“This is my letter to Andy Griffith, thanking him for all those years of Mayberry, and just plain ole’ good television you can rely on!”
First off I know you’ve heard it over and over again, but I’m gonna say it anyway! Rest in peace Andy. Let me say that your television shows, your lighthearted songs, and funny stories are apart of the American lexicon that folks watched and believed in, that helped sustained a generation, and that’s us Baby Boomers. I think The Andy Griffith Show, and the whole idea of a Mayberry was the hub of most of great American childhood remembrances for people my age. For it is Americana, and apart of our Baby Boomer memories and history indeed! Shows like yours reflected a time when the idea of America was more attainable and believable, in that such a dream coming true was an approachable concept for all peoples. Andy, your time on television showed us a kinder gentler form of TV, steeped in surrealistic corn-pone that made everyone feel as if they could smell Aunt Bea’s Apple Pie’s cooling on the window seal. Even though we all knew the real world wasn’t really like that, it invited us even more so to escape onto that quiet fishing stream with you and Opie and whistle along with the theme song. Our escape was to laugh at Don Knotts as the nervous but well meaning deputy, Barney Fife. We loved Floyd the barber, and of course who could love ole’ Otis? I like millions of other kids and Americans wondered if Goober was really any good at fixing cars; and wondered what kind of a hat that was before ole’ Goober cut it all up and wore it for what seemed like a lifetime!
Even though there were no black folk in Mayberry; as a child, I felt that if my family had driven through, and had to stopped in Mayberry, we’d have been treated with down home respect and hospitality from the Taylor’s and most everyone in town, even though many towns folk would not have been use to our kind. Sheriff Taylor carried no gun, and had no malice toward anyone. And that my dear Mr. Griffith in the annuls of television history is a milestone in and of itself!
Thank you Andy for depicting a good naturedness that is missing from this new America we live in. May Andy Griffith reruns play forever on, enlightening, and inspiring folks with the same gentle spirit that made Monday nights worth keeping the television set to CBS at 9pm for back in the early to middle 1960′s. Lighthearted shows like yours helped me to see the moral of a story, and the other side of how to handle a volatile situation with kindness, and patience, and maybe a song or two! As simple as it was, America needed a Mayberry during the 1960′s. So real it was for many, most folks thought that Mayberry was a real town set in North Carolina, and even came looking for that fictional little town where you made life seem real and laid back, country style! You made us all want to take a load off and sit a spell!
Television shows of this nature are needed even more so today! They reflect a time when porch swings, and lightening bugs and playing checkers outside the barbershop were important; not in your face realism, raw violence and shock value! Mayberry echos a part of the america I grew up in. I came along in Nashville and Detroit as a child. Even though my world was sweet and more like Mayberry than most other kids, The 1960′s were about as real as you could get! Good TV was a buffer from that world. My world only in recent years has has been marred by a hellish drug infested, post apocalyptic city environment out of some twisted nightmare. Its these recent times that makes us baby Boomers pull from the Mayberry’s of our minds, and go fishing!
I wonder did you ever know that Mayberry was loosely and vaguely apart of all our lives as baby boomers coming along in life during the 1960’s and beyond? Andy, your reruns echo a special time and still make an impression, even to this day. The shows writing meant well, and the simple down home humor didn’t make you flinch or embarrass and shock you into laughter. It was just funny!
So whether you were Sheriff Andy Taylor, or Ben Matlock, you’ve been apart of the lexicon of my life, all of my life! I am quite sure that when they invented things like, Country Time Lemonade, visions of Mayberry had to have danced in their heads! Yesterday for the first time in years, I looked at my fishing poles sitting in the garage and thought to myself. “I just may go fishing real soon!” And when I do, I know over and over in my mind, I’ll hear that famous whistling theme song in my head; Yes siree, and when I go out to the lake to fish, I’ll maybe even skip a rock or two across the water in honor of you. And in so doing, I’ll wish for a big ole’ white bass for the frying pan! Rest well Andy, and when you feel like it, get to pickin’ on that guitar of yours and make some merry music of phrase! “Play’em a gooden for me!” Oh and, say hello to Don and all the other Mayberry gang for us! Rest well Andy, and thanks for the Memories!… Dang, I wish I could whistle!