Bena Mae's Kitchen: Andy Griffith
President Obama issued this statement upon hearing of the death of Andy Griffith, “Michelle and I were saddened about hearing of the passing of Andy Griffith this morning. Andy was a performer of extraordinary talent. He was beloved by generations of fans and revered by entertainers who followed in his footsteps. He warmed the hearts of Americans everywhere.”
My heart is sick. I feel like a member of my own family has died. Andy was a part of my family’s life for years. I call it the “age of innocence” because of the mood he set during each episode of The Andy Griffith Show. The show made us all feel we were a part of Mayberry and it was a good feeling. It was easy to relate to the folks of Mayberry. We all knew a Floyd the barber, a filling station attendant like Gomer and a maiden aunt like Aunt Bea. When President Bush awarded him with the Medal of Freedom, I raised my fist and said a resounding “YES!” He was a great American.
We could feel the heat on Sunday afternoons on the Taylor front porch as Andy and Barney languished after a dinner of Aunt Bea’s fried chicken and apple pie. It was a reflection of our own lives. We could find nothing false or heavily embellished in the stories of the small town. Andy always respected the viewer’s intelligence and stayed true to his depiction of real people in small town America. His viewers trusted him and it was a trust well placed.
Our family get-togethers almost always ended with stories of favorite Andy Griffiith episodes. Everyone had a favorite and we could recite quotes of our most memorable characters. Every role was perfectly cast...we knew each character as a real person. All we had to do was walk down the street and see someone who reminded us of them. Each of us can recall a “Mayberry Moment” in our own town.
Andy’s humanitarian way of handling problems always turned out right, in spite of Barney’s protests. Andy brought a warmth and calming atmosphere to the situation whereas Barney played the trigger happy deputy which brought an amusing conclusion between the two. Their back-and-forth disagreements were always funny and it was clear that after the argument was over, the two still remained friends and loved and respected one another. Andy always had Barney’s back and never made him look foolish even when he messed up, which he often did.
What can I say about Andy Griffith that hasn’t already been said. It’s true that he had core values which we all shared. He was a good man, understated but powerful in his low key demeanor. He impacted our lives in many ways with his common sense approach to situations and was a perfect role model as a father. And he was believable, something we rarely see these days.
The Andy Griffith Show has set the record for longevity and is still going strong. Its fans are still as loyal as they were in the beginning. We watch it over and over and are still as entertained as if we were seeing it for the first time. Andy and Barney and the folks of Mayberry will always be in our hearts and memory. The show set a standard that will never be equaled.
Heaven must be a happier place today. But oh, how sad the world is.
Open Face Roast Beef Sandwich
2 teaspoons fat-free plain yogurt or fat-free sour cream
1 teaspoon reduced-fat mayonnaise
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1 slice multigrain bread, toasted
1/2 cup mixed spring baby greens
3 ounces thinly sliced, lean roasted beef
1 tablespoon crumbled blue cheese (optional)
In small bowl stir together yogurt, mayonnaise and horseradish. Spread on toast. Top with greens, roast beef and blue cheese.