I know I already used that title for Mother’s Day. Although it was just God in Motherlove. This month I’m saying God in Mayberry, for obvious reasons I hope.
The older I get the more I have appreciated the TV Land channel and all the memories of my own childhood. Most specifically, all the shows I watched as a kid because they were what my dad watched. Since there was only one television in the house (What?! Said all the millennials in the world), everyone basically watched whatever Dad watched.
That also explains why I like a few typically non-female-demographic things like Star Trek, Barney Miller, Sanford & Son, and Muhammad Ali. Although I did get to watch Brady Bunch when he wasn’t around.
My dad was predominantly Archie Bunker at times; Hawkeye Pierce some days, and a little John Wayne now and then. Definitely not a Mike Brady. When we were in trouble there were no sit-on-the-couch-to-share-feelings episodes. Just plain old run-for-your-life moments.
Those were good days and good TV. I liked Andy Griffith and thought Barney was funny but now that I’m older and I’m a parent, I have a new appreciation for Andy’s kindness, wisdom and the way he always defused the insanity around him without taking credit for it.
One episode in Season 3, Opie got his feelings hurt because Andy had a new girlfriend and he was worried that his Pa wouldn’t like him as much someday. What Pa said stuck in my head almost word for word because of it’s brevity and profoundness.
“Come here a minute. I’m gon’ tell you somethin’ Ope and I want you to listen real carefully. You’re my young’un. And I love you more than anything or anybody in the whole world. And nothing or nobody can ever change that. You know it’s hard for me to tell you just how much you do mean to me cause you’re a part of me.
“Sometime I might get married again. It will be somebody like a lot, somebody I love. But nothin’ or nobody will ever change things between me and you because you’re my son and we’re buddies.”
Simple as that. You are my own and a part of me. You didn’t earn my love and affection because you didn’t have to, but they are there for you until I’m gone. I know it’s just a bunch of TV writers and a script but I get choked up every time I see that one.
Even more so than the time Opie had to give up his milk money to a bully and Andy told him to stand his ground without letting on that he knew his son was being mistreated.
Again, even though they were actors, the scene where Andy looks Opie in the eye before he goes to school, presumably to be punched in the eye, is a true sense of a Father, loving his young’un enough to let him be a man, even if he’s only 6. Opie was so proud of his black eye and they shared a great moment.
I know life is not like TV but I like to think that dads really do love their kids like that, even if they can’t always show it. You know, because they’re big strong men who merely wipe dust out of their eyes when they have an emotion.
Today, I know a lot of Andy Taylors around here. There’s Charlie, who everyone thinks is secretly a baby whisperer because his children are kind and want to please him out of love and respect. There’s Bill, who shepherds pretty much everyone he comes in contact with out of Godly love and genuine compassion, and he has that twinkle in his eye when he is being clever, just like the good Sheriff Taylor. There’s Robert, who plays the father role to hundreds of kids. He doesn’t divide his love between them, he multiplies it.
My own dad has been gone nearly half my life and I’m nearly as old as he was when he passed away. Kind of shocking to think of that particular data. And while I feel confident I can love and protect my little boy like a bear and a good soldier, I hope he will always have his dad and a few good men to look up to as well.
Who else is going to share those priceless, “Don’t tell your mother we did this” moments, or slip a $20 bill in a handshake before a date or a trip? Well, it was a 20 in my day, maybe Son will get a $50. Dads are great to share the first sip of beer, the first worm on a hook, the first driving lesson, the first “girls/boys suck” conversation, and that last minute getaway offer (just in case) right before the wedding.
Dads, enjoy your special day, the comfy chair, the big piece of chicken and sole control of the remote. Happy Father’s Day!