I was born on Andy Griffith's birthday.
When I first learned this from a celebrity newspaper feature years ago, I took note. You never know when little informational tidbits like this will come in handy. And, besides that, I was proud to share a birthday with Andy, undoubtedly my all-time favorite show-business personality.
As it turned out, knowing Andy's birthday won me a a free CD titled Dance 'Til Your Stockings Are Hot and Ravelin' at the Missouri State Fair summer before last. I was clappin' and tappin' at a free concert performed by the Grascals, a bluegrass band with a penchant for Andy Griffith trivia.
In fact, they were so confident in their knowledge of the episodes and music from The Andy Griffith Show that they invited members of the audience to literally "stump the band." Anyone who asked a show-related question they couldn't answer correctly would win the free CD. So my hand shot up, and before I knew it, I was asking them if they knew Andy Griffith's birthday.
The Grascals knew Andy's birthday was in June. They knew how old he was at that time. But they missed their guess on the exact date, and I went home with a new CD.
This is not just any ordinary CD, no siree. It features some of the timeless tunes performed by the ever-memorable Darlings, the hill folk who often made their way into Mayberry for some pickin' and grinnin' with Sheriff Taylor. It also features several songs written by the Grascals themselves about Mayberry and its unforgettable citizenry.
One of those songs, titled "Boy, Giraffes Are Selfish," always puzzled me. The words--something about dogs and jail and lightning--just didn't make any sense. One time, Sooby even took exception to it as we listened to it in my van. "Giraffes are not selfish," she asserted, as though she had been personally insulted. "They're nice."
I offer you this background so that you can share my epiphany of a couple days ago. I was in the family room playing with Beenie, who, by the way, is eight months old today, and stays with me three days a week. Two episodes of Andy Griffith are always on our morning agenda.
In this particular episode, Opie is distressed because some stray dogs his pa wouldn't let him adopt had been returned outdoors to fend for themselves in a terrible thunderstorm. Opie was worried particularly about the lightning, and Barney was trying to reassure him.
Dogs are low to the ground, Barney told Opie, and they take care of their own. Then, in typical Barney fashion, he goes on to compare dogs to giraffes. If they were giraffes instead of dogs, Barney said, then there would be trouble. Their long necks make them tall and thus susceptible to lightning strikes. They don't take care of one another like dogs do, Barney said; instead, they are just worried about "Number 1." And then came the line that set the bells off in my head: "Boy, giraffes are selfish."
I listened to the song again, and it is obviously based on this particular episode of Andy Griffith. Suddenly, it all made sense. Apparently, this was an episode I had either never seen or else long forgotten. It was like a light came on somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind and, suddenly, I knew why giraffes are selfish.
You can google "giraffes are selfish" and find Barney's insightful lecture on YouTube. You may also find a link to Dance 'Til Your Stockings Are Hot and Ravelin'. I highly recommend it if you have a bluegrass fan or Andy aficionado on your Christmas list.