Aunt Bee: a small-town icon who's still a treasure

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I am placing this classified ad, with true desperation and cautious optimism:

Aunt Bee Wanted

Seeking Renaissance woman who adores cooking, cleaning, keeping house, sewing, ironing, gardening, shopping for groceries, and handling the myriad semirewarding details of running a home.

Must have a forgiving nature and the patience of several saints.

Recommended: Henry David Thoreau: 12 quotes on his birthday

Roles include mother, friend, sister, aunt, nurse, teacher, comforter in times of stress, celebrant for occasions of joy.

Family-oriented, experienced sitter for babies, kids, teens, pets, and husband.

Abilities as confidante, motivational speaker, purveyor of common sense, and humorist – who helps me take life less seriously – a definite plus.

Confident in negotiating with repairmen, door-to-door sales folk, and little kids with adorable pouts.

Media personality willing to give up the glamour of her very own television cooking show (My, I hope no one missed that lovely episode of "The Andy Griffith Show") to focus on her loved ones.

Tendency toward being a bit excitable and overreactive, showing a sufficient number of foibles and fiascoes to reassure me that since she's not perfect, neither do I have to be.

Provider of warm welcomes home, a listening ear, cookies and milk, and a closed mouth when I don't want advice, no matter how much I really need it.

Someone who will be there for me later on when I've come to my senses and am willing to listen.

Salary: Negotiable. But if you're the right person, no one on earth could afford to pay you all you're worth.

Apply: Quickly. Oh please, quickly.

Aunt Bee, I know the times they are a-changin', but I don't feel a bit older, even though dear little Opie has become a major movie mogul named Ron Howard (that balding fellow who's always wearing a baseball cap).

You are my one hallucinatory, yet consistent comfort.

The fact that you're a character on a television show in perpetual syndicated reruns has no effect whatsoever on my imagining you as a real person.

When you declared, "I want a big moment in my life, and I'm going to have one," you inspired viewers young and old.

You took those flying lessons, despite the discouraging manner of Mayberry's beloved sheriff and town barber, who feared you might get "raptures of the sky."

We treasure your simple, basic way of solving problems, while we identify with your plight.

At times, we have all felt unready.

You overcame your hesitation to pilot that plane by telling yourself what so many of us tell ourselves: "I'm not ready. I don't know what I am. I think I'm going for a walk."

You took a walk and found courage.

You, dear Aunt Bee, were plucky, determined, and courageous enough to fly that plane solo over Mayberry. You proved yourself to – and for – yourself, not to or for anyone else.

You listened not to the naysayers, but remembered the words of your flight instructor: "You can't quit now. You've already flown farther than Orville Wright."

Dear Aunt Bee, please come home.

I'm not the only woman who thinks a hot apple pie in the oven, your beatific smile, and the small-town life of the early 1960s would be blissful.

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