I couldn’t think of a better way to honor Andy Griffith than to share part of my favorite episode of The Andy Griffith Show, “Opie the Birdman.” This was the episode in which Opie, played by a young Ron Howard, accidentally kills a mother bird with his slingshot, and feels so guilty that he raises the baby birds left behind. (The whole episode is posted to YouTube; this is the third part.)
This is how I felt when I heard that Andy had died. The roles he played in the movies and on television have stayed with me all this time, from his role as Private Will Stockdale in No Time For Sergeants to Sheriff Andy Taylor, to the evil John Wallace in the made-for-TV movie Murder in Coweta County (which also starred Johnny Cash as the lawman that brought him down), to the cantankerous but generous Old Joe in the magnificent movie Waitress with Keri Russell.
Yes, the world seems awful empty now, but don’t heaven feel full.
Godspeed, Andy Griffith.