I am very pleased to introduce my guest blogger for the week, author Liz Flaherty. Liz gives us her own accolade to the late, great and much-loved Andy Griffith, whom I am sure many will mourn the passing of.
I have changed my mind about the subject for this post every day for a solid week. It could be, Amelia said, anything I feel passionate about. No limitations.
Oh, easy peasy. I’m a romance writer—I incorporate passion into all my books. I’ve been married for 41 years and you don’t achieve that without passion—well, maybe you can, but I don’t think it would be a lot of fun. I’ve been visiting my kids in Vermont. There you go. I’m passionate about my family. I’m even passionate about Vermont—I think congress should declare it the National Post Card.
But something happened the week I was in Vermont. Andy Griffith died at the age of 86. The world’s most beloved sheriff, creator of the small town everybody wished had been their own, arguably the best oh-shucks humorist since the days of Will Rogers, has left the world a better place because he was here.
I don’t really know all that much about Andy Griffith, the man. I read that he lost a son to an overdose, so he knew life’s most indescribable pain. He was married three times and divorced twice, so he understood failure. He had health issues that remind us no one’s body is immune to weakness from within. He had strong faith and gave it free and joyous rein in an award-winning recording of hymns.
That’s enough for me to know. His personal life is after all none of my business. His professional life is the one that gave us all gifts. Like these:
When a man carries a gun all the time, the respect he thinks he’s getting might really be fear. So I don’t carry a gun because I don’t want the people of Mayberry to fear a gun. I’d rather they respect me.
Daylight’s precious when you’re a youngun.
…don’t the trees seem nice and full?
Sheriff Andy Taylor, his most famous role, gave us eating ice cream and singing gentle songs on the porch, celebrating Christmas in the jailhouse, and admitting when he was wrong. He was a comic who acted the part of the straight man because it was what was good for the show. Good for the people who watched it. Who have watched it for 50 years and still counting.
And he wasn’t St. Andy. He was a man who suffered, failed, sinned and been redeemed by his faith. He was forever and ever one of us, no better and no worse. Yes, it was his acting he shared with us, but the line between personal and professional blurred for most of us. We just loved Andy. And we thank him. Passionately.
Life is new and wonderful for writer Liz Flaherty these days. She retired from the post office in 2011, promptly gained 15 pounds—she swears it was overnight—and promised her grandchildren, The Magnificent Seven, that she would make each of them a bed-size quilt. She also planned to write all day, every day.
What was she thinking?
She’s learned to write when she feels like it, sew when she feels like it, and maybe even to eat a little less. She’s learned to share the house and sometimes even the kitchen with Duane, her husband of, oh, lots of years.
And she’s having a Very, Very Good Time.
Her fifth book ONE MORE SUMMER, has been released to exciting reviews by Carina Press. She is thrilled to the point everyone she knows rolls their eyes as soon as she opens her mouth. The sixth, JAR OF DREAMS, will be out in January, and she hasn’t annoyed hardly anyone about that yet.