When my eight-year old nephew saw an image of Andy Griffith on the computer screen today, he stopped and said, "Hey, Andy Griffith."
What other 86-year old entertainer would an eight-year old recognize?
It speaks in a small way to who Andy Griffith was, not just to my boomer generation, but to seemingly every generation that will be celebrating the Fourth of July on Wednesday. He was Andy Taylor, the great American sheriff and moralist.
Andy Taylor was a television creation but what made him enduring is how much we wanted him to be real. Andy Griffith was real and, though most of us knew him only through the characters he played, I hope he was something like the sheriff who didn't carry a gun.
When the news came that Andy -- if you're born in North Carolina, you're born on a first-name basis with Mr. Griffith -- had passed away in Manteo, I felt it. Maybe you did, too.
He had that kind of effect on many of us.
'The Andy Griffith Show' went off the air more than 50 years ago but it has lived on through syndication, the rare television show that can be shared by three generations. It was about Barney Fife and Opie, Ernest T. Bass and Aunt Bea, Helen Crump and Thelma Lou.
At its heart, though, it was about Andy.
Andy Griffith did many things in his career but he is best remembered for being the sheriff of an imaginary town where most of the trouble was caused by Barney. Andy Taylor wasn't perfect but he set a nearly perfect example for Opie and the rest of us. It was simple but it felt right.
Think about this: How rare is it to come across an 'Andy Griffith' episode you don't remember?
Barney's side car?
Aunt Bea's pickles?
The goat that ate dynamite?
Seen it, seen it, seen it.
Miss Crump, I think I luv you...
You can probably hear it.
Andy Griffith gave us that and more.
To borrow a line from perhaps the best episode of 'The Andy Griffith Show,' a lot of hearts feel empty today.
But don't our memories seem nice and full.
Tuesday, July 03, 2012
Posted by Observer Sports at 3:33 PM