When people describe the Village of North Palm Beach, this comes up with some regularity: "Mayberry, RFD."
The Village mayor, Robert Gebbia, referenced it in my recent interview. Others have used it as an apt comparison as well.
It's easy to see why. Like the Andy Griffith TV show, it's a everybody-knows-everybody kind of place. A suburban oasis where residents gather in a park for food trucks and chili cookoffs. Where the city celebrates Heritage Day with parades. A good place to raise a family, and feel safe.
In many ways, it's the American dream. The America Joshua Logan immortalized in his classic film homage to 1950s Labor Day, "Picnic." The America that only seems to exist anymore in a Norman Rockwell painting.
Any yet that same idyllic America still thrives in the almost six square miles that mark the Village boundaries. Go a little north, a little south and there's a whole different vibe once you leave the city limits.
Is it perfect? Hardly. Neither was "Mayberry." Remember all the scraps Opie and Barney got into, not to mention Aunt Bee. And "Picnic" was hardly that for Bill Holden, who put a kink in the whole "Neewollah" Celebration (watch the movie -- that's "Halloween" spelled backward).
But having lived here almost two years, I can say it is a special place. Maybe even unique among Florida cities. Thankfully, the Village leadership want to preserve that. But at the same time, keep it relevant for future generations.
That's good, because at the end of the day, the Village isn't a TV show, or a movie, or something to be locked away in a time capsule. It's just people -- committed to preserving "the best place to live under the sun."
By the way, mark your calendar for April 2. That's the Heritage Day celebration that will mark the 60th anniversary of the Village. Sheriff Taylor would be proud.
Yes, I know it's spelled like "Jerry." No, I don't know why it's pronounced "Gary."