The world lost a wonderful man and actor this week: Andy Griffith. I have always been an Andy Griffith fan. Even as a youngster, I liked him. He had a face and a way about him that said “You can trust me.” This is probably one of the many reasons he was so popular. Undoubtedly, he was intelligent and talented. No one stays a star as long as Andy did without having more than just a pretty face or a winning smile.
One thing came through loud and clear with Andy. He was a very loyal person. I’m not sure if later generations of fans thought about it, but many of the people who were part of the “Andy Griffith Show” were also regulars on “Matlock”. For us old-timers, it was fun to recognize them and know that Matlock was not just a character; he also displayed a lot of the ‘real person’ characteristics of Andy Griffith.
Andy Griffith’s entire career celebrated the values I was raised with. Every character he played, every episode he directed, was a testimony to the world I thought would last forever: Small town values, handshake agreements and gentlemanly courtesy. He loved hot dogs. He lived in a house with a wrap-around porch where he sat and played his guitar. He blushed if a lady winked at him and never said a cuss word. His ‘aw, shucks’ shuffle usually hid a whip sharp mind, working at warp speed. He never compromised his values, never spent a nickel he didn’t need to, and never avoided hard work.
I hope we always have “Matlock” reruns to watch. Something of Andy to remind us that those values are as relevant today as they were in the past. I hope my grandchildren will sit with me someday, eating popcorn and laughing at Ben’s courtroom antics. I want to teach them that under that curmudgeonly exterior lived a true gentleman and a person of honor.
We will miss you, Ben Matlock. The next time I have a hot dog (one of my favorite foods), I plan to stop and say “I’ll have one all the way”, in your honor.
Sandi Tuttle is the host of the Blog Talk Radio show “An Average Woman in a Superwoman World”. For more information, go to: http://www.averagewomansj.com.