Andy influenced the baby boomer generation, and I wonder if he knew to what degree. His part as Mayberry's Sheriff taught us the virtue of taking things in stride. His Deputy Phyfe, on the other hand, was rattled every time he turned around. We all probably laughed more at the antics of Barney Phyfe than any other actor of the era. His facial expressions were priceless. When he thought he had done something right for a change, he'd puff like a peacock, and that made us laugh all the more.
Andy played the part of a single parent to Opie, but Aunt Bea was there to provide the maternal sustenance for Opie as he grew up. Every episode made us laugh. Every episode centered around Andy's down-home approach to family life. Then there was the town drunk, Otis. Poor Otis was cared for like the village puppy, given a jail cell to sleep off his benders. Only Andy would have done that.
As we say our final good-byes to our legends, chunks of ourselves fall away, too. There's a real sense of loss with Andy gone. He really ought to still be with us, that good guy and smart lawyer. We knew him so well without ever meeting him.
Life is that way. We make our difference and then, one by one, we drop like the leaves off a tree. The ones left hanging on can't help but feel heavyhearted.
Thank you, Andy Griffith, for all the good things you presented to us through the characters you played. You gave us what we needed while we were growing up, and we're really sad that you're gone. Be in peace. Job well done.
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