bee’s friend Clara rang the doorbell. Clara had been with Bee when they watched Andy purchase the bed jacket, so she stopped by to see it on her friend. Knowing now how much the bed jacket meant to Aunt Bee, Andy knew what he had to do. He raced to the store to purchase the jacket, only to find out the one the mayor bought had been the only one in stock. Andy then went to the mayor’s house to try to purchase the jacket from him.

Mayor Stoner knew he had something that Andy wanted, and he also knew that Andy had something he wanted; Eagle Eye Annie. Stoner told Andy that they might be able to make a mutual deal – “I’ll sell something to you, and you sell something to me.”

Back at the house, Andy came in with a brand new wrapped box that he gave to Aunt Bee. She opened the gift and found the bed jacket she had so badly wanted. As she was gushing about the jacket and calling Clara to share the news, Opie came in the room and went to get the fishing rods off of the wall. After he hopped up in a chair to reach them, he realized that Eagle Eye Annie was missing.

Andy went over to Opie and whispered that he had sold the rod to the mayor. Opie couldn’t believe it. “You sold it? But you said you’d never sell it.” he said. Andy quietly explained to Opie, “I said I kept it ‘cause it gave me so much enjoyment, and that I wouldn’t sell it for money. And I didn’t sell it for money. I just kinda swapped it for a different kind of enjoyment. So, Eagle Eye Annie’s doing just what she did before. Even right now she’s giving me pleasure… real heart-warming pleasure.”

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, I hope you’ll take time to give thanks for all of the people who make life worth living. Be thankful for your family, your friends, your colleagues, your employees, and your neighbors. Give special thanks for those whom you would gladly give up your own Eagle Eye Annie in order to make happy. Those are the ones we should cherish.

Happy Thanksgiving, and I hope to see all of you in Mayberry again next week. Stay tuned…

Holly McLeod is a Human Resources Manager for Landrum Professional Employer Services and Landrum Consulting. She is a certified professional in human resources (PHR) and has more than 15 years of human resources consulting in the corporate world, healthcare and manufacturing environments

Mayberry Monday – Andy the Marriage Counselor

November 15, 2010

Mayberry Monday – “Andy the Marriage Counselor”
By Holly McLeod, PHR

Last week I wrote about a bitter feud between two Mayberry families that had been going on for 87 years. Sheriff Andy Taylor, as always, found a way to get through to the two stubborn patriarchs so that they would allow their respective young’uns to get married and live happily ever after. Andy always had a knack for getting others to do what they should, even if it’s not what they originally wanted. This week in Mayberry is no different.

Relatively new to Mayberry, Fred and Jennie Boone had made friends with many of the townspeople. The problem was that they couldn’t stand each other. Andy and Deputy Barney Fife had been forced to visit the Boones’ a few times for disturbing the peace, and this time the yelling and screaming could be heard long before they approached the home. They entered the house and had to duck low to avoid the plates and saucers being thrown across the room by Mrs. Boone.

As soon as the Boones realized they had company, both Fred and Jennie immediately changed their disposition with a friendly “Hello, Andy!” Andy told them he wanted them to quit arguing, but after a biting comment from each of them toward the other one, they were at it again – with Andy in between. Andy had had enough. He told them that the next time this happened he was going to arrest them.

The next day Barney brought the Boones to the jail while both were still loudly arguing with each other. He had heard them while on patrol first thing that morning and asked them, “Don’t you even stop for breakfast?” He told Andy to “throw the book at ‘em.” “It wouldn’t do any good,” Andy replied, “Jennie would just pick it up and throw it at Fred.”

Andy told the Boones that ever since they moved to town that they got along with everybody else just fine, they just couldn’t get along with one another. He asked them what started their fight that morning. Fred said it was at breakfast – if you could call it that. Jennie said that Fred had thrown his plate of food on the floor. Fred replied, “Food? That slop wasn’t fit for the hogs.” Jennie said, “Oh, it was fit for the hogs. That’s why I give it to you!” They both start yelling all over again.

Andy realized the problem; the Boones were in the habit of arguing with each other. It came naturally to them because that’s how they had learned to communicate with each other. He decided to try an experiment, and he had the Boones sit across from each other and practice talking civilly. They weren’t very successful in thinking up something nice to say, so Andy coached them. He told Fred to say to Jennie, “Mornin’, Honey.” He then told Jennie to say to Fred, “Mornin’, Dear.” They uncomfortably practiced this a few times until Barney said, “I’d rather be called Skunk Face than Honey like that.” Andy told the Boones that is wasn’t bad for starters, but that he wanted them back in the court house to practice every morning for 15 minutes. They protested, but he said it was either that or jail. As the Boones were leaving, Andy still had them practicing… “Mornin’, Dear.” “Mornin’, Honey.”

The Boones were faithful to their early morning lessons, and eventually got to the point where it wasn’t so painful to be nice to each other. Their whole demeanor had changed. No longer did they yell, scream, nag, holler and throw things; now they were actually polite to each other. Unfortunately, their previous friendliness toward the townspeople began to sour.

They snapped at Barney as they left the court house; Fred snapped at his friends at a card game; Jennie snapped at Aunt Bee. Andy realized that the Boones were fine around each other, but thought that maybe they could only be happy when they’re picking at each other, and that perhaps that’s the way they showed their love for one another. Weird, I know, but it was in the script.

A gentleman showed up at Andy’s house with a bloody nose and said that Fred had punched him while they were playing cards. He told Andy he had gotten out just in time to dodge a pitcher of water. Just then another gentleman came in holding his head, saying, “I got the pitcher of water.” That’s all Andy needed to hear. He made a decision then headed to the Boones’.

When he got to their house, it was very peaceful from the outside. Both Fred and Jennie were unfriendly to Andy (while being syrupy sweet to each other). Andy told the Boones they had done so well in their lessons that he wanted to have a graduation ceremony. He poured cider and then made a toast; “We’re gathered here this evening to mark the beginnings of a new life. A life of peace and quiet and getting along, the beauty and joy of which you now know and I’m sure ain’t ever gonna forget. To you, Jennie, who made all this possible when you stopped needling and riding and railing and harassing and nagging poor Fred. And to you, Fred, who made all this happy life possible when you stopped coming home all mean and nasty and ornery. To whoever was the worst.”

You can imagine that this set off all sorts of accusations between Fred and Jennie, and within minutes they were back to the yelling, screaming and name-calling. But this is what Andy had wanted. I guess he thought that the two of them fighting each other was better than both of them fighting the rest of the town. Too bad, though, because his plan would have worked if the Boones hadn’t displaced their angry habits toward other targets.

As stated last week, helping others resolve a conflict is seldom easy; however, it can be successfully achieved. The key is to keep pointing the parties toward the desired goal. Andy did this to begin with, but instead of then helping the Boones stop displaying anger altogether, he gave up and led them back toward their old ways of arguing with each other. In effect, he chose the lesser of two evils.

It doesn’t have to be that way. It is possible to resolve conflict in a very short period of time. In some situations, however, it requires a lot of dedication, effort and time. I don’t think Andy should have given up so easily on the Boones. But then again, he did all he could do within a 30-minute episode. I choose to believe that Andy would have persevered and eventually gotten the Boones to be nice to their fellow Mayberrians as well as to each other, had he been given an extended 1-hour episode to do it in.

See you next week. Stay tuned…

Holly McLeod is a Human Resources Manager for Landrum Professional Employer Services and Landrum Consulting. She is a certified professional in human resources (PHR) and has more than 15 years of human resources consulting in the corporate world, healthcare and manufacturing environments

Mayberry Monday – “A Feud Is A Feud”

November 8, 2010

Mayberry Monday – “A Feud Is A Feud”
By Holly McLeod, PHR

A young couple rang the doorbell in the wee hours of the morning. Inside the house, Aunt Bee is busy putting a striped nightshirt and cap over the pajamas of her nephew, Sheriff and Justice of the Peace, Andy Taylor. Andy’s young son Opie asked why Andy had to wear the gown and cap and Aunt Bee explained, “When people come to the Justice of the Peace in the middle of the night to get married, they expect him to look like this. It makes for good talking afterwards.”

The young couple was Josh and Hannah. As soon as Andy started the ceremony, a man came running in the house wielding a shotgun. Just as Andy was stating he somehow got the impression that the man didn’t want the two young people getting married, another gun-toting man came running in as well. Andy had only glanced at the marriage license, but quickly realized these two men were Mr. Wakefield and Mr. Carter, whose families had been carrying on a feud for four generations. 87 years, to be exact.

Andy said he didn’t want any feuding going on, and the two uninvited guests grabbed their respective offspring and left the house. The next morning Andy was met with a cool reception by Aunt Bee and Opie, who thought he should have married Josh and Hannah. Opie said, “You let them scare you, Paw. If they wanted hitching, it was up to you to hitch ‘em. Why didn’t you hitch ‘em, Paw?”

Andy told Opie he had wondered what would happen after the hitching, and explained that this wasn’t the first time “despising families had their young’uns take to one another.” He then told Opie the story of Romeo and Juliet. Now I must say if you haven’t heard Andy Griffith recite the story of Romeo and Juliet, you’ve missed a treat. In the story Andy explains a soliloquy as “when you kinda look way off and talk to yourself,” saying, “They did that a whole lot back then. You do it today, and somebody’ll take you away.” Andy explained to Opie that before he married Josh and Hannah, he wanted to make sure everything was OK between the two families. He then set out to try to end the feud.

Andy first went to see Mr. Wakefield. As he drove up to the house he heard gunshots. He went to the front porch of the house and saw Mr. Wakefield sitting in a rocking chair, periodically raising his gun and shooting off into the distance. “Are you doing feudin’ shootin’ or huntin’ shootin’,” Andy asked. “Feudin’ shootin’,” Mr. Wakefield replied. Andy told Mr. Wakefield that he must have a pair of mighty sharp eyes, because he didn’t see any Carters. “You don’t?” Mr. Wakefield replied, “I was afraid of that.”

Andy tried to discover the reason for the 87-year-old feud, but realized he wasn’t going to get the answer from Mr. Wakefield. The reason for this is because Mr. Wakefield didn’t know the reason for the feud. Nor had his Daddy, nor had his Daddy’s Daddy. Andy told Mr. Wakefield that if he was going to take a shot at a fellow, it would pass his mind to ask what for! Mr. Wakefield said, “I’ll be danged if I know where you young folks get all them new-fangled ideas.”

Andy next went to see Mr. Carter, hoping Mr. Carter could shed some light on the initial reason for their long-standing feud. Here’s their conversation:

Mr. Carter: “Reason? Of course I know the reason I’m shooting at him – ‘cause he’s a
Andy: “What does that mean to you?”
Mr. Carter: “It means I gotta shoot at him.”
Andy: “Why do you have to shoot at him?”
Mr. Carter: “’Cause he’s a Wakefield.”
Andy: “Why do you have to shoot at the Wakefields?”
Mr. Carter: “’Cause we’re feuding.”
Andy: “Why are you feuding?”
Mr. Carter: “’Cause he’s a Wakefield.”
Andy: “I don’t believe you’re understanding me. Let’s start all over again… I
wanna know why you’re feuding with the Wakefields.”
Mr. Carter: “Oooohhhh! “Cause we’re shooting at each other.”
Andy: “Why are you shooting at each other?”
Mr. Carter: “’Cause he’s a Wakefield.”

Have you ever been in a situation where you’re trying to get to the bottom of a workplace conflict, and you felt just as confused and frustrated as Andy must have felt? Trying to resolve employee conflict is seldom easy, but sometimes can be downright difficult. Andy was showing great patience in speaking with Mr. Carter, but still didn’t get his questions answered. Sometimes employees will provide meaningful and useful explanations, and sometimes they may provide answers that make sense only to them.

It’s important to keep your patience in tact when you find yourself in a potentially frustrating situation like Andy did. Keep in mind that the end goal is to get the two “feuding” parties to a place where they can cohesively work together. Try to get each of them to collaborate with the other party and come to an agreement on moving forward. Employees don’t have to like each other, but they must be able to work together in a mature, professional and respectful manner.

The Wakefields and Carters didn’t work with each other, but they certainly had a common interest; their children. In the end, Andy was able to find a way to end the feud and bring the two families together so that Josh and Hannah could get married and raise the next generation of Wakefields and Carters. Wouldn’t it be nice if your feuding employees would put aside their differences and work toward your common goal? They can with your guidance, patience and help. The Wakefields and Carters of the world need you. And as much as you might like to think otherwise, you probably need them.

See you next week. Stay tuned…

Holly McLeod is a Human Resources Manager for Landrum Professional Employer Services and Landrum Consulting. She is a certified professional in human resources (PHR) and has more than 15 years of human resources consulting in the corporate world, healthcare and manufacturing environments

Mayberry Monday – “Call the Man”
November 1, 2010, 9:31 am
Filed under: Mayberry | Tags: , , ,

November 1, 2010

Mayberry Monday – “Call the Man!”
By Holly McLeod, PHR

It doesn’t happen often, but I must admit there are times when Aunt Bee truly grates on my nerves. One of the most exasperating experiences I’ve had watching The Andy Griffith Show is in the episode “Bargain Day.” In this episode, Aunt Bee won’t listen to Andy and do as she is told. Rather, she insists on doing things her own way, which ends up being a big waste of time and effort. If she would simply listen to Andy, life would be much less stressful; but alas, it was not to be.

It was a hot, sticky summer morning and Andy came into the kitchen saying it was going to be another hot day. Andy’s son Opie walked in wearing some very squeaky shoes that were a half-inch too long. Aunt Bee explained she had gotten them for $4.89 (instead of the usual $6.50) from an outlet store in Mt. Pilot that sold discontinued models. Aunt Bee wasn’t worried about the shoes being too big for Opie; she had saved $1.61.

When Opie asked his Paw to pass the sugar, Andy saw that the sugar bowl was empty. Aunt Bee got up to refill the bowl and came back to the table with a huge sack. The sack was so large, in fact, that she had trouble controlling the sugar pouring out of it and sugar poured over the edges of the bowl and onto the table. Aunt Bee explained that buying such a large sack was “more economical.”

Andy told Aunt Bee that “a bargain’s not always a bargain,” and the discussion led to the old freezer on the back porch. Aunt Bee was adamant that in purchasing that freezer she got the biggest bargain in the whole auction. But Andy said the only thing that’s been kept in the freezer was a dead mouse – and he climbed in there to get warm.

Aunt Bee was in town shopping later that day and ran in to her well-meaning friend, Clara Edwards. Clara told her about a new butcher in town who was selling beef for ten cents cheaper per pound than Foley’s Market. The only catch was that you had to buy a whole side of beef. Knowing she had the freezer just waiting to be used, Aunt Bee couldn’t resist such a bargain and she loaded up the old freezer with 150 pounds of beef.

Normally, one would think a person would confirm their freezer was actually working prior to purchasing and loading 150 pounds of meat inside. But Aunt Bee wasn’t normal… No, she stocked the freezer full before plugging it in. Fortunately it did come to life, but was violently shaking and rattling. She withheld a pot roast for supper, hoping to surprise Andy with her purchase.

When Andy got home that evening, Aunt Bee proudly served her roast and eagerly watched as Andy took his first bite. He put the bite in his mouth, frowned a little, then started talking to Opie about having seen one of his friends that day. Aunt Bee told him he hadn’t said anything about the roast, and Andy said, “I wasn’t going to, but it is a little tough, isn’t it? Foley really let you down this time. You should speak to him.”

Aunt Bee was crushed. She quickly rose from the table and went into the kitchen. Andy followed her to see what was wrong, and the lights started going on and off. Opie then ran into the kitchen saying the television was going crazy and the picture was crooked. The lights flickered once more, and Andy heard squeaking coming from the back porch. He went out to the porch and was surprised to see the freezer plugged in and running. He tried to open the freezer to look inside, but Aunt Bee quickly shut the lid and wouldn’t let him look. Andy asked what was in the freezer and Aunt Bee had no choice but to admit to her purchase – “150 pounds of beef. 150 pounds of tough beef!”

When Aunt Bee was explaining that she had bought the beef from the new butcher, the freezer suddenly stopped. Then it started. Then it stopped again. Andy told Aunt Bee she needed to call the man from Mt. Pilot to come fix the freezer. Aunt Bee said that man charged a fortune to look at the refrigerator — $7.00 just to replace a fuse. Andy was tired of Aunt Bee’s “bargains.”

Andy: “Call the man.”
Aunt Bee: “Can’t we call somebody around here?”
Andy: “No, there’s nobody around here.”
Aunt Bee: “Somebody who wouldn’t rob us like that man from Mt. Pilot?”
Andy: “There are no freezer mechanics around here. Now, call the man.”
Aunt Bee: “How about Fred, who works for Louise Palmer? He’s very
Andy: “Aunt Bee, he don’t know anything about freezers. Now call the man!”
Aunt Bee: “Well, he helped me fix a clothes line once…”
Andy: “Aunt Bee, just call the man. Call the man!”

If I was told five times during one conversation to do something, I think I would get the hint — but not Aunt Bee. After Andy left, she called Gomer Pyle to come look at the freezer. Gomer is the local mechanic, but hasn’t been known to dwell too far outside the realm of automobiles. The only thing Gomer succeed in doing was to make the freezer leak out all of its antifreeze onto the porch.

Aunt Bee went to Foley’s Market to speak to Mr. Foley. She asked, on behalf of a “friend,” if her friend could store some meat in his freezer. Mr. Foley knew Aunt Bee had bought the meat from his competitor, but he graciously told Aunt Bee he would be happy to store her meat. She went home and, with Opie’s help, loaded all of the beef in to Opie’s wagon and started rolling it to Foley’s. Little did she know she would be confronted by every dog in town along the way!

When Andy heard the yapping dogs from his office, he went outside and asked her what she was doing. She explained that Mr. Foley had agreed to store the meat. Andy said he wouldn’t allow Mr. Foley to pay for their mistake, and that she was going to have to call the man from Mt. Pilot like she should’ve done from the beginning. In exasperation, Andy repeated, “Call the man!” Aunt Bee started walking away and looked back toward Andy as if she was about to come up with another solution. Andy didn’t give her the opportunity. “CALL THE MAN!” he yelled one final time.

With every argument from Aunt Bee, I can physically feel my frustration building with Andy’s:

Why won’t she just do what she is told?
Why won’t my children clean their rooms?
Why won’t my husband do that thing on the Honey-Do list he promised to do?
Why won’t other people do things like I would do them?

Do you ever feel that way about your employees? Perhaps you have someone on your team that’s a free-thinker and marches to the beat of their own drum instead of the beat you’ve already established; Perhaps you have someone who insists on doing things a particular way, and who sincerely believes they are acting in your best interest; Perhaps you have someone who seemingly argues at every turn, never satisfied with status quo, but who wants to “shake things up” and do things differently…

While you might feel your temper rising, your pulse beating harder and your breaths coming quicker in these situations, it is good to remember that not all behavior you may consider defiant is necessarily bad. Aunt Bee’s only “crime” was trying to save Andy’s money. Yes, she was very frustrating in her quest, but her intentions were good. It might be that the employee who tries your patience the most is one of your company’s biggest assets.

The next time you find yourself getting frustrated and angry when your challenging employee again argues another point with you, it may be time to step back and consider his viewpoint. Ask yourself: What is he trying to accomplish? What are his motives? What would be the harm in trying things his way? What might we gain from it? In doing so, you may determine that the other person’s argument is not only valid, but valuable.

By the way, this episode (like many) is the origin for some common-speak terminology in our house. If ever it is decided that a professional needs to be consulted for anything we can’t fix ourselves – a broken washing machine, A/C unit or, like now, a broken car – all we have to say is “Call the man!”

Hope to see you in Mayberry again next week. Stay tuned…

Holly McLeod is a Human Resources Manager for Landrum Professional Employer Services and Landrum Consulting. She is a certified professional in human resources (PHR) and has more than 15 years of human resources consulting in the corporate world, healthcare and manufacturing environments

Mayberry Monday – “Black Day for Mayberry”
October 25, 2010, 12:23 pm
Filed under: Landrum, Mayberry | Tags: , , , , ,

October 25, 2010

Mayberry Monday – “Black Day for Mayberry”
By Holly McLeod, PHR

One day Deputy Barney Fife was in the courthouse admiring himself in the mirror, when two gentlemen walked in asking if the Sheriff was around. Barney explained that the Sheriff was out at the moment and repeatedly offered to assist the men, but they politely refused. Instead, the men patiently waited for Sheriff Andy Taylor to arrive. Much to Barney’s chagrin, when Andy got to the office the two secretive men asked to speak to Andy privately. Barney had no choice but to leave and allow the discussion to take place without him.

After the men left, Andy told Barney what all the secrecy had been about – the men were from the Treasury Department, and there was going to be a shipment of gold coming through Mayberry worth over $7 million. The truck was going to stop at the “fillin’ station” to refuel, and the FBI men accompanying the gold would be going to the diner to eat. Barney was very excited about the news, but Andy made one rule very loud and clear; they couldn’t tell anyone about the gold. Andy told Barney they had to do two things; 1) maintain absolute secrecy, and 2) anticipate every possible threat, and guard against it.

Andy left to attend to plans, and Barney was left alone to make his own plans… a dangerous event in any situation. The first thing Barney did was to call the Bluebird Diner to break his date with Juanita. His side of the conversation went something like this: “Something’s come up. Something big… No, nothing like that… You’d never guess this… No, this has something to do with a truck… a truck that’s coming through here tomorrow… Alright, I’ll give you a little hint… it’s worth $7 million… A rocket? No, you’re gold. Cold! I said you’re cold. Ignore what I said about gold!… Did you get that? I DID NOT SAY GOLD!”

Barney then went to the hotel to ask Asa if there were any suspicious characters hanging around. While Barney was scanning the lobby, Asa asked Barney what time the gold shipment was coming through. Barney froze. “What gold? What are you talking about?” Asa told him the news was all over town. In a panic, Barney left the hotel to head back to the courthouse. As he was leaving the hotel, some boys were hanging out on the front stoop and they also asked Barney what time the gold was coming through. Barney walked faster and faster, and each time he passed someone he was asked about the gold shipment.

When Andy came in the office a little while later, Barney was obviously jumpy and nervous. Barney told Andy he had the feeling that maybe the news had leaked out and that they were “gonna blow it.” Andy asked him why he felt that way, then said, “Nobody knows about it but you and me. Relax, Barney. This is our secret.”

When they went to the fillin’ station to check out the security, Gomer Pyle came out and asked what time the gold truck was coming through. Andy said, “Barney! I told you not to tell him!” Gomer said, “Barney didn’t tell me. I got it from Lauralee Hobbs up at the dime store.” Andy looked at Barney and said, “Yeah, it looks like it leaked out alright.” Barney told Andy he had better stop the truck. Andy said he couldn’t stop it because it had already left. He then said, “Somewhere between here and Denver there’s $7 million headed for Mayberry, and you and me and Gomer and Lauralee Hobbs, we’re gonna be here to receive it!”

The next day came with much excitement around Mayberry. A virtual parade of people was lining the street. Andy drove up to the crowd, quickly followed by the gold truck. Andy told everyone to go home, and the convoy proceeded to the fillin’ station as planned. When they got there, Andy told Barney to get in the truck to relieve the guard while he went to eat. After Barney was safely in the truck, Andy went off to disperse another crowd that had gathered.

While Barney was in the truck, he couldn’t resist looking at the gold. He poked underneath a blanket and slowly brought out a rectangular box. He opened the lid, but to his surprise he didn’t find gold. Instead of a brick of precious metal he had expected to see, he found the box filled with sand.

Barney thought the truck had been hijacked, and immediately started yelling for help. Andy was still talking with the crowd, but the FBI men quickly showed up when they heard Barney yelling. The men didn’t open the doors to check on Barney; they got in the truck and drove away – with Barney still inside.

When Andy realized the truck had left with Barney, he and Gomer got in the squad car to chase down the speeding truck. When they were able to get the truck to pull over, Gomer went to get Barney out of the back while Andy spoke with the men in the front of the truck. Barney was still trying to gather his wits when the truck pulled out for a final time. Andy explained that there had never been any gold in the truck; it was a decoy. Andy said that had been their plan all along – “to let folks think that was the truck with the gold in it, while the real truck went by a different route.”

There are a few lessons that can be learned from Mayberry’s encounter with the “gold” truck: First, transparency: Transparency means to be open and honest with whom you are dealing. In this case, neither the Treasury Department representatives nor the FBI men were transparent with Andy. As a result, their plans went awry and could have resulted in serious repercussions when Barney discovered that the truck was not carrying real gold. After all, we all know how trigger happy Barney can be.

Second, communication: Communication ran amuck in Mayberry. The directive to keep the gold shipment secret was not honored by Barney. Perhaps Andy wasn’t clear enough in his directions, but the reality was that Barney was loose-lipped. Sometimes we are entrusted with confidential information, and it’s very important that we honor that trust and not divulge it to those who have no need to know. I can only hope that Barney learned a valuable lesson on that day, but I have my doubts.

The third lesson from this debacle: Don’t trust Barney with a secret! Nor Juanita… nor Asa… nor Gomer… nor Lauralee Hobbs.

See you next week! Stay tuned…
Holly McLeod is a Human Resources Manager for Landrum Professional Employer Services and Landrum Consulting. She is a certified professional in human resources (PHR) and has more than 15 years of human resources consulting in the corporate world, healthcare and manufacturing environments

The Pickle Story

October 18, 2010

Mayberry Monday – The Pickle Story
By Holly McLeod, PHR

If you ask any fan of The Andy Griffith Show what their top five episodes are, I’d dare say that most of them would include “The Pickle Story.” This is one of the few times in Mayberry history when Aunt Bee’s cooking wasn’t exactly something to brag about, and also one of the few times I can recall when Clara Johnson (aka Edwards) was somewhat likeable…

One morning Aunt Bee was in the kitchen bottling pickles for her family, Sheriff Andy Taylor and his son Opie, and in walked her friend Clara Johnson. Clara came bearing the gift of a bottle of her own homemade pickles for Opie. Aunt Bee told Clara she had the best pickles, and recognized that Clara had won the blue ribbon at the fair for 10 years in a row. Clara corrected her, saying it had been 11 years.

Clara insisted on tasting one of Aunt Bee’s pickles, and the look on her face said it all – Aunt Bee’s pickles were not good. However, she told Aunt Bee they were “very nice… quite pleasant… and nice.” She told Aunt Bee she wouldn’t change a single thing “except the brine is just a touch too heavy, and maybe put an extra sprig or 2 of parsley steeped in the vinegar, and possibly if you can get younger cucumbers they wouldn’t be so soft, then drain them more and use fresher spices… but other than that they’re… quite nice.” On top of that, as Clara was leaving she turned around and said, “You might try boiling the vinegar just two seconds more… but… they’re nice.” OK, so maybe Clara wasn’t so likeable after all.

That afternoon Aunt Bee took lunch to Andy and his Deputy Barney Fife. She had roast beef sandwiches, coleslaw, and of course her homemade pickles. Aunt Bee was happy to be delivering her homemade pickles, and told the boys she had made eight quarts so they could have some every day. With that, she gave each of them a big pickled cucumber and watched while they bit into them. Aunt Bee was oblivious to their pained expressions as they tasted their “treat.”

After Aunt Bee left, Andy said they had to find a way to dispose of the pickles so Aunt Bee wouldn’t find out they didn’t like them. Barney asked why Aunt Bee kept making the pickles, and Andy replied that like most women, she automatically thinks homemade is better than anything from the store. My, how times have changed!

Andy said if the pickles were good ol’ store pickles, they could eat them. Barney said, “But they’re not good ol’ store pickles. They’re bad ol’ home pickles.” Andy said that they would just have to turn them in to store pickles. With that, they devised a plan to switch store-bought pickles for Aunt Bee’s homemade ones.

At the dinner table that night, and after the pickle switch, everyone was talking about how good the pickles were. Aunt Bee decided that since they were being enjoyed so much, she was going to enter the contest at the fair this year and that “this may be the year I beat out Ms. Johnson for the blue ribbon.”

The next day Clara came in the courthouse to deliver a jar of her pickles to Andy and Barney. Clara forced a pickle in Andy’s hand so he had no choice but to taste it. Thinking this would be like Aunt Bee’s pickles, he was pleasantly surprised that Clara’s homemade pickles were actually very good. Clara explained that when her husband was alive, he had loved her pickles. She then asked Andy if he had ever seen her scrapbook. She took it out and showed him her blue ribbons for each of the 11 years she had won the pickle contest at the fair, and said, “Whenever I get discouraged or lonely, I take out my book and look at my ribbons. I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s a great comfort to know that there’s something I can do. You must think I’m just putting on airs, but I do try to make my pickles better every year. It means so much to me.” To those who are keeping up, Clara just redeemed herself and is likeable again.

Now Andy and Barney were in a terrible fix! How could they let poor Ms. Clara be the victim of a fixed pickle contest? Referring to Clara, Andy told Barney, “That poor soul just lives for that contest, and if she got nosed out by a store pickle I’d never forgive myself.” He then said that they had to make the contest fair and square, and that meant they were going to have to get Aunt Bee to make another batch. Barney exclaimed, “You can’t be serious! You mean you actually want her to make another batch of them kerosene cucumbers?” The only way to do that was to eat up the store-bought pickles – all eight quarts – so Aunt Bee would see them disappearing. Barney told Andy that his heart wasn’t in that plan. Andy told him it wasn’t his heart they needed; it was his stomach.

So off they went, devouring every pickle in site. Jar after jar disappeared out of the cabinet. Andy, Barney and Opie ate so many pickles they didn’t think they could face another one; however, the day finally came when the pickles were all gone. Aunt Bee was upset when she realized there were no pickles to enter into the contest, but Andy quickly made her realize she should make another batch. And that she did.

It was the day of the county fair, and Aunt Bee was nervous as the judges went from jar to jar, tasting and scrutinizing the pickles. When they got to Aunt Bee’s jar, the judges were obviously taken aback when they tasted her pickles. One judge said, “What would you say?” The other judge replied, “Kerosene?” The first judge said, “Precisely.”

When the blue ribbon was once again given to Clara Johnson, Aunt Bee was genuinely happy for her. She said, “As long as my family likes what I make, that’s blue ribbon enough for me. Actually, you boys are going to be the winners. I made a double batch this time… 16 jars. I’ll see that you get them every day.” After Aunt Bee went off to congratulate Clara, Andy said, “Well, there’s only one thing to do. Learn to love ‘em.”

Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone would communicate in such a way that there’s no need to pull the shenanigans that Andy and Barney pulled? Had they just been gently honest with Aunt Bee in the beginning, they wouldn’t have had to eat a total of 24 quarts of pickles. Sometimes the truth isn’t easy to hear, but in my book it’s better to hear the truth than to be blissfully ignorant. Think of all the time and energy (productivity), as well as vinegar and cucumbers (resources), Aunt Bee could have saved had she just known that her talents could better be used elsewhere. I’m sure she would have enjoyed baking an apple pie much more… and we all know that Andy, Barney and Opie would have enjoyed that better!

See you next week. Stay tuned…

Holly McLeod is a Human Resources Manager for Landrum Professional Employer Services and Landrum Consulting. She is a certified professional in human resources (PHR) and has more than 15 years of human resources consulting in the corporate world, healthcare and manufacturing environments

Mayberry Monday – Mr. McBeevee
October 11, 2010, 5:40 pm
Filed under: Human Resources, Mayberry | Tags: , ,

October 11, 2010

Mayberry Monday – Mr. McBeevee
By Holly McLeod, PHR

In the mid-1980’s I was an energetic young woman in my first full-time job after college. I was living in Birmingham, AL, and lucked up to find a cute yet affordable apartment located only five minutes from work. Many of my co-workers suffered through agonizingly slow traffic along Highway 280, but I didn’t have to endure the dreaded “rush hour.” Most of my co-workers went out to eat for lunch or brought something from home, but not me; I was able to go home for lunch every day and watch two back-to-back episodes of The Andy Griffith Show (TAGS).

Looking back on this time in my life, I realize it was then that my love for TAGS developed. I had seen Sheriff Andy Taylor and the gang many times as I was growing up, but it was during my precious lunch hours that I was able to fully appreciate TAGS and all the lessons it has to offer.

Actor Karl Swenson played the character Mr. McBeevee (shown here)

Accounting for travel time, I usually missed the final few minutes of an episode so I wouldn’t be late returning to work. On one particular day, though, I was so caught up in the story that I couldn’t bring myself to leave. I was watching “Mr. McBeevee,” and it remains one of my all-time favorite episodes of TAGS.

One morning Andy’s son Opie was playing in the backyard and was riding his imaginary horse named Blackie. When it was time for breakfast Opie tied invisible Blackie to the invisible hitching post with some invisible rope. Opie was playing in the wonderful world of Make Believe; a place where anything can happen. When Deputy Barney Fife stopped by for breakfast before heading to the courthouse, Opie made Barney believe that Blackie was a real horse that was “black all over with a splat on his nose,” and had a “silver saddle and a long tail.” After Barney went running into the back yard to see Blackie, he was not amused when he realized Blackie was invisible.

Later in the morning Andy and Barney were at work cleaning the jail when Opie walked in after returning from playing in the woods. Andy asked Opie to take out the trash, but Opie said he couldn’t because he told Mr. McBeevee he’d be right back. After Andy asked about Mr. McBeevee, Opie explained that he was new around there and that they had met in the woods. Barney asked what Mr. McBeevee was doing in the woods, and Opie replied that he “mostly walks around in the treetops,” and that he wears a “great big shiny silver hat.” Andy and Barney both thought that Opie was playing another game of Make Believe regarding Mr. McBeevee.

When Andy went home for one of Aunt Bee’s lunches, Opie came in carrying a small hatchet. Andy asked Opie where he got the hatchet, and Opie said he had gotten it from Mr. McBeevee. Believing that Mr. McBeevee was imaginary, Andy told Opie to return the hatchet where he found it. Opie was disappointed, but he left to do what he was told.

After returning the hatchet, Opie returned to the jail and Barney asked him for a description of Mr. McBeevee. Opie said Mr. McBeevee was about tall as his Paw, that he jingles when he walks – “just like he had rings on his fingers and bells on his toes” – that the jingling was from the twelve extra hands he had hanging from his belt, and that he could make smoke come out of his ears. After this description, Andy and Barney are convinced that Mr. McBeevee doesn’t exist. Opie said that Mr. McBeevee was a real nice man, and then he held up a quarter that Mr. McBeevee had given him.

Andy asked Opie where he got the quarter. Opie saw that Andy didn’t believe he got the quarter from Mr McBeevee, so he suggested that Andy ask Mr. McBeevee for himself. Andy took Opie up on his offer and they both headed to the woods in search of the elusive Mr. McBeevee. When they got there, Opie started looking up in the trees and desperately calling out to Mr. McBeevee. “Mr. McBeevee? Mr. McBeevee, it’s me, Opie! Please come down, Mr. McBeevee. My Paw’s here. I want you to tell him about that quarter!” When there was no response, Opie turned around and looked at his Paw. All Andy said was, “Let’s go home.”

When they got home Andy sent Opie up to his room. Andy explained to Aunt Bee that it looked like Opie was in the habit of “stretching the truth out of shape,” and then he headed up to Opie’s room to deal with the difficult situation. When he got there, Andy reminded Opie of the fun he had playing with Blackie the invisible horse, and suggested that maybe the same thing happened with Mr. McBeevee and that Opie had made him up, too. Andy said, “There comes a time when you have to stop play acting and tell the truth, and that time’s now.”

Opie knew he was facing the consequences of Andy thinking he was telling a lie, but he couldn’t bring himself to tell his Paw that Mr. McBeevee wasn’t real. Opie told Andy that Mr. McBeevee wasn’t make believe — he’s real. He looked up into his father’s eyes and asked, “Don’t you believe me, Paw?” Andy looked at his son for a long moment, and then he said the best words Opie could have heard; “I believe you.”

Andy left Opie’s room and went downstairs where Aunt Bee and Barney were waiting. After Andy said he had told Opie he believed him, Barney asked him why he had said that, because what Opie had said was impossible. Andy replied, “Well, a whole lot of times I’ve asked him to believe things that to his mind must have seemed just as impossible. I guess it’s times like this when you’re asked to believe something that doesn’t seem possible… that’s the moment that decides you’ve got faith in someone or not.” Barney asked Andy if he believed in Mr. McBeevee. Andy said, “No, but I do believe in Opie.” What a great Paw Andy was!

Andy was still trying to come to grips with the whole situation, and he went out to the same woods where Opie had said he met Mr. McBeevee. In frustration and disgust, Andy loudly states the name that has caused the problem… “Mr. McBeevee!” At that moment Andy heard someone from above reply, “Hello! Somebody call?” Andy looked up in astonishment to see a man climbing down from a tree toward him, wearing a great big shiny silver hat. He said to the stranger, “You jingle!” Realizing who he was speaking to, Andy asked, “You can make smoke come out of your ears, can’t you?”

Andy was so excited to realize that Mr. McBeevee was standing right in front of him in flesh and blood! He quickly realized there was a logical explanation for everything Opie had said about the man. You see, Mr. McBeevee was a utility worker with the phone company. His “walking in the trees” was caused by working on the nearby telephone lines high off the ground. His great big shiny silver hat was nothing more than a silver hard hat. And his “extra hands?” Those were the tools handing from a tool belt – Mr. McBeevee had explained to little Opie that he couldn’t work without his tools, and that he called him his extra hands. Consequently, the jingling was caused by his tools moving around when he walked. Andy was overcome with joy in realizing that Opie had been telling the truth, and with a great big grin on his face he vigorously shook Mr. McBeevee’s hand over and over again.

Sometimes the people we interact with say things that appear improbable. They may be your friends, your children, your business acquaintances, or perhaps, your employees. If you determine an employee is purposely stretching the truth then they should be dealt with appropriately; however, when trusted employees say or do something that calls you to step back and wonder where they’re coming from, it may be an opportunity to show your faith in them. In an article by Jody Urquhart titled Trust me on this: Having faith in employees will boost your organization’s bottom line, Urquhart states, “Trust affects the bottom line — the way you treat employees is the way they will treat customers.” What better way to multi-task, so to speak, than to show faith in your employees, who will in turn help your customers have faith in your business?

The day I first watched “Mr. McBeevee” will live in my memory as I recall standing in front on my television, willing the episode to progress faster so I could get back to work. I vividly remember standing up with purse and keys in hand, anxiously waiting for the episode to conclude so I would know how it turned out. When it was time for me to leave, Andy hadn’t yet discovered that Mr. McBeevee was a real person. How could I leave without knowing the outcome and seeing Opie vindicated for the alleged crime of stretching the truth??? The answer is that I couldn’t make myself leave; and yes, I was late returning from lunch that day. I must defend myself and say that I’m not normally a rule breaker, but thankfully I didn’t get in trouble… but it would have been worth it even if I did!

This week, try to find an opportunity to show faith in someone when logic would indicate otherwise. You might just be surprised at how rewarding it can be when you’re proven wrong.

Have a great week, and stay tuned…

Holly McLeod is a Human Resources Manager for Landrum Professional Employer Services and Landrum Consulting. She is a certified professional in human resources (PHR) and has more than 15 years of human resources consulting in the corporate world, healthcare and manufacturing environments


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