Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Andy Griffith (1926-2012)

Although the Andy Griffith show first aired before I was living on this earth, I still grew up with it. Somehow I missed most of the more popular shows of the day - the A-Team, Simon and Simon, Riptide, and the like. Instead, I was drawn to the simplicity of Andy, Barney, Gomer, Opie, Aunt Bea, Floyd the barber, and all the rest.

You probably all know what I'm talking about. There was, and is, a lot of noise and chaos on television. Lots of excitement and duplicitous characters. To watch Andy Griffith was always like leaving all that behind, and returning home to sit for a spell. Joining Andy and Barney on the front porch, singing a simple tune, waiting for Aunt Bea to come out and announce her hot apple pie.

At the risk of baring too much personal information, in the late 90s I was fired from my youth pastor position, and went about four months unemployed before finding new work in Oregon. I spent most of that time either working at finding new work (you know, stuff like sending our resumes, going to interviews, working contacts and the rest), or doing the occasional substitute teaching job that came along. It was a depressing time, a time of grief and fear and doubt. And the one constant during that time was watching the Andy Griffith show, every morning at 10 a.m. (well, unless I was called to be a sub that day, but you know what I mean). And for that 1/2 hour, the world was a good place, problems were manageable, people were predictable, and you know that good things were coming.

What always stood out the most to me about Sheriff Andy Taylor was his unflappableness. You know what I mean. Barney is bouncing off the walls spouting gibberish about the current crisis, bullets are flying through the windows, hardened criminals are on the loose, Thelma Lou is upset about their cancelled dinner plans. . .and Andy would just sit there, waiting for it all to calm down. And then he'd go out and deal with the problem in his own way. Almost always without threat or violence or force. Just his wit and folksy wisdom.

Somewhere in the recesses of my soul, I've come to understand that perfection must be sitting on Andy's porch, sipping lemonade, watching the world go by.

And the best part of it is this, from Mark Evenier: The best thing I can tell you about Andy Griffith, who has just died at the age of 86, is that I never saw or heard any reason to think he was not like the characters he played on TV. I never saw that.

 Truly, he was one of a kind. Sadly, that world is passing with him - a world if innocence, of friends just sitting and talking, of fathers who love their sons (for that matter, of fathers who seem to have a clue), of hanging out at the fishing hole, of having time for the stranger who comes along.

So thanks, Andy, for your sense of humor, your love of the craft, and for being a good guy in a cutthroat world.

For the moment, I think I'm going to go fishing.

1 comment:

Lambservant said...

Wonderful tribute to Andy. Love the video. He will be missed.