Yesterday Betty Lynn celebrated her 86th birthday and I wanted to use my column this week to wish her the happiest birthday yet.
I met Betty at Mayberry Days several years ago and we made fast friends. She is the most gracious person and always has a kind word to say. I’ve never heard her use a curse word and she never gossips. Which isn’t a trait I was born with, but boy she sure has been someone I admire for it.
Betty signs autographs at the Andy Griffith Museum every third Friday of each month. Since Andy Griffith passed away on July 3, Betty has had lines of fans waiting to get an autograph and to spend moment to visit with her. The last time she was up there, fans had been waiting in lines for hours. She refused to leave until everyone was seen, even though she gets tired more easily these days.
Not having time to stand in line because I needed to get to work, I went by the museum with the boyfriend to see her. I wanted to make sure they got to meet. We stayed about a minute, but she was so happy to see us. She told the boyfriend to be good to me. She was so sweet.
A few years ago, Betty and I started a new tradition. Since she doesn’t have any family here in town, and my parents are deceased, she invited me to come join her for Christmas lunch at RidgeCrest. Our mutual friend Betty Blackmon has joined in the tradition as well. It’s something I look forward to and treasure every year.
I love watching old re-runs of her on “The Andy Griffith Show.” It’s cool to see what a great actress she was and she was funny then and still is too.
A while back, I got the honor of writing her story for our Sunday feature section. It was so great hearing her tell those tales of her time in the USO and how she got her start in show business — even what it was like working on the show. She really is an amazing lady and I’m blessed to call her a friend.
Happy Birthday Betty Lynn. I hope all of your birthday wishes come true and that you have many more to come!
Mondee Tilley is a staff reporter with The Mount Airy News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 719-1930.