"Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity." ~ Gilda Radner

Wednesday, July 04, 2012


I know.

I promised not to write another blog-post-as-obituary/mournful- reflection on the fact that our childhood TV icons are beginning to drop like flies.

But how does one ignore the passing of Andy Griffith? Sheriff Andy Taylor of Mayberry? Gone?  Never. Comforting to know that like Lucy, he is sure to live on in syndication, cable and boxed DVD sets forever.

And how fitting, really, to post such a blog on the Fourth of July!  Our country's birthday! A day that we celebrate all that is perceived to be great about our land.

For if any TV Land location gives us pause to celebrate, it's Mayberry, North Carolina, home of Andy, Barney, Aunt Bee, Opie, Goober, Otis, Howard, Helen,Thelma Lou...a simpler, more neighborly, more community-minded place and time.

Mayberry and all its down-home characters may have been fictional, but the common sense and kindness that always came through each episode seemed more alive and in abundance here in the United States of America back when I was a kid.

Not that those Andy Griffith-watching years were, in real life, so laid back and comfy. Hell, no. It was the 60s, for crying outloud. Civil and political unrest on every corner. And for me, personally -- domestic unrest always brewing on the homefront.

That's why The Andy Griffith Show was a great diversion then, and it remains so -- maybe even more so -- today.

It was a slow-moving, comforting, love-themed show.  I mean real, unconditional love, not the shallow drama-infused pseudo luff  that a show like, say, The Bachelorette is made of. ;)

And oh, how we all loved Andy! His playful charm! His warm and welcoming grin! That gentle southern drawl! When he did get frustrated with Barney or upset with Opie it wasn't for long. And such heart-warming parental insight and wisdom:

Andy:  Opie! Time to come in, son.
Opie: : Aw Pa, just a little while longer... please?
Andy: : Well, OK.
Andy: (to Barney) Daylight's precious when your a youngin'.

Ahhh...you can almost see fireflies twinkling about the yard...

And who can forget Barney's classic advice on raising boys:

Barney: Well, today's eight-year-olds are tomorrow's teenagers. I say this calls for action and now. Nip it in the bud. First sign of youngsters going wrong, you've got to nip it in the bud.
Andy:  I'm going to have a talk with them. What else do you want me to do?
Barney:: Well, don't just mollycoddle them.
Andy: I won't.
Barney: Nip it. You go read any book you want on the subject of child discipline and you'll find every one of them is in favor of bud-nipping.

Good stuff.

One of my favorite episodes, however, is Aunt Bee's Medicine Man. Do you remember that one?

When Aunt Bee's friend, Augusta Finch, passes away suddenly Aunt Bee gets depressed over her own mortality. (Oh, how we can all relate to that.) Her spirits are soon lifted, however,  by traveling salesman Colonel Harvey and a bottle -- or two -- of  "Colonel Harvey's Indian Elixir".


Aunt Bee is rather smitten with the colonel but Andy and Barney, of course, are suspicious. Lo and behold, their suspicions are justified... turns out that the colonel's elixir is 170 proof.

Hilarious! And Aunt Bee (Frances Bavier) rocks this episode!

So before the backyard fireworks start, the grandkids burn their fingers with sparklers, and the mortgage and your AARP Magazine subscription both come due, grab yourself a glass of cold, homemade lemonade, sit back, relax and enjoy this long-ago (albeit, somewhat politically incorrect) snippet from The Andy Griffith Show.

It's cheaper than a shrink.

Thanks, Andy! RIP! Long Live Mayberry!

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