LESLIE CRISS: Heat, thieves and the loss of the beloved sheriff of Mayberry

By Leslie Criss/NEMS Daily Journal

“If you saw a heat wave, would you wave back?”
– Stephen Wright

“A thief believes everybody steals.”
– Edgar Watson Howe

“Ain’t we pickin our peaches ‘fore they’re fuzzed up good?”
– Andy Griffith as TV’s Sheriff Andy Taylor

I can’t remember a summer that has been any hotter. Of course, I probably say that every summer. However, it’s not every summer the air conditioning at my house needs repair. Three service calls and we finally determined there’s a leak, which is why the unit constantly needs more Freon. Now, we await the arrival of a replacement part.
In the meantime, our usual always-cheerful, ever-pleasant selves have been a bit short-tempered. So imagine how much angrier I became when I discovered a week ago a visiting relative’s purse and iPod had been stolen from her car as it sat in my driveway. Yes, she forgot to lock her car overnight, but that ought not matter one whit.
I remember – and long for – the days when we could trust our neighbors, when the world was safer and kinder, and locked doors were an exception, not the norm.
Sort of like it was in Sheriff Andy Taylor’s Mayberry. Ah, to live in a town like Mayberry.
But sadness befell even the happy town of Mayberry last week when its beloved sheriff died.
In the real world, that would be Andy Griffith, the wonderful actor who breathed life into Sheriff Taylor and Ben Matlock and Joe, the curmudgeonly owner of Joe’s Pie Diner in “Waitress,” one of my favorite films.
News of his death last Monday spread quickly and saddened much of the world, as evidenced on Facebook and beyond.
In honor and in memory of the gentleman from North Carolina, here’s some Mayberry trivia. Enjoy.
• Andy’s favorite dish was leg of lamb.
• Clara won the blue ribbon at the fair for her pickles 12 years in a row.
• Aunt Bee and Clara attended Sweet Briar Normal School together.
• Opie donated only three cents to the charity that collected at his school. Andy was angry at him until he found out he was saving his allowance to buy his underprivileged girlfriend a winter coat.
• The perfume Ellie squirted on Andy was Midnight Madness.
• Andy Taylor’s middle name was Jackson. Andy Griffith’s middle name was Samuel.
• “The Andy Griffith Show” was a spin-off from “The Danny Thomas Show.”
• Barney paid 25 cents an issue for Learn-A-Month magazine. One issue was “Odd facts known by few.”
• Aunt Bee’s china pattern was Blue Willow.
• Andy and Barney’s squad car was a Ford Galaxie.
• The show was shot on the same set as Atlanta from 1939’s “Gone With the Wind.” If you were to walk out of the courthouse and look to the right at the end of the street, you can see the old Atlanta train station in many episodes.
• The theme song for the series was titled “The Fishing Hole.” Lyrics for the song were written by Everett Sloane but the producers decided that whistling the tune set the tone for the show, so the words were dropped.
leslie.criss@journalinc.com