Dad and Art were great friends. Here they are at the unveiling of one of Art’s artistic masterpiece of his miniature panoramic Morris Canal scenario. Library Director Frank Kaiser was a great fan of Art’s artwork.
A Mayberry Moment
By Richard Mabey Jr.
Today, I thought a lot about a particular Mayberry moment that I remember, oh so well. It was a very simple moment in time. One in which my Dad took a seemingly unimportant event and turned it into a major happening. Dad’s motivation was to give his good friend, Art Smith, a feeling of being important. Dad wanted Art to be appreciated for all that he had done for the good people of Lincoln Park.
Art Smith proudly standing beside one of his famous paintings of the old Morris Canal. Art’s paintings were on display at the Lincoln Park Museum and the Morris Canal Museum at Waterloo Village, in northwest New Jersey. Also, Art’s paintings were even displayed at a local bank!
One evening after supper, when Art called Dad on the phone to tell him that he had just finished his miniature panoramic Morris Canal scenario, Art told Dad that he was going to simply drop it off at the Lincoln Park Museum. I will never forget this moment in time. It was a true testament to the genius thinking of my Dad.
I was blessed to have a good rapport with my Dad. From serving as scout leaders together, to working in television together, to both being members of the Beavertown Historical Society; my dad was a great man!
Suddenly Dad interrupted Art, “Art, look, don’t just drop off your 3-D canal scene at the museum. Listen, Art, I got an idea. You busy tomorrow? Well, listen Art, stop by the museum about ten o’clock tomorrow morning. I got an idea.”
I was honored to write the story about the Beavertown Historical Society’s display for the big regional weekly, The Independent News.
Well, at the time I was working two jobs. I was working as a copywriter at an ad agency and also writing for the big regional weekly, The Independent News. So, the next morning, before I went to work, Dad and I had toast and a cup of tea, before I took off for work. While we sipped tea and crunched on toast, Dad told me his plan.
Dad and Art were great friends. They often gave talks about the history of the Morris Canal together, to school classrooms and assemblies.
“You know, Richie, Art’s done a lot for this town. They even got some of his historic paintings hanging in the bank. We outa do something nice for Art,” I remember so very well, Dad telling me as I sipped my cup of hot tea.
And what a great plan Dad had! Dad thought highly of Art and felt like he needed a little boost in the arm. Art was a good guy. He did a lot of hard work on creating special displays for the Lincoln Park Museum.
When Dad told me his plan to give Art a “moment of fanfare,” as I remember Dad referred to it, I saw what a good man my father really was. Dad’s plan was to create a little historic display of the Morris Canal at the Lincoln Park Museum. I remember telling my dad that I thought it was a great idea.
The big event, of the unveiling of Art’s latest artistic masterpiece was to be held at our town library!
Well, one thing led to another, and before we knew it Dr. Kaiser, our Library Director, was in full agreement with having us create a special display showing the history of the old Morris Canal. And, Dr. Kaiser also agreed to have Art’s miniature panoramic display be the highlight of the entire display.
It took a couple of weeks of planning, but before we knew it the day had arrived. I remember that I took some comp time, that was due to me at the old ad agency. I got out of work at about high noon, to help Dad with the big event. We had announced it in The Independent News. Practically all of the members of the Beavertown Historical Society said that they would be able to make it.
As soon as I got home from work, Dad and I headed out to the local grocery store.
As soon as I got home from work, Dad and I headed out to the local grocery store. We bought some Entenmann’s cakes. We put two big jugs of Hawaiian Punch in our chart. And, we bought two bags of plastic forks and of course, napkins, paper cups and little paper plates. We were all out to have a great time, in Art’s honor.
No artistic premier could ever be complete without Entenmann’s All Butter Loaf Cake!
The big event was scheduled for seven o’clock that night. We ate an early supper that night. And, by six o’clock, Dad and I were pulling out of Mabey Lane and heading down Route 202, on our way to the Lincoln Park Public Library.
Earlier that day, right after going to the grocery store, Dad and I took down two of the reading tables and set up some rows of folding chairs. We had Dr. Kaiser’s full permission to set up our little stage.
When we got to the library, Dad and I carried in all of the items that we had bought, earlier at the grocery store. We put a white cloth table cloth over one of the reading tables, just to the side of all the folding chairs. We got out the Entenmann’s cakes, set up the napkins and plastic forks, ever so nicely. Then we put out the two big jugs of Hawaiian Punch. It was going to be a wonderful evening to debut Art’s newest artistic display.
Dad and I were so glad that so many people came out to see the unveiling of Art’s latest artistic creation.
I had the distinct honor that night, to be the Master of Ceremonies for Art’s unveiling of his miniature panoramic Morris Canal scenario. An honor, I still dearly treasure. I remember that we had quite a nice little group of people come out that night. Art was as happy as a lark. It really was a special night for him.
Dad was so glad that Art had a magical moment. Dad and Art’s relationship always reminded me of Andy and Barney’s relationship. They were always kind of looking out for each other. My dad always kind of reminded me of Andy Griffith. It seemed to me, it would be the kind of thing that Andy would have done for Barney. Set up a big gala event at the library, to give Barney a little boost in the arm.
Both Dad and Art have gone Home to be with the Lord. In so many ways, Art was like an adopted uncle to me. I miss them both very much.