Well golly, another icon has crossed over. Not across the road
though. Andy Griffith joined the growing list of superstars who
have left this life. Seems to be happening on an all-too regular
basis these days. The people who impacted our baby boomer lives are
reaching the end of theirs. The bucket list is looming which was
probably the impetus for my hiring a personal trainer last
Though some may think of Matlock, No Time for Sergeants or even
his singing career, we Boomers will best remember Andy for the
aptly named The Andy Griffith Show. Our local TV station still
shows the reruns every day, and it is easy to get sucked in when
flipping channels and stumbling across an episode. Of course true
fans know the only good ones are the black and whites.
Like so many of the television shows from our childhood, as I
watch them now I often cringe at certain scenes, shaking my head
and saying out loud, "They would never get away with that
today." I guess we have come a long way baby.
So what are some of your favorite memories of the Andy Griffith
show? No cheating by googling it. Just close your eyes and see what
comes to mind. Here are some of my recollections.
Barney Fife, the most inept deputy in law enforcement, though he
did have a heart of gold. Andy wouldn't allow him to keep his gun
loaded out of fear there would be an accidental shooting. We saw
Barney as skinny, goofy and lacking social graces. Barney saw
himself as intelligent, debonair and a true ladies man. Though he
courted Thelma Lou for many years, I also seem to recall him
singing "Oh Juanita". Always ready to crack the big case, Barney
relished his life and position in town.
Andy was the ultimate gentleman. Though he appeared to be a
homebody who always put family first, why he remained single always
boggled my mind. And what was the mystery surrounding the absence
of Opie's mother? Of course I do seem to recall a marriage
discussion between him and Helen Crump. Helen wasn't ready to give
up her career as a school teacher. Really? She couldn't work and be
a wife? How long ago was this?
Goober and Gomer. Gomer and Goober. They were interchangeable.
Social goons, but they could fix anything on a car. No matter how
complicated the repair, those boys could make it happen with a few
hand tools and some elbow grease. That is after they waited for the
part to arrive from Mount Pilot.
Floyd the barber. If he was so good at his trade, why did people
need to go back for a haircut at least once a week? But if you
needed to know what was happening in town, a visit to the
barbershop was all that was required. Sit down for a game of
checkers, or get yourself a shave, and you left the shop knowing
all you needed to know. Hmm, can we say Charlie's Water Wheel?
Howard Sprague. Geez, another bachelor. Wasn't any man in that
town married? Remember when Howard decided to move out of his
mother's place and get a bachelor pad? Hanging beads and all. And
remember when Howard decided to leave the rat race of being the
county clerk to move to a Caribbean Island? After a few days of
fishing, lying on the beach and being alone, he came to the
conclusion that being the county clerk was much more exciting.
Though everyone else in town thought Howard was the worst athlete
and a jinx at the fishing pond, he proved them all wrong by winning
the bowling tournament and catching Big Sam, the elusive bass.
Speaking of bass, how about Ernest T the rock-throwing,
cantankerous hillbilly? I have to admit, his character scared me a
little when I was young. I was also pretty leery of the entire
Otis Campbell was the lovable drunk who would walk to the jail
and lock himself up after imbibing a few too many brews. Just like
real life, eh?
Aunt Bea lived with Andy and his son Opie. She was a pie-maker
extraordinaire as well as a grower of award-winning roses, though
she always seemed to lose the competition to her good friend Clara.
Like the rest of the Mayberry clan, Aunt Bea appeared to be
asexual. That was until the arrival of a drifter who Andy hired to
perform some odd jobs around the house. Aunt Bea was smitten with
him while Andy saw through him to his flim-flam soul. We all knew
he wouldn't stick around; he needed to get back to Petticoat
Junction as the infamous Uncle Joe. He moved kinda slow on that
Opie Taylor, Andy's son, was the perfect child everyone wanted.
That is until he killed the Mama bird with his
So why did another icon cross over? Heck, do you realize how many
cool people are there now? Musicians, actors, comedians - the place
is jammin'. Kind of takes the sting out of getting old.