It's a strange feeling to say goodbye to Andy Griffith, the actor best known for his starring roles in both The Andy Griffith Show and Matlock. I never met him personally, but I still felt as if I've known him all my life. He was a lifelong North Carolinian, a state that I've called home for the majority of my life. He earned a degree in music from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which is also my alma mater. He had a small-town appeal, the friendly, fatherly neighbor who was always willing to listen and help however he could.
Perhaps more than that, though, Griffith seems familiar to me because of my father. My dad was a huge fan of The Andy Griffith Show, and I can remember growing up watching pretty much every episode more than once with him. My dad never has been one for really communicating with...well, anyone on a much deeper level, but watching Sheriff Andy Taylor (Griffith), Deputy Barney Fife (Don Knotts), and Opie Taylor (Ron Howard) was a language we shared. In many ways, Griffith became a second father to everyone who watched, myself included. He was a television visionary, though he never received much credit for it. He will be missed.