Early evening. My mother-in-law (Mother Mary) and I are watching the Andy Griffith Show. We are whistling along with the opening theme song.
Mother Mary is wearing hearing aids. The television volume is turned up as high as it will go, blaring so loud that pieces of the popcorn ceiling are falling into my beer.
We are having an Andy Griffith Show marathon. We start with the first season, episode one.
The plot is simple: Aunt Bea comes to town. Opie doesn’t like her. In the final scenes, everyone hugs. The end. Roll the credits.
Mother Mary says, “TURN IT UP!”
“But Mother Mary,” I say, “the television is all the way up.”
“I SAID THE TV’S TURNED UP!”
“NO! NO! TAX DAY ISN’T UNTIL MARCH FIFTEENTH!”
“MOTHER MARY! TAX DAY IS IN APRIL!”
“I SAID, TAX DAY’S IN APRIL!”
“WHY SHOULD I GIVE A RIP WHICH MONTH TAX DAY IS?”
So we watch TV together. And even though we’ve both seen this episode a hundred times, we still laugh at the jokes and whistle with the credits.
Episode one ends. Cue episode two: Andy and Barney catch an escaped
“TURN IT UP!” says Mother Mary.
“I SAID, I CAN’T!”
“WHO DID WHAT?”
“I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT!”
They can hear our television blaring from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. Whenever Barney Fife speaks, the sound of his voice shatters our windows and cracks one of my fillings.
Even so, this is the best show on the planet. I have loved it for my whole life.
As a boy, my friends always wanted to play “Army,” or “Cowboys,” or if we were in Marvin Kowalski’s basement, “Weatherman.” But I usually voted for playing “Andy Griffith.”
I had the clothes for it, too. My mother bought several khaki-colored safari shirts from the thrift store. If you…