Our 11-year-old had just popped open his root beer when we gave him the news.
He only gets to drink soft drinks when we go to restaurants or on special occasions. But we were at the farm, and Aunt Pam had a red cooler loaded with ice cold IBC, Orange Crush and Double Cola. In bottles!
He was right in the middle of a big swig when I remembered what I wanted to tell him.
“Oh! Andy Griffith died today!”
His hand stopped in midair with the bottle tilting toward his mouth. He gave me a blank stare.
“Mom! I was drinking a root beer!”
It was like he was having one of the best moments of life, and I had stomped on it, then twisted with my foot. The news was like a sudden snowstorm in the middle of a trip to the beach in July.
“Andy Griffith is dead?”
I know this was heartbreaking news for lots of adults this past week. Everyone who grew up watching the “Andy Griffith Show” seems to have a special place in their heart for the kind sheriff of Mayberry. But I’m sure it’s a little rare that this man who was born in 1926 was one of the favorite actors of our 11, 9 and 7 year old. Even the 2-year-old demands to “Watch Andy! Watch Andy!”
When we cancelled our cable subscription a few years ago, we no longer received many of the TV channels that a lot of kids watch — Nick Jr., the Disney channel. Instead, our kids entertain themselves with old shows they find on Netflix.
They’ve made it through most of the episodes of “Leave it to Beaver”, “Dennis the Menace”, and their favorite, “The Andy Griffith Show.” At first, they questioned why all of these shows were “in grey,” but now they don’t seem to mind. We have grown so out of touch with popular culture that I honestly can’t even name the TV shows other kids might watch.
A few weeks ago, we went on a long car trip and my sister let us borrow the first four seasons of “The Beverly Hillbillies.” The kids thought that was hilarious. So, when I was getting ready for our recent trip down south, I stopped by Best Buy and found the first season of “The Cosby Show” and the first season of “Gilligan’s Island” for $10 each. These two might be bumping out “Andy” for the top spot in their list of favorites.
I have to admit that I enjoy re-living my childhood by watching the old shows with them. Many of those shows were re-runs even when I watched them as a kid! I can remember nearly every episode that we watch. I don’t have to wonder what they’re going to hear or field a million questions afterward about the content. I really wouldn’t mind if they watched some modern-day shows, but it seems the only things we have found that we really enjoy are reality TV, like “The Biggest Loser” and “American Idol.”
So, yes. I guess we are out of touch, but we all seem to like it this way.
Our kids couldn’t pick Miley Cyrus out of a lineup. But Andy Griffith? Losing him was like losing a friend.
What about you? What TV shows do your kids watch? Maybe you can clue me in to some modern day favorites! And what was your favorite of the classic TV shows from the past? I would love to hear!