While saddened to learn of Andy Griffith‘s death today, I could only think happy thoughts.
I grew up with The Andy Griffith Show, even though I resided in Wailuku, Maui, not Mayberry, TV land. With no dad of my own, mine having died when I was one, I latched onto Andy Griffith, as did hundreds of other children, I’m sure.
Lucky Opie. He enjoyed the hugs, the chats, the sing-a-longs, the laughter…and the absence of spankings .
Yes, it was all make-believe. Fictional characters living in a fictional town. Somehow, I never saw Mayberry and its folks that way.
For me, Andy Griffith, family and friends in tow, stepped through the television screen, and made himself at home…in my home. He wasn’t larger than life…he always felt like he belonged…he fit in.
I’m certain I gained a lot from the wisdom intertwined with the humor on each episode. I’m definitely of the opinion “you can get more with honey than vinegar.” There’s no doubt that Andy’s drawl dripped with the sweet, amber goo. And I just lapped it up.
I didn’t dream of mansions and castles.
I fantasized about a bright, sunny home comfortably furnished, meat, potatoes and biscuits for dinner, a front porch where friends could sit a spell, and a loving dad to tuck me in at night. How I envied Opie.
Married to Cindy Griffith for 36 years, Presidential Medal of Honor recipient…I’ve never heard a bad word about Andy Griffith. Ron Howard, Opie’s real-life counterpart, speaks glowingly of the man he knew as his TV father.
Griffith’s on-screen persona doesn’t sound far removed from the real man. If his influence upon Howard is as he says, and little Opie has incorporated all he’s learned at the knee of his TV dad…so that Howard’s become one of the most revered and beloved Hollywood directors, then Andy Griffith is the genuine article…
…a man of integrity…above all else.