Saturday, February 25, 2006
Where I come from, this man is a God. That's because, along with every other resident of the Tar Heel State, I grew up watching in awe as Jesse Donald Knotts embodied the greatest television character of all time, Deputy Barney Fife. Now Mayberry's finest is gone and I myself am ready to turn in my badge. Having interviewed Howard 'Ernest T. Bass' Morris and even Andy Griffith himself, I'd always hoped to meet the man at one of the Mayberry Day events I cover in Mt. Airy from time to time. Alas, it will never be, for we have lost a statesman. Don Knotts was born in West Virginia - but he'll always be a North Carolinian to me - a squirrely, nervous, bug-eyed deputy whose misplaced machismo is outmatched only by his comic timing and physical brilliance. If anyone needs me, I'll be in the den, watching my Mayberry DVD's and clutching a single, unspent bullet.