It’s hard to believe. Sheriff Andy of Mayberry died.
Actor Andy Griffith, whose portrayal of a small-town sheriff made “The Andy Griffith Show” (1960 – 1968) one of television’s most enduring shows, died at age 86.
Here’s a blast from the past – Andy Griffin singing the theme song of his TV show.
I loved this show. I distinctly remember running home from school, stopping at the little variety store near my house so I could buy a special ice cream bar with a big chunk of chocolate in the middle of it and then settling into the big, cozy, downstairs couch so I could watch The Andy Griffith Show. It was my time to be alone – it had been a long day at school and now it was time to throw down my book bag and enjoy one of my favorite shows on TV. (“I Love Lucy” was also worth the long run home but I ate buttered and syrup drenched Eggo waffles during that show)
The show depicted life in the friendly, slow-moving fictional town of Mayberry, North Carolina, where Aunt Bee’s prize-winning, homemade pickles were the excitement of the day. There was little crime to fight in Mayberry so the stories centered on the sheriff and his interactions with the quirky townspeople. Of course, it was always fun to watch Goofy Barney Fife (Don Knotts) get himself in trouble too.
“The basic theme of our show was love,” Griffith said in a 2003 interview with Larry King. “All the characters loved each other. And all the actors loved each other, too.”
I felt the love. I remember sitting on that basement couch, wishing I could live in Mayberry. Life was so simple and sweet. Having grown up without a stable father figure, I learned a lot about what a good father does as I watched Andy love his motherless son, Opie. Andy was a gentle, wise and faithful father, as well as a creative and calm peacemaker in his community.
When I learned that Andy Griffins was also a gospel singer, it brought a smile to my face.
Perhaps he wasn’t acting at all.