It's altogether fitting that Andy Griffin -- the man who for so many years was the television star who most represented small town America and a way of life that is so uniquely American -- has died on the day before we celebrate our country’s birth.

Of course, Andy went on to do many other films and TV shows but to me he’ll always be Sheriff Andy of Mayberry. There they were in black and white on the 13 inch tube in our suburban Maryland living room, Opie, Aunt Bee, Floyd the Barber, Otis the town drunk and of course Andy’s nervous gun toting  deputy Barney Fife [played by Don Knotts -- a legend himself].

Each of these delightful, less than perfect characters represented a part of the American landscape.

It was up to Andy to act as father, boss, teacher, friend and law enforcer to bring them all together and give the audience love, laughter and yes a set of values. And just what were those values? They were values like understanding, compassion, forgiveness and a positive outlook on life, all which have never left me.

So “golly,” thanks Sheriff Andy. May you rest in peace.