For every hour my 13-year-old son wishes he could play video games, I spent two watching re-runs of “The Andy Griffith Show” when I was his age and younger.
I could have listened to him talk all day. Still could.
And for all that boob tube time spent memorizing the lines of Andy, Barney Fife and Otis the Drunk (let’s save the politically correct discussion for another day, please), I don’t remember my mom complaining in the least. My mother, of course, was a dead ringer for Aunt Bee in looks and character. But that’s not why she enabled it.
She knew then what the world should be observing today: The intrinsic value of Andy Griffith.
There’s no way of overestimating his mark on our culture, including the culture of the The Oklahoman sports department.
Berry Tramel sees it as his duty to assign nicknames to as many sports staffers as possible. His nickname for our Thunder beat writer Darnell Mayberry? RFD, as in “The Andy Griffith Show” TV sequel ”Mayberry, R.F.D.” (a postal acronym for Rural Free Delivery).
And Berry hasn’t made an Aunt Bee reference in a column in two days.
Our outdoors writer Ed Godfrey, who could win any Andy trivia competition, has spent a career reciting lines.
“Nip it, nip it, nip it in the bud.” — Barney Fife.
“Call the man.” — Andy to Aunt Bee.
I’ve already spent a hour today thinking about Andy Griffith and looking up old clips on YouTube. I’ll spend even more time tonight, watching “No Time for Sergeants” and calling old friends — including a lot of college friends — telling old stories and imitating Ernest T. Bass “How do you do, Mrs. WI-LEEEE”.
Like I said, I could listen to him talk all day. If you enjoy it too, check out the YouTube clip above. It’s a recording of his 1953 monologue “What it Was, Was Football,” the story of a country preacher’s first football game. Thanks to The Washington Post’s Cindy Boren for her tweet and blog post today reminding me of this routine, and what I love about Andy Griffith.