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B.J. DRYE COLUMN: Play ‘Dooley’ for Charlene, donate for Maggie

In trying times like this, it is tough to find anything to keep us entertained.

Many of us do not feel like laughing or find it appropriate to laugh.

There are plenty of good images online that try to make light of the current tragedy facing this country. They are funny, but it makes me feel guilty when I laugh about it. And I usually can find anything funny.

One thing most Southerners can agree on is the popularity of “The Andy Griffith Show.” Heck, it’s so great, we don’t mind it if those people up north watch it as well.

It’s always nice to sit back, relax, don’t rush things and enjoy a nice pickle.

And now is a time we probably could use some Miracle Salve, even though I really don’t remember what was so miraculous about it.

Now is a good time to rally around one of the show’s stars, someone we have grown to love even more through her appearances at Oakboro Music Hall, the James Garner Center in Troy and, if you were lucky to be dining there, Harmanco’s in Albemarle.

Maggie Peterson, who played Charlene Darling on “The Andy Griffith Show,” has been battling some health problems as of late.

“In the past year, I have had several injuries and surgeries to my shoulders, which have left both arms partially paralyzed and in pain,” Peterson wrote in a message on her Facebook page. “In addition, I have an undiagnosed weakness in my legs. These conditions have led to a series of falls in the last six months resulting in stitches on both sides of my face, broken ribs, re-injury to my shoulders, a concussion and a severely broken left ankle, which required surgery. I have basically been in rehabilitation facilities since November and am facing more of the same going forward. I truly fear that I may not be able to live without care until I successfully rehabilitate from my current injuries.”

Her husband, who she was taking care of, has Alzheimer’s.

“Residuals, you ask? ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ ended in the late sixties before residuals became what they are now,” she said. “There were some nominal ones in the beginning, but I have not received a residual for ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ in fifty years.”

On March 6, Maggie was discharged to go home. She still needs 24-7 in-home care and physical therapy. To help pay for this and her medical bills, friends set up a GoFundMe page.

One local supporter is Jeff Branch of Oakboro, who has been bringing her to appear at Mayberrry-themed events for several years. He has also appeared at many festivals alongside her in his role as a Mayberry tribute artist in the character of Howard Sprague.

“Maggie has been a dear friend of mine for 20-plus years,” Branch said. “Several years ago when I got hit by a car as a deputy, one of the first individuals to call and check on me was Maggie. Maggie is one of those special ladies that everybody adores and any time you mention ‘The Andy Griffith Show,’ her name and beautiful smile comes up. Several of the tributes along with fans are trying to help because we just love Charlene. Maggie has made many trips to Stanly County and has always been gracious to help me in many events that I’ve produced.”

In addition to online donations, anyone wishing to send a card to Maggie “Charlene Darling” Peterson can do so at Maggie Peterson, c/o Weaver’s Department Store, 4800 Whitesburg Dr., Suite 30 – 236, Huntsville, AL 35802.

B.J. Drye is the editor of The Stanly News & Press. Email him at bj.drye@stanlynewspress.com.