In Mount Airy, rain fell Tuesday as tourists made their way to the Snappy Lunch diner and Floyds barber shop.
Some said it was natures way of mourning the loss of Andy Griffith, the native son who made the downtown businesses famous on The Andy Griffith Show.
I believe you could take lessons from the show and watch how Andy raised Opie and raise your own child that way, said Bonnie Dotson, who grew up watching the show and traveled from West Virginia to visit Mount Airy the inspiration for Mayberry.
The Rev. John Cleghorn, pastor at Caldwell Memorial Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, happened to be visiting Mount Airy on Tuesday.
Cleghorn said shopkeepers had written RIP Andy and Thanks for all you did for us on the chalkboards where they would normally write specials. Someone put a stereo on the sidewalk, playing one of Griffiths comedy routines, and people stopped to listen.
It felt sort of like a quiet, respectful reflection, Cleghorn said.
Across the state in Manteo, where Griffith found his calling and would later make his home, there were similar remembrances Tuesday.
Actually, Manteo was like his Mayberry, said Edward Greene, 87, a Manteo businessman who was Griffiths friend since 1953, when they performed together in The Lost Colony. Once he did The Lost Colony and became successful, he always came back to Roanoke Island.
Honesty in what he did
Griffith credited The Lost Colony as his acting training ground. He was an undergraduate at UNC Chapel Hill when he first appeared in the historical drama in a minor role called First Soldier. He came back the next year and played Second Soldier, and played Sir Walter Raleigh from 1949 to 1953.
There was a great honesty in what he did, and thats one of the things that appealed to people, said Charles Massey, marketing director of The Lost Colony. He knew how to make people laugh without doing cheap theatrics. There was something very genuine about it.
Though Griffith chose not to move back to Mount Airy, about 100 miles north of Charlotte, after high school, his fame placed his hometown on the map, said Russell Hyatt. The longtime owner of Floyds, Hyatt said he used to cut Griffiths hair.
Griffith never lost touch with high school friend Emmett Forrest, 84, who said he last spoke with the actor four or five weeks ago and that he sounded excellent, with no hint of bad health.
Andy was an honorable man, Forrest said, whose first love was music. Though the high school band didnt exist when Griffith was in school, he became a supporter.
Forrest recalled a friend telling him to make sure to pass this along to Griffith: If it werent for him giving money to the high school band, I wouldnt have gotten to go on our bands field trip to New Orleans.
Voice of The Lost Colony
He was a backer of The Lost Colony. He was there to help put out a fire that destroyed the theater in 1947, Massey said. Griffiths foundation helped replace costumes destroyed in a fire a few years ago.
And he was always very supportive of the organization, Massey said. Lending his name, financially, every way. Hes always been encouraging to people who were in the show. He did the opening announcement that weve been using several years. Welcome to the beautiful Waterside Theater. This is Andy Griffith.
That announcement, Massey said, was to be retired Tuesday night.
Staff writer Victoria Guida contributed