|June 1, 1926 – July 3, 2012|
It has been a week since the death of Andy Griffith. I cannot tell you how this affected me. Andy was a part of our American heritage, as much as Mom and Apple Pie and he has been as much a part of my growing up as anyone I actually know. He represented a male father figure to me and my brothers, and he represented the part of us all that was laid back and at ease in his own skin. He embodied the true Southern Gentleman, the last of the Good Ol' Boys.
He was a Broadway Star in the 1950's and was reknowned as a comedian using a view of life from a backward hick to skewer such things as American Football. He was a star of movies, tv and radio and won a Grammy for Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album (1997). In 1999 he was inducted into the Country Gospel Music Hall of Fame and in 2007, he was inducted into the Christian Music Hall of Fame and Museum. He was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bush on November 9, 2005.
But above all that, he will forever be Sherrif Andy Taylor of Mayberry, North Carolina, USA, nephew to Aunt Bea Taylor, mentor and best friend to bumbling Deputy Barney Fife and of course, father to Opie Taylor. He was also friend, confidant, mentor and father to us all. You can't watch the show and not want to be there in Mayberry, a town representative of just about any of the small towns of the South. You can just see yourself walking down to the diner for lunch, hanging out at Floyd's Barber Shop for some gossip or just watching as Andy and Opie head down to the fishin' hole for an afternoon of close bonding; a friendly wave and a fading whistle as they disappear over the hill.
Another reason to just love the South, but without Andy in it, it's just not the same.