When I came to work on Monday morning, I was saddened to hear that George Lindsey, who played Goober on “The Andy Griffith Show,” had passed away.
I got the opportunity to meet Mr. Lindsey back in 1999 when he came to Mount Airy for his first and only visit. I was working as a reporter for the newspaper and went for an interview. I met him at Wally’s Service Station on South Main Street, which was really a treat. That is a memory that I will keep for a lifetime, for sure.
We were sitting in rocking chairs while I interviewed him. I asked him a few questions about his visit to Mount Airy and what he thought of the real life Mayberry. After my last question, he sung me a song about how ole Mayberry made him a rich man. Oh, how I wish I could remember the words to that song now.
What I remember about him was that he didn’t act like a big celebrity. He had a warm smile and was easy to talk to.
During last year’s Mayberry Days, I got to meet his son, George Lindsey Jr. for this first time. He was a quiet man and he favored his father. I asked him how his dad was doing and he got a little teary. I thought I might have said something wrong, but he said his dad wasn’t in the best of health, but was doing OK.
Earlier last year, Lindsey Sr. donated the famous beanie he wore on the show to the Andy Griffith Museum. I was there for that as well, and thought that was a grand gesture on his part.
The hat, which he had bronzed, was hanging in his home, but he decided that his fans and the fans of the show would be better able to treasure it at the museum. He donated a suit that he wore on the show as well. Now that he is gone, I’m glad that we will have those things to remember him by.
Since I began covering everything Mayberry related, I started studying up on my knowledge of the shows by watching “The Andy Griffith Show,” as often as I can. Now, with Lindsey’s passing, I will watch with an extra special love of an artist who will always hold a special place in our hearts.
Mondee Tilley is a staff reporter with The Mount Airy News. She can be reached at email@example.com or at 719-1930.