LETTERS: Remembering Andy Griffith

There's a part of me that wants to have fried chicken and apple pie for supper tonight. It is almost fitting that Andy Griffith would leave this world as we prepared to celebrate our nation's independence.

Andy epitomized everything that is good about our country; kindness, gentleness, fair-play, a love of country, love of family, love of God, respect for womanhood, friendship, honesty, integrity, patriotism, good humor and the sense that you should always do your best, and always try to do what is right. The amazing thing is that he accomplished all of this, and set this example, without a lot of preaching, or yelling, or screaming; but rather with a soft voice, a gentle way, and almost always with that big old smile on his face.

Andy caused America to fall in love with a little place called Mayberry, an idyllic piece of each of our home towns, real or imaginary, where no problem was ever too big that we couldn't work together and solve it. It was a place where when someone was down, you did what you could to lift them up and get them back on their feet. It was a place of love and laughter and learning, and living.

Andy has been part of the public consciousness for well over 60 years. We welcomed him into our homes and grew to love him, as almost a family member. Somehow, you just knew that things were going to turn out all right with Sheriff Taylor on duty.

Now we say goodbye to an American icon and to a piece of our collective childhood. It is especially quiet in Mayberry. Good night, Sheriff Taylor.

-- Bill Oakes