Here's the Scoop: August 15, 2012
Take me back to Mayberry
It’s been more than a month since Andy Griffith left this world. When Andy died, I spotted the obligatory headline on the Yahoo home page, but didn’t see much more.
I’ve heard there was a TV special or something about Andy’s life. There were probably other tributes, but I missed them. It’s too bad. Andy, it seemed, was one of the good guys.
I don’t mean to dredge up a sore subject, but I feel obligated to once again point out that the media seemed to go way overboard when fellow actor John Ritter died. Nothing against John, mind you, but Andy was a true icon.
During my formative TV-watching years, I rarely missed an episode of “The Andy Griffith Show.” I continued to watch reruns of the show for a long time. Still do, on occasion.
Andy, Opie, Barney Fife — they became like family. It’s true that Aunt Bea could be a little overbearing, but she had a good heart and, man, that girl could cook and bake!
Sure, there was the classic episode where Aunt Bea made a batch of pickles to enter into the county fair competition and she somehow faltered with her kitchen skills — the result was the pickles tasted like kerosene. Despite that little disaster, I think that most viewers secretly craved a dinner invitation to the Taylor household.
After the meal, of course, would come some pleasant time on the porch, with Andy leading the way on guitar and vocals. Naturally, the weather would be perfect. Mayberry, NC, it seems, was a pretty darn good place to live.
Sure, there was an occasional seedy con artist who drifted into town. You knew they didn’t stand much of a chance to pull many scams with Andy and Barney on the job, though.
The Andy Griffith Show aired long before the days of “anything goes” on television. By any standards, the “romances” between Andy and Helen Crump and Barney and Thelma Lou were pretty tame. There were some other love interests sprinkled in, from time to time, but these four were the primary power couples.
I don’t recall the circumstances, but I did have a particular fondness for the episode where Barney and Thelma Lou’s relationship was not in force and Barney put in calls to woo phone operator Juanita with some off-key warbling. A true classic. I’m thinking of using it as a ringtone — that seems quite appropriate.
We often vacation in North Carolina and visit Manteo, the town that Andy called home for a long time. A few years back, we went into a shop and the owner commented that Andy had been in the store a day earlier. I spent the rest of our day in Manteo eagerly looking for a sighting of my childhood hero.
Unfortunately, I never did see Andy any of our journeys to Manteo. I have always made it a point, however, during lunch in that town to make sure my order included a pickle. It was my tribute to Andy — for his work with Barney and Opie to consume all of Aunt Bea’s batch of “kerosene” pickles, thus sparing her embarrassment in the county fair competition. Until she made more. That was as bad as it got in Mayberry. We should all be so lucky.
— Brian Sweeney