As a young English boy growing up in the oil industry in Libya, The Andy Griffith Show was the highlight of my week.  We watched it with my parents on Armed Forces Television in Libya, broadcast from Wheelus Air Base. The show transported me to a world that was gentle, funny, whimsical, sometimes a little sad but always full of hope, steered by Andy in his inimitable way. Mayberry seemed to my young mind, the perfect place to live, where a young boy mystified by the adult world around him, could always find some adventure, understanding and love.

Too perfect?

Not to me when the showed first aired in 1960. I was a nine year old who was no longer a little child, and yet not a young man.  At that age the world is a confusing place, and yet once a week it seemed to make sense.  It was fun after the strange, sometimes frightening events of the real world, and Mayberry was a place where I could identify with Opie and banish the dread of leaving home and returning to Boarding school in England, a country I never did really identify with.

But Mayberry, ah Mayberry.

I wished my father could have been Andy Griffith, instead of the child beating wife-batterer he was.

Of course it was just a TV show, but the memories of that half hour when we sat and watched as a family are precious and abiding. And still bring a smile to my face.

Thank you Andy.  We’ll miss you.  Rest In Peace.