I cant remember a time when there werent reruns of The Andy Griffith Show playing on at least one TV station.
While I'm far too young to say I "grew up with" the show, I certainly watched reruns when I was young, usually with my mom or my grandpa. And I still watch them whenever I catch it on.
Andy Griffith, who played Sheriff Andy Taylor on the show, died on Tuesday at age 86.
I was hoping I wasn't the only person in my generation to be saddened by the news, and judging by how many of my Facebook friends shared the story, I'm not.
It's gratifying to see younger adults show appreciation for an icon who hit his prime long before most of us were born, though it's perhaps not as unusual as I'm making it out to be.
Plenty of people my age and younger still idolize Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Audrey Hepburn and Frank Sinatra, to name a few.
But the difference is that Andy Griffith wasn't a sexy Hollywood star. The man and his brand of family-friendly comedy represented something strong, wholesome and welcoming. Sure, he played a law man on "The Andy Griffith Show," but he resided over a small town where the local drunk often came in to lock himself up. Problems were often small and could be solved with an honest talkin' to and a hand shake.
It may have even been utopian for its time, but today Mayberry seems like an impossible dream.
The times have certainly changed since the show aired (1960-1968), as has the state of television programming, evoking nostalgia for those idealistic black-and-white sitcoms.
In addition to the barrage of mind-rotting reality shows, many programs seem to be either geared towards adults (raunchy comedies, police procedurals) or children (Disney networks, Nickolodeon), not both.
I'm not even sure what counts for family programming these days -- I can't imagine watching many of my favorite sitcoms with a child the way I watched "Cheers," "The Wonder Years," "The Cosby Show" or even "Friends" with my parents.
I assume once I become a parent I'll develop that special "mom sense" which will allow me to more easily discern between good and bad programming for children of various ages.
But it doesn't require a "mom sense" to see the value in reruns of "I Love Lucy," one of my lazy Sunday afternoon viewing pleasures, "The Dick Van Dyke Show," "Leave it to Beaver" and, of course, "Andy Griffith."
Sheriff Taylor's particular brand of common sense and gentle wisdom is hard enough to find on television, let alone in the real world.
Here's hoping it won't be completely lost to the next generation.
Katie McCarthy, features writer, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 706-571-8515. Visit her blog for more commentary.