The Law

I have watched the Andy Griffith shows so many times I can repeat the lines of the characters. In a kind of superficial way it reminds me of old Fayetteville. Fayetteville was a small neighborly town, very little crime, a few town drunks somewhat like Otis, motherly figures like Aunt Bee, and many other unique characters. Of course the city did not have a sheriff but there was a police officer and a deputy. The first that I can remember was Gundy Bray. His deputy was Mr. Pritchert who was a much older man. Neither man owned a car and the city did not provide one.

I only knew these men when I saw them. I remember Mr. Bray as stocky with a pistol and holster that hung low on one side. He would walk from the Courthouse side of town to the railroad side and back again with a slow and even gait. Mr. Pritchert being much older walked much slower. Mr. Bray worked the night shift and Mr. Pritchert the day shift.

Later when Pat Lyons was Chief of Police, he was required to wear a uniform and the city provided him with a truck for transportation. “City of Fayetteville” was printed on the door of the truck in large letters. The truck also was used for the city’s garbage pickup and Mr. Lyons was the garbage collector as well as being Chief of Police.

Dr. Day (we gave all pharmacists the title “Dr” back then) ran Day’s Drugstore. He was Mayor and responsible for sentencing violators of city ordinances. One day, a lady, passing through, was stopped for speeding. Mr. Lyons took her to the drugstore to have her fine assessed. In paying the fine, the lady said, “ I don’t mind having to pay a fine, but it’s being stopped by a garbage truck that I resent.”

I saw Reuben Knowles in town recently and he told me a follow-up to this story. Reuben was once Mayor of Fayetteville. He said a couple of men applied for a permit to sell beer in Fayetteville. This was when the county was still “dry”. When hearing about the application a group of women, appalled by the thought of alcohol being sold in the community, went to some of the city leaders to protest. Mr. Bill Hightower then the Chief of Police ( and garbage collector) was there when the ladies made their complaint.

He said in a surprised voice, “ Now ladies, I collect the garbage at each of your houses and I notice beer cans in much of the garbage; although the cans are often hidden in bags and even shoe boxes. I can even tell you the preferred brand in each case. Would it be a big problem to buy it nearer home?”

After reading this story Jerry Earnest wrote this email to me:
I can remember Bill telling that story. We would have long conversations in the back yard as he picked up our trash. He told me, “I can tell you who drinks the best liquor in town and what church they belong to.” He loved to pick up the trash at Galamore's Barber shop and tell him, " I got more hair at Charlie's, your business off". I miss those people!!