July 4, 2012
Goodnight, sweet Andy Griffith
"You know when you're young you think you will always be, ... As you become more fragile, you reflect and you realize how much comfort can come from the past." ~ Andy Griffith
Like scores - perhaps millions - of people, it was on the late evening news last night, on the heels of a long, busy day, that I learned that one of my favourite actors of all time, the incomparable Andy Griffith had passed away at the age of 86.
Many of the television and movie stars that I grew up watching in classic films and shows left this world before I was born or during the early days of my life, yet as I watched episode after fantastic episode of The Andy Griffith Show as a youngster, I always loved knowing that the lead character was still alive (albeit acting out different roles such that on Matlock) and couldn’t help but imagine how wonderful he would have been to have had as a grandfather.
In what is arguably his role most famous role, Griffith led countless viewers on engaging adventures, taught us important life lessons, made us laugh, and had us shedding the occasional tear in his role as the kind hearted, level headed Southern sheriff named Andy Taylor.
Though The Andy Griffith show was classified as a sitcom, and indeed it was rife with humour, it had a powerfully solid backbone of morality, justice, and dignity – not to mention real world relate-ability -to it that has helped endure it to the hearts of so very many people since it first debuted in October of 1960.
Though I am always saddened to hear of anyone - famous or otherwise - passing, there are certain well known figures whose death strikes you a little harder, catches you off guard, and almost makes you feel like you're lost someone that's been a part of your life since day one. That is precisely how I felt as the anchorman spoke of Andy Griffith's passing, and I believe it will be sometime before this feeling dissipates.
So as the early morning sun rises on a new day, the first the world has known in 86 years that did not include this beloved actor in it, I cannot help but hum the iconic opening tune of The Andy Griffith tune and image that somewhere Mr. Griffith is walking off into the distance, a smile on his face, and a fishing pole in his hand as he goes to goes to enjoy eternity in the great Mayberry in the sky.