I’ve often said that the reason I enjoyed the old Andy Griffith Show so much was because I practically grew up there. Growing up in Orland was as close to living in Mayberry as you could get without being a member of the cast.
My family moved from the Los Angeles area to Orland, a small farming community at the northern end of California’s Sacramento Valley, in 1960. By the end of our first day in school, my brother Kenny and I felt as if we’d lived there all our lives. The following Saturday, we joined several of our new friends and walked the railroad tracks to Stony Creek, where I caught my first smallmouth bass and began a childhood adventure that would last until I left for college years later.