We are having an Andy Griffith Show marathon. We start with the first season, episode one: Aunt Bea comes to town.

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.”










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 convict.

“TURN IT UP!” says Mother Mary.

“I CAN’T!”








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 paired this shirt with a badge and boots, you looked like county law enforcement.

I would grease my hair with my father’s Brylcreem before going outside to play, and tell everyone to call me Andy. Then, like all wholesome school children from my era, we would spend the rest of the day blowing up local mailboxes with barely-legal firecrackers.

My buddy, Dale, would always play Barney Fife because he was the only one who owned a police cap.

Dale played Barney differently than the Barney on TV. Dale’s interpretation of the character included carrying a Bowie knife and driving a Mustang Shelby GT500KR. He was more like Rambo Fife on performance enhancing drugs.

We would burn up our afternoon hours playing cops and robbers until our mothers called us home for supper, or until someone sprained their leg.

“TURN IT UP!” says Mother Mary.







I got an email a few days ago from a man who lives in Rochester, New York. He said he was afraid the nation was forgetting about Andy Griffith, and this worried him.

Well, I’m not worried. I travel to a lot of different places. Mostly, I am in these places to put people to sleep by giving speeches. And at some point during my speeches, I usually whistle the Andy Griffith theme song over a microphone. And do you know what always happens?

Everyone whistles along. And I mean everyone, including small children, golden retrievers, and certain breeds of fundamentalists.

It’s incredible. Once in Birmingham, I whistled the Andy Griffith theme song with six hundred people who were all in perfect unison.

When you hear something like that, it feels like dying and going to Mayberry.

A lot of people know I’m an Andy Griffith fan, so I get a lot of stories sent to me.

Like the letter I got from Roger, in Sacramento. He told me that during his childhood, televised Major League Baseball games were postponed so they wouldn’t interfere with the Andy Griffith Show on local channels. “We go crazy for Andy in California, man,” said Roger.

Another woman sent me a message telling me about how her son dressed up as Gomer Pyle for a school presentation. Her son attends community college. He is forty-three.

A fifth-grade girl wrote me a letter about her science fair project, which was entitled: “Recipes Aunt Bea Cooked.”

I met a ten-year-old boy who told me he watches three Andy Griffith episodes each night. A ten-year-old.

And just yesterday, I met someone whose father knew Andy Griffith. He told me that whenever Andy talked about the show, he’d say, “You know, our show was all about love.”

I can almost hear his voice saying that. And maybe this is why I like the show so much. Because love is hard to come by in this world. Some of us grew up feeling like we didn’t belong. Some of us still feel that way, no matter where we are. Certain childhood thoughts stick with you.

But when I hear that whistling, everything changes.

“TURN IT UP!” says Mother Mary.

My mother-in-law starts to whistle. I start to whistle with her. We are grinning at each other like a couple of well-fed possums. Andy does this to us.



  1. Hollie Cartledge. - August 14, 2019 9:04 am

    Hey Sean. Our dachshund’s names are Bea Taylor and Thelma Lou. Hollie (mid 50s)from Alabama.

  2. Ella Herlihy - August 14, 2019 10:11 am

    When I was in 6th grade in Danville, Virginia, one of our assemblies was to have the man who whistled the tune for the Andy Griffith Show theme song come and whistle a show for us. It was amazing. I was in the same room with that guy – the one who whistled the best. Wow.

  3. Camille - August 14, 2019 11:01 am

    I watch every single episode on every channel I can find, every, single day! I’ve seen them all a jillion times and they are just as good as they were the first time. Andy Griffith is MY news channel and I am a much happier person because of it!

  4. Dee - August 14, 2019 11:34 am

    BEST show on the Planet!!! Was then n will always be!!! I watch it every afternoon. Reminds me of my childhood n watching it with my Parents. Those are the best memories!! All about love…

  5. June Rice - August 14, 2019 12:10 pm

    Sean, my husband and I (ages 80 and 69) watch Andy EVERY SINGLE DAY!! We have watched so many of the same episodes we can lip the dialogue ?! We long for these simple days of what we consider good tv shows. I know we are expressing our age but hey we are still alive and kicking. I do believe we were raised during the best of times except it is hard to beat anything currently medical. As far as life just “nip it in the bud! Nip it! ?

  6. Shelton A. - August 14, 2019 12:23 pm

    Write Mother Mary messages. Save your voice and find out early if she’s got her hearing aids on. Just a thought.

  7. Carol - August 14, 2019 12:33 pm

    Ya gotta love , Jesus, MotherMary, & Andy Griffith!
    Oh and you too!!
    Love ya!

  8. Lizzie - August 14, 2019 12:46 pm

    It’s a pleasure to be reminded of the show we all loved when America was great. Andy gave the whole country a sense of unity missing now. Your last line is perfect!

  9. Teri Henry - August 14, 2019 12:59 pm

    I can hear the whistling! I smiled the whole time I read this – #Andylove

  10. Karen Martin - August 14, 2019 1:18 pm

    What is your address?

  11. Connie Havard Ryland - August 14, 2019 1:25 pm

    Thanks for the smile this morning. Love and hugs.

  12. Keloth Anne - August 14, 2019 1:29 pm

    I love watching Andy Griffith—-such a wonderful show♥️♥️
    Another great reading—thank you ?

  13. Becky Curran - August 14, 2019 2:00 pm

    You make me smile every. Single. Day. Some days you make me laugh, and some days you make me cry too, and that’s fine. But I love that I can always count on you for a smile. You are a GEM, and you make the world a better place.

  14. Steve Winfield - August 14, 2019 2:02 pm


  15. Carol - August 14, 2019 2:03 pm

    I really enjoyed this article. Very funny

  16. Ruth Ann - August 14, 2019 2:06 pm

    Andy Griffith for president! Sean, I laugh and cry every day reading your blog. Thanks for reminding me to make sure my hearing aids are turned on when I watch TV

  17. Judy - August 14, 2019 2:21 pm

    Your columns are pure delight. My Aunt Bessie told me over 60 years ago to become a professional whistler. Shoulda listened.

  18. Susan - August 14, 2019 2:24 pm

    My husband and I watch two episodes of Andy every weeknight. He’s probably seen every show at least 10 times more than I have. But my Mayberry education is coming right along, and I’m pretty proud that I can recognize a show in the first 30 seconds. (He can do it in 3 seconds.) Because they’re so familiar, we’re usually both doing other things while Andy’s on (i.e., playing on our phones). But it recently occurred to me that we don’t watch for the shows anymore, but for the comfort it offers in a world that offers everything but peace and a sense of security. And that’s an achievement no other television show—especially a sitcom—can claim.

  19. H J Patterson - August 14, 2019 2:32 pm

    Got any Mayberry favorites Sean? Some of mine are the Christmas episode with Ben Weaver getting locked up, Dogs, Dogs, Dogs with Barney informing us that giraffes are selfish and Earnest T Bass trying to steal Charlene Darling but gets Barney in a wedding dress.

  20. Pat - August 14, 2019 2:42 pm

    I was wondering if Mother Mary had her hearing aids in…..it really is difficult to communicate with the hard of hearing especially if they are not using their hearing aids…REALLY DIFFICULT!

  21. _emmbeedee_ - August 14, 2019 3:18 pm

    We love Andy Griffith too! I named several of my puppers after characters. Opie, Barney, Goober, Otis and Thelma Lou. We got my brother a boxed set of the episodes for Christmas one year.

  22. Linda Moon - August 14, 2019 3:31 pm

    Andy and Barney and all of those characters were the best of the best! Barney Fife needs no extra volume or increased treble. It’s too bad Mother Mary missed a lot of the show’s dialogue, but at least she whistled along. Like John Prine, we can whistle and go fishing in that Mayberry Heaven!

  23. Pat Irvin - August 14, 2019 3:50 pm

    As long as we have Andy Griffith reruns, there is hope for this world…

  24. Linda Chipman - August 14, 2019 5:27 pm

    Love it when you write about Andy. He was one of a kind. Thank goodness we still have reruns of his great TV show.

  25. Mary Anne Weisiger - August 14, 2019 6:11 pm

    Sean, I walked through the woods with Andy once. You probably are not interested in that, BUT, If you want to hear about it, I’ll be in Wicksburg next spring for my grandson’s high school graduation. I read your mail just because you mention places I’ve visited and it warms my heart and reminds me that I have two transplanted sons living in Dothan. Blessings and. Keep up the encouraging words.
    Mary Anne Weisiger

  26. Janine - August 14, 2019 6:46 pm

    Thank you Sean!!! Simply, thank you! Could write novels why I love your writing and how it grabs your heartstrings while unlocking your giggle box, the laughter couple with joyful and heartfelt tears combined, while beautifully taking us along your ordinary days you make hilarious, all the while touching our souls.. at least mine! But, know there are countless others like me, saw proof with the standing room only, and out the door, down the street crowd for you at the Page and Pallette book store event recently! Was awesome to hear your voice in person and see you at a distance, but more than grateful for your wonderful blog and fb posts!I love them all!! You make this world a better place, thank you again! Much love and gratitude to you and yours always!!

    • Janine - August 14, 2019 7:16 pm

      FYI… your blog may be in a different time zone… not a shock for different demenision haha However, I am cst and don’t live to far from your neck of the woods and my comment post added 5 hours to central time, not sure where that “zone” is, doesn’t matter, but Incase it is something that may help. ??There ya have it!

  27. Cathy Wilson Weaver - August 14, 2019 8:40 pm

    Most problems in life can be solved with a quote from TAGS. My husband and I carry on long conversations based on Andy-isms. He even puts up jars and jars of “bad old home pickles” (which are actually scrumptious).
    Sean, thanks for your daily dose of goodness. ❤️

  28. Helen De Prima - May 14, 2021 11:48 pm

    We visited Siler City NC, Aunt Bea’s hometown — very much like Mayberry.

  29. Kathy Jackson - May 15, 2021 1:28 am

    I love this. I love the Andy Griffith Show. It is literally all I watch. I have Roku. No commercials and full episodes. I watch nothing else. And I love it. I love the fact that I can say the lines along with them on most episodes. I love that in the “Wedding Bells for Aunt Bee” episode, Ant Bee considers marrying Fred Goss because she thinks it would be better for Andy, and Andy supports her because he thinks that’s what she really wants. I love the episode where Opie doesn’t want Pa to be disappointed in him. I love the episode where Barney takes the stand against a publisher who was mad at Andy and puts an untruthful article about him in one of the newspapers. I love the episode where Gomer “runs out” on a blind date…only we find out later that he went to get a corsage. And, Mr. Deitrich, I love you because you love Andy. ❤️

  30. Pam J - May 15, 2021 2:56 am

    I met “Thelma Lou” a few years ago at the Andy Griffith museum in Mt Airy, NC – a very sweet and kind lady.

  31. Janet W. - May 15, 2021 1:12 pm

    It was my late husband’s ring tone!

  32. Pat Knox - May 15, 2021 10:34 pm

    My husband makes fun of me, but I have it on all day! Sure beats the other junk on TV! And I’m watching my year old granddaughter every day and that’s what she’s watching. Train them up the way they should go! The show is my peace in a crazy world!


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