Andy Griffith was "Paw" to a city girl from a broken home – the last Great American Dad was so much more than TV fathers today who have slid into comic relief and perpetual beer swilling, cheating, idiocy.
“Paw is dead.” Despite the fact that I learned of the passing of Andy Griffith on my impersonal, smartphone’s news alert, my internal self heard a seven-year-old Ron Howard tearfully delivering the news to my city girl heart.
To me – a kid growing up in a broken home in the mid-1960s, raised by a single mother in New York City – watching "The Andy Griffith Show" in black and white re-runs was my version of The Fresh Air Fund.
Opie (Ron Howard) was my pal and Sheriff Andy and Aunt Bea were my role models in a world that came without aprons, apple pie, or emotional stability. That was Mayberry and a tune I still whistle as my own blue heaven in every place I have been – from reporting in Tel Aviv during a SCUD missile attack to living on a sailboat.
It hurts me to hear him eulogized as “folksy” because folks just don’t really see that as a good thing these days but more as something to be dismissed as cute.